What Unites Jenifer Lopez, University Professors and Bingo?
As you can guess bingo calls go as far back as the game itself. The callers announcing the numbers used rhyming phrases or descriptive short captions to make it easier to recognise the words in a large, noisy hall. It also added some fun to the game, since most of the terms were picked in a way to be funny and memorable for the players. A popular little game was for the callers to just shout the number and let the players respond with chanting the corresponding rhyme. Either way – it was surely entertaining and was an intrinsic part of our favourite game. Nowadays there are not so many land-based halls that use bingo nicknames but a lot of online sites still cling to this nice tradition. Most well-known bingo calls originate from the 50’s and 60’s and logically reference events and phenomena from that time. Let’s take for example 6 – ‘Tom Mix’, who was a famous Western movie star (from the days when cinema was silent!). Another one is ‘Jump and Jive’ – a dance step, which only the few of you attending dancing classes back in high school would remember now. Whilst there is no doubt that 55 – ‘Snakes Alive’ and 22 – ‘Two Little Ducks’ will stay around, because the resemblance is just too obvious, some of the good old bingo lingo is rapidly changing to adapt to modern life and appeal to a younger audience.
Jennifer Lopez comes to the rescue with (no surprise here) yes, her bum, so now instead of 71 – ‘Bang on the Drum’, you may hear people shouting 71 – ‘J-Lo’s Bum’! And who is complaining? No one. And you might not believe it but it took a professor of popular culture at University College, Northampton to devise the new list. ‘Traditional bingo calls are a barometer of 1950’s Britain.’ – Mr. Charlie Blake said and added that the changes are needed so that the new terms that are implemented sound better to the modern days’ players. Make sure you’re not out-of-date and check this list of popular bingo calls to educate yourself over here . Some other noticeable changes – the 32- ‘Buckle My Shoe’ was replaced by the well-known to all ladies ‘Jimmy Choo’ – still in the shoe theme but much more recent. ‘Queen B’ has been swapped for ‘Chamomile Tea’ (number 73), a rather unexpected one, since being in the UK you would expect a Queen to reign forever. The fans of Ali G will be happy when the number 30 comes out. The Irish-born British impersonator artist Danny La Rue is stepping down, leaving the number 52 to “Chicken Vindaloo” (which I confess to having to google as it meant absolutely nothing to me! If you are no good in the kitchen you probably haven’t heard it either – it’s an Indian recipe for cooking chicken, go figure).
The funny thing is that the bingo calls are a typically British treat for the game – they are not really popular in the US and other bingo destinations. With the rise of online gaming their use is even less clear. I think it’s more of a nostalgic trip than a necessity but if it makes people happy – why not continue the tradition? Let’s wait and see what the next edition of new nicknames will look like – with popular pop and Hollywood culture surpassing pretty much any events from the daily news, maybe the next row of bingo calls will be featuring the likes of Star Wars and Nicki Minaj. She could surely steal the 71 from Jenifer Lopez, hands down (almost) no pun intended.