Monday, 30 April 2018

Aidan Connor's suicide - some thoughts


Today, at the Home Cinema in Manchester, blogger Michael Adams and I were invited to watch a delicious two hours of Coronation Street. On a Monday! What a treat. Oh, and lunch included. Even more of a treat.

The episodes (without adverts) were truly remarkable: emotional, sublimely acted and beautifully written.

So, to the main business of the day. The episodes we watched concerned Aidan Connor principally and the lead up to his suicide. On the day of his actual suicide, we see the factory staff waiting outside the factory complaining that Aidan hadn’t turned up to open the factory. There are various quips about Aidan being lazy, and it is dad Johnny who goes round to his flat and discovers the awful truth. Johnny’s grief is immediate and palpable.

Viewers may remember that Aidan contemplated suicide previously, but on learning that he could do something good for Carla, in donating a kidney, he wanted to do that to reset the balance of the bad deeds that he believed he had committed. 

As the news of Aidan's death spreads, we see friends, work mates and family reacting to the news in their own ways. Heartbreakingly, just before Kate discovers the truth, she and Daniel Barlow are having fun in the Bistro dancing together and really enjoying themselves. It is Roy who arrives at the Bistro, sent by Carla to fetch Kate and Roy delivers the news. Kate’s reaction is surprising - she is beside herself with anger. She says that she will never forgive him for what he’s done.
One aspect of the episodes stood out to me in the aftermath of the suicide. Gathered in The Rovers, the factory staff are discussing the dramatic events of the day and the factory  is shut as a mark of respect. Beth says that she thinks suicide is a selfish act. Gina, who struggles with mental health, pounces on Beth and says that unless you have stood on that precipice, you cannot judge.

To echo Michael’s words on his blog post this evening, yes it is a serious issue, but Kate Oates andher team have approached Aidan’s suicide so sensitively. On the panel today after the screening were 2 people from The Samaritans, and Kate Oates herself worked at a charity for 2 years where she helped people who were contemplating suicide.

There are 84 people in the UK who commit suicide per week. The biggest killer of men up to the age of 45 is suicide. As Kate Oates herself said, if by highlighting this issue, we are all made more aware of the issue of suicide and thereby may spot that a friend/family member is struggling, then it makes it all worthwhile.

By Ruth Owen. @Ruth1722.




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Aidan's suicide shock: what to expect


Just a short one from me after quite an emotional day. There will be more of a write up in due course. Myself and fellow blogger Ruth headed to a special screening of next week's episodes, due to air on Monday and Wednesday.

By the time that this blog is posted, viewers will have had fifteen minutes to take in how Shayne Ward will exit his role as Aidan Connor. Undoubtedly there will have already been hundreds of tweets flooding in saying this is too dark for a family show. But please wait for Monday night.

Today I have watched some of the best episodes of Coronation Street in years. I cried, and I laughed. There are some really, really touching and sensitive moments. Kudos to Shayne Ward, Cath Tyldesley, Richard Hawley, Samia Ghadie and Georgia Taylor for their breathtaking acting. Keep an eye out for Helen Worth's wonderful, reflective scene too.

This is such an important story, and it needs to be told. Hats off to Kate Oates and the team at Coronation Street.



If Aidan's storyline is resonating with you, there is help and support available now. Samaritans offers a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helpline support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. You can also email jo@samaritans.org. Further information can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.uk.





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Shayne Ward interview: Aidan Connor to take his own life


How did Aidan reach this tragic point?
The thing is everybody is going to be thinking were there any tell tale signs that Aidan was feeling suicidal? You can't pin it down to one particular thing that has happened to him over the years. He has always been quite troubled. But it isn't always possible to spot a person is struggling to cope with life.

I had to figure out when and why Aidan had reached a point were he felt this was his only option, the path that he was going to take. I feel that it was because of all the problems that he caused, a lot of them not on purpose and some were down to his own actions. He lost his relationship and as a consequence he lost the factory and everyone lost their jobs, I have figured out that one thing Aidan can't do is escape his own mind, he is short tempered with people. But he could never explain why he was angry or annoyed, he just was and he really did feel, wrongly, that everyone would be better off without him.

