I have a mate, who unlike me, has never been a bingo Caller. However, he told me about the time he had a go at being a Bingo Caller... He was "in-between jobs" (a polite expression for being unemployed) and thought it must be an easy way to make a living. He believed he had a big personality (a polite expression for being arrogant and opinionated) and could not fail. As he said to me, in his Geordie accent "Away Mun! Wat Could be difficult aboot counting between 1 and 50 all day??" I told him that there were 90 numbers and that it was more than just the simple maths. In fact his accent was so broad (a polite expression for no-one outside of a 20 mile radius of Newcastle being able to understand someone), that I had real doubts he'd even get off the starting blocks.
I helped him fill in an application form to enter a small competitive recruitment exercise (a polite way of saying you compete against one another and the best one gets the job). But the recruiters (a major Bingo company both online and land-based) had a recruitment exercise par excellence. They had carved out a short slot in the middle of a full-blown Saturday night session at one of their mega-places in the Midlands (a polite expression for Leeds/Bradford/Birmingham) with well over 500 people in!!
There was a "fluffer" available (a polite expression for someone there to help even the worst person not to disgrace themselves in the act of.. whatever.. in this case, Bingo-calling) to give some tips hints and wrinkles. Such as
"A good bingo caller is somebody whose voice is both commanding and very clear".
So far so good advice. Then she spoilt it by saying
"Imagine you are Adolf Hitler addressing 200,000 people at the Sports Palast, 1936".
My heart sunk. She recovered:
"You need to be very sharp and very crisp, and you can't be boring either, so a monotonous voice has to be avoided - but at the same time you can't sing. People hate a 'singing' bingo caller!"
That made me chuckle. I have indeed come across a singing Bingo caller. Once in Margate, Kent, and again in Bude, Devon. Both times, it was amusing for the first game, then irritating thereafter. I thought that this fluffer had good sense. But then her words were a bit pointless with my Geordie mate. He can't sing. He's been booed off-stage at Karaoke when trying a rendition of Lee Marvin's Wanderin' Star... which is largely spoken...
Then things got even more tense at this recruitment competition... (more in Part Two).. don't miss it!