Documenting the Decline of the Bingo Hall

Documenting the Decline of the Bingo Hall
From thriving social clubs to piles of rubble.

abandoned bingo
(Image credit: Forsaken Fotos via Flickr)

The rough-hewn simplicity and rustic charm of traditional land-based bingo halls have captivated the imagination of thousands of people throughout the decades. Indeed, brick-and-mortar bingo halls are teeming with vibrant characters and interesting personalities that bring life to a time-honored establishment. So it’s not too surprising to learn that a few talented photographers have devoted their time and energies to document the humanity inside these old-school bingo halls. Washington resident Andrew Miksys was exposed to bingo at an early age. His father published the daily Bingo Today newspaper, which Miksys then delivered to bingo halls and convenience stores across Seattle. Miksys eventually toured America’s bingo halls to present a respectful look into the communal spirit that’s part of a bingo hall’s character.

There’s even more proof that the time-honored game is a veritable treasure trove of expressive portraits. German photographer Michael Hess is a structural engineer by training and a self-taught photographer by choice. Currently residing in London, Hess lived near a bingo hall in Southampton in 2005 and always wondered what happened inside. One fateful game in that same bingo hall was all it took to motivate Hess to travel to almost 70 bingo halls in the UK for the next four years. The result was Bingo and Social Club, a good-natured and graciously rare peek into the enigmatic society of bingo halls.

However, bingo halls are believed to be not long for this world, with many different bingo halls now closing all over the world. The classic game has found its new home online, where various companies have begun to launch online bingo portals which are much more convenient and easy to play. The Virtue Fusion software that runs the games on Betfair Bingo also allow for a variety of themed games to be held simultaneously, and land-based bingo halls just cannot keep up. As such, many bingo halls have shut down, their doors closing as though to keep their memories nestled within.

While they’re no longer visited by the average bingo player, these abandoned bingo halls have made for some truly evocative images, inspiring wayward photographers with the stories they seem to tell. Web Urbanist has even come out with a collection of haunting photographs of abandoned bingo halls called “Punched Cards”. The selection of photos has everything from dilapidated signage to the remains of old bingo cards and the remains of old structures that have now been reduced to rubble, and they make one think about all the history and memories that have been made in these places. Where people once crowded and fought to shout, “BINGO!”, there lies nothing but shambles and old signs. But often, these are exactly what the urban photographer is looking for.

From Live Beta March 25th, 2001

The following is the introduction I had written for my website on Geocities, posted March 25th, 2001.

I’m a Sagittarius, year of the Dragon kind of woman. I like being outdoors, having a great coffee in the city mall, spending too much time in bookstores, traveling around on a shoestring budget, comfortable shoes, Civilization 2, Carmageddon 2 and Caesar3, cats (predatory animals in general), writing, reading, sewing, quilting and embroidery, yellow smiley faces, being on the Internet, publishing online, Wicca, nature, tulips and wildflowers, ascii art, Raggedy Ann, taking pictures but not so much being in them, history, my family, Christmas and Halloween.

My favourite colour is deep dark red. My favourite food is chocolate ice cream with nuts and sauce. Though I have found a really great vanilla flavour called Vanilla Storm but its not always available. My favourite smells are vanilla and lemon, not together. My favourite place to travel to is British Columbia, Canada. My favourite time of day is very early in the morning. My favourite time of year is a tie between Spring and Winter. I don’t like people who are fussy nit-pickers, they usually look for ways to stab you in the back. I like people who enjoy life but aren’t agressively perky about it.

I used to write to penpals around the world and trade postcards and coins with them. I met my husband when we were both 14 and began writing as penpals. I still like to collect postcards and old Canadian coins. I enjoy learning new things about computers and the Internet, history and nature. I can’t ever see myself being one of those tidy, organized people. I live in chaos yet I know where everything is, until someone moves it. I always have projects on the go, half done or not quite started yet. No doubt that tells you a lot about the kind of person I am. But, if you’re the sort of person to sit there feeling superior we’ll never get along anyway. 🙂

I’m the “Oh Canada” Contributor on Squidoo

This was originally posted to the Squidoo network when I was accepted as the “Oh Canada” Contributor.

ohcanadaWhy become the Squidoo Contributor for “Oh Canada”?

