Corrie Street Dec. 29/13

Rock, Hard Place

My husband and I bet on the decision Hayley would make about giving Christian the hayley-meets-grandchildren£5,000 he had asked for. He said that, knowing Christian was manipulating, threatening and bribing her for it, she wouldn’t give him the money.  I said that, knowing he was manipulating, threatening and bribing her, she would give it to him.

My husband thought that Hayley, in her moral surety of right and wrong, rock hard place not-going-towould be strong enough to simply say no. She would not be bribed by anything or anyone, including grandchildren. He believed she would not allow anyone, including Christian, to back her in a corner like this. To use her guilt, love and generosity of spirit in such a blatant rip-off.

I thought she’d give him the money so the insult would not have voice. She wouldn’t want it out there, requiring acknowledgement. I oh yeah christian smirksthought that, despite knowing that she was being bribed and bullied, she would choose to swallow that hurt in order to avoid another larger one to be said aloud.

Manipulation had been attempted

If she said no, she’d still know the manipulation he had attempted. She would have to hear the words she feared he’d say; you owe me this, you were never there for me, you can’t be a father to me and you’re certainly not my mother. Those words plus the knowledge of his manipulation would live in her mind forever. Why run that risk? Justify the money as an inheritance to your child, whether but-you-didn'tdeserved or not, think about your own feelings of guilt toward him, and move on – lalalala I can’t hear you say nasty things about me.

But Christian turned nasty even before she had told him yes or no about the money. I wanted to change my betting position. When he started the ‘you owe me’ accusations, I thought she’d say, sorry, changed my mind due to having to listen to your vitriol. I would have. But she is a better person than I.

Despite the figurative slap in the face he gave her, she took out her hayley with chequebookchequebook and asked “are you sure that’s enough”. I think church-going young Sophie could learn some lessons in true Christian behaviour from non-religious Hayley. She understands what turn the other cheek means.

Corrie Street Dec. 22/13

Weddings and Debts

Peter and Carla’s wedding was fabulous – beautiful location, beautifully garbed guests, carlastunning bride, gorgeous groom. Tension everywhere, for viewers and characters alike. Would Peter succumb to the many glasses of champagne attractively arranged right beside him? Would he succumb to Tina, also always attractively arranged right beside him? Turns out, no to the former and yes, or at least way too close, to the latter.

Debts repayment

But the scene that I woke up in the make-a-fresh-startmiddle of the night worrying about was the closing minutes of the week. Christian coming to make amends with Hayley. He’d appeared a few times, always missing Hayley but always running into Fiz who would puff herself up into her biggest mamma Grizzly look. Protecting Hayley from the hurt that comes with Christian. Breaking Hayley’s confidence by telling him about her cancer. Warning Roy whenever Christian was about.

Roy posted like a sentry hovering-royto block Christian’s access to Hayley. Oh let him be, I pleaded, don’t you know how important it is to Hayley that she reconcile with her son. Let her decide if that’s possible or not.

Finally she got the chance. Roy allowed Christian to see her. Sensibly, she sent Roy out of the room so he wasn’t standing over her shoulder like a guard dog snarling every time Christian twitched or opened his mouth. It photos-of-kidslooked so promising, their discussion. Christian’s apology for not understanding, for not being willing to discuss, maybe forgive. He had pictures of his wife and kids. Then the wonderful moment: ‘would you like to meet them?’ My heart melted, just like Hayley’s did.

five-thousand-pounds would cover debtsThen he gives the caveat, the kick in the teeth. Thing is, he got in debt while unemployed and a family costs a lot to provide for.  £5,000 should cover it, could she give him that. It’s for the kiddies after all. Where’s the guard dog and mama Grizzly when you need them?

Christian, I guess, had hayley-listens-to-money-requestdecided Hayley might be the answer to his financial woes, and a quick parade of the kiddies would be enough to get her help. Even after learning she was dying, he still went ahead with his bait and hook plan. My heart froze, just as it looked like Hayley’s did. You are a bad’un, Christian.

