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Mr Monkey sees Stockport's Gigantic Leap

Venue : Stockport
Start date: 24th July 2021
End date : 26th September 2021
Visit date : 23rd August 2021
Mr Monkey checking his route
Checking the route around Stockport.

In 2019 Mr Monkey enjoyed scampering around Stockport town centre searching for the giant decorated frogs scattered around for Stockport's Giant Leap. At the end of June 2021 Mr Rik had to go to Romiley to see the dentist, and when he drove past the Forum he couldn't help noticing a giant frog.

Mr Monkey decided that if there was a giant frog in Romiley, there'd surely be giant frogs in Stockport too, so he sent Mr Rik into town to investigate (Mr Rik claims he only went to buy paint, but Mr Monkey begs to differ). Mr Rik found enough frogs to confirm Mr Monkey's suspicions and was also given a frog map by a man standing next to Isafrog Kingdom Brunel. He was also told that the frog in Romiley was one of 17 scattered around the electoral wards surrounding Stockport, which were on a seperate list on a different website.

This version of the Frog-tastic art trail is called Stockport's Gigantic Leap, probably because it's a bit bigger than the Stockport's Giant Leap. You can find full details, including a downloadable map at the Stockport's Gigantic Leap website.

The frogs in Stockport are organised by Totally Stockport, while One Stockport is responsible for the frogs outside Stockport. You can see Mr Monkey's attempts to find all the One Stockport frogs at Mr Monkey sees the One Stockport frogs.

On a day when it wasn't raining, or too sunny, Mr Monkey caught the 192 into Stockport. He made sure to get off near the college, so as to be near the town hall and frog number 1. This time he managed to actually see all 21 frogs in the correct numerical order (not that it really mattered), despite disagreeing slightly with the route that Totally Stockport had chosen.

1: Dr Frog

Dr Frog from the side, with the town hall in the distance
Dr Frog.
Mr Monkey with Dr Frog
Mr Monkey with Dr Frog.

Artist: Toubie Jack

Sponsor: Carecall

Frog number one is in the small green area at the junction of Edward Street and the A6.

Dr Frog is shows a Carecall frog support an older frog who might need emergency care in their own home. Mr Monkey was impressed by the medical backpack worn by Dr Frog, and made a mental note to inspect all the frogs from all angles.

Mr Monkey got a good view of Stockport Town Hall while he was scampering around Dr Frog.

2: Frogwain

The front and side of Frogwain
Mr Monkey looking at Frogwain
Mr Monkey with Frogwain.

Artist: Douglas Hutton

Sponsor: Totally Stockport

Frog number two is in the Stockport Exchange plaza, near the lower entrance to Stockport station.

Frogwain is obviously a weather forecasting frog, covered in about every sort of underfortunate weather you'd if you stayed in Stockport for a few months, except for the annoying drizzle.

Mr Monkey found Frogwain's eyes were a bit icky because very few healthy beasts have numbers on their eyes.

3: Stockport Spiderfrog

Stockport Spiderfrog from the side
Stockport Spiderfrog.
Mr Monkey looking at Stockport Spiderfrog
Mr Monkey with Stockport Spiderfrog.

Artist: Neil Roche

Sponsor: musicMagpie

Frog number three is outside 2 Stockport Exchange in the Stockport Exchange plaza.

Mr Monkey has a sneaking suspicion that design of Stockport Spiderfrog was ever so slightly influenced by the famous spidery superhero. The artist is, after all, a comic book artist, and the whole thing is a neat and striking use of the classic Spiderman costume, only with frogs and a top hat.

Mount Recyclemore

Emmanuel Macron - France
G7 leaders on Mount Recyclemore.
Mr Monkey looking at Mount Recyclemore
Mr Monkey and Mount Recyclemore.

While he was looking at the frogs in Stockport Exchange Plaza, Mr Monkey couldn't but notice Mount Recyclemore, which is both large and eyecatching.

Mount Recyclemore was created by Music Magpie to raise awareness of the threat that E-waste poses to the environment. The sculpture, made of parts of discarded technology, caricatures the leaders of the G7. It was first displayed opposite Carbis Bay while the G7 were meeting there in June, in the hope they'd think about encouraging recycling.

The sculpture has been reassembled opposite Music Magpie's office and is staying there for roughly the same time as the frogs are in Stockport. For some reason Boris Johnson has moved from the left hand side to the right during the relocation. There's a lot of information about E-waste on base that holds the sculpture out of reach of passers-by.

From left to right, the G7 leaders on the sculpture are Emmanuel Macron (France), Yoshihide Suga (Japan), Mario Draghi (Italy), Justin Trudeau (Canada), Angela Merkel (Germany), Joe Biden (USA) and Boris Johnson (UK).

