Praise Where Praise Is Due

I wanted to follow up on last weeks blog as a lot of you commented and sent me messages. Also it didn’t escape the PP opposition party either who were demanding tourist tax explanations this week. In case you missed it, I wrote about the Government sponsoring an event from the Spanish radio station Los40 to the tune of 580,000€. The money was allegedly to have come from the Tourist Tax, which was denied this week rather vaguely by the Tourism Minister. I’ve spoken mainly to Spanish friends this week to find out more and all were aghast at what had been spent and none of them knew the event was happening. One commented that the tickets were upwards of 300€ each and as he’s learning English he said in capital letters THEY COULDN’T ORGANISE A P… UP IN A BREWERY! He’s picking it up well I see. The awards have been going since 2006 and every year they’ve been held in Madrid apart from in 2016 when it was held in Barcelona. So why after two years of pandemic was this money spent on something that could have quite easily been held in the mainland? Another told me that 27 trailers and 80 technicians came from Madrid for the set up and that the PP were alleging that the Palma Arena venue as actually given for free. A PR nightmare for the Government in my opinion and a total waste of money.Now to balance this out and give praise where praise is due and in total contrast to the fiasco above. Congratulations to Palma City Council for their Christmas lights this year. Apparently 1.5 million Euros has been spent this year, which some may see as excessive. But you can’t deny it’s been very well done and if we want to attract tourism to our capital city in winter then this is a step forward. Add in the Christmas markets, the shops, bars, cafes and restaurants, museums, art galleries and the cathedral, then why wouldn’t people consider coming here for a long weekend away? Well there’s that flight problem of course from the Uk. So how about using that mis-spent 580,000€ to help lower winter landing fees at the airport or incentivising airlines to come here? Too late now of course but plan for next year now! Good to see Palma port so busy on a Thursday, upwards of 8,500 people arriving by various means. Regardless of whether you think the guests spend money whilst being here, think about the docking fees, the fuel, the provisioners to mention a few. Their brief visit may well be a catalyst for them to visit again in the future if they like what they see. Another council to earn praise is Calvia. This week, Calvià Town Hall launched, for the second consecutive year, a discount voucher campaign with the aim of boosting local business activity and encouraging local consumption, with the new slogan Abona’t a Calvià. Vouchers may be purchased as of Monday the 22nd of November by any resident over the age of 16 years old living in the municipality. 12.500 vouchers will be made available with the value of 20 euros each. You will only have to pay 10 euros, while the other 10 euros will be provided by the Town Hall for which an investment of 125.000 euros is being made.It’s a great way to encourage people to shop locally and an incentive for businesses to reman open. My only criticism is that very few people know about it. I mentioned it to two businesses who are eligible this week and neither had heard of it. Once again a good idea is being let down by marketing. Hopefully writing about it and you sharing it amongst your friends helps. I wanted to go back to my column about winter tourism from a couple of weeks ago. It’s been mentioned on more than one occasion that our weather isn’t as good as some other winter destinations especially after the deluge of rain in the last couple of weeks. We apparently struggle for things to do especially when it’s raining. It made me think of what we could do if we were here on holiday and the weather wasn’t great. Well there’s the normal things like shopping, not only is there Palma but three good shopping centers in FAN, Mallorca Outlets and Porto Pi. There’s also cinemas, theatres, museums, sporting facilities, sporting events, Palma Aquarium, Marineland and Palma Jump. That was a quick brain dump but I’m sure there’s loads more. Way back in 2014 I wrote about Center Parcs and how popular it was in the UK even when the weather was so bad. I mentioned it again in 2016. Here’s what I wrote in 2014.“Our final 3 days were spent at the Centre Parcs site at Elveden Forest. If you’ve never been I would thoroughly recommend it for families. “The Center Parcs concept is to provide short breaks in the forest, bringing families together and back to nature with high quality accommodation, a range of outstanding leisure facilities and over 200 activities, all set within a protected and enhanced woodland environment.Now we didn’t go for the weather as you can imagine but it led me to think why couldn’t this concept work in Mallorca? On average 3,500 people a week surely that’s worth exploring?”That was seven years ago and I still think it could work here. Remember that 580,000€? Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

Questions Need To Be Asked

Firstly thank you for all your comments and emails after last weeks column. I wrote it to raise awareness of the fact that we seem to be being duped into believing that Mallorca is open in the winter.