How long had he felt this way?
He had actually planned to do this sooner but then Carla was sick and needed a kidney he saw this as a way to finally do something good, to help someone, but by this point he had decided that he was going to take his own life and posted the later, but when he found out about Carla and he intercepted the letter the next day from the postman outside his dad's flat. He stopped his family seeing the suicide note and he didn't go ahead with his plan at that point. There was a moment in the hospital when he was crying his eyes out, but tragically he kept all of that from his family, so there were no tell tale signs for his family to see. He didn't talk to anyone about how he was feeling. Everyone around him was so happy that it had been successful. He didn't want to burden anyone with his thoughts.

He wants to get everyone their jobs back and make the factory a success. To be given the whole empire of Underworld after everything he had done to that business was overwhelming for him. Now it is all on his shoulders, it is incredible but what if he messes it up again, that is something that has plagued Aidan ever since we first saw him. He has always wanted to prove that he is like his dad and that he can carry on the empire but he just seems to trip up along the way and that is his biggest fear - what if I do it again?

Tell us about the moment when he realises the baby is his
Toyah has been acting awkward around Aidan in regards to the baby. He knows Eva has gone away to have a baby, he thinks it's Adam's baby and that door is shut. But when Susie comes into play, Toyah is acting really weird around him. He can't work out why and there is a moment when he tells Toyah the baby is beautiful and she gives him a strange look. He thinks it is a bit odd and there is a scene in the pub where someone goes to pass the baby to Aidan and Toyah steps in to stop him and he realises that it is now twice that she has behaved weirdly with the baby around him. When she goes behind the bar, she turns and they lock eyes and he sees it in her eyes, the moment is so tell tale. The truth dawns on him that it's his baby. Eva has gone away, no one has seen or heard from her and she hasn't returned any of his calls. This baby is now on the scene and he knows from the way that Toyah has reacted that there is something going on.

What happens when he holds the baby?
Aidan decides to go and find Eva, and he goes to call her but he isn't able to face her rejection again so he cancels the call. Johnny spills red wine on him so he goes to try and find some paper towels and sees Toyah and tries to ask about Eva, but she gets defensive and he doesn't want to arouse suspicion. But at that moment he feels the need to find out if he feels a connection to the baby and that is really sad, because he holds the baby. You see the sadness in his eyes as he realises that he can't be there for this baby, he loves the baby and he doesn't want to let the child down, he in his mind has let everyone else down and he thinks he will do the same again. He feels that everyone, including his child will be better off without him. When he holds her she is the most beautiful thing in the whole world but he just passes her back to Toyah. He thinks he would ruin this child's life.

Why does he go to see Eva at this point?
She doesn't know why he is there but he is not there to have it out with her, he just wants to see her. She is confused and when he says that he has seen the baby, she starts to get panicky and apologises, but he says she has nothing to apologise for, he knows everything she did is because of how he treated her. She breaks down and he tells her that he thinks what she is doing with the baby is the right thing. Johnny breaks the moment by calling him, so he says goodbye and tells Eva that he loves her.

What happens in his final scenes?
He is sat in the pub and he is completely numb sat with his family who are completely unaware of his terrible state of mind. The last time we will see him is when he is back at the flat alone and he breaks down.

How did you feel when you were asked about playing this storyline?
I am honoured to have been trusted with a storyline like this, it shows the confidence that Kate Oates and the team had in me to be able to play it. When you get given a storyline like this it is a decision that is not taken lightly, I have played it with as much honestly and truth as I could. I am very proud of what I have done in my three years on the show and on this storyline in particular.

Aidan is an 'everyman' figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story. We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan, will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they are feeling.

They should realise this is not the only option, they can and should talk to someone, rather than suffer in silence and potentially let things get worse.

Talking could have helped Aidan turn his life around. It could have brought him relief from what he was going through. This what his loved one would have wanted. Suicide is a very permanent response to what are usually temporary problems.

We all know someone who has maybe felt like Aidan did, someone who found it hard to talk and we have all heard stories like Aidan's when it was too late, when people looked back and wished they had spotted the signs, but it isn't always possible. If we can encourage someone who is feeling low, who is having the sort of thoughts Aidan was having, to realise they need to talk, then we have achieved what we set out to do with this story.



