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13 July 2010

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How many people…

How many people does it take to make a carousel?
 
The answer is; it takes over 50 people 15 days to construct it from its component parts. When it is originally being made, it takes a team of 70 over a year.

Over the last week our team and the engineers from French company La Machine have been erecting ‘The Magical Menagerie’. It is billed as the world’s only square carousel, but in reality it’s so much more than that. There are insects, fish and even a buffalo that you can ride on – and operate – yourself. Who needs pretty ponies, eh?
 
The only catch with an event of this kind is the mammoth amount of preparation it takes to make it happen. We started work on it back in December and despite the fact that ‘The Magical Menagerie’ may already have been built, it still takes two weeks to put everything together on site… if nothing goes wrong. If you’ve been following us on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll have seen the photos of the get in. Back in the office we’ve been getting constant updates by phone:
 
“The trucks haven’t arrived yet!”
 
“The roof is going up – wow, it’s huge…”
 
“Oh! I can see a beetle!”
 
It all sounds very exciting, but I can’t wait to see the Menagerie in person. No matter how much you’ve read about something in the press, or embellished it in your imagination, nothing quite prepares you for seeing the real deal. I still remember, a week into working for Artichoke, being dropped off by a taxi outside a huge, imposing warehouse in the suburbs of Liverpool and seeing La Princess for the first time. I had spent seven days telling people how much she weighed, what she was constructed from and how tall she was going to be, and yet all those facts and figures seemed irrelevant when confronted by this enormous personality that was anything but mechanical. The clever machinery and her operators somehow faded away, and she appeared as a benign, graceful and utterly real giant spider.
 
So despite the blow-by-blow accounts we’ve received from the team, despite the incredible images we’ve received from our photographer Matthew, I know that when I see the real thing at our preview on Thursday, I will still be blown away. If one giant spider could make me cry (and not in the bad way that spiders usually do so!), what will happen when I’m faced with so many beautiful creatures, colourful in both appearance and character?
 
And that’s why you should book your tickets now…

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