Saturday, 13 February 2016

Muriel Sparks

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2016.)

Obviously, like any sane humanoid, I'm thrilled at Sally Webster's* burgeoning political ambitions.  The snobbish Street harridan knocking on doors, disapproving of their nets, then asking for them to vote for her?  Amazing,  Count me in.  Let's get her all the way to Parliament.

What I don't approve of is the way this began, and the way men washing Maddie's mural off the wall of the ginnel was presented as the Big Evil Council treading on the Little People.

Let's think back to how this started.  Kevin's garage got spray painted.  He reported it to the council - despite Tyrone reminding him that as a private business, it was their responsibility to clean up any graffiti.  Kevin went on the warpath.  The council arrived, and, while assessing the area, noticed a wall covered in spray paint.  They removed it.  This is, in fact, their actual job.

The Websters were horrified.  Craig offered to repaint the mural.  The Council turned up to remove the paint again, and it turned into the Gunfight at the OK Corral, only with Karcher water sprays.

Again, this is the council's actual responsibility.  Craig didn't get permission from anyone to paint that muriel.  No application to the council, no written authorisation.  He did it off his own back.  Fair enough - he wanted to commemorate a dead friend.  But don't be surprised when it gets noticed and scrubbed off.

The Websters turned this into an unfeeling government body stamping all over the wishes of the locals, but it's a ginnel, not the Tate.  It's someone's wall - please note that the mural is not painted on the wall of a Coronation Street resident, but on the back of a Mawdsley Street house.  Those people might not be that keen on a big piece of spray painted art mucking up their property.  And Sally's being very choosy about what is good graffiti and what is bad graffiti; she was absolutely furious when Craig spray painted her house last year.  Graffiti-ing is a crime, and just because Craig's a bit artistic doesn't make it right.  If he'd just scrawled RIP MADDIE in two foot high pink paint on the side of the chippy would we be having this debate?

If you want to put up a memorial to Maddie, fine, get permission first, like any sane person.  If you can't be bothered, don't complain when the authorities come along and remove it.  Or put some varnish over it; that'll really fox them.

*yes I know she's called Sally Metcalfe now but I've been calling her Sally Webster for nearly thirty years and I'm not about to change.

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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