Why I love Violet the Coronation Street barmaid.
Most barmaids in Coronation Street are blonde, brassy things, fitting the stereotype of the airhead who likes “fun” and “a laugh”. So it was refreshing when Violet quietly joined the regular cast of Corrie. She had been a former pupil of the Street’s only “intellectual”, Ken Barlow and he had seen great potential in her, that hadn’t been fulfilled. There was an early air of mystery about Violet. With her unpermed hair, classy neck-scarves and slightly upmarket fashion sense she stood out as being a little bit different. She is Best Friends with Sean the Street Camp Gay Man and in a touching recent episode she promised she would have a baby with him if they hadn’t found partners by the time they were 30. See – it only takes 5 or so years for big Hollywood storylines to filter down to the northwest.
It wasn’t long before Street Stud Jason had wooed and won her heart. In Coronation Street there are two types of young people – the A Team and the B Team. The A Team consist of the notionally attractive, who appear every year, unclad, oiled and orange in “Soap Babe/Hunk” calendars in Borders and WH Smiths. They generally get the dramatic storylines, which although are not overly taxing, at least are taken seriously. The A Team cry real tears. Jason and Violet are most certainly A Team. The B Team, on the other hand, are a smaller group, and are generally there for the laughs. Consisting of people like Kirk, Fizz and Tyrone (look – they even have funny common names), they are either over-weight or the wrong shape, with bad hair and appalling taste in clothes. And while they have their own love travails, these appear like a fun-house mirror version of those in the A Team – they’re impossible to take seriously (B Team storylines often involve dogs, both literal and metaphorical). It is strictly forbidden for A Team and B Team characters to inter-mingle sexually, and when this does happen (as with a long-burning storyline involving B-Team Tyrone and A-Team Maria), it can only result in great tragedy and shame.
But back to Violet, who has recently split from Jason, who is dating Sarah-Louise, a teenage mother and harpy, sometimes referred to as the “town bike”. Sarah-“Lou” previously lived with Jason’s brother, who very wisely decided he was gay and went to live in London. So Sarah is simply working her way through the family (this happens a lot in Coronation Street). However, Jason is only using Sarah-Louise for sex and really loves Violet. This has brought out all of Sarah-Louise’s unattractive qualities – she has lathered her face in fake tan in order to make herself more alluring, and taken to sitting in the pub, glaring at Violet and making comments like “What is it with those scarves?” and “When she first came in here, with her rubbish make-up and bad hair I thought she played for the other team.” She is giving herself carpal tunnel syndrome with her obsessive text messaging (the writers have recently discovered the mobile phone and are trying to incorporate it into as many storylines as they can). With the loins of Jason held up as THE glittering prize, there is a cat-fight of gigantic proportions brewing, and I want a front-row seat.