Wedding dance

Back to the wedding, for a quibble about writing. We knew there had to be a Peter and tina-and-peterTina too-close encounter. It came after the bride had collapsed in a drunken but elegant heap on the dance floor. After she, still in her lovely gown, is tucked up in bed, Peter returns to the empty ballroom. The detritus of the party is all that’s left.

We’ve seen Roy and Hayley arrive home. Party animals Sally and Tim have had time for another roll in the hay at home. But Tina is still lurking about the empty manor house? Ok, she and Peter have to steal a forbidden kiss. But Tina is not a stalker, and only a stalker would have remained after all the other guests had left.

The scene would have been more believable if we had seen extras dancing in the background, maybe through a order-of-servicedoorway in another room and heard the DJ playing “save the last dance for me”. Or something to indicate that, no matter how late it is, some people are still there partying. Fiz should have been spotted, since she had been insistent earlier on overseeing Tina’s movements. A wonderful and horrible scene with Peter and Tina, but one marred by unbelievability.

Mom, Christmas Postie

In the early ’60s, my mother worked at London’s postal sorting station during the Christmas rush.  It was for a few weeks when the Christmas Postie mom Xmas 1962volume of mail overwhelmed the sorting capacity of the regular staff.   It was the only time my mother worked at a job where she had to clock in for regular hours.  Very tiring, just standing all day.  The other women told her to bring egg cartons.  She’d flatten several cartons or get the 2 1/2 dozen flats and take them to stand on.

It was odd coming home from school and Mom not being there.  It was kind of fun but I don’t think I’d have liked it all the time.  I think that’s how she felt about the work too – fun to go somewhere and do something different and nice to have the bit of extra money but not something she wanted to do day in and day out.

I never thought at the time how she managed to pull Christmas together at the same time.  She made dinner for us, her parents and her sisters and their families.  Dad set up Xmas-1959tables in the basement, using sawhorses and half sheets of plywood.  Plastic Christmas tablecloths covered them.  All the food got carried down from the kitchen.  It was the only time of the year that our unfinished basement was used as a dining room.  It was fun.  In the evening, after everyone had left and Mom had cleaned up, we would drive to my other grandparents’ house and have presents and another huge meal there.

Postal Workers

I don’t know if Canada Post still hires casual Christmas workers.  There is not the deluge of Christmas cards mailed that there used to be.  We got so many that Mom would cover walls with them hung on loops of string.  She sent just as many too.

All this was before automated sorting and postal codes or the strikes that seemed to happen every few months in the 1970s.  It was before stamps centenary postal workerscourier services took over much of the mail delivery, because of the strikes.  It was before postal workers began making a very good wage, and before the head of Canada Post earned half a million dollars plus bonus each year.  And of course, it was before faxes and emails, Facebook and Twitter.

People mailed letters and thank you cards, party invitations and birthday cards, sympathy cards and thinking-of-you cards, postcards that got back before you did from your vacation, and airmail letters on onion-skin paper to save on weight.  It was all delivered to your house or, if you lived in a small town, you went to the post office and had a chat with the postmaster or –mistress while you collected your mail.  In the country, it came to a box at the end of the driveway, stampsdelivered by someone like my grandparents who had a mail route for many years.

There’s still some of that of course.  Superboxes haven’t replaced all human postal contact, yet.  And they’re fine, as long as they don’t freeze up in winter or jam in summer.  But you still need post offices for stamps and questions that the website can’t answer.

Corrie Street Dec. 15/13

Like Bambi

Discussing the week’s episodes, my husband said, “There’s a movie called Rancho Deluxe. a-bit-of-life - like BambiA guy is watching this woman in a clearing in the woods. She’s dancing and swaying, absolutely beautiful. The guy, all misty-eyed, says ‘she’s just like Bambi.’ That’s what Peter is like around Tina”. Yes, women are as lovely as Bambi to Peter just like, in his eyes, the grass is always greener over where Bambi gambols.

