Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Techno Techno Techno

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in September 2014.)

I freely admit that I'm a gadget freak.  I'm rarely off the internet, and I view Stuff magazine less as reading material and more as a wish list.  I like big tellies and powerful computers and things that go "beep" and have touchscreens.

Perhaps this is why I'm just so exorcised about the Rovers Return, and more particularly, the fact that its technological offerings are out of the Eighties.  I used to dismiss it as cheap landladies not upgrading properly, but after the fire caused everything to be replaced, there's really no excuse; this place should be a lot more modern that it actually is.

Take the tills.  As a regular habituĂ© of public houses, I can tell you this: no-one has a till like the Rovers any more.  Even the grimmest back street boozer has one of those touch screen tills, where different bar staff can register the drinks without having to know the price off by heart.  In Coronation Street, however, the barmaids and men are required to memorise the entire drinks list because the till only has a number pad.  I don't want to sound bitchy, but Eva is no Rachel Riley; I can't see her being able to add up the price of three pints, a red wine, a VAT and a packet of pork scratchings in her head.  Yet there she is every week, confidently coming out with "twelve pounds eighty love" and then keeping the change.  Get that girl on the Countdown Numbers Round!  A modern till would certainly help matters when the "someone's been stealing from the Rovers " storyline comes back again (it's roughly on a five year cycle).

Similarly, the music provision is distinctly lacklustre.  My iPod contains 10,000 songs, and yet the Rovers jukebox is still a series of CDs you flick through with a couple of big red glowing buttons.  Pubs don't have jukeboxes like that anymore.  They have touch screen activated music machines that can offer pretty much any tune that's been in the charts over the last sixty years.  If the mood took you, you could skip straight from the Ace of Spades to the Beverley Sisters and Beyonce before putting on The Floral Dance.  They're updated with the latest tracks and sometimes can even show the videos.

There's more.  A TV showing sports or news, for example; I know they tried this with Karl, and Emily Bishop fainted away into her cream sherry, but honestly.  It doesn't have to always be on, and they can stick it in the corner by the dartboard so we don't always see it, but just having a television would be a concession to 2014.  The same with the fruit machine - wouldn't a quiz machine be more lucrative?  How about a karaoke night - Michelle could do Pure and Simple, Audrey can do her 1968 hit Where Will You Be? and Sally can have another crack at Never Can Say Goodbye.  She might even manage to get in tune this time.  How about a cappuccino maker?  Disco lights?  Hell, one pub I frequent has an LCD screen advertising the latest drinks offers and theme nights.

I suppose I should just learn to let it go.  I mean, this is Coronation Street; its attachment to reality is, at best, theoretical.  But come on Liz - drag the pub into the 21st century!

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