First, I am Canadian. Born in down town Toronto, grew up in and around Ontario but mainly in the town of Port Union (which became Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto). I have travelled across Canada on the Via train, Greyhound bus, and by camper van, staying in youth hostels and the odd fancy hotel when the budget stretched enough. I’ve been from the ocean in Vancouver out to the ocean on PEI (Prince Edward Island). I have yet to be north enough to see the Canadian tundra – but I have been to Timmons and Thunder Bay at least twice.

Secondly, I really love to find out about Canadian art, history, culture, people, places, traditions…. all of it. When I see the word Canada on something it pops out at me and I will read whatever it is about. Even something I would otherwise not have an interest in or not even like all that much. I absorb Canadiana, greedily. That doesn’t mean I immerse myself in everything, there is only so much of me I can give, but I like to know the good, bad, and the ugly so I can create a whole picture of what Canada is and who we, as a people in the world, are.

I think it is a shame for people to say they are Canadian if they have not done some travelling to see Canada and meet more of the people than they find in the area they begin in. Canadiansare told we don’t have a real identity so we often defend ourselves with what culture, art and history is uniquely our own. That is a shame too because it just shows how well we know Canada is the country which people think of as nice but don’t really know who we are.

So, that is why I have taken on the challenge, the project, of being the Contributor for “Oh Canada”. I want to teach the world (at least those who stop by here) about Canada and Canadians.

I Really do Love the Canadian Flag

February 15th is National Flag of Canada Day

What is the Canadian National Anthem?

Listen to us sing it!

(The original post had videos here).

The Canadian anthem is “O Canada”. Here are people singing it, making their own versions. One of these is a video without singing, but I remember watching this as a kid.

My Background (like an About Me).

I am a proud Canadian and I do like to write about, research, and teach the world about Canada and Canadians.

I photograph abandoned, derelict farm houses. I like the history, the feeling of something surviving in spite of time and neglect. I like the way old buildings give us so many links to both our past and our culture. Travelling around Ontario (day trips and some over nights) I take a lot of backroads, get coffee in local restaurants and I keep in touch with other explorers across Canada through the groups I founded and moderate on Flickr.

I especially like Canadian music, literature and movies/ TV shows. Here we get so much media from the US it can be overwhelming. I make a point to support our own Canadian media by watching and listening to CBC, the oldest Canadian broadcaster and the most Canadian focused of them all. If you want to know about Canadian music, writers and others you can count on the CBC to have current news and old facts in their archives too.

I studied Canadian Literature as a course in high school and college. I do read a lot of everything, not just Canadian, but I am aware of Canadian writers and did belong to an online group (until it folded). I had thought to start up another group but that does take a huge amount of time and energy so it on a project on the backburner. Meanwhile I continue to write my site for writers and it does have some focus on Canadian resources (just because that is what I find most useful for myself, as a Canadian freelance writer).

As the Oh Canada Contributor at Squidoo I would be happy to bring some niches of Canadian culture, history and art to light.

Canada Day in 2017 Will be Canada’s 150th Birthday

1867 – 2017

Canadian Heritage
The Canadian heritage site from the Government of Canada.
Canada 150
In 2017 Canada will have it’s 150th birthday.
Flickr: Canada Day
Canada Day photographs on Flickr.
Imagi Nation 150
Canada’s Sesquicentennial from Calgary, Alberta.
Explore 150
Explore150 is a uniquely Canadian project that brings together mobile technology and youth engagement inviting young people to discover, celebrate and share the beauty and inspiration offered by natural, cultural and historical sites across Canada.
The CBC Digital Archives
CBC is the Canadian media and broadcaster. There is more than one, but CBC is across Canada and (as far as I know) has the most history.
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Today in Canadian history.
These were the comments with the original post on Squidoo. Also the poll.

Read more

I’m the “Oh Canada” Contributor on Squidoo… Now What?

I was happy to become the “Oh Canada” Contributor on the Squidoo network site. I like writing about Canadian culture, history and so on. But, the more I write and post over there the more disappointed I am feeling. Almost none of my Canadian posts are keeping afloat enough (in traffic and reposts) for them to stop sinking to the bottom of the tank (tanking them, literally).

