As usual all the characters belong to ITV.
I've added footnotes to Emma's conversation with Cheryl because the terminology used in lap-dancing, like any profession, is specialised and not well known.
Emma walked down to reception in Manchester University's main building to find Cheryl. It was 9:45. Cheryl was early.
”Hello Cheryl. Welcome to Manchester University.” Emma greeted Cheryl warmly.
”Look sorry I had a go on Saturday, Just that we're all very fond of Sophie, she's been through a lot and is still dignified and I just don't want her ending up like me.” said Cheryl.
”Cheryl, Sophie is a bright girl. She will end up somewhere like this.” said Emma.
”You think? I got all A's or A*'s in my GCSE's and look where I ended up!” replied Cheryl.
“Oh? Ever thought of taking up studying again?” asked Emma before adding “Come on let's go to the Cafeteria to get a brew.”
They got up and Emma led Cheryl to the Cafeteria.
Once they'd got cups of tea and a cake each and sat down the conversation resumed.
“How am I going to go back to studying? I can't afford it. Everything I earn goes on living – nothing left over.” said Cheryl.
“What subjects did you like at school?” enquired Emma
”I loved Shakespeare, his verse was great. We did Julius Caesar “friends Romans countrymen” and all that. I loved chemistry too the bangs and that.” said Cheryl.
”How much are the house fees at the club you work at on average? £50, £100 per night.1” asked Emma
”Depends on the night, as you know. But yeah that's the range.” said Cheryl.
”And how much do you earn from a private dance?2 £10?” asked Emma
”yeah” was Cheryl's reply
”So the first 5 to 10 private dances are Management's? And how much for sit-downs?3” said Emma flatly.
”£70 per half hour.” replied Cheryl beginning to understand where this was going.
”And for main stage?4” Emma was relentless in her questions.
”Your speciality as I remember, now I know what you were up to I understand why you never did private dances or sit-downs” spat out Cheryl.
“That is true I am afraid, but you don't make much from main stage do you?” Emma said gently
“Well its mainly a showcase for private dances and sit-downs.” said Cheryl.
“Maths is more Tanya's area than mine but that sounds like, what maybe £400 from a good week?” Emma said
”More like £300” said Cheryl
”How do you fancy a job as Sophie's lab assistant? I'll pay you £400 per week. I'd have to talk to her of course to make sure she was OK with it.” asked Emma
”What???!!??” Cheryl almost yelled.
”And while you're doing it you can study.” said Emma
”Look I am not a fucking charity case.” said Cheryl.
”The work will be exacting. We'll expect you to perform your duties exactly. Sophie will have to be satisfied with your work and you may have to help Tanya with her lab work too.” said Emma.
”OK I'll try it.” said Cheryl.
”It's time for the lecture. Come on.” said Emma.
They made their way to the lecture theatre Cheryl sat at the back.
”Ladies and Gentlemen settle down.” Emma was getting the attention of her students.
”The content of this lecture has changed somewhat. I want to challenge you to think about a question. The question is 'how far should ethnographers go to study social phenomena?' It is far from simple. There are many factors involved but they can be summed up as 'balance of harm' in other words what is the 'harm' done to a few people, including the ethnographers, worth and how do we quantify it? How much is the work involved worth? How much harm will the ethnographic study prevent? As you all know by now, or should do, I am a supporter of a pragmatic approach to issues. I am a firm supporter of harm reduction strategies. I am deeply critical of the last Government's strategy towards sex work. Their approach to homelessness stands in stark contrast to it....”.
Emma's lecture continued. There were questions afterwards.
After the lecture Emma and Cheryl met up again.
”I got the gist of that. Fascinating but it does depend on how you define harm. I'd like to come and work for Sophie if only to keep an eye on any harm you're doing to her.” said Cheryl.
Meanwhile at Weatherfield High it was lunch break.
“Oh look it's the muffin munchers.” said Tamsyn.
“Oh well I'd definitely prefer that to munching cock. Blahhres” said Sophie.
”What? You never had a cock in yer don't know what yer missing!!” yelled Tamsyn.
”She might not but I do and I am telling you this I much prefer muffin to cock. You really should try it but that ain't an offer. I don't fancy yer.” Sian was a lot more confident these days and Sophie marvelled at it.