Another story to come back from the World Travel Market was the tourist tax. The opposition party PP were telling anyone that wanted to hear that they would scrap it if they were elected in 2023. 

The tourist tax was introduced on the 1st of July 2016 by the current Government. In principal I support it, if it does what it was supposedly set up to do. However since then, there has been nothing but rows about it. Let’s remember what it was set up for by the Government, environmental preservation and recuperation, promoting low-season tourism, tourism promotion, development of tourism infrastructures, rehabilitation of cultural heritage, research and development related to tourism and economic diversification, improvements to the quality of employment and training in the tourism sector. The main bone of contention was what the money was actually being spent on. Now you have to search long and hard for the projects that have been chosen and also in some cases, ask yourself does this really come under the banner of helping future tourism?

The following story was covered by my colleague Andrew Ede this week in the paper but as I’m involved in both of the industries, tourism and radio I felt I had to comment. Firstly, hands up if you knew Ed Sheeran was on the island last Friday? Well I have to be honest and say I did but only because a couple of listeners to the radio had asked me where they could get tickets for the event he was going to. But there weren’t any available and I hadn’t ever seen them on sale anywhere. Now I’ve been lucky enough to see Ed Sheeran perform three times. Twice here in Mallorca at the Mallorca Rocks venue and once at Wembley Stadium. This time though unfortunately he wasn’t here to sing but to be a part of an awards ceremony that also had nominees such as Sam Smith, David Guetta, Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber. Although strangely, Sheeran was the only one that was there from the International side. This was all taking place at the cycling velodrome in Palma. Ah, the cycling velodrome, remember that was the building whose construction costs in back in the 2000’s rose inexplicably from 48 million to 110 million euros. It was later part of a court case that sent the former PP President Jaime Matas to six years in jail. It was built so badly that Investigations around the construction of the velodrome revealed more than 220 deficiencies in the works despite its costs spiraling out of control. It wasn’t supposed to be just a cycling velodrome, it was meant to host events and concerts. I helped organise a couple of concerts there, in 2008, Deep Purple and 2009 Status Quo. Whilst organising those gigs, we discovered that you weren’t able to hang a lighting or sound rig from the roof, which you should have been able to do but it wasn’t built strongly enough. Therefore you had to build your own. Building your own though meant you had blind spots to the stage which there wouldn’t have been if you could hang everything from the roof. Also the acoustics inside were awful, which was another thing they hadn’t thought about. 

So the Velodrome itself has a cloudy history but wait until you hear this. The event in question was Los 40 Music Awards. Los 40 is a Spanish radio station which was formerly called Los 40 Principales, it is a Chart musical radio network and radio station brand in many Spanish-speaking countries. The awards were a little like The Brits in the UK, with categories for Spanish, Latino and International music. A claim made by the environmentalists Terraferida was that the the Awards in Palma last Friday benefitted from funding from the tourist tax revenue to the tune of 580,000€! Closer reading of the publicity shows at the bottom, although quite small some Government agency logos  including “Islas Baleares Sostenibles” This is the website providing all the necessary information on the Sustainable Tourism Tax in the Balearic Islands. This enables residents of the Balearic Islands and tourists or project managers alike to know how the Sustainable Tourism Tax works and everything that it entails. 

Now the Government will tell you this was to help show the island was still open for business and to help employment in the winter. Yet I don’t know any tourists or even any residents who went to the event and I think you’d be even harder pushed to find many that actually knew about it either. 

You could say of course the promotion of the event got loads of press, showing Mallorca open in winter. Especially if it was featuring Ed Sheeran who right now has 3 songs in the top 10 in the UK Charts. Well locally yes but in the UK absolutely nothing. Again you have to question why tourist tax money was spent on this event? Surely there’s better ways of spending half a million euros? Well not according to this Government. I do hope questions are being asked. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Same Old, Same Old!


The World Travel Market has been and gone and we’ve been inundated with our politicians grabbing the headlines. Anyone in the travel industry will tell you that meeting in London is actually one big jolly and in reality, any business could be done on zoom or through a phone call. Let me give you some examples of the headlines, 

“UK tour operators pledge to market Palma in the low season”

“Balearics gets on its bike for World Travel Market”

“British praise for Magalluf changes

Good attention grabbing headlines right? Well yes but actually not from this year, they were taken from the World Travel Market in 2015! So six years later those three headlines are exactly the same again. 

