(This post was originally posted by Tvor on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2016.)
I was curious as to whether there actually is a festival called Burning Man, something Mary mentioned recently. It turns out, there is. It started in 1986 when two men decided to build a "man" out of scrap wood, soak it in gasoline and burn it on a beach near San Francisco for the solstice. Since they used gasoline (petrol), it went up like the sun flare but nobody got hurt.
The Burning Man leaped from 8 to 15 to it's current 60 feet tall and the popularity of the event now sees nearly 70,000 people attending. It's now held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada where a temporary city, Black Rock City, rises up every year and it's a full blown themed festival with a midway and art installations and all sorts. After the event, the temporary city vanishes from the desert without a trace. Read more about it here.
The thing is, when I read the story of that first outing of the eight foot tall effigy, this little detail struck me:
"The next thing we knew, a woman, impetuously, ran at the figure, and we had the urge to stop her, but it was too late. The wind was shunting all the flames to one side, and so she ran up to him and she took him by the hand, and stood there. And I think Jerry still has a souvenir photo, and you see the little hand down in the corner of it, holding his hand."
And do you know, I like to think that maybe that was our Mary! It could have been, you know, in an alternative world where Weatherfield exists and free spirits like Mary Taylor abide. It seems like a Mary sort of thing to do, doesn't it? It's more probable, however, that Mary ended up at the current location in Black Rock Desert where it relocated in the early 1990s because she explained "My dream to drive through to the Grand Canyon, the majesty of Mother Earth at her most inspiring, took a wrong turn coming out of Nevada". That wrong turn probably didn't lead her to the beach in San Francisco but maybe that's only because the writer didn't know about the hand holding of the burning effigy.
Tvor (@tvordlj on Twitter)
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