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Three weird and wonderful British Bingo Calls

F February 17, 2016
ladelivrence-gertie number 30

Do you know what those strange bingo calls actually mean? Don't worry, lots of other people haven't a clue either, so to help you impress your friends at bingo, here's the explanation behind three weird and wonderful bingo calls.

1. Tom Mix

Called out for the number six, this is a reference to a star of silent era Westerns in Hollywood. He is widely considered to be one of the first major Hollywood stars, and is credited with defining the role of the cowboy that we still see today in Hollywood movies.

2. Burlington Bertie

Used as a means of calling the number 30, Burlington Bertie has an interesting and unusual history. Like almost all of the other bingo calls listed here, it is a reference to a rather old source, in this case a music hall song that is thought to have been composed in around 1900. The song, also called Burlington Bertie, is about a con artist who pursues a life of leisure in the West End of London, and was later parodied in another music hall song in 1915, Burlington Bertie from Bow. In the song, it states that Bertie rises at ten thirty, which is how it became associated with the number 30 in bingo. In addition, it also used to refer to odds of 10/3 in gambling, and is sometimes called a tic-tac.

3. Dirty Gertie

Also used to refer to the number 30 during bingo, Dirty Gertie is a reference to a very old wartime song that was sung by soldiers from the Allied forces fighting in North Africa during the Second World War. The song itself was rather bawdy and rude, and was called Dirty Gertie from Bizerte. The song, however, is a reference to something else: a statue erected in North London in 1927. The statue, called La Délivrance, is of a naked women holding a sword in the air. Over time, she acquired the name Gertie, and then Dirty Gertie, among local residents. La Délivrance also links to combat, as it is a reference to the First Battle of the Marne, when German soldiers were stopped from capturing Paris in August 1914.


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