There are two things I remember that my Nan culturally imprinted on my mind. Firstly watching ABBA on Summertime special whilst making bobbles for a bobble hat not required whilst my parents scooted off to Ibiza without us and secondly introducing me to tea and toast watching Hilda Ogden and Elsie Tanner on Coronation Street in front of a three bar fire. Coronation Street was a different place in the 1970’s it reflected life, not in the outrageous story lines, although its fair to say the dramas were of smaller proportions in those day, but the actual pub. The Rovers Return was pretty much how pubs were in those days. Our local The White Hart had a shop bit bolted on the side, as it also doubled as the local metro tesco come off licence and my mother took to utilising my new found freedom of a Rayleigh Chopper to make me take hand written notes to pass on to the bar maid requesting twenty Dunhill. Given the exact money for a packet of opal fruits as payment for errands run. Standing on tip toes you could peer across the counter into the back room of the pub, you could see the same characters that use to appear once a week on Coronation Street. That local pub doesn’t exist anymore, it’s flats, it has no hint now of what was there before. The Rovers Return however has managed to survive. It’s barely a dining room pub size, the snug is longer there and the largest part in the entire pub appears to be the area behind the bar. Pubs like that aren’t there anymore, like the old style corner shop, yet for purposes of plot like all soaps a central focal point is required to continue stories. People rarely go down the pub with their partners, it’s always out with the girls or lads and even less likely to venture out after they get home. Yet the Rovers with its ever changing roster of staff, no live music, regular quiz or pool table seems to have bucked all modern trends of public houses and manages to entice a wide selection of society and success through its doors. Im guessing it would be rebranded The Slug and Toad, have Koi Carp floating wallpaper or as I discovered in my old local this week a massive advertising digital display bolted to the bar. Maybe they should move with the times, would it make it more believable, or does it not require to become more believable as it is just comfort telly. I have no idea why I still watch it, but then I have no idea why I occasionally buy Starburts/Opal Fruits from garage forecourts, it just feels right.
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