Giant Spectacular takes over Liverpool

Three enormous puppets took over Liverpool city centre for a three-day spectacular called Giant Spectacular last week, an event that pulled in over 300,000 people a day from around the country and truly showcased Liverpool as a fabulous place to visit.

The festival Memories of August 1914 looked back to the time just before the world went to war and at Liverpool’s place in the Great War. Stories were read allowed by Grandmother Giant to the crowd whilst Girl Giant and her dog Xolo explored the city and met the crowds. These giants are French-made,wooden electo-kinetic puppets, suspended from massive cranes and pulled into animation by teams of expert puppeteers, swinging from cords and ropes as they meander from landmark to landmark through the city. It was quite literally an incredible sight and I don’t think I’ve been in a bigger crowd in my life!
The city was on top form; Liverpool Lime Street Station was ready and waiting for the hundreds and thousands of travellers with great crowd control systems and brilliant staff. Albert Docks and Liverpool ONE were abuzz with visitors and the general tone was one of summer-time bliss and ease. It was a gorgeous day. 

Liverpool has the luxury, unlike my native Manchester, of space. Lots of open spaces for massive public gatherings like this. Manchester’s so built-up and land is at such a premium that there is literally no room for this kind of event. So it was great to be part of! It was also great to wander around the usually quite Albert Docks and neighboring areas with it was filled with people, likewise for the St. John’s Gardens, certainly one of the prettiest city centre green spaces.

All in all, bravo Liverpool, you certainly know how to draw (and cope with) a crowd.


That time when I was nearly a supermodel in Stella magazine’s Manchester feature.

Now this is a story about a boy named Unlucky, about the time when I oh so nearly got to be included in a glossy magazine shoot, but was unceremoniously slashed from the line-up the day before for bring too “fashion-y,” DAMN MY SUPER STYLISH STYLE!

Let me take you back to a couple of weeks ago, when I received an email from a freelance journalist working for the Sunday Telegraph‘s style supplement, Stella. Following the footsteps of Grazia and Stylist alike, the magazine is looking to produce a regional feature on British cities – well, Manchester, Glasgow, East London and Brighton, an odd mix, but there you go – and they need assistance from the natives.

The freelancer asked me if I’d be up for taking part in a shoot and being interviewed about my thoughts on the “Manchester look,” whatever that is. I said of course, I’d be happy to, anything for a bit of free exposure, ‘eh? The journalist also asked me if I had any thoughts on who else would be suitable to represent Manchester in the magazine, so, I very helpfully and nicely produced a list of people that I thought represented the eclectic style of the city’s dwellers. This list also included a synopsis of each person’s job, their age, their style and a link to a social page or website for the journalist to have a nosey at.

Then I didn’t hear anything from the journalist. At all. I began to get nervous, was this the usual pattern of events? Did Cheryl Cole say yes to Vogue and then not hear from them for days, not knowing where she was expected to turn up and pout? Was this a test!? Some of the people I’d suggested to Stella started texting and tweeting me to say thanks for the recommendation. Oh jesus, had I been forgotten!?

So, I hit the journo back up to get the low-down on the shoot etc. Oops, the writer had been reassigned and her research (inc. my list) had been passed onto another writer to complete. Hmm, bollocks. I thought I’d wait it out and play cool, to see if the new writer would get in contact to say, y’know, “hey, you who did a spot of unpaid research for our regions feature, here’s where we’re meeting, what’s your Starbucks order?”

Well, they didn’t, not until a friend of mine who had appeared on my list queried if this writer had actually spoken to the person responsible for putting her in contact with some of Manchester’s style ambassadors. 

Then I got this:

Uh, alas, my future as a global supermodel was over, before it had even begun. Right after I’d helped the magazine construct the feature with my black book. God damn my efficiency and heart of gold. I was supposed to be the new Agnes Deyn, all northern cockiness and fierce cheek bones. But, no, I was too damn fashionable for the fashion magazine! I think it was the statement jewellery to be honest.

Still, I know it’s not this journalist’s fault that she’s been given a task deserving of more time and research to complete in 3 days and I know it’s not her fault that Stella supposedly set out to represent “Manchester style” and instead have decided to edit participants to suit their preconceived idea of the Northern look. But c’mon, I’d have rocked that shoot, right?

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be quoted in the mag any time soon.