This year Sir Chris Hoy was rightly praising Mallorca for cycling but back in 2015 it was Sir Bradley Wiggins doing exactly the same.

Back in 2015 low season was high on the agenda, just as it has been this time. Six years later I checked with the Mallorca Hotel Federation (FEHM) if there was a significant change in the number of hotels remaining open. So how many hotels do you think are open on the island right now? It’s 25% and from December it goes down to just 15%. We have campaigns such as Palma 365 and Calvia 365, supposedly put in place to encourage year round tourism. I thought I’d take it further and ask the Magaluf and Palma Nova hotel association how many hotels were open right now. 

Remember the headline back in 2015 “British praise for Magalluf changes” So surely six years later we should be in a better place? Well less than 5% of the beds available in all of the hotels are currently open. 

We’re an island so people have got to fly to get here but there are currently no flights from Scotland, first flight according to my Scottish friend Gus, is from Edinburgh March 27th next year. Their nearest airport with flights to Mallorca is Manchester.

No flights from Wales until April next year according to my Welsh friend Martin. South Wales their nearest airport to Mallorca is London Gatwick. North Wales their nearest airport to Mallorca is Manchester or Liverpool.

No flights from Ireland or Northern Ireland until March next year according to my Irish friend Barbara. They would have to fly to England first to get here. 

There are limited flights from England, but nowhere near enough to promote a winter season. It’s a damning verdict on the powers that be. Now it’s very easy to blame the pandemic but this was a problem pre-pandemic. It seems to me that rather than go in with some new ideas, old ones have been rehashed and advances promised in 2015 have failed. 

I applaud the promotion of sports tourism both in Calvia and around the island but as I said a couple of weeks ago, it’s nothing new. We should be the number one sports destination now as our facilities have been the best for years. We’ve had two big golfing events in the last couple of weeks in Calvia. But neither were well attended and I know because I went to both. Neither were well marketed either and the bigger one in Santa Ponsa had the marketing flags put on lampposts the day before it started and as i write and drive past three weeks after, they are still there! 

The Government don’t want “excessive tourism” which I understand as they want to promote a higher standard of accommodation to families and couples. Although I believe you could still have the so called  “excessive tourism” if it was controlled and was policed properly. Back in the 90’s when I first arrived, families and young people mixed in Magaluf and Palma Nova with very few problems. 

There is also an opinion that the “excessive tourism” only happens on the Punta Ballena. Have you been to certain beach clubs on an afternoon in the height of summer? It might not be the Punta Ballena but the behaviour could still be classed as excessive only slightly more expensive! By the way I’m not saying don’t enjoy yourself, you’re on holiday so you should. But with better control by the venues and the authorities it wouldn’t be a problem. 

I was in Benidorm a month ago where that mix of young and old was happening and with very few problems that I could see. Judging by what I saw in the Summer, Palma Nova has turned itself around and now has a good mix of bars, cafes, restaurants and beach clubs all offering high standards and service. The winter will be a struggle for those who are valiantly trying to stay open and good on them for giving it a go. 

So what about Magaluf? 

Well something needs to be done as it’s been left and left and left and nobody it seems is taking control. Firstly let me say I’m not talking about the beachfront. I’ve said it before, it has turned itself around and for me has one of the best beaches on the island, with lots of great bars, cafes, restaurants and beach clubs. A lot of the bars and clubs in the second line too have invested in their premises and are looking much better. Look at BCM, they’ve invested millions and will need lots of people to fill it.

If you want the summer season to be more quality and less quantity then that’s fine but it’s a dangerous game to play if you don’t get the numbers. So I’m going to put something out there that could help the problem. Why not make Magaluf the Benidorm of the winter? Airlines particularly the low cost ones are still running busy flight programmes into Alicante. I’m sure they’d jump at the chance to send more flights here. Right now the resort is closed and won’t reopen until April. So promote it as a party resort in the winter. That doesn’t mean return to the ugly scenes we’ve seen before. It needs controlling through limited hours and policing. Let’s face it the police have nothing to do in the winter so it could be done. I’m also not just talking about young people, older people enjoy a good day or night out too. What I saw in Benidorm was a mix of young and old enjoying themselves together. You may not need all the hotels but surely more than the 5% that are currently open. More businesses can stay open and less people will be claiming the unemployment benefit. Surely it’s a winner in all areas? At the moment we have the same old politicians coming up with the same old ideas and getting nowhere fast. How about putting a working party together of business people in the area who want to see it get better. I’m more than happy to help although to be honest I think I’m possibly too old. In my opinion it needs younger eyes with new and realistic ideas to take it forward. 

