London Events: Rebel Bingo World Championship

Everybody loves a good secret, and by the looks of the photos on their website, Rebel Bingo is one that you’ll want to spread. It’s not really just bingo, you see; it’s a night of chaos. It’s a growing phenomenon in London, Bristol, Manchester, Brighton. It’s even headed over to New York pretty soon. 

The Underground Rebel Bingo Club founders claim it’s better than sex, so I got in touch with rebel Freddie Fortune to give us all the juicy details.

LLO: So, what exactly is “rebel bingo” then? 
FF: It’s the most hardcore form of bingo. It’s addictive. It’s in your face. It makes your heart beat faster; it sets off explosions in your brain; it makes your ears bleed and your eyes pop out… but you’ll like it.

LLO: How did you get involved?
FF: A year ago we were throwing parties in a church hall. At the end of the night we would hang out in the basement. We found a bingo kit stored there, and one night we started messing around with it. We knew it was wrong, but it felt good. Things got out of control, and it ended up as a mental bingo party. We called it The Underground Rebel Bingo Club.

We wanted more people to feel the way we were feeling. We moved the club upstairs to the church hall. It went mental. People were dancing on tables, screaming and drawing on each other. Hundreds of people started turning up every week, but we still had to hide what we were doing from the church the whole time. Eventually we got rumbled by the church warden and we got kicked out of the hall. But we couldn’t let it stop. So we didn’t.

LLO: You say it’s “better than sex” and “better than real life”. Would you give up a lifetime of sex for a lifetime of rebel bingo?
FF: Yeah, but even if we agreed to that we’d still have sex and not tell you because we’re rebels and that’s the kinda stuff rebels do.

LLO: Why so super-secret?
FF: Because it’s dangerous and addictive and authorities are after us and you can’t just have any old people experimenting with rebel bingo because not everyone can handle it.

LLO: Give us one last bit of tweet-sized persuasion to show up on the 31st.
FF: One person will walk away a World Champion and become an underground legend; everyone else will have the night of their lives.

The Underground Rebel Bingo World Championships are happening on 31st July under the super secret guise of Global Banking & Finance Convention. Pop over to to snap up your tickets.


Soy impresionado! Circolombia packed out the Roundhouse on Saturday night and put on a brilliantly energetic show that had me on the edge of my seat, in awe of the physical capabilities of the human body.

A circus act (sans the elephants and scary clowns), these acrobats come from the Colombian National School of Circo Para Todos, which means “circus for all”.

The school was set up about 13 years ago by a British woman called Felicity Simpson, a former circus performer herself. Many students are recruited from the shatytowns of Cali in southwest Colombia through workshops. It aims to help kids to believe in their abilities and showcase their talents, rather than their poverty. And they certainly have a lot of talent.

Set to a Latin American reggaeton soundtrack, they put on a modern, passionate adaptation of the tragedy Echo and Narcissus with freerunning, dance, flips, tightrope walking, flinging bodies through the air in many different ways and an incredible act that involves a man supporting a giant ring on his forehead, arms outstretched for balance, thigh muscles bulging, while a woman climbs up into the ring and proceeds to maneuver herself around and upsidedown. It is a show of passion, precision and what must be an incredible amount of trust in one another and concentration.

By the end, the crowd was standing with foot-stamping, whistling, wild applause.

There’s no time left to catch them in London, (if there was, I would probably go again…) but I’d highly recommend a trip down to Brighton where they are on as part of Brighton Fringe Fest until 21 May.

Fringe Fest says: “The city’s the thread of the creation, incorporating both joy and violence – a freestyle portrait of a society where dance and music are the great safety valves of everyday life. Volcanic, wild, perfectly mastered acrobatics.”

And – it has to be said – plenty of eye candy.

Find more info on the Brighton show here and an article from the Telegraph following an interview with Simpson here.

London Art Spot: Julia Francis

One of few who knew what she wanted to be when she grew up from a young age, Julia Francis not only pursued her ideal career as a make-up artist, but has made a success of it and has accumulated an impressive list of clients. Advertising for Bacardi, Ford, L’Oreal and Pantene. Make up for Michelle Ryan, Nick Cave and Jamie Cullum. Editorial work for Cosmo, Company and Harper’s Bazaar. She’s also worked with directors George Lucas and Tom Hanks. And that’s just a short list.

Despite the big names above, my first discovery of Julia’s work remains my favourite. That is her body-painting. Over 10 years ago, after painting the belly of a pregnant friend, she started Embody – an organisation to recreate this positive experience for many other pregnant women. 

For this week’s London Art Spot, Julia has taken a few minutes out of her busy life to tell us more about Embody, let us in on who her dream clients are and where she shops in London for fashion and beauty essentials.

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
 I spend half my time in London and half my time in brighton so I find creative inspiration from each. There is always somewhere new to discover in London and as there’s always new discoveries, there’s never that sense of boredom. 

LLO: Do you remember the moment you decided to become a make up artist?
 I remember I was about 12-years-old when I decided I wanted to be a make-up artist; it was my dream job. By the age of 14, I’d made enquiries into colleges and visited the one I wanted to go to. Nine years later I began the course. I haven’t a clue where it came from though as my mum wasn’t remotely into make-up and it’s pretty young to become fascinated with something when you’ve not been influenced from someone at home. Guess it was just my calling!

LLO: You’ve got a wide range of talents – beauty, fashion, body-painting, commercial work. Which do you enjoy most and why?
 I love doing close up beauty work. Seeing the detail of the makeup and perfecting every tiny stroke knowing it will be magnified when seen as a photograph. It makes me concentrate more on technique when its close-up.

LLO: There’s some incredibly big names in your list of advertising clients – Bacardi, Herbal Essence, Pantene – Which have been your favourite projects and who is your dream client in the advertising side of your work?
All jobs bring something different. Working on a series of commercials for Bacardi was one of my favourite projects as it was exciting and challenging. Working on Star Wars as a body painter is also pretty high up on the list though. My dream client would have to be one of the big make-up brands such as Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent.

LLO: The same goes for celebrity clients – Jonathan Ross, Julie Delpy, Colin Firth. Who has been your favourite model so far and which celebrity would you most love to work on if given the opportunity?
 Like brands, all the people I have worked with are different too and I couldn’t say who my favourite has been. Given the opportunity, I would love to do Kate Winslets make-up as I think she has a great face and I like her down-to-earth approach to life.

LLO: When I first discovered your work, it was through the Embody website which you created in order to offer body painting designs specifically for pregnant women. Can you tell us about that?
I started Embody 10 years ago when I body painted a pregnant friend. I was so impressed with the impact the body painting had on her and how good she felt about her body when she was painted that I took it from there and approached pregnant women in the street to paint them. I soon built up a portfolio of designs and it went from there. I now get commissioned from individuals to design bespoke ideas for them and present them with a set of photographs of their painted pregnant body. For more info, see

LLO: Best place in London to buy make-up?
Space N K, Selfridges

LLO: Favourite London fashion shops?
 Cop Coppine, Happie Loves it, Diesel.

LLO: What projects have you got on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a couple of shoots for Head & Shoulders and last week was a shoot for Colgate. I constantly look to work on new ideas with photographers and am currently putting together some ideas for the next shoot.

LLO: Favourite London-based artists?
Too many to mention. 

Thanks Julia!

For more of Julia’s work, check out her website:

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.