Earlier this week I came upon a Giant by accident.
I know that’s quite difficult but trust me, I had no idea when I turned into Lime Street on Thursday night that I would bump into an enormous dog, balancing on his hind legs on a bus stop and allowing crowds to pet him.
He was mesmerising.
I had never seen Xolo live before – I was on holiday the last time the Giants visited the city – and although I knew he was the star of 2014 I hadn’t really appreciated how spectacular he was.
And, as an ECHO journalist who has planned and talked about this week’s event for weeks, I thought I probably knew all there was to know about Liverpool’s Dream.
Well, how wrong I was.
Up and close and personal with a Giant is much, much better than I ever imagined.
I could say it’s the detail; the expressions, the movement which all combine to make you forget these are marionettes.
I could say it’s the skill of the operators, the Lilliputians who work so hard to bring their charges to life. Or the story which surrounds the Giants – the antics, the fun, the set-pieces.
But as magical as all that is, it’s not what makes this such a special time in Merseyside.
What makes our Giants – and they are ours – so magical is us – the people in the crowds. And the looks on all our faces.
Giants make us forget our problems. The bills, the daily job grind, the squabbling kids, the looming Brexit disaster, all shelved.
On Thursday night in Lime Street everyone – and I mean everyone – was smiling. Kids, grannies, teenagers. The passers-by and the dedicated fans.
We all had daft expressions on our faces, we were all talking and commenting to each other, laughing together, revelling in a giant dog and the pride in having him here.
I’m not sure any other city on earth could come together as we do here.
The Giants are very special. And so is their audience.
More fresh news to panic us this week – our coins and bank notes are “crawling” with bugs says new research.
Boffins took a random selection of cash and found 19 types of bacteria including listeria and MRSA. Bacteria found in faeces was also present on the cash swabbed, which can cause urinary tract infections and septicaemia.
You see? Being potless does have an upside after all.
First published in Liverpool Echo, 6th October 2018.