For the April/May 2022 edition of THAT LEEDS MAG I have spoken to my biggest local celebrity yet!
Gary Frenchkiss – Delightful handsome little Gary loves showing off. He’s an actor, you see? He lives for treading the boards with his theatre chums. A gifted mimic, he delights in trying out his extensive range of impressions – he can do Rylan offa the telly, Ant (but not Dec), and a wonderful Duke of Edinburgh.
Here is an abridged version of our conversation from 1st April 2022.
Deby: What’s your connection to Leeds, the greatest city on Earth?
Gary: Well Deby, as you know, hippos are beautiful creatures. They’re probably my favourite, after maybe spectacle monkeys and otters. I could watch them all day long – dipping into their pools to cool down and getting covered in mud, then chasing after each other in the sunshine. Absolutely majestic. Can you imagine riding a hippopotamus, Deby? There’s nowt like it…
Deby: Leeds, Gary, Leeds …
Gary: Ah yes Deby – I’m getting to that. I once smuggled a hippo back from from a zoo in France, when I was interrailing with Eamonn Holmes – he kept it in his garden for two months before the neighbours noticed. He’s a crafty one, Holmes. Anyway, a few years ago they were digging up the Armley Gyratory and found a load of old hippos just lying there, untouched for over 130,000 years. I knew then I had to move to Leeds and start touching them.
Deby: Is that allowed Gary?
Gary: No one noticed. I’ve got the speed of a puma. Eyes of a hawk. Strength of a bear.
Deby: How do you feel about being described as a reclaimed wood bot?
Gary: It’s a bit insulting, isn’t it Deby? I’m a big believer in equality – no one could say that I, Gary Frenchkiss, am prejudiced in any way, shape or form. I’ve got friends of all colours and sizes all over the world – my good friend Sam Squanch, he’s from Canada; and then there’s Chad Valley – I think he’s American. I even know a Frenchman.
Deby: What might have happened to you if you hadn’t become a Scraplet?
Gary: I’d probably be President of the EU, or Angela Merkel. And I reckon I would’ve won the Wimbledon tennis tournament by now – Jimmy Connors saw me playing once and said I had extreme natural talent but that my legs were too short.
Deby: Do you have any involvement in the creation of new Scraplets?
Gary: Yes, none of this happens without yours truly. As a creative genius I find it very easy, and have been able to continue with my day jobs, including being an actor, a superstar DJ, and a serial entrepreneur. My latest idea in development is a gameshow, maybe the 5pm slot on BBC2, called “Gary Frenchkiss’s Golden Hoop”, an assault course game for gymnasts mixed with general knowledge questions.
Deby: Gary, if you could take the place of any actor in any role, who would it be and why?
Gary: Oh Deby, you’ve hit me right in the heart there, right in my guts. My greatest regret is turning down the role of Grant in Jurassic Park, ultimately played by Sam Neill. The part was written for me but Jeff Goldblum and I had been arguing over the ownership of a tiny racehorse – a really tiny racehorse – and I refused on principle. Jeff and I are the best of friends again now – we laugh about it – but we all know Jurassic Park would’ve been a much better film if I’d been in it.
Deby: What’s your proudest acting moment?
Gary: As an actor, I believe that moment is yet to come. Look forward, never back. However, I am probably responsible for bringing red onions to the wider general public view due to my energetic advertising campaign back in the 1990’s.
Deby: How do you feel about your creator?
Gary: Marvin? Well, he’s a simpleton at heart. A true mess of a man – he’s never acted in his life. Sitting there, reading his true crime magazines and …. do you know, he once had ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch THREE weeks in a row. I’m amazed he can even wash himself. He told me once that he met Princess Diana, but that can’t true, can it? podcasts highlight the great and the good of Leeds, with interviews from local artists, writers, social activists, comedians, radio hosts, authors, sports people, theatre directors, mermaids, Father Christmas, fiddle players, musicians, entrepreneurs, BAFTA winners, playwrights and much more.
My greatest regret is turning down the role of Grant in Jurassic Park
Deby: Okay Gary … Where might people find you to do some celeb spotting and are you happy for people to take selfies with you?
Gary: I’m everywhere, darling! All the best places around town, you know. If you see me – just ask. I’m always there for my fans. It’s just part of life now. After I won the ‘Most Handsome Face 2022’ competition I said to my good friend, Ryland, “if you’ve got it – flaunt it”.
Deby: Tell me a bit about the controversy regarding the Eamonn Holmes Fan Club?
Gary: (paper rustling) Just a minute!
Just a statement my solicitor drew up for me … cough …
“I, Gary Frenchkiss, legend and superstar, am unable to comment upon the controversy regarding Eamonn Holmes and the Presidency of his esteemed Fan Club. Eamonn Holmes is a lovely man and a trusted friend. TTFN. Goodbye.”
Gary and his colourful friends can be found at various pop-up markets throughout Leeds.
Prepare yourself for a world of chaos. Genuinely, none of this makes any sense.
Give Scraplets a follow on socials to see where they will be next.
“Reclaimed wood has history. It’s full of character and charm. Every single piece of wood can be something special.”
Mark, Chief Scrapleteer