As a keen student/pedant of juker science you’d have expected me to have tried one of the new-fangled Digital Jukeboxes before now but in fact the ILX pub crawl on the 30th was my first such encounter. And fogeyishly enough I’m not sure I entirely approve. The range of tracks is pretty overwhelming – how many there are in all I couldn’t tell you. And that’s my first problem: as a jukebox user you need to have some idea of the scale of the thing, otherwise you’re struck with the nagging feeling you might have wasted your ‘2 on the comparatively sub-par. And because each song is listed separately, with a big picture of the band next to it, you can only see 8 or so tracks onscreen at once: the standard flip-over jukeboxes showed 4 CDs worth and the rotating-spindle ones around 30 CDs! There may not even be any more tracks on a Digi-box than on those for all I know.

So it’s lacking in practicality. It is easier to use though – gone are the mistaken button-presses that led to you returning to your table in taste-triumph only to find “Female Of The Species” by Space echoing around the pub. But the worst thing about the Digital Juker is that it’s organised by genre! The pub jukebox ought to be a pop fantasyworld where all music can mingle to delight the drinker’s ear – the boozy punter may well approach the machine with the full intent of putting on nothing but U2 but such is the variety on offer it is likely that he will be led astray by nostalgia or ‘guilty’ pleasure. The last thing you want is for your juker to be encouraging Johnny Rockist in his singleminded wrongness but this is exactly what genre-sorting does.

Verdict: looks flashy, but a qualified thumbs down.

Pumpkin Publog