Anyone for naked ping pong? It’s what the young people are doing these days

A rare late pass and I’m drowning in opportunity, floundering at the prospect of all the possible things I could do with my free evening, and trying to remember what the hell it was I used to do with such liberty.

1. Get Time Out . Online, obviously, not actually buy it these days of course – it’s gone up to £2.99, and I no longer get it for free. Plus they’ve started putting young person’s stuff on the cover, like sex and mainstream pop stars. (I’ve money on there being a Justin Bieber cover within the next 12 months).
2. Apparently Table tennis/ping pong/wiff waff is the thing this summer, with 100 tables installed all over London. Even the NY Times is onto it.
3. The hot venue seems to be the Ping Ping Parlour (7 Marshall St, until Aug 14) which scores triple zeitgeist points on account of also part of the pop-up craze, and being in Soho, which is allegedly not loud, lairy and full of bridge-and-tunnellers like the last time I was there, but in fact cool again.
4. An outfit calling themselves Stoke Newington International Airport are hosting a quiz night. I like a nice quiz night. Clubbing for the over 40s.
5. Plus they serve Monmouth coffee, which is some of the best in London. None of your cheap muck. And Freedom microwbrewery organic beer.

Even though we were easily the oldest people there, some young people actually asked to join our team (perhaps anticipating a rush of 70s and 80s pop culture questions which count as ‘retro’ in their world). And we were happy to exchange our knowledge of 70s Eastern bloc gymnasts, original video games, and Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals for their comparative litheness round the ping pong table. (The quiz involves a mixture of ping ponging and quizzing that’s too complex to explain here.)
Sadly, in spite of recruiting a woman who reads trivia quizzes for a living, and a man who works for the government who was prepared to take the bonus ‘strip ping pong’ round* all the way for the sake of 11 of the other team’s points, the Wiff Waff Wanderers had ultimate victory snatched from them by just half a point.
How to top naked ping pong? According to one of the young people on our team, it will all be happening at next week’s Literary Death Match in Shoreditch. And frankly, at our age, who are we to argue?
*For any readers of a sensitive or queasy disposition, the government worker was the ONLY person in the room bollock naked, and it was in no way compulsory (that’s just government employees for you). No one over 35, or whose body never recovered from having two children, was required to remove anything (they don’t want to scare punters away). The rest of the evening was 100% wholesome fun.
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About JCT

JCT was Deputy Editor of weekly London arts/listings magazine Time Out but left to freelance in 2007 – just before the recession. She writes for a number of publications and has edited 'London Calling: high culture and low life in the capital since 1968' (Time Out/Ebury 2008) and 'The World's Greatest Cities' (Time Out/Ebury 2009). She is the co-author of The Midlife Manual (Short Books, 2010).
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