If Aidan's storyline is resonating with you, there is help and support available now. Samaritans offers a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helpline support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. You can also email jo@samaritans.org. Further information can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.uk.





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Radio Stars: The Blog chats with Bolton FM’s Andy “Big H” Hargreaves

My mate Andy Hargreaves (Big H) and I first met doing hospital radio many years ago when the world was black and white and the Doomsday clock was at least five minutes further away from apocalypse than it is now. After annoying the patients and staff at ‘Birch Radio Rochdale’ for a while, I went on to have a successful career as a door-to-door salesman selling doors and Andy became a ‘proper’ radio presenter. I had a quick chat with him about Corrie’s recent hospital radio frolics and what he thinks about the show in general…


What’s your name and where do you come from?
My christened name is Andrew Charles Hargreaves but everyone knows me either as Big H or just H. 

You grace the airwaves of the North West and of course used to do a bit of hospital radio. What was that like and was it customary to flirt with hospital patients?
Hospital radio is an opportunity for people who might want to work in the media to get a foot in the door. A lot of "famous" radio and television presenters started their careers in hospital radio including Chris Moyles, Scott Mills, Ken Bruce and Phillip Schofield to name but a few. The premise of hospital radio is to entertain and aid recovery and studies have been done in the past that prove people do recover quicker when they have a hospital radio station to listen to. It is also a great opportunity to volunteer and give something back to the Health Service. As for flirting with patients in my day we weren't allowed near patients because of disease and germ control, the rules have been changed now and a lot of people go around the wards to collect requests and promote their stations. It is invaluable because some people are in hospital a while and don't always receive visitors so it is always nice to see a friendly face. Obviously some records are a no no and once I made the mistake of playing Cutting Crew "I just died in your arms tonight" and was halfway through before I realised it wasn't really appropriate! 

Do you think it’s about time Corrie’s Audrey found love and is Geoff the right man for her?
It would be lovely to see them get together as Audrey has had a rough ride with past partners and I still think she misses her Alfie. You could say after her two accidents she is falling head over heels for Geoff. He seems a likeable chap, but in true Corrie style I am sure there is a back story that we may find out about, but I do hope he is Mr Right for her as she deserves a bit of happiness and a diversion from the troubles of David and the rest of the Platt family. 

What should Geoff's hospital radio show be called? (My suggestion was Radio Therapy but I'm told that wouldn't go down well). 
Hospital radio shows these days seem to have a generic name that include the presenters name such as The Geoff Hour but it would be nice for him to call it something like "Geoff at your bedside" or "The voice of the bedpan". 

Are you enjoying Corrie at the moment?
I am an absolute Corrie nut and have been since I was a little puppy. My first memories of watching Corrie go as far back as the lorry driving into the front of the Rovers when Deirdre thought Tracy was in the pram outside, and the affair with Mike and the iconic scenes of Ken telling her to get out. I don't believe Corrie has a good time or a bad time I think it is always good, there are storylines that can be a bit tedious or not as entertaining but that is life, it isn't always exciting. I get annoyed by people saying the Pat Phelan storyline has gone on too long but then in the next sentence when people thought he was gone forever people are demanding that he comes back. Confirming the old adage "you can't please all of the people all the time". I also find it absolutely hilarious when people say to me "Oh no I don't watch that rubbish" and in their next breath they are discussing what is happening in a current storyline, it is almost like it is their guilty pleasure. 

Dark times
Should producer Kate Oates have left? There have been lots of complaints that Corrie is too dark and depressing of late…
Like any job in telly you are only there for a short time, people seem to come and go. What I do find strange is that I was under the impression that Kate was in it for the long run but now seems to be moving on rather quickly, it is a shame, she has done a good job and moved Corrie on to tackle some very important stories such as David's rape and the Rana Nazir storyline and to actually tackle the subject of someone being Muslim and a lesbian is brave but it is true to life. I also love the fact that although there are some more controversial stories there is still that element of comedy in there which is what I think sets Coronation Street apart from Eastenders and will do anyday and everyday. I love it when Jonathan Harvey writes for the Street and you can spot some of his one liners that are very Victoria Wood-esq. I am excited to see what Iain MacLeod has in store for Weatherfield.  

