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Calling time on bingo lingo

PUBLISHED: 14:26 06 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

IT may be eyes down for a full house ... but not as we know it.

Moves to revitalise the face one of Britain's favourite games could clickety click in Suffolk's bingo halls – courtesy of a chicken vindaloo, J-Lo's bottom and Ali G.

IT may be eyes down for a full house ... but not as we know it.

Moves to revitalise the face one of Britain's favourite games could clickety click in Suffolk's bingo halls – courtesy of a chicken vindaloo, J-Lo's bottom and Ali G.

In a bid to revamp the nation's favourite flutter, holiday camp operator Butlins is giving the game a new spin with fresh bingo lingo.

Out goes the old favourites such as 'legs eleven' (11), 'two fat ladies' (88) and 'clickety click' (66) to be replaced by up-to-date references including 'Gareth Gates' (8), 'stroppy teen' (15) and 'feng shui' (53).

Today Ipswich bingoing regulars gave the new names the cautious thumbs up.

Bingo caller John Roper, from Stoke Park, who calls the numbers at the sports club in Halifax Road, said: "It's a good idea. The game is attracting more youngsters and they would probably like more modern references. I still call out the old names on special occasions such as Easter and Christmas, but how many people these days know what Brighton Line, Droopy Draws, one doz and Downing Street mean?"

In case you're wondering, that's five and nine, 44, 12 and 10.

His wife and bingo regular Diane Roper said: "It's a real pity that at the big clubs now they only read out the numbers. It's only the seaside games that keep up the old slang."

Karla Pennock, from Thanet Road, Ipswich, a regular at the Gala club in Ranlagh Road said: "I wouldn't object if they made the names a bit more up-to-date but some of the older ones might."

Other changes planned include, thirty-two will go from being 'buckle my shoe' to 'Jimmy Choo' - in honour of the famous shoe designer - while the reign of 'Queen B' has ended in favour of 'camomile tea' for the number 73.

Many of the terms were devised in the 1950s and give an insight into popular

language at the time.

'Dirty Gertie' (30) will become 'Ali G' after the comic character, 'strive

and strive' (75) becomes 'on the skive', 'bang on the drum' (71) is changed

to 'J-Lo's bum', after singer Jennifer Lopez's famous asset and 'Danny La

Rue' (52) becomes 'chicken vindaloo'.

Having words instead of numbers is thought to have been first used because

machines which selected the numbers were slow and noisy.

In addition, many bingo halls were run by colourful characters who liked to

inject humour into the game.

Many of the terms were no longer used past the 1970s after the balls were

replaced by faster computer draws.

Charlie Blake, a professor of popular culture at University College,

Northampton, was asked to devise the new list.

He said: "Traditional bingo calls are a barometer of 1950s Britain.

"My task was to find reference points from 2003 society and culture - from

technology and food through to celebrities and television - which would have

a much greater meaning to the British public today."

N What do you think? What calls would you like to hear? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Panel The Evening Star's Suffolk bingo numbers

Sutton Hoo -  number two

ITFC -  number three

By the Stour - number four 

CVA -  five (as in 5p in the pound Ipswich Town creditors will receive)

Adnam's Heaven -  number seven

Wolsey Gate -  number eight

Anglia line - number nine

Lord Archer's pen -  number ten


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