ITS SUNDAY 29TH JUNE TODAY AND THIS IS WHAT I GOT UP TO
10am: Me and the missus are on the motorway travelling to Birmingham to watch the gala caller of the year grand final. It’s going to be a weird one for me as this will be my first competition where i will be just a spectator instead of a contestant or a judge! strangely I’m beginning to get nervous for the finalists, I wonder how they’re feeling right now!
11:35am: An argument ensues as we take a wrong turn in the car (of course its ‘my fault’ it could never be the missus!!!!!)
1145am: Get to the club and the place is buzzing already. Goody bags of sweets and dabbers are given to you as soon as you come in. The hall is decked out in balloons and bunting! Nibbles and bubbly are on the tables with flags and poppers. The place is packed already with supporters and players singing and dancing away with the cabaret acts. There is a real party atmosphere in the club and everyone is enjoying it!
11:50am: I find some familiar faces in the form of some customers and ex-staff from my old club in Bognor Regis. They are here to root for Andrew, one of the finalists and a caller that I trained so I sit with the crowd and catch up on all the bingo gossip. I’ve missed this since moving to Bristol!!!!!
12:15pm: The callers enter the club and are greeted with huge cheers from all there fans, before the second cabaret kicks off with a huge tribute act belting out tunes from Queen, Madonna, Cher and even a bit of Robbie
1:10pm: The cabaret has finished and the competition starts in earnest with the callers all taking it in turns to come up onto stage for an interview with the compere: Patrick Bowler (the very first National bingo caller of the year) They come up in the following order: Tracey Clair-Stockland Green
Brett (hang on……that’s my name too!!! lol) Stainer-Fenton
all of them held themselves well, even the ones who were in the competition for the first time, and after the last caller had come off the stage I knew I didn’t want to be a judge because it was looking tight!
One of the best things as a customer though was that in the goody bag you got a caller of the year final booklet where each caller had written a few paragraphs about themselves, which meant that as every caller came up, you felt like you knew them a bit anyway. It was a very nice touch.
2:05pm: The bread and butter of the competition begins and the callers finally get to do what they do best (that’s call bingo by the way!) They come up in the same order and each gets the chance to call a page to the best of there ability. Once again the standard is very high and the only criticism I can give on the callers is that none of them gave me a win!!!!!!! The professionalism of the calling from everyone highlights the intensive training that is on offer for any caller wanting to progress in the company.
3:20pm: the judges set off to tot up the marks for the winner, whilst the players argue amongst themselves who they think was the best caller. Honestly at this point I think it could be one from about 5 or 6. Most of the callers look relieved however as they can finally relax, knowing now that it is all out of there hands!
3:50pm: The judges return and the callers are all brought back to the stage to announce the verdict. The crowd starts chanting there callers names as one of the judges Chris Drake, comes onto to the stage to announce the winner……………………………………………….
……………………….and the winner is………………………………………
Congratulations are offered all round as Michael shakes the other contestants hands and picks up his trophy and £500 prize. As defending champion he has successfully retained his title and acknowledges the only other caller to have done that, Peter Winterton, before giving a rousing acceptance speech and then he calls the last game for the biggest prize money of the afternoon…………….I fail to win again!!!!!
4:05pm: With the session ended the exodus begins and the customers start commiserating/celebrating with there callers. For the winning caller’s customers they are pleased as punch and for the 7 other coach load of supporters they are consoling there finalist, saying that he or she was robbed!!!! That’s one of the great things about being a bingo caller. No matter whether you win or lose, in your own club, your customers think that you are the best caller in the world (As long as you give them a win of course!!!) And I am sure that the losing finalists wouldn’t have been feeling disappointed for long with all that positive support coming from there friends and loved ones. I know I didn’t when I was in there shoes not so long ago.
4:15pm: I say goodbye to the Bognor crowd and get back on the road to Bristol with the love of my life in the drivers seat!
4:35pm: I am in a gloating mood as my navigation skills have put us on course for getting back in record time (and without even having to refer to the map!!)
7:00pm: get back in time to order a ‘special treat’ takeaway curry and watch the Euro final between Spain and Germany.
9:30pm: Laugh as the Germans get beaten by a very classy Spanish team (with a brilliant goal from Liverpool’s Torres………..up the ‘pool)
and now: Am about to sit back with my favourite new thing that I bought just 7 days ago…………………..My shiny new PS3 and GTA4……………………..AAAAHHHHHH YEAH!!!!