Mr Monkey thought that, as the sculpture was clearly inspired by Mount Rushmore, it could have been called Mount Trashmore but realises that it would send out completely the wrong message.

You can read about Mount Recyclemore at the Music Magpie website.

4: Philbert & Sprout

Philbert & Sprout from the front
Philbert & Sprout.
Mr Monkey looking at Philbert & Sprout
Mr Monkey with Philbert & Sprout.

Artist: Lucy Burgess

Sponsor: Holiday Inn Express

Frog number four is outside the Holiday Inn Express near Stockport station.

Philbert & Sprout are so covered in rainbow frogs that a lady Mr Monkey met thought they were called 'Rainbow Frog'.

The rainbow frogs represent the diverse and colourful folk of Stockport, and, according the small frog wearing a 'Pride' crown, life, healing, sunlight, nature, art magic, and harmony, which is quite sweet.

5: Mossy

Mossy from the side
Mr Monkey looking at Mossy
Mr Monkey with Mr Monkey with Mossy.

Artist: Nicola Fernandes

Sponsor: Nexperia

Frog number five is across Grand Central Square from Life Leisure Grand Central.

Apparently from Vietnam, Mossy is a nature loving frog, covered in nature-oriented slogans, frogs of various hues and stages of life, lily pads, ducklings, earth worms, bats and insects. To top it all, the small riding frog wears the entire sky on his hat.

Mr Monkey was impressed by how much there was to see on Mossy.

6: Mondi

Mondi from the side
Mr Monkey looking at Mondi
Mr Monkey with Mondi.

Artist: Brigitte Wilkinson

Sponsor: Vernon Building Society

Frog number six is near the fountains in St. Peters Square.

As Mr Monkey was walking towards Mondi, he realised that the frog was abnormally interested in the work of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. The frog is covered in artistic elements from Mondrian's later works.

Mr Monkey admired the primary colours and geometical shapes, and was impressed how interesting they looked on a curvy frog rather than a flat canvas.

7: Phineas Frog

Phineas Frog from the side
Phineas Frog.
Mr Monkey looking at Phineas Frog
Mr Monkey with Phineas Frog.

Artist: Toubie Jack

Sponsor: Orbit Developments

Frog number seven is beside the apse of Saint Peter's Church in Peter Square, near the 1888 dedication stone and the Heritage Trail plaque.

Next to Saint Peter's, Mr Monkey found Phineas Frog, a circus frog who shares a first name with Phineas Taylor Barnum, the American showman, businessman, and politician. The big frog is dressed in colourful but patched clown clothes, and the small frog is a dapper but slightly worried looking ringmaster. It's very sensible of them to take a break and lounge around Stockport for a while.

According to the frog map, Phineas Frog is supposed to be stopping Richard Cobden swap his plinth for a pair of stilts. Mr Monkey couldn't help noticing that while Mr Cobden hadn't got stilts, Phineas hadn't stopped someone giving him a red plastic basket, a metal frame that should be holding a sign about diversions or roadworks, a bottle of beer and a jauntily angled traffic cone.

8: Froginson

Froginson front and side
Mr Monkey looking at Froginson
Mr Monkey with Froginson.

Artist: Toubie Jack

Sponsor: Robinsons

Frog number eight is at the junction of Little Underbank, Lower Hillgate, and the bottom of Mealhouse Brow.

Mr Monkey admired Froginson's sensible choice of colour, and the simplicity of his design. The unicorn on his chest is a reference to the Unicorn Brewery, where Robinson's beer comes from. Mr Monkey walked around the frog and found that Robinson's have been brewing perfectly since 1838.

9: Yves St Le Frog

Yves St Le Frog's left side
Yves St Le Frog.
Mr Monkey looking at Yves St Le Frog
Mr Monkey with Yves St Le Frog.

Artist: Jaz Obhi

Sponsor: Totally Stockport

Frog number nine is in the Market Place, outside the Market Hall.

Mr Monkey reckons that Yves St Le Frog is a glamourous vision in pink and gold. It's not often that anyone, even a monkey, thinks of a frog as glamourous. Mr Monkey did wonder, though, whether the ladies on the frog's front and sides really liked being stared at quite so much. The one on the front certainly looked a little vexed to Mr Monkey.

Mr Monkey thinks that the art trail would have been better if they'd had Froginson as number 9 and Yves St Le Frog as number 8. That way anyone following the numbers would go from St Peter's Square to the Market Square, down to Mealhouse Brow, and then from Little Underbank down to Great Underbank and frogs 10 and 11, rather than going then up and then down again. He hasn't really got anything to complain about, as it's Mr Rik's legs that have to go up and down Stockport's streets and steps, while Mr Monkey is carried in luxury.

10: Froguristic

Froguristic's left side
Mr Monkey looking at Froguristic
Mr Monkey with Froguristic.

