This weekend I witnessed what I am sure will be one of the greatest spectacles that I will ever see. For three days we followed three Giants around my home city of Liverpool in the grand event that was The Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular. The Liverpool landscape has never looked so impressive as we followed them on their journey around Stanley Park, Goodison Park, Anfield, St. George’s Hall, The Liver Buildings and The River Mersey. Crowd numbers soared beyond all expectations and for those three days it felt as though the whole city was lifted into a fairytale that we didn't want to end.
I became enthralled by their journey – of one Uncle’s one hundred year long quest to find the lost letter that his brother wrote to his little girl before his death on the Titanic. As he searched the oceans, he finally found the wreckage and dragged back the lost crate of undelivered letters across the ocean floor. This story culminated in the journey through Liverpool, the final leg of his journey, to return the letter to her; the “Little Girl Giant”.
The surprise star of the show was undoubtedly the little girl’s dog, Xolo – drooling over and sniffing the half million people who turned out in awe to catch a glimpse. The interaction between all of the characters was just magical but it was the inclusion of the dog giant that made this so relatable. As the crowds lined the streets to guide the family back together again, Xolo the dog ran along with excitement, frequently remembering to stop and wait for the Little Girl. When he saw The Uncle again for the first time he greeted him with a wagging tail and puppy-like excitement, and when the reunited family slept he put on a gentle record to wake them up in the morning. It was this reunion of the characters that was to become the highlight of the event, with a touching moment between the little girl and her Uncle as they embrace after his one hundred years away.
The story was really a simple one; of reuniting the pieces of what is left of a family, but it was the inclusion of us the spectator that made this so poignant. As the Giant made his way to the Town Hall before being reunited with his family, the Lord Mayor and the leader of Liverpool City Council, Joe Anderson, greeted him on the balcony. The Giant bowed before them and Joe Anderson stated the following:
"The spirit of our people and city will guide you to find the Little Girl and when you do we will join you in celebration. We wish you well."
As the crowd cheered the Giant set on his way.
I salute you Royal de Luxe for a fantastic show and for bringing such beautiful innovative creativity to our city. The puppeteers, or “Lilliputians” as they like to be called, maneuvered The Giants with such precision that they could have been living breathing beings. It reminds me of one of my favourite ever scenes in a film – the closing scene in imaginative French film Micmacs. It centres on the quiet diminutive character of Petit Pierre as he comes to life through his mechanical creations. The final scene shows him sitting back and watching with a smile as a white dress dances in front of him (it's at the very end of the trailer below). She is not simply a dress on a hanger - but his true love – a graceful lady who he looks at with adoration as she twirls carefree. It is magical and beautiful.
Jean-Luc Courcoult (creator of The Giants and co-founder of Royal de Luxe) began his creating career in a similar way to Petit Pierre, making characters out of household objects. It makes me wonder what Petit Pierre would dream up if he could work on the scale of the Giants. Now that is a project that I would love to see!
We will never forget the care and attention that was put into treating these Giants as equals – Lilliputians gently stroked their hair to fix it after a long nights sleep and changed the Little Girl into her night clothes after a busy day. For such huge characters (The Uncle measured 50 feet in height) they were treated so preciously with gentle affection. We could not help but become part of it. As they waved during their goodbyes along the River Mersey it was like saying goodbye to three friends.
This was as full and complete a performance of anything that I have ever seen. Hugely complicated manouvers such as the Giant 'leaping' the great arch in China Town and emerging from the River Mersey were not seen as unneccessary, nor was it seen as too difficult to pull off. These added bits of care and attention left you feeling that no stone was left unturned. This is something that I try to apply to my work and my brand every day - put everything you can into it, and don't cut any corners. Every piece has to be the best that you could possibly offer. And with every piece there is a little bit of me in it.
So thank you Royal de Luxe for sharing your vision with us and taking every one of us on the journey with you. You have left a giant sized footprint in our hearts, and life feels a little richer today.