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Young Bristol Journalist
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Young Bristol Journalist "Steps Back in Time" at Bingo Hall

Jessie Parker is a young journalist who writes for Bristol Live with a brave new plan.

In 2022, she’s vowed to get out of her comfort zone and try completely new things; her new years resolution is to shake things up and then document them for the local rag. Last week, she headed to Buzz Bingo in Fishponds to experience one of the nation’s most popular games… How would she find it?

In the first few weeks of 2022 as part of her Bristol Live reporting, Jessie has let a psychic draw her soulmate, gone to a counselling session and even let a stranger order her meal in a restaurant!

Last week, instead of spending yet another night in front of the television, she plotted her next column. Something about seeing the psychic made her think of slightly anachronistic but popular British entertainment. Of course, that would mean she’d land on bingo.

She admits that the first things that came to her mind when she thought of bingo were “retirement homes” and “excitable grandmas.” Not something tailor-made for the younger generations. But, she conceded, that four million Britons play bingo regularly, so something must be appealing to people.

She grabbed a friend and headed to the Buzz Bingo in Fishponds, a suburb just north of Bristol.

Her first impression when she stepped into the vast bingo hall was that she’d been transported back 40 years with a “cruise ship” look that “hadn’t been updated.” Of course many older bingo halls do have that look of another era, which may contribute to the conception of bingo as a game for the older generations.

She expected a “gentle time” but it soon became clear to her that regular bingo players are sharks who do not play lightly. They were “in the zone, heads down.” After getting used to the pace and intensity of the number calling, the game was over, as a regular bagged the £300 prize.

Jessie’s verdict? “A mildly entertaining evening.” Though something she probably wouldn’t be doing again in a hurry.

Check out Jessie’s column at Bristol Live next week to see what new subculture she dives into!

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