The Alternative Outing: Gala Bingo @ Castle Retail Park

This month’s alternative outing: Gala Bingo @ Castle Retail Park.

Grannies. Everywhere I looked there were grannies. I was sitting in a Bingo hall, slowly contracting lung cancer from the second hand smoke of Sovereign cigarettes because somebody had had a bright idea for a new feature. Each month someone from Impact Nights will throw a dart at a map of Nottingham, and visit the club/restaurant/bingo hall/crack-den that the dart lands closest to. When I threw my dart that fateful afternoon it landed in the middle of Radford Boulevard, too far from Ilkeston Road to allow a trip to El Gordo, too far from Alfreton to go to Blueprint. The closest point to my dart was the epicentre of glamour that is…Castle Retail Park, home to Topps Tiles, Bensons for Beds and of course, Gala Bingo.

Prince William had been to bingo earlier in the week with his fellow Sandhurst cadets; I was excited, perhaps its image had changed? I was wrong. We walked in and it was like that scene from ‘Deliverance’, the bleeping of the fruit machines replacing the more traditional duelling banjos. We’d missed the early game so had to pay £15(!) each for the night. I asked if we could maybe play just one game, but didn’t understand the answer as he spoke in a language of Euro-cards, Weekend Saver games, Gold Games, Single Page-books, 3 page books, main session books, supplementary books…. I was confused; apparently bingo is only for the initiated.

The games we played were fun and a friend of mine won £20, but an hour in I was ready to leave the old people to it. In the afternoon it’s cheaper and maybe worth a visit but in the meantime here’s a list of better ways I could have spent £15 in Nottingham in October. Ghostface Killah at Rock City, Yoda and Plump DJs at Stealth, at the Goosefair or buying a house in St Anne’s.

Olivia Stubbings.


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