Let me take you back to the early 1960's when Gravesend in North Kent was a thriving centre of excellence in all things retail. You could buy things like catapault elastic by the yard in Shaddicks in Harmer Street where they also stocked every individual piece of Meccano for sale by the piece. Over the road in Munns the range of Rollex plastic pencil cases new no limits.
Anyway, I'm taking you not here but round the corner into Parrock Street where one of the first new fangled Coffee Bars plied its trade. I can't remember the name but it wasn't the "3 I's" where Cliff Richard had been discovered - I think it may have been the "4 I's" where Hank Marvin and Buddy Holly used to hang out making an interesting spectacle of themselves. What this Coffee Bar possessed which had become a magnetic draw for the fresh faced young Rog, pulling him away from the delights of Catapault elastic, pencil cases and Meccano 6"x2" Fishplates was .... a Juke Box!
We all thought this was the coolest thing in state of the art cool! We would hang about after school drinking Coke and taking it in turns to swagger up to the Rockola Juke Box, select the best record we could find and swagger back, glancing carefully around to see if anyone had passed out with delight at the quality of one's selection. Obscure "B" sides were always a favourite rather than the obvious hits to really weed out the discerning listeners.
This went on right through my teenage years when the highlight of the year would be hitch-hiking round the Country with Jeff Long and descending on obscure little cafes in Oswestry or Thame or Caerphilly where we would hit the locals with our stunning metrosexual London ways by putting on the "B" side of "Black is Black" by Los Bravos or "Rain by the Beatles. How everyone was impressed!
Occasionally someone would drop into the conversation that they knew a friend of a friend who had been to the house of the bassist for Roy Harper or someone and he had HIS OWN JUKE BOX! Imagine that, we would drool, virtually DOZENS of poptabulous vinyl 45's ON TAP in your very own living room!
To bring this sad little tale up to date, two weeks ago I ordered one of these from Ebay:
I then wheeled out the old stereo system in the lounge which hadn't been fired up in anger since the ipod nano had appeared.
I connected the Logitech to the Stereo and the Laptop, logged into my free account at http://www.spotify.com/ and what did I have, right there in the lounge?
THE BIGGEST FLIPPING JUKEBOX IN THE WORLD, that's what!!! Half a million tracks right there at the touch of a key, completely free!!! And they say we haven't progressed as a civilisation.
I've sadly now discovered that queueing up Bob Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man" with Suzanne Vega's "Solitude Standing" and Richard Thompson's "Shoot Out The Lights" and then swaggering back to the laptop glancing across to Mrs Rine for her approval doesn't wash. As Justin Timberlake's biggest fan she loathes the Bobmeister et al and feigns vomiting and throws cushions. I may have to revert back to the old Ipod. Bah!