Who’s your favourite Corrie character (past or present)?
There are so many for me to choose from it is like asking what your favourite movie or song is. As someone who was born and brought up in Heywood in Lancashire my neighbour is Julie Goodyear and my dad used to knock about with her, my next door but 10 neighbour was the lovely Anne Kirkbride and I grew up with Debbie Rush's husband Andy so I like to think I have a connection with the Street in one way or another. As for favourites I loved Bet and Alec and I am loving the classic Corrie on ITV3 at the moment, I forgot how funny together they were. Jack and Vera are awesome, Hilda was the best busybody ever. I am really looking forward to seeing Ken Morley and Raquel making appearances again in the repeats. My favourite all time scene was Blanch at Peters AA meeting and I love the one liners Mary has (you really have to watch out for them) but I think my favourite was Fred Elliott, I used to be able to do an impression of him so would love it if he came back from the dead, I say back from the dead.

Which character would you bring back?
I would love to see a reunion of Mavis and Rita as they were a great comedy duo or Raquel who could come back now as a successful business woman based in Paris and is now fluent in French and impresses Ken. Or Jon Lindsay on what he has been up to since his release from Prison, that would be exciting. 

Tell us about your work (plug)…
You can hear me on 96.5 Bolton FM Monday to Thursday around the world online via the ‘listen again’ feature on our website (www.boltonfm.com) or on Tune In Radio or other radio apps. I am on from 9am until 11am and between 9 and 10. I do a little thing called Hits and Headlines where I play songs from this week of one particular year, give clues from the news and you have to guess the year and between 10 and 11. I play cheesy pop and give out the latest showbiz gossip, including stories from what is happening in Weatherfield. Long may it continue and roll on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for my Corrie fix. You can also read my comedic tweets about Corrie now and again @therealbig_h 


@StevieDawson



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Coronation Street Friday 27th April episode review




Hiya! It’s just Jordan with my review of Friday’s Corrie!

 

It’s the seemingly grand opening of Speed Daal, yet another new addition to the show following the weird incorporation of Victoria Street. As the Nazirs are unpacking the van, Yasmeen finds herself having another neighbourly spat with Sally about the ownership of the fence they technically share. It was a little difficult to concentrate on the dialogue however, as I found myself wondering why I was suddenly craving a coffee from Costa. Oh yes, I’ll be because their argument was majorly jarred by the massive Costa plonked neatly behind them, the logo of the high street coffee giant that has popped up in a back street. However, their neighbourly problems are dwarfed by the drama thrust upon Zeedan and Rana on what is supposed to be the day of their new business venture.  Rana suffers a rude awakening in the form of her dad beating the front door down. He marches in and announces that her mother has been arrested, immediately pinning the blame on his daughter they tried to ship off to Pakistan last week, in a desperately daft attempt to cure her of her lesbianism.  Rana is mortified and despite her protests of innocence, her dad will have one of it. He bleats on about how she has destroyed the family she has brought such shame upon and then wishes she had never been born, like it was her choice in the first place. Still, Rana’s love for her family is undeterred as she visits the police station and drops all charges before storming over to the new restaurant to give Zeedan an earful. Turns out though, that she too has got the wrong end of the stick.  It was that do-gooder Kate who just felt that it was “the right thing to do”. All hail the moral conscience of Kate Connor. Not impressed with her girlfriend, Rana does a bit of free labour at her husband’s new restaurant, kissing him along the way, thus setting themselves both up for weeks of soap-style confusion and manufactured heartache, despite professing her love yet again to whinging Kate by the end of the episode.
 
