Despite the recession making money tight at the moment, and the increase in the number of online bingo websites, many people forget that there are still over 600 real life bingo halls in Britain catering to regular and new players nearly every day. However, because online bingo is so popular, to many the world of the bingo hall is completely foreign- with many failing to understand the community spirit and loyal following the make these places so popular in the first place with people of all ages.
To explain this to those who are unknowing, photographer Michael Hess has produced a book filled with images of different people at the bingo halls, to show us just what a community spirit exists there. This shows the nostalgia of bingo in years gone by, and modern images showing how the trend still exists for many people.
Talking about the book, he says that he wants “people to feel that they’ve spent a night at the bingo – to sense what it feels like to be there” when reading the book and he very much focuses on the social side of the game. To research his book he visited over 60 community bingo halls all over Britain and interviewed staff members and players alike- particularly a club manager named Jack from Newcastle who, in his years at the bingo hall, provides a wealth of stories and opinion which Michael Hess claims “add the extra dimension [he] was looking for” to the book with his lovable character.
Rather than focusing on the big bingo companies, the book centres mostly on the smaller, community orientated bingo halls that are often set up in old cinemas and parish halls- though he does have a section focusing on the Beacon Bingo Hall in Cricklewood.
This book would make a lovely present for any bingo fan, be it live or online, or anyone who is interested in learning more about the beautiful, community orientated game that bring so many people from so many walks of life together.