Artist: Jane Clements

Sponsor: St Ann's Hospice

Frog number sixteen is outside the Natwest Bank on Great Underbank.

Froguristic is a futuristic steampunk frog running on 19th century steam technology. Mr Monkey tried to talk to him, but his mouth is zipped shut with 20th century zip fastener technology.

Mr Monkey was a little alarmed to see that Froguristic is becoming a bit unzipped at the back, revealing an impressive selection of cog wheels. He also noticed that the small frog works by clockwork, and that both frogs have one metal leg each.

11: Frocket & Mini Frocket

Frocket & Mini Frocket from the front
Frocket & Mini Frocket.
Frocket & Mini Frocket
Mr Monkey with Frocket & Mini Frocket.

Artist: Clare Artworks

Totally Stockport

Frog number eleven is on Chestergate, opposite the Air Raid Shelters.

Frocket & Mini Frocket are a large frog who is very interested in space travel and a small alien frog who have joined up to explore far-flung galaxies.

Mr Monkey was really impressed with the cheery cartoon astronaut floating between comets, stars, and a cheesy moon on Frocket's sides, and particularly the little rocket on their front.

Mr Monkey suspects the white line running down Frocket's front is not part of the design, and is a result of a spillage (possibly involving a bird).

12: Hippie Frog

Hippie from the side
Mr Monkey looking at Hippie Frog
Mr Monkey with Hippie Frog.

Artist: Sian Ellis

Sponsor: Marketing Stockport

Frog number twelve is on the A6, between the 192 bus stop and the Bear Pit.

Hippie Frog is apparently decorated with colour and patterns of the 1960s and 1970s hippie counter-culture.

Mr Monkey thinks Hippie Frog is a excellent frog to sit next to while waiting for a bus home after a day's shopping or frog hunting.

13: Joy

Joy from the side
Mr Monkey looking at Joy
Mr Monkey with Joy.

Chris Wright

Sponsor: Totally Stockport

Frog number thirteen is in Mersey Square, outside 526Jeanswear.

Joy is a mature, post-punk, frog, who is a great fan of the album Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division. That'll be why Joy has put the album cover all over themselves, though in black on yellow instead of white on black.

When Mr Monkey was approaching the frog he thought the decoration was the outline of a mountain; when he got closer he recognized the Unknown Pleasures album cover. When he got home and looked it up, he found out that it's actually a plot of radio emissions given out by pulsar CP1919, which meant that he'd learnt something new as well as enjoying the art trail.

14: Shine

Shine's left side
Mr Monkey looking at Shine
Mr Monkey with Shine.

Artist: Artist: Kirsty Brown

Sponsor: Girlguiding Stockport

Frog number fourteen is on the Prince's Street side of Suffragette Square.

Like the frog that appeared in the same place in 2019, Shine represents the Girl Guides of Stockport. This time the frog's decoration shows notable Stockport buildings (the Stockport Plaza, the Hatworks, the Market Hall, Saint Marys etc) after dark, surrounded by guides with lanterns and torches.

Mr Monkey always admires creatures with building painted on them, though he's not quite sure why.

15: Count Frogula

Count Frogula from the side
Count Frogula.
Mr Monkey looking at Dr Frog
Mr Monkey with Count Frogula.

Artist: Sian Ellis

Sponsor: Totally Stockport

Frog number fifteen is outside the Light Cinema at Redrock on Bridgefield Street.

Mr Monkey was expecting Count Frogula to have pointy teeth, a long cloak, and a desire to bite people, but apparently he's not like that in summer. His companion, Count Froglet, has apparently been feasting on the blue-blooded folk of Stockport. Mr Monkey doesn't know where anyone would find blue-bloods in Stockport.

Mr Monkey felt that Count Frogula was more like a skeleton than a vampire, what with all the visible bones, but he's still an effective design.

16: Sir Sprinkles

Sir Sprinkle's front and right side
Sir Sprinkles.
Mr Monkey looking at Sir Sprinkles
Mr Monkey with Sir Sprinkles.

Artist: Lydia Perkins

Sponsor: Merseyway Shopping Centre

Frog sixteen is at Mersey Square end of the Merseyway Shopping Centre, outside Tessuti (near the temporary 'Merseybay' beach).

Sir Sprinkles is quite clearly dressed as a delicious ice cone, with a big scoop of strawberry ice cream covered in sprinkles, and a smaller scoop of blue ice cream anointed with chocolate sauce, all topped with a strawberry disguised as a hat.

Mr Monkey thinks Sir Sprinkles is lucky that he's not really edible as there'd be nothing left of him by now. Going by the number of children Mr Monkey heard saying "Mum, can I have an ice cream?" seeing Sir Sprinkles, the frog had vastly increased ice cream sales in Merseyway over summer.