The two sort-of fabulous farces going on in the Street ran neatly in Friday’s episodes. Let’s see if I can explain them in a way which will not come across as the tangled webs they are. It’s the day of Simon’s school presentation where he is to receive an award for his football skills. Upon learning that his dad is not planning to attend, he decides not to bother attending either, instead spending the afternoon with his mate Tyler, causing trouble and upsetting Summer. This backfires when Toyah persuades him to go and keep it as a surprise. Peter is furious to learn that he has skipped school yet again and immediately grounds him and bans all access to the Internet and phone. Peter forces him to apologise to his Aunty Stepmother but something tells me that this is not the end of Simon’s blackmail against Toyah. During a video call, a very pregnant Eva tells Toyah to call his bluff. There is no way he actually knows about the fake baby pregnancy plot thing, but Toyah thinks it is still best to keep going with the charade.  She drags the lie on even further by telling Peter that she has paid for her sister to go to America and do a beauty course, when as we know, she has paid for her to leave the area, pop out a baby and send it back to her to pass on as her own. Exciting stuff. Then there’s the laughable – but actually quite entertaining – farce involving Jude and Angie. It turns out that for years, Angie has thought her husband was a marine biologist. Ha! He works in the aquarium gift shop. It’s only now though that she’s starting to think he may telling untruths as he seems to always find an excuse to stop her from meeting his colleagues. She’s discussing her feelings with her new colleagues at the solicitors where she suddenly works as an accountant when he bursts in to tell her he has quit the profession.  She seems to accept this, but still can’t quite shake the feeling that something is not quite right. After he leaves the office, Rosie convinces her that he has been bullied out and encourages her to go in and fight for her husband. Oh dear.





Elsewhere, Sally and Yasmeen’s fight continues into the crime scene. Yasmeen, sick of putting up with the eyesore of a bird feeder that Sally has installed by the fence, enters Cllr Metcalfe’s property and attempts to forcibly remove it. A tackle not unlike the Anna vs Sally vs ketchup malarkey ensues, resulting in Audrey (who is round whinging about her woes with David) ends up being knocked to the ground. She is taken to hospital, where Yasmeen and Sally seem to (for now) realise how silly they have been. That does not mean they have called a truce entirely though. Audrey is rather glad to be back in hospital though, as she gets to see her new pal DJ Geoff again, who reveals to Yasmeen that he is Cllr Metcalfe’s father in law before suggesting the pair get together at Yasmeen’s community centre to do some charity work.


A good couple of episodes really. I still don’t like the new set. The blatant commercialism of it is not easy on the eye. But apart from that, the farcical storylines were interesting enough and I think Bhvana Limbachia must be praised highly for her acting throughout this pretty infuriating storyline with her disapproving parents.

 

As always,

 Thanks for reading!

 
Jordan

 Twitter @JordanLloyd39

 

Peter Barlow's Ways With The Weatherfield Women

A character I've really come to love over the last year is none other than Peter Barlow. With quite a colourful history on the cobbles, Peter has somewhat gained the reputation of a... dare I say it? Weatherfield womaniser? Not anymore perhaps but that man has had more affairs than I've had plates of hotpot, so I thought it would be fun to go back in time and try and work out why Mr Barlow was such a hit with the ladies of Weatherfield...


Let's begin with Lucy Richards (keep your hat on, I know she isn't Peter's first wife). After having returned from the Navy, Peter was back on the cobbles and very quickly became a notorious philanderer. Peter began a relationship with Rover's barmaid Shelley Unwin, but failed to remain loyal when Lucy also managed to seduce Peter. The web of lies in this relationship gives me a bit of a headache. Okay so, Peter ended his affair with Lucy, and became engaged to Shelley. However, upon finding out that Lucy was pregnant, Peter somehow managed to marry her.

Despite having a whole wedding, Shelley didn't have a clue, and also married Peter. Not only is this bigamy, but it's not really a nice thing to do, is it? Mind you, back then Peter hardly had a reputation for being nice, did he? Anywho, it didn't take long for Shelley to find out about Peter's other wife before both women binned him off.

You'd think all of these marital woes would put Peter off marriage, or at the very least teach him a lesson. Of course not. Leanne Battersby was next to fall foul of Peter's infidelity, although she was having an affair with Nick Tilsley, but that's another blog post for another time.


Much like Sarah and Gary are now, Peter and Leanne were forever splitting up and getting back together. Despite the numerous lies, the pair finally got engaged and with Peter sure he was going to die as a result from the tram crash, he and Leanne got married in the hospital. How romantic. Or it would be, if Peter's wandering eye would give it a rest. Alas, Peter found Miss Carla Connor. This relationship was incredibly explosive from start to finish and their passionate affair resulted in the end of his marriage to Leanne.

