Alright. Listen. We’ll admit we were a little apprehensive about the Giant Spectacular at first. It’d be just a couple of puppets dusted off and bussed in from a French warehouse, right? Probably ride around on a couple of trucks or something for a few hours? Well, we were pretty much blown away by this past weekend’s event. By the sheer scale of the whole thing. By the thousands upon thousands of smiling, happy people from right across the world who came to our city witness it. And, ultimately, by the story itself.

Giant Spectacular was slickly done, but it felt human and engaging – it was, after all, based on a true story – a young girl who wrote a letter to her father, oblivious to the fact he’d already perished on the Titanic. In any other situation this kind of history-dredging might have felt mawkish and cheesy, but when it’s distilled into three beautifully crafted, beautifully performed giants weaving their way across the city it’s hard not to be genuinely moved. Their final journey into the Mersey, by boat on Sunday morning, was the ultimate blubfest.

It wasn’t all melancholy, and in fact the best thing about Sea Odyssey was that it felt so damn fun. The thrill of ducking out of work on Friday afternoon for a glimpse, the adorable mini-giant-dog Xolo (a masterpiece of puppetry and engineering), the Girl Giant’s occasional toilet breaks in the middle of the street, the Uncle having his helmet removed to have a drink from a fire hose. It felt like a real ‘watercooler moment’ for the city – pass through yesterday and it was the only subject on people’s lips. It far surpassed 2008’s La Princess spider which crawled its way across town, impressive at the time but absolutely nothing on the scale of this. This one even made its way up through Everton and Anfield – a canny bit of routing that meant it wasn’t just the city centre that benefited from it all.

What we do hope is that many of the visitors who came to see this had a proper delve into some of our homegrown arts, food and culture while they were here – and if not, plan to come back sometime to have a look. That it takes imported mannequins to bring vast swathes of people here, and that the puppets have been used before in different cities, is somewhat irrelevant. Because this felt smart, ambitious, emotionally connected to Liverpool’s history and personality and, despite its tragic Titanic storyline, the most celebratory thing we’ve witnessed in years.

– Above images via sw77, Flickr


One of the most enjoyable aspects about Sea Odyssey was catching up on Twitter with what our followers thought of it. It was unanimously positive, and the first local event where we witnessed the real impact of social media and picture-sharing: Twitpics and Instagram were on fire the whole weekend, with some really impressive images. Who says cameraphones can’t take amazing pictures? We’ve chosen 20 of the best ones we saw pop up on our timeline – here for your viewing pleasure. (All are credited)

6 Responses to “Sea Odyssey: the verdict, and 15 of the best pictures”

  1. I thought this was absoutely brilliant, town was buzzing with people and the event was really well managed (apparently some of the timings went a bit schewed but it was mostly spot on).

    Surprising how emotional the whole thing was too, the photo of the girl and the uncle meeting is wonderful. It was also brilliant to see how kids reacted to her, I walked past a little girl who just kept saying to her mum “she’s amazing isn’t she mum”. *wells up*

  2. jon jon

    Amazing logistics planned by the organisers,is there no way of keeping them in the City down by the waterfront?am sure people would contribute to costs,also like the way art regeneration works and engages communities and families,well done,the City had a NYC buzz about it over the weekend

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