Play it again, Steve!

AN Ely landlord has side-stepped licensing laws preventing him from booking an in-house pianist by bringing in a piano that plays itself. Steve Haslam, landlord of The Cutter Inn is trialling the £10,000 digital piano for two weeks, and is inviting guests

AN Ely landlord has side-stepped licensing laws preventing him from booking an in-house pianist by bringing in a piano that plays itself.

Steve Haslam, landlord of The Cutter Inn is trialling the £10,000 digital piano for two weeks, and is inviting guests in his restaurant to decide whether the instrument will stay or go.

"We want to get away from playing CDs to a different type of atmosphere, and piano music shouldn't be the preserve of exclusive country hotels, " he said.

"We are just trying to give people something they wouldn't normally find - it never plays a bum note and it just sounds wonderful."

The piano is set up to play around the restaurant, and can play requests from a memory bank full of hundreds of familiar tunes.

Visitors will vote on the piano's future as they leave the restaurant over the next fortnight, and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

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Despite the piano's electronic tutorial function, Mr Haslam said he won't be learning to tinkle the ivories just yet.

"I'd love to be able to play the piano," he said, "but it takes a lot of dedication and I just don't have the time - maybe if its still here in 10 years I shall learn to play it.