How does today look through the eyes of a five- or seven-year-old boy? As a grandad, I find that out. For sure Lego features in the top three worldviews.
The smart marketing people in Sheffield’s city centre businesses have been using the iconic plastic cube to leverage (or to try to) their summer trade. Hence Bricktropolis, boasting a treasure trail of impressive and very recognisable models tucked in among the big stores, interactive sessions and other goodies. And it seems to have worked - at least, I got sucked into the excitement.
Mary and I were due to look after Zeb and Zane (herein after - the boyz) for the day. “Grandad – can we go to Bricktropolis?” Unheard-of to me, I confessed. A hasty search online produced a two-week programme, registration for a ‘build a skyscape’ morning, and colourful map of where to find the aforesaid landmark models. “Okay. And Grandma can come along, too.”
The first snag was that the website wasn’t accepting bookings for the build-it-yourself sessions. When I rang BID, the sponsors, I did get an apology. But the sessions were all already taken up. Some kids were obviously even smarter than our boyz. The three informative emails BID did eventually sent in the following two weeks were all to late to arrange anything more.
I worked out a shortened itinerary, cunningly leaving some display sites for a possible further foray. The boyz weren’t impressed. In the end, they conceded it would have all been too tiring.
We found the first three models. The information panel said 235 hours and 32,000 bricks had gone into one construction. I pondered: grown up people do this for a living. A quick snap-shot to WhatApp to Mummy, then on to the next site.
We quickly got to recognise other families on the same pursuit.
John Lewis’s had it planned the best. Their display of London and Paris landmarks, somewhat overshadowed by the Eiffel Tower, was slap bang in the middle of the boxed toys section. “Can we buy a set, not just look at them?” wailed voices.
The Chinese Bank in the Winter Gardens looked like a stack of supermarket baskets.
The Marks and Spencer models were classily all lit up from the inside.
In the Millennium Gallery, the monochrome cut-away of an Egyptian pyramid was imaginative, but – monochrome.
By the time we got to the third telecommunications tower, the novelty had worn off.
As a consolation prize for being too late booking for a build-it-yourself session, the Scout shop was running a competition. We called in and stood around, feet aching, while the boyz fiddled with a small selection of pieces. But they were happy.
If the show comes to your town – it’s worth a visit.