17: Isafrog Kingdom Brunel

Isafrog Kingdom Brunel from the front
Isafrog Kingdom Brunel.
Mr Monkey looking at Isafrog Kingdom Brunel
Mr Monkey with Isafrog Kingdom Brunel.

Artist: Douglas Hutton

Sponsor: Amstone

Frog number seventeen is at the junction of Warren Street and Great Underbank, near the large hole that gives a view of the Mersey passing under the shopping centre.

Isafrog Kingdom Brunel, who aims to be as an famous engineer as his ancestor Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is a small frog with a tall top hat who rides around on a mechancial frog.

Mr Monkey wonders why Isafrog's mechanical steed was built with most of its machinery on view, or if it was originally covered with plates that have fallen off.

18: Frogtendo

Frogtendo front on
Mr Monkey looking at Frogtendo
Mr Monkey with Frogtendo.

Artist: Helen Watts

Sponsor: Totally Stockport

Frog number eighteen is at the junction between Knightsbride, New Bridge Lane, Warren Street and Great Portwood Street, in front of the SS Stockport Memorial.

The Frogtendo duo are disguising themselves as the Super Mario Bros created for the Nintendo gaming system in 1988. Before that, when they were just Mario Bros their shirts were blue and their overalls red or green.

Mr Monkey thinks that Frogtendo clearly demonstrates why frogs don't generally have moustaches.

19: GulpOil Racing Frog

GulpOil Racing Frog front on
GulpOil Racing Frog.
Mr Monkey looking at GulpOil Racing Frog
Mr Monkey with GulpOil Racing Frog.

Artist: Ric Pennington

Sponsor: Simon Charles Auctioneers

Frog number nineteen is outside Costa Coffee at the entrance to the Peel Centre.

GulpOil Racing Frog is a high speed racing frog, resplendent in go-faster stripes and admirable orange panelling. It claims to be in the lead in the British Touring Frog summer 2021 series, which would be more convincing if it wasn't having a very long pit stop in Stockport.

Mr Monkey was a little surprised that a British Racing Frog wasn't painted in British Racing Green, but thinks the orange is an improvement.

20 Rock Stock Stylus

Rock Stock Stylus from the front
Rock Stock Stylus.
Mr Monkey looking at Rock Stock Stylus
Mr Monkey with Rock Stock Stylus.

Artist: Vivian Lally

Sponsor: Floreeda Fabrications

Frog number twenty is in the Peel Centre, next to the carpark pay station between the Range and Home Bargains.

Rock Stock Stylus loves listening to music from the 70s, 80s and 90s, especially on vinyl (though she does have a CD or two). She also has an impressive collection of period badges to decorate her hat with.

Most - possibly all, Mr Monkey isn't sure - of the bands named on Stock Rock Stylus recorded at Stockport's Strawberry Studios, which is why she wears a necklace with a strawberry pendant.

Mr Monkey spent longer than he expected looking at this frog, finding bands he and Mr Rik listen to. And who wouldn't love a frog that namechecks Dr John Cooper Clarke and has a tiny version of Frank Sidebottom's head on her jacket?

21 Super Kevin Frogcis

Super Kevin Frogcis from the front
Super Kevin Frogcis.
Mr Monkey looking at Super Kevin Frogcis
Mr Monkey with Super Kevin Frogcis.

Artist: Ric Pennington

Sponsor: Stockport County FC

Frog number twentyone is outside the Tesco Portwood supermarket on Marsland Street.

Super Kevin Frogcis is a froggish incarnation of Kevin Francis, a 6'7" high footballer famous for scoring 117 goals for Stockport County FC between 1991 and 1995.

Mr Monkey did wonder what this frog had come dressed as, but a little research revealed that it was a modified version of County's 1993/4 kit. In real life, the red lines were thicker and made the kit look more scary and liable to be put onto lists of the worlds most awful football kits.

After he'd examined Super Kevin Frogcis, Mr Monkey scampered off to catch the 192 home.

Mr Monkey with his certificate
Mr Monkey with his certificate.

When he got home Mr Monkey went to the Stockport's Gigantic Leap website and found that he could download a certificate to prove that he'd seen all 21 frogs in Stockport. So he downloaded it, printed it, and filled in his details. Of course, no-one could have stopped him staying at home and printing a completely false certificate, but he isn't that kind of monkey.

Then Mr Monkey used the secret letters print clearly on the name tags of each frog to make a phrase. This worked better after he realised that Mr Rik had given him the wrong letters to work with. He also did a small crossword and navigated his way around a maze.

And that was the end of Mr Monkey's gigantic frog hunt, apart from trying to find the One Stockport frogs outside Stockport.

The frogs of Stockport's Gigantic Leap are on display until September 26th 2021, and you can find details of all the frogs at the Stockport's Gigantic Leap website.

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Copyright Rik Shepherd and Mr Monkey.