”And that is good advice but I don't fancy yer either. Maybe the resident slapper will oblige? Oh I forgot: that's you!” said Sophie.
Tamsyn went red. Sophie and Sian kissed. It took a while.
They went back to class. It was Sophie's favourite class this afternoon. Double chemistry.
After school Sophie and Sian went to the cab office Steve gave Sophie a note for Tanya that included the bank details for future payments.
Lloyd drove them. As he turned into the drive his eyes seemed to grow larger, they nearly popped out of his head.
Sophie pressed the button on the remote and the gates started to open.
”Do those gates work by magic?” said Lloyd
”No! By remote control” Sophie waved the remote.
”Just give me warning of that in future” said Lloyd.
He dropped them off.
Later Emma called in at the Rovers on the way home.
”Hi Liz” she talked to Liz MacDonald.
”Oh, hello” Liz had a laugh in her voice “What can we do for you? Pint?”
”Orange juice, I'm driving! I'm organising a party for everyone from here next Sunday at our place in honour of two great women called Sophie and Sian. Coaches will bring anyone who wants to come and bring them home. Weatherfield will close for the evening. You can supply the booze or the booze and staff. The choice is yours. It largely depends on how much money you want to make.” Emma continued.
“And if I don't agree?” said Liz.
“You'll have an empty pub.” said Emma.
“Understood.” said Liz.
“So you want to supply staff?”asked Emma.
“They deserve a night of fun.” said Liz.
“OK we'll get our usual caterers to supply staff and food. Now we'll need...” Emma gave Liz the details of the booze order.
Meanwhile Rosie was getting ready for a night out.
At 9 o'clock, well after Emma had gone home, Rosie got into a taxi and went to the Gay Village. She walked into a club called Janice's. It was a women only night.
After about half an hour a woman walked up to Rosie and asked if she'd like a dance. Rosie nodded nervously.
Rosie had her hand held and was taken to the dance floor.
She danced with the woman to whom she felt attracted. It was a strange feeling for Rosie. She'd never danced with someone she actually fancied before. All her previous relationships had been with men she thought would support her so she could have the good life. A life with lots of money and only the responsibility to look nice. That was what she had wanted. She had been willing to compromise for it too. Sex once a night. That sort of thing.
In truth she was finally doing the things she should have done a long time ago, she should have done what Sophie did. Find out who she was.
The other woman's name was Jane. They went back to Rosie's after the club.
For Rosie sex had been something that happened to her, not something she participated in. That night she participated for the first time ever.
As the week went on people began to settle into their new routines. Sian stayed with Sophie every night as Tanya and Emma had hoped she would. Rosie got a new job, working at the Rovers. She wasn't out yet of course but she was happier than she'd been in ages especially as Jane stayed a few nights.
Kevin and Sally's wills had left the house to be shared between Rosie and Sophie. The garage likewise. So they now agreed between them that Sophie would own the garage and Rosie the house but Sophie's room would be kept ready for her just in case.
On the Thursday a meeting occurred between the Head of Weatherfield High, its head of science, the sixth form chemistry teacher, Tanya and Emma.
After enquiring about Sophie's progress, which was excellent, Tanya and Emma explained that they were equipping a chemistry lab for Sophie to do practical work in and asked for advice on what to equip it with.
Tanya then sent the order to the suppliers that night. The lab would be up by within a week. The order included some stuff that wasn't necessary for Sophie's school work but which Tanya thought Sophie might enjoy using anyway.
To be continued.
Another setting up chapter so a bit slow but stand by for some surprise connections at the party!! And Sonia and Julie are in for surprises when the visit Coronation Street!
1. Rachela Colosi Dirty Dancing? An ethnography of lap dancing pp 30-31 These are fees paid by the dancers to the club management for working at the club.
2. Ibid p34, Private dances are performed in booths with just the dancer and customer. The dance lasts the length of one song (3 minute). These are the bread and butter for most dancers.
3. Ibid p 35, Sit-downs are where a dancer keeps a client company for half an hour or an hour during which they get the customer to pay inflated prices for drinks.
4. Ibid pp 35-6 Main stage – clubs have stages from which performances are given to the entire audience except those viewing private dances. Dancers are 'tipped' by customers – basically having banknotes stuffed into their G-string.