Startlingly, more British people play bingo than watch professional football. So the idea that the world of fat ladies and Mecca dobbers is some sort of relic of the working class, post-war north couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, as this ‘Timeshift’ documentary acknowledges, bingo is currently in a period of transition. But then it’s always been embattled: assailed by snobbery, constrained by regulation, co-opted by criminals, aggressively opposed by high and low moralists alike. The tales we hear in this film explain its cockroach-like resilience. Its apparent mindlessness is its trump card, enabling it to be simultaneously competitive and sociable. It’s also arguably empowered women by providing safe, welcoming venues for socially marginalised housewives. And finally, it’s fun: it was invented during World War II to take soldiers’ minds off the horrors they were experiencing, but proved infinitely maleable as the years went by. An interesting and cheery dose of social history.
Champagne and meatballs are the order of the day at Searcys St Paul's bar. Located on the first floor of One New Change, this Searcys has a sociable vibe with ’20s-styled raised seating surrounding the central bar, which is banked by plump leather benches. As well as the meatballs, you can get salads, cheese and charcuterie boards, smoked salmon with truffle oil and a few sweet treats. But the main focus here is on the Champers, something that Searcys specialise in; order it by the glass, the bottle or even by the magnum should the mood take you. Classic and signature cocktails come as an alternative to the bubbly, as well as a good selection of whisky, beers and ciders.
Venue says: “Thirsty Thursdays: join us for a Champagne tasting every Thursday at 4.30pm and 5.30pm. Taste four different Champagnes for only £10.”