We are being duped into thinking that things are good. Nothing I’m sure to do with the local elections happening in 18 months time? But if you drill down past the headlines it doesn’t take you long to get the real story. 

Something positive I’m sure can be done but please can we cut the crap and just get on with it!

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Christmas Appeal

Lots of people have been affected over the last eighteen months of the pandemic and lockdowns in different ways. Charities have found it exceptionally tough during this time. One because of not being able to work in the communities they are serving and two because people have had to tighten their belts. 

This week I celebrated my birthday and one of the things that Facebook allow you to do is ask your friends to donate to a non-profit charity of your choice for your celebrations. It’s a great way of helping charities in a non pushy kind of way. 

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in fundraising here on the island for most of the time I’ve lived here. Including big events like the Pirates Charity Premiere and the Pinmar Golf Tournament, to small local charity events too. The one thing i know about this island and the people that live here is that they always dig deep when Charity calls. 

Since 2004 from the Pirates Charity Premieres to the Radiothons on Radio One Mallorca we have supported Great Ormond Street Hospital. We have raised a staggering 763,185.10€ through those events. In 2008 and 2010, believe it or not, I did the London Marathon for GOSH. There were three of us in 2008 and we raised £8,277.00 and me on my own in 2010 and I raised £2,590.00. 

GOSH has been and still is a big part of my life and during my many visits there, I can see how the Charity helps the hospital in so many different ways. 

I set up my birthday appeal for GOSH with an expectation to raise 250.00€. I soon surpassed that and had to change it 500.00€. That too was passed so I moved it to 750.00€ and I’m pleased to say that I had to move it again to 1000.00€. To date, it is at 1055.00€, so a massive thank you to everybody that donated. I’m really humbled by your generosity.

Every day brings new challenges at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). Each day, 619 children and young people from across the UK arrive for life-changing treatments.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity raises money to enable the hospital to provide world class care and to pioneer new treatments and cures for childhood illnesses.

Donations can;

  • Provide family accommodation so parents and carers can stay close by while their children undergo treatment
  • Fund vital services including the hospital Play team which helps patients understand their treatment and cope with separation from peers and siblings
  • Support social work and multi-faith chaplaincy teams who provide much needed family advice and support now and in the months ahead 

This brings me nicely on to our Radio One Mallorca Christmas Appeal. 

Over all the years we have ran this campaign and with your generosity, we have been able to bring Christmas cheer to hundreds of families, children, pensioners and animals on the island. This year is going to be a particularly difficult time for a lot of people so any help will be greatly appreciated.

This year your donations will benefit:

Fundacio Nazaret: A Children’s home in Palma that look to promote the integral education of minors to transform and improve their present and future personal situations. With your donations last year we were able to buy a voucher for every child and we aim to do the same again with your help.

Age Concern Mallorca: Jackie and her team look after people of varying ages across the island and we are looking to supply them with vouchers to spend at a local supermarket as we did, with your help, last year.

Yachting Gives Back: They are a food-raising campaign helping to alleviate poverty and hunger in the Balearics. We want to collect non-perishable foodstuffs & hygiene products and they then deliver to those in need via local charities including Mallorca Sense Fam and Associacio Tardor.

Santa Ponsa Food Bank: Based from the Santa Ponsa Community Church, they are serving and supporting the community. Through your donations of money and food, we will support them again this year.

SOS Calvia: Are a citizen’s initiative who distribute food every week to families in need. With your food and money donations we will provide much needed food and hygiene items.

SOS Animal Mallorca : Since 1995 this organisation has been rehoming dogs and cats and campaigning on behalf of animals to prevent mistreatment, through education and government initiatives. Please donate dog or cat food or make a cash donation to enable them to improve the centre.

This year, to help raise more needed funds we are asking anyone who would like, to sponsor a day on the radio. Starting 15th November to the 17th of December you can sponsor each weekday for your business or event.