Sure of his new love for the factory boss, is this finally where Peter settles down? No, don't be so foolish, we tell ourselves. Along comes another barmaid, this time in the form of young Tina McIntyre. This affair would ultimately result in the death of Tina, which I'm still bitter about. I was a big fan of Tina, and she could do so much better than Peter. Of course, so can Carla, but they seem so right together, especially now seeing as he seems to be a changed man.


That leads us on to Peter's current lady in his life, Toyah Battersby. Albeit it's a tad strange that Simon's mum (Leanne) is Toyah's sister, but such as life. Landlord and landlady of the Rover's, Toyah and Peter seem destined for a life together. But with this whole baby secret, it doesn't seem that they'll be living in bliss for long. I have nothing against Toyah, but you know Peter, Carla's single. Sort of. Is she with Ali or not? Anyway, I digress. I would be very interested in a Carla and Peter reunion.

And there we have it. I'm sure many of you need a strong cup of tea after that, I know I do. It remains a mystery to me how Peter has managed to walk so many women up the aisle with his track record with romance so public among the streets of Weatherfield, but it depends on how gullible they are to his charm I guess. If it all ends in tears with Toyah, I wonder who will be next?

Sophie Williams

Read some more of my general natterings on Twitter @sophie_jw26.





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Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Mon 30 April


Monday 30th April

EVA’S TRAPPED WITH NO-ONE TO HELP HER Simon helps Toyah carry a cot from the car into the pub leaving her keys in the car. Tyler spots this and persuades Simon to let him take the car for a spin. When Toyah facetimes Eva and notices she looks unwell she tells her she is coming over but panics when her car keys are missing. Simon returns with the car but says he found a direct debit in the car for a cottage in Lymm, she tells Simon it was a surprise for Peter but Leanne is suspicious when Toyah covers for Simon with Peter. Meanwhile at the cottage Eva has gone into labour but has got herself locked in the bathroom without her phone. Toyah arrives to hear Eva’s screams coming from the bathroom.
AUDREY AND YASMEEN GO TOE TO TOE Sally and Yasmeen argue over the cost of the bird feeder but Yasmeen is distracted by Geoff asking her to meet him at the Bistro. Yasmeen confides in Rita who encourages her to go for it. When Audrey meets Rita in the bistro she spots Geoff and unaware he is waiting for Yasmeen asks him to join them.
JUDE IS ALARMED BY A SURPRISE VISIT Jude is shocked when he spots Angie arriving at the Marine life Centre. Panicking he sets off a nearby fire alarm.
ELSEWHERE Beth hits on a money making scheme for Kirk when she overhears Amy charging Ken £21 a week to walk Eccles. Kate tells Rana to stop giving Zeedan false hope after Rana tells her about him kissing her.

Monday 30th April 
EVA IS LEFT HOLDING THE BABY Toyah manages to break into the bathroom and calls 999. An operator talks them through the birth and Eva gives birth in the bathroom before being taken to hospital. Eva tells Toyah that they will have to come up with a plan as her surrogate is supposed to be in Dubai. Having avoided holding the baby, left alone in hospital Eva has no choice but to pick up her daughter and she stares down at her little face in awe!
YASMEEN MEETS THE IN LAWS Yasmeen, Geoff and Audrey’s lunch date starts to feel a little awkward prompting Yasmeen to leave. When Audrey spots Geoff looking wistfully after her she disappointedly realises it is Yasmeen he wants and encourages him to go after her. Yasmeen is delighted but Sally is horrified to discover that Yasmeen and Geoff are an item!
MARY CALLS IN SOME EXPERTS TO HELP JUDE As everyone assembles for the fire alarm Jude slips out of his shop uniform and meets Angie who says she has come to speak to his bullying workmates. Jude tells her there is no need they have agreed to come for dinner. When Jude tells Mary what he has done she comes up with a solution. 
ELSEWHERE Rana tries to tell Zeedan she doesn’t love him. Beth steals Eccles from outside Speed Daal and takes him to Ken saying Amy can’t be trusted and Kirk is a better dog walker.

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