On Wednesday, Peter definitely had the isn’t-she-lovely look as he watched Tina playing football with Simon. It seems like only yesterday when he looked all misty-eyed peter-in-doorwayat Carla as she barked orders at her staff or downed a large glass of red. Despite him then being married to her friend Leanne, Carla had her sights set on him like the hunter who shot Bambi’s mother. I wrote about Carla’s penchant for wanting the unavailable man, the flat-out wrong man. I didn’t think at that time that she’d want Peter if he became available. But she has continued to, indeed told Michelle that she’s invested her all in him and their relationship.

Purpose-built wives?

Peter looks at women, my husband thinks, in the same way you might look at vehicles; different types for different purposes. Peter wants both the sportscar and the pick-up peter-and-tina-fight-for-balltruck. But trying to combine the two in one, the ‘sport utility’ vehicle, doesn’t give the full driving experience or range of either. Peter wants the career woman and the maternal type, but doesn’t seem satisfied to have it in one package. Perhaps it’s no accident that Peter entered into bigamous marriages. He may be best suited to polygyny, the word used for multiple wives when such a marital pattern is not illegal.

So Carla is the sexy, stylish businessperson that he also sees himself as. Leanne is the carla-and-simonloving (step)mother of his child, and he did revisit his attraction to her a while back before she married Nick. Now Tina is the free spirited and tenderhearted carer of his child. Simon likes her in a way he has never liked Carla. And Carla, even when she is being caring, cannot be as warm and spontaneous as Tina is.

It is possible that his interest in Tina is only due to the stress he feels about the bullying tina-goes-for-goalSimon has experienced at the hands of Grace and Faye. Peter’s mind is preoccupied with Simon’s wellbeing, as it should be. So wedding flowers and seating plans are way down his list of priorities. Carla quite correctly can argue that neither the wedding nor the factory will organize themselves; the deadlines are there and she is left to manage. Her calls on him for help make him think of other ways in which she has steamrollered over his life.

Irony or what?

He does acknowledge to Tina the irony of it – feeling resentful, even bullied, for being given peter-watches-tinahalf a factory, having a lovely wedding planned and a fabulous honeymoon paid for. Is his self-deprecation just for Tina’s sake? Does he have reason to resent being beholden to Carla, to being emasculated by her doings for him? Or is he incapable of a long-term, self-sustaining relationship with just one woman?

Is Carla equally incapable of that, but in sensing Peter’s backtracking, she needn’t deal with her own doubts? Is Hayley’s final creative project a wedding gown made for a jilted bride? Next week should give us the answer to that last question but not the others.

Corrie Street Dec. 8/13

We don’t need no education

graceSchool underlay three stories this week. First, bullying children who find their supporters, and victims, by way of schoolyard friendships. Grace has to be the most hideous child ever seen on the cobbles. She surpasses even Faye, vengeful killer of fish, and that takes some doing. Grace zeroes in on the vulnerable – including Faye who, for the sake of being BFFs, remains her accomplice in terror even though she knows what they are doing is wrong.

leanne-sees-simon made up by girlsMary and Simon are their targets of choice. They are easy because they’re both a bit off-base; Mary because of her nature and Simon due to the instability of his present situation. I feared for Eccles’ safety when Tracy hired the children to walk her. Fortunately she came through unscathed.  Simon wasn’t so lucky.

School’s out

Second, as a headmaster Brian has had enough of children and Julie wants to bring his work home with them by fostering one. He told her, before fostering was ever lettermentioned, that he was no longer happy in his job. She did not listen. He has told her in words and body language that he is not keen on taking in a child. She has not listened.

Brian wants a pleasant job in a museum in Wales where the presence of children will be somebody else’s concern. But he won’t tell Julie straight out. He’s caught himself in a snare of deceit. Julie has not helped by persisting in her image of what she believes him to be and refusing to listen to what he tells her. It will not end well for either of them.