A presenter read will be read on air each hour 8am to 7pm and the presenters will talk about who is sponsoring each day during their shows. You can even come into the studio on your day with a pre-arranged interview during the breakfast show, to talk about what you have sponsored for that day.

Minimum 100€ per day for sponsorship, it’s a great way to promote anything you want and all the proceeds go to great causes.

You can offer us a prize to auction off or as a Raffle prize or challenge us to do something for money. Even better challenge yourself to do something for money. Please deliver all donations to us at the Radio Station at The Wave House Hotel in Magalluf or call Richie on 670 704 311 to arrange pick up.

We can take money donations via our charity bank account, credit card or in cash. For more information please Contact Jo on Jo@radioonemallorca.com

Help us to bring a smile to lots of faces this Christmas.

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Think Sport, Think Mallorca

The World Travel Market starts next week from the 1st to the 3rd of November at the Excel Centre in London. It’s the opportunity for the Worldwide travel industry to try and get back on track after the last 18 months of being in the state of flux.

So what is the message that the Balearic Government are taking to the World for 2022?

Firstly some praise for some of the initiatives I’ve seen so far. At the moment just under 500 cruise ships have been reserved in 2022. That’s around 100 short of the numbers in 2019 but it’s going in the right direction. Remember this was one of the hot potatoes in the war on sustainable tourism as it was questionable how much passengers spent when the disembark and therefore environmentally was it worth it. For me it shouldn’t just be about that, we must look at the other benefits, like provisioning, fuel, taxis, coaches and the jobs to keep the ports and airports funcional. Plus the more people that visit the more you showcase your destination for them to return on another holiday. I for one have been to a destination on holiday after visiting on a cruise for a day. 

Another positive was the news that United Airlines have announced that they will be flying direct to Palma Son Sant Joan Airport from Newark Liberty International Airport. The route will be operational from June 2022, with three flights per week provisionally scheduled between June and September. 

At the World Travel Market cyclist Sir Chris Hoy will help the Council of Mallorca promote the island as a sports tourism destination. The President Catalina Cladera said “ We are returning to the World Travel Market with the aim of recovering this market by promoting more sustainable, quality tourism with the emphasis on attracting amateur and professional sports tourists in order to extend the season. “Mallorca has a good climate almost all year round and has all the necessary facilities. We are a preferred destination for sports and this will reactivate tourist activity in the low season.”

It’s all good but the sports tourism part whilst positive is nothing new and to be honest we should already be in the position as the top sports tourism destination at least in Europe and arguably the World. 

This is not the first time I have written about this but it’s worth going over it again. 

Mallorca is a beautiful island of contrast. From the beautiful beaches in the North, to the mountains of the West, the caves and coves of the East and the bustling busy nightlife of the South. There is something for absolutely everyone. Another thing Mallorca has is amazing sporting facilities that are second to none and available for holiday makers and the people that live here. 

If you need any proof of the quality sporting facilities here then I would point you in the direction of the World class sportsmen that have come from the island. I’m always amazed that an island such as ours with a population of around 1 million, a distance from north to south of 100 km and from east to west of 70 km can produce so many World class Sportsmen and Women. The current crop of talent that were born here on the island includes the footballer Marco Asensio at Real Madrid, the Basketball player Rudy Fernandez at Real Madrid, Rafa Nadal the current World number 5 in tennis and Cata Coll the Spanish ladies under 17 goalkeeper who’s just won the World Cup in that age group and the Women’s Champions League with her club Barcelona. Moto GP is another sport where we excel, firstly Jorge Lorenzo who was a three time World Champion and currently lying third in the Moto GP World Championship is Palma born Joan Mir. 

I am a season ticket holder at Real Mallorca who currently play in La Liga and are holding their own mid-table. Their state of the art training facilities just outside Palma, have been used by Chelsea and the German National team. We also have another professional team called Atlético Baleares who play in Primera RFEF equivalent to League One in England. I have two sons playing in youth football and every ground you go to is a purpose built stadium with an Astro turf pitch. 

There are over 20 stunning golf courses and the European Tour has just held the Mallorca Golf Open at the Santa Ponsa 1 course. Won by Denmark’s Jeff Winther and featured former Ryder Cup player Martin Kaymer. The first edition of the Mallorca Tennis Championships boasted a spectacular roster of some of the best players on the circuit, including Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista. From 18th to 25th June 2022, Mallorca will once again enjoy a spectacular event at the refurbished facilities of the Mallorca Country Club in Santa Ponça, where the best professional tennis players will complete their final preparations for their participation in Wimbledon. 