Within a month of being posted half of them are in the red. It is discouraging. I don’t like losing the time I put into them but more than that, I feel sad that not enough people care about any of it. I’ve written about Canadian things like movies and TV shows. Those are popular posts for the US TV and movies. But, not the Canadian content.

Anyway, I am going to begin moving them here. Someone (other than myself) may some day find them and be glad to have found out more about our Canadian content, people and so on and so forth.

Stop Apologizing for Being Canadian

Immigration and multiculturalism are old issues for Canada, never resolved. I don’t think there can be a meeting of the minds on this one. Even myself, I am split on how far multiculturalism should go and how much immigration should be supported.

I have the unique perspective of having  been an immigrant to another country, for a few years. I returned to Canada and actually have no desire to ever return to the US (where I had immigrated to for my husband). I’m very happy in Canada. I was born here. My family are all here. I have never seen a gun used here. I don’t hear or see racism here – though it is now and then talked about in the news.

In the news I hear about not having the Canadian flag at schools. Not having the Canadian anthem sung at schools and events. I see our police and Mounties wearing adjusted uniforms to support the religious practices of other cultures. I don’t like these things. They are defacing Canada’s own culture, history and pride. I do think multiculturalism and tolerance go too far when school children are no longer able to sing the Canadian anthem or point out all the Canadian provinces on a map of the world. My ten year old niece is unable to find Manitoba on a globe of the world until I tell her it’s in Canada. I am the one who took the time to teach her to spell Saskatchewan. I was taught these things in school.

How far should Canada bend in order to suit immigrants? I don’t know, but I would say we have hit a hard limit when we began adapting the very things that make us Canadians, an individual culture in the world. I would say we need to pass our culture along to our children along with our history and our way of life. Canada is not about religion or the colour of your skin – but when they start pulling the flag down and changing the world to our anthem… don’t we become pretty anonymous in the world?

We are Canadian… kind of. Sorry to try to keep our culture. Sorry to bother you with sticking to something we have been proud of for generations. Stop apologizing for being Canadian. 

When people ESCAPE from their country of birth, because of persecution, or religious freedom, to come to a country of choice, why do they demand that we change to the customs of the country that they ESCAPED from? It does not make sense. All immigrants must swear an oath of allegiance to the country to become CANADIANS. Let them take heed of the words of that oath, and not just recite them from memory.
    It is NOT racist. []It is FACTUAL.
[]SPEAK UP FOR YOUR COUNTRY CANADIANS!
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[]Bruce Allen not out of hot water yet.

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980)  – Despite being given a show of support by Vancouver 2010 organizers, embattled music manager and CKNW editorialist, Bruce Allen is not out of hot water just yet as the fallout continues from his recent commentary indicating immigrants to Canada should ‘fit in,’ or ‘go home.’

Richmond Liberal MP, Raymond Chan, is set to file an official complaint with the CRTC (Canadian Radio & Television Commission) about Allen’s recent ‘reality check’ alleging the piece was discriminatory. Chan is also demanding an official apology and a retraction of the comments.

It’s time we all get behind Bruce Allen, and scrap this Political Correctness business. His comments were anything but racist, but there are far too many overly-sensitive ‘New Canadians’ that are trying to change everything we hold dear.

For example, our National Anthem: Don’t  know what your opinions are, but I certainly agree.  — I’m sorry, but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Hindi – enough is enough. Nowhere or at no other time in our nation’s history, did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, or any other language because of immigration. It was written in English, and should be sung word for word the way it was written. The news broadcasts even gave the translation — not even close.

I am not sorry if this offends anyone, this is MY COUNTRY – IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP —- please pass  this along…. I am not against immigration … just come through like everyone else… Get a sponsor; get a place to lay your head; get a job; pay your taxes; live by the rules …AND…LEARN THE LANGUAGE
   as all other immigrants have in the past .
and  LONG LIVE CANADA ! []

PART OF THE PROBLEM? Think about this: If you don’t want  to forward this for fear of offending someone—–YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!!

Will we still be the Country of Choice and still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by  the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice??????

Think about it! IMMIGRANTS, NOT CANADIAN’S, MUST ADAPT.
It  is Time for CANADA to Speak up.
If  you agree – pass This along.
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