Back to school

Third, Steve’s return to night school. Maybe it is just an excuse to get off work, or maybe all-in-the-pastit is due to the mortification he felt in not knowing the war from which the term Armistice Day originated. I thought it was interesting last week that no one, not Steve nor Liz nor Michelle, suggested that perhaps Amy herself should have known seeing as she is the one studying the topic. Also, no one suggested that maybe Amy should have taken at least the lead in her own homework project.

On Thursday, when he was heading off to class, Michelle and Liz finally gave him a tiny bit of support. Michelle even apologized, sort of, for her earlier ridicule of him. Liz’s face steve-leaving-for-schoolshowed some fondness and pride as she wished him well. Her previous reaction, laughing at the very idea of school and him thinking he could do it, made me think it was little wonder he’d done poorly when he was younger if that had been her attitude. Michelle said her teasing had been due to envy. Is that the case for Liz too? Maybe. If so, I hope she admits it to herself and Steve soon. It was nauseating to watch her belittle him, and learning in general.

A recent post on Bluenose Corrie discusses Coronation Street’s portrayal of those who Ken_Barlow_(1960)_(small)have, or seek, higher education. It points out that, from Ken Barlow in 1960 right through to Todd Grimshaw now, those who go to university never comfortably fit in or they become nasty – even mad killers, as in the case of English teacher John Stape.

Here is Pink Floyd’s “We don’t need no education” from The Wall.

Corrie Street Dec. 1/13

Into the Vortex

Every moment with Roy and Hayley on Tuesday was perfect. Roy learns to accept I-will-support-you in your choicesanother’s choice or, as he sees it, to lie. At Jane’s funeral, he learns that her husband didn’t like her choices for the service or share her religious faith. But he did exactly as she wished  Because that’s what she wanted and it was her death after all, and sometimes lying is the best thing to do, he told Roy.

Roy frets over those words and finally tells Hayley he supports her and understands her decision. It’s hard. He doesn’t accept it and he cannot will himself to feel comfortable with a lie. But he tries.

so-this-spoilsIn an earlier argument, Roy had enumerated things on which they disagree so Hayley wants to explore them. One was how to poach eggs. Roy is of the free-form school; create a vortex in a pot of boiling water and pour the egg into it, allowing the movement to create the shape. Hayley uses an aid to ensure the ideal shape, a metal ring that holds the egg while the water cooks it. To show her willingness to throw off her preferences, she tosses the poaching ring into the thrift shop bag. (Note: neither of them would ever throw something usable into the garbage.)

He goes out for something, just to busy himself away from a very happy Hayley. Anna only-you-can-decidesees him and they talk. He tells her his decision and, hallelujah, she says the right things. She recognizes how hard it is for him to understand Hayley’s choice and to pretend that he supports her. Without knowing what Jane’s husband said, she reinforces his message: sometimes you have to suck it up and do something you don’t like for someone else’s sake – and this is that time.

Hayley-and-albumsHe returns home to find Hayley surrounded by music albums, listening to Bach’s Air on the G String. She struggles to see the appeal. You can’t dance or sing along to it. She asks Roy to explain and she listens to him and the music. Maybe if she keeps listening, she will feel its peace and beauty.

They move to another of Roy’s choices – Deep Purple with the London Philharmonic. Roy discusses Deep-Purplehow and why that album moved him when he first heard it as a teenager. I hope, should the album be reissued, that his words are included in a cover ‘blurb’ or review of it. It made me want to hear it.

Hayley then gives her picks; songs that make you want to dance. She illustrates great-funwith the music of Queen.  The death of Freddie Mercury looms over her joy in the music. But she vividly explains why it makes her feel alive and happy. Even Roy is unable to keep his body parts still, bobbing his head as he listens – which was exactly Hayley’s point.

The music, Freddie Mercury and Roy’s apparent acceptance of her choice to end her life allow her to express her own fears and doubts. She Hayley-cryingcries for her life and death. Poor Roy doesn’t know what to do. Fortunately, he doesn’t do anything but hold her while she sobs.

Here’s a great analysis of the character of Hayley. Thanks, Bluenose Corrie, for the link and your post about Hayley.