Not forgetting of course the Rafa Nadal Academy based in Manacor, He has converted his training place into a high performance tennis centre. Together with his team, Rafa has created a unique training system, based on the experience acquired during all his years through the ATP circuit. This method includes the formation on values that, without a doubt, have been a fundamental element for the achievement of his triumphs.

Mallorca is widely regarded as cycling’s most popular island, a go-to destination for anyone looking for sunshine, smooth roads and an exhilarating variety of terrain. While the whole island caters for the sport, most enthusiasts will make a bee-line to the North of the island which offers some of the best of cycling routes. 

BEST – Bluewater Elite Sports Training Centre in Colonia de San Jordi is the number one outdoor Olympic swim centre in Europe, and has attracted sports teams and individual athletes from across the world for training camps and clinics for the past 10 years. 

If you need me to convince you any more about our status as a leading sporting destination then ask the many sports men and women including the cyclists, swimmers, divers, sailors, gymnasts, boxers and athletes who trained here to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Name me another island destination that can boast all of the above. 

Think sport, think Mallorca. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Gerry Armstrong, My Story, My Journey

If you’re talking about the most gifted footballer to come out of Northern Ireland then I imagine that George Best would be the man that most people would pick. However if you’re looking for a footballer who has legendary status playing for Northern Ireland and the man that united a nation in 1982, then step forward Gerry Armstrong. 

I am very lucky to call Gerry and his lovely Wife Debbie friends. They lived here in Mallorca for a few years and their very talented daughter Mariana used to attend my Wife’s Theatre school. They moved back to Northern Ireland a few years ago but we still keep in touch. In last years lockdown we did a few video and podcasts together as Gerry’s football knowledge is second to none. 

I spoke to Gerry this week as he has an autobiography coming out in a couple of weeks. It’s called “Gerry Armstrong My Story, My Journey” and it is a real in depth look at his life. Before we talk about the book, Gerry tells me that next year is the 40th anniversary of the 1982 World Cup and that famous night in Valencia on June 25th when Northern Ireland beat Spain 1-0 and John Motson said one immortal word “ARMSTRONG!” In celebration of that triumph over the host nation, Gerry along with some local brewers has been preparing a whiskey called “The Spirit of 82”. It’s been in barrels for three years now and will be ready next year. He said he and Debbie went to a tasting and tasted 17 different whiskies. They settled on one that was close in taste to Jameson, Gerrys favourite Irish Whiskey. Suffice to say they had to get a cab home that night!

The idea for the book had come before the lockdown but when the stoppage did arrive he said it helped him concentrate more on the content. Believe me when I say Gerry packs a lot into the book. It’s 23 chapters and over 100,000 words. I don’t want to ruin it for you but there are a few things to highlight. Firstly that he actually wasn’t going to be a footballer at all. He was playing Gaelic Football at a high standard but whilst serving a ban he fell into it. He was that good, Tottenham Hotspur paid £25,000 for his services in 1975. As we were chatting I was trying to remember if I’d seen him play. I was an Arsenal fan but all my mates were Spurs, so I used to go with them to watch games. I’m sure that between 1975 and 1980 before he left I would have seen him play. Watford broke their transfer record and paid Spurs £250,000 to sign him in 1980. This move put him on the then Northern Ireland manager Billy Binghams radar. He had made his Northern Ireland debut way back in 1976 alongside George Best but playing regularly for Watford definitely helped. 

I ask him about that night in Valencia in 1982 and he can remember it like yesterday. He says it was the very warm and humid and there weren’t many Northern Ireland fans amongst the 49,562. So what about that goal? “I picked the ball up just outside our penalty area and drove forward. Billy Hamilton was over to my right and I managed to get the 

ball to him. I then just kept on running and as the cross came over I thought their keeper Arconada was going to claim it. But instead he flapped at it straight to me. I hit it first time and it nestled nicely into the net and the rest is history.”

That goal earned him a move to Real Mallorca, where his love for the island began. He was loved by the Mallorca fans for his no nonsense style and spent two successful years here. He said “I did get stick, particularly when we went to play Valencia, obviously the home fans remembered only too well what I had done to them the year previous, but I was pleased to say we drew 2–2 with Valencia and I scored a goal into the very same net that I’d scored for Northern Ireland.”

