Friday, 17 April 2015

Carla Connor's flamin' fireplace - what does it mean?

Screengrab by @rudemrlang on twitter
I'm intrigued by Carla Connor's fireplace - and no, that's not a euphemism. Or maybe it is?

Freud once said: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Try telling that to Mike Baldwin.

Are we to believe therefore that in the world of Coronation Street, where props are placed to tell us something about the person who lives on each set, that Carla's fireplace is just a fireplace?  I think not.  Let's analyse Carla Connor's fireplace.

Theory number 1.  The burning flames are a symbol of Carla's passion. She burns, she smoulders, she's hot. And she's getting ready to roast Nick's nuts.

Theory number 2. Fire is powerful and can be destructive, much like Carla and her life. It shows Carla's fired up, raring to go. What is it that powers that fire? Is it gas - silent, deadly? Is it electric - sparky, bright? Or does Carla just need to give it a death-glare to switch it on, using her mystical powers?

Theory number 3. It's a funeral pyre for two dead husbands and one dead lover.  The ashes of her dead husbands Paul Connor and Tony Gordon smoulder in the grate. They burn, so that she can keep warm on long, lonely nights.  Paul and Tony's ashes are mingled with the ashes from her lover Liam Connor, the real reason I believe she officially changed her surname back to Connor. Carla's tears extinguish the flames when she turns the fire off at night.

Theory number 4. It's a fashion statement. Carla works in fashion, therefore it fits that her interior decor suits her personality too. Along with the migraine-inducing red, white and black wallpaper, it's all a bit 90s. Much like the underwear that the factory churns out.

Theory number 5. It's her womb. One of my aunts died a few years ago and an abiding memory of her was when she came round to see my mam when I was just a child. I was sitting on the floor, listening in to my aunt and my mam talking and gossiping about people they knew.  They started talking about something I couldn't understand, something about a woman who'd been into hospital for an operation, which I realised much later was a hysterectomy. My aunt saw I was listening and decided the conversation was not for the likes of a child so she tempered her words to my mam with: "Yes, she had it all taken out, all of it... (clocks me watching her and says)... and a new fireplace put in." I think that line might have originally come from Les Dawson. This was the same aunt who trained her talking parrot to shout "Thatcher's a ba*tard, Thatcher's a ba*tard" every time Maggie Thatcher came on telly. That tells you a lot about my aunt and a great deal more about Thatcher.  Anyway, Freud says that hysteria is caused when the womb overheats. So you know, heat+fire=a rather ropey theory number 5.  

Theory number 6. It's just a flamin' fireplace! Sometimes a fireplace is just a fireplace, as Freud says.  But, on the other hand, as Belgian artist RenĂ© Magritte says about his painting of a pipe: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe").  He was right. It's not a pipe, it's a painting of one. 
So there you have it, six half-baked theories on the symbolism of a Coronation Street prop.  If you have any more suggestions of what Carla Connor's fireplace could signify, do please leave a comment and let me know!

Glenda Young
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter   

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Cobblestone said...

It strikes me that the symbolism may only apply to Carla obliquely; its main thrust is to comment on the men who are drawn to her: the moths to her flame. The cozy fireside certainly seems to be pulling Nick in.

AmandaB said...


Anonymous said...

Superb stuff!

I have been fascinated with Carla's magical fire and I'd say it's a combination of a few of those theories!

I would add that it symbolises Carla's strength.

Anonymous said...

Does it have something to do with the forthcoming fire and explosion?

Frosty the Snowman said...

Strange to have a fire burning in the late spring months and that newbuilds actually have them. It couldnt be a real fire in a flat so it must be gas. Wouldnt be surprised if it is a tool for the fire and explosion we are to see in the future, especially if she gets Tyrone to repair it!!!

Humpty Dumpty said...

It's the lead-in to the storyline about the fire in the block of flats. Carla falls asleep on the sofa having drunk a bottle of red. Burning coal falls out of the grate and sets the flat alight. Nick hears the smoke alarm and breaks into her flat or, maybe, they've given each other a spare key for security. Nick saves Carla's life and ... I haven't got any further than that.

Anonymous said...

Nick is in trauma and recalls that he has a brain injury. Cue Carla at his bedside for months then a wedding. Kai dies trying to save the lives of everyone at the factory staff outing to the gym (which includes many people who don't work at the factory). Fiz gets out of a taxi arriving home just in time to put the fire out and gets a memorial bench named after her.

Tvor said...

It's probably an electric fire. I love Cobblestone's theory of moths to a flame!

And Carla had ugly red and black flocked wallpaper at the other flat, too! Looks like they're just carrying on the decor

Anonymous said...

Love this, brilliant and so funny... just been chuckling in bed (not a euphemism) Susan

Anonymous said...

I'm with Cobblestone.

Anonymous said...

The fire is fake--just like Carla. She returns from a trip to sunny California pale as a ghost. Where was she really? She sported jet black hair for years, fake. The notes she obessively writes at her desk at t'facktry -fake.

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