BOGAN BINGO: BINGO LOST ITS INNOCENCE
Darren Hilsey grew up in the Gippsland region east of Melbourne, so he feels qualified to muse on bogan culture and its musical associations. “I’ve done my time, so I can reach for the inner bogan,” Hilsey says. Hilsey doesn’t have a definition of bogan, although he does muse being a bogan does involve a preference for comfort over fashion.
About six years ago Hilsey and a group of like-minded friends decided to put together a show based on the time-honoured game of bingo, but adopting a bogan theme. “We did a fundraiser about six years ago at a bar in Elwood. We didn’t want the drag queens to come along, so we settled on bogan bingo – we figured they wouldn’t come along to that,” Hilsey laughs.
Cut to 2010, and Bogan Bingo has evolved from its fledgling origins and forced its way into the Melbourne Comedy Festival schedule. “It’s basically a comedy rock tribute to bogan rock ‘n’ roll of the 1970s and 1980s,” Hilsey explains. “We take the piss out of everyone – it’s take-no-prisoners bingo.” The musical stars of the evening are the classic names you’d expect – Australian bands such as Cold Chisel and The Angels, through to American bands Bon Jovi and Van Halen. “Most of our shows are about 70 per cent women,” Hilsey says, “and they love their Bon Jovi and Van Halen. Anything with hairspray, mate.”
This year’s Bogan Bingo continues its focus on bogan celebrities including Shane Warne (“nothing sticks to him – he’s like teflon”), supplemented by the latest bogan icon, Ricky Nixon. For Hilsey, bogan culture remains in a perpetual state of revival. “Everyone’s having their turn coming back,” he says. With a big screen and a paying audience, Bogan Bingo is aiming to provide value for money. “We’re trialling a new format, new jokes and even an air guitar competition – it’s basically a bingo game for a stadium setting,” Hilsey says. “This is the premiership team with the greatest hits.”
Bogan Bingo present Bingo Lost Its Innocence at The Order Of Melbourne between April 1 - 17. It’s at 7.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesdays and Friday – Sunday. Tickets are $12 - $20 and you can book through The Order, 9663 6707, boganbingo.com or at the door.