After his playing career finished, Gerry started working on TV and was part of Sky Sports La Liga coverage for many years. I said earlier, his football knowledge is second to none and without doubt he is one of the best interviewees I’ve spoken to on radio. 

This is a great autobiography and I’ve only touched the surface so as not to ruin it. But there’s some great stories about George Best, Elton John and Diego Maradona to name a few. It is released next month, it will make a great Christmas present for anyone who loves their football and I’m trying to get Gerry over before Christmas to do a book signing. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Family Counts For More Than Anything

If you had of told me that when I left the UK on December 28th 2019 it would be 650 days before I make it back to see my family, I would have said you were nuts. But extraordinarily it was true and last week I stepped back on a plane back to the UK for the first time since the pandemic. 

A few weeks before we had sat down to dinner as a family and discussed how we could get back to the UK. We agreed that my Wife would visit her family first, I would go the week after to visit mine and we would all go back together at Christmas. It was a little tough on the boys as they too were desperate to see our families but we thought as they had missed so much school in the past 18 months and they weren’t too keen on missing their football, this was the fairest way to do it. 

As the travel restrictions had changed on October 4th, as a double vaccinated person, I only had to fill out a locator form on the way out and on the way back, plus book a day two test. Arriving at Palma airport it was strange going back to something that I used to do quite regularly. But it all passed off really easy without any dramas and the only difference I remember from before was the wearing of face masks on the plane. 

On arrival at Luton I picked up a car which by the way had cost me more than the return flight. I think the car hire companies were reacting to the so called fuel shortage. I made my way through the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside to a pub that is a favourite for our family, The Rusty Gun. Situated just outside Hitchin The Rusty Gun is so named after two 12 bore shot guns were found and placed over the fireplace. The guns belonged to the notorious ‘Twin Foxes’ – Albert Ebenezer and Ebenezer Albert Fox who were identical twins. They were infamous poachers who lived in the area in the 1800s. The full story of these guns and their owners can be found in the pub by the fireplace. It’s famous for its good food and great ales and I can vouch for both. My Sister and I had decided that this was to be a surprise for my Mother also known as “The Duchess”. At 91 she’ll still give anyone a run for their money but was it a good idea for a surprise? Well as you can imagine there were a lot of tears, even a little from me, I’m not ashamed to say but whatever we’ve all gone through over the last 18 months, family counts for more than anything. It was great catching up and of course a promise that the next time won’t be so long and with all of us at Christmas. I also managed to see my Mother in law Janet in Bedfordshire and my good friends(who I count as family) Ian and Lesley and their family and friends in Cambridgeshire. 

Having visited three different counties I didn’t see one queue or any petrol garages closed, so where were the fuel problems? Which leads me nicely on to the next so called shortage, toys for Christmas. I seriously believe this is the toy companies stoking the fire and trying to get us all to buy earlier. It’s a great marketing trick and we Brits fall for it every time. Next it will be turkeys, then Brussel Sprouts and probably Christmas trees. It’s a joke and I don’t know why we take it in. 

Talking of toys though, with 70 sleeps to Christmas, online retailer Amazon have this week funnily enough released their top 10 most popular toys for the festive period. See I told you it was a marketing ploy!

They are in no particular order;

• Luigi Starter Course 

• Pictionary Air Harry Potter 

• Polly Pocket Rainbow Funland Theme Park 

• L.O.L Surprise! Movie Making Studio 

• Linkimals Dance n Grove Penguin 

• Spidey and his Amazing Friends – Marvel Web-Quarters Playset 

• Little Live Pets Gotta Go Turtle 

• Batman 36 inch Transforming playset 

• The Balloon Dino 

• Paw Patroller 2.0

My two boys are past the toy stage so you’ll have to go and look these up. 

Lastly going back to travel, they’ve just released that fully vaccinated international passengers arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a cheaper and quicker lateral flow test from the 24th of October instead of the PCR version.

Those who have been vaccinated, and most under-18s, can take a lateral flow test on or before day two of their arrival into the UK.

The change will come into effect for those returning from half-term breaks, with Covid-19 tests available to book through private providers listed on the government’s website.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that the tests can be booked from the 22nd of October and passengers must upload a photo of their test to verify their results as soon as possible. Anyone who tests positive will need to self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test.

Positive news going forward for the travel industry. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

We’ve Been Expecting You Mr Bond

Almost 18 months since its supposed release date the Bond film No Time To Die has finally been released. We went to Mallorca outlets in Marratxi to see it last Sunday which is the first time we’ve been back to a cinema in a similar amount of time. There’s nothing better than watching a new film on the big screen and this certainly didn’t disappoint. We did comment beforehand that it was quite long at two hours and forty five minutes but the time passed quickly and we thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’ve not seen it yet I won’t spoil it for you but if you’re undecided about going, don’t be it’s a Bond film with all the bells and whistles.

One thing I will say which won’t spoil anything. The opening sequence is as spectacular as ever and the bit where he jumps off the bridge using a rope is done by a guy who used to work at Pirates. Dave Grant was Sir Francis Drake a few years ago and when he left us he trained to be a stunt man and he has built a very successful career.

At the Royal Premiere last week, there was a lot of talk about Daniel Craig’s jacket. So much so that we started talking about it on the radio. Now I’m the last person to talk about fashion but I actually liked it and when I asked our resident fashionista Amanda O’Riordan she did too. The  maker was Savile Row stalwarts Anderson & Sheppard, the tailor founded back in 1906.

I think what a lot of people missed was this was his last Bond movie and let’s remember he’s only a fictional character. It’s well documented that Craig found the role difficult, as in all the pressure that goes with it. So instead of going down the conventional black dinner jacket route, I think this was the release he needed. It certainly got everyone talking about it which let’s face it that is what the producers would have wanted. I’m tempted to say a marketing master stroke. 

Craig’s final outing as 007 has smashed UK box office records, grossing more on its opening weekend than any other film in the history of the James Bond franchise and has become the biggest movie of the year.

Quite apt that we celebrated Global James Bond Day this past week. The celebration of Ian Fleming’s fictional spy, James Bond, falls on October 5th each year. It’s the anniversary of the world premiere of the very first Bond movie Dr No in 1962 starring Sean Connery. 

The Top 10 grossing Bond films globally so far are;

  1. Skyfall ($1.111 billion)
  2. Spectre ($879.6 million)
  3. Casino Royale (2006) ($594.4 million)
  4. Quantum of Solace ($591.7 million)
  5. Die Another Day ($431.9 million)
  6. The World is Not Enough ($361.7 million)
  7. GoldenEye ($356.4 million)
  8. Tomorrow Never Dies ($339.5 million)
  9. Moonraker ($210.3 million)
  10. For Your Eyes Only ($195.3 million)

An interesting choice for the theme tune as Billie Eilish isn’t your conventional singer. She is also the youngest singer to sing an original James Bond song, which she wrote and recorded in her bedroom studio with her brother Finneas. It has already won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media and it could go to the Oscars next.

Interestingly only two Bond theme tunes have ever made it to number one. Sam Smith’s Writing’s on the Wall from “Spectre” in 2015 and EIlish in 2020. 

The Top 10 earning Bond theme tunes are;

  1. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
  2. Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings
  3. Skyfall – Adele
  4. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
  5. For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton
  6. Writing’s On The Wall – Sam Smith
  7. The World Is Not Enough – Garbage
  8. Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey
  9. Thunderball – Tom Jones
  10. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon

So who is going to be the new Bond?

Lots of rumours but I looked at the bookies as they can normally give you a good idea. Rege-Jean Page is the 6/4 favourite. The actor from Netflix drama “Bridgerton” set pulses raising when he first appeared as the Duke of Hastings in the period drama.

Tom Hardy is 9/4 and has been touted for a few years now. Well-known for his powerful performances in films like ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Inception’, and ‘The Revenant.’ In 2017 he said “There’s a saying amongst us in the fraternity of acting, that if you talk about it you’re automatically out of the race.” 

James Norton is 4/1. He is best known for playing the lead role of Sidney Chambers in Grantchester. However, he has told people not to bet on him as he doubts he would get the role and continued to deny rumours he was in the running.

It will be interesting to see who they choose and I for one will be looking forward to seeing the next film. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Liam Jones, Remember The Name!

If you’re a bit of a sports nut like me then last weekend couldn’t have been better. It just happened to coincide with my Wife going back to the UK to visit her family. Which was not planned by the way!

The Ryder