The world of business computing changed around 1980 – only 40 years ago – with the advent of machines such as the Commodore Pet – with separate screen/keyboard, dual floppy disk drives and printer. This enabled small and not-so-small businesses to use the power of inexpensive technology to help in their back office, to look after their financial accounting, payroll etc etc.
I was in on this breakthrough, with the company I helped to found in Sheffield, being the dealers/specialists in that area. We used to hold seminars in hotels and invite businesses in to see the technology in action, and how it would help them manage their companies.
One of the most successful campaigns we ran, took advantage of a scheme run by the Royal Mail, whereby they would deliver mailouts to every business in designated postcode areas. We did one which one which simply stated “FOR THE BOSS” on the envelope. It elicited a fantastic response.
So began another round of seminars, and a hotel – the Carlton Park, I think it was – in Rotherham was selected as one of the venues.
It could be quite difficult to get hold of the Commodore equipment, as it was in such high demand, and we were dependent upon a promised shipment arriving at the hotel on the afternoon prior to the seminar, otherwise…..
We waited and we waited, and around teatime, one of my colleagues rushed breathless into our seminar room, and shouted “The Commodores are here!!”. Thank goodness, relief all round, and we could get on with setting up.
So we all trooped along the corridor, ready to pick up large boxes and carry them back into our room.
But what met our eyes, was a group of garishly-dressed ‘black guys’, surrounded by many excited people. We looked around for boxes, but there were none to be seen.
Yes, The Commodores were indeed here, but this was American soul band of the same name – Lionel Richie and all……Easy (like Sunday morning), Three Times a Lady etc – who were staying at the hotel prior to a gig somewhere in the local area. Quite exciting in its own way, but it didn’t solve our particular problem.
The micro computers must have arrived at some point shortly thereafter, as I have no recollection of having to abandon the seminar.
One of life’s coincidences, and the subject of many laughs at the time.
A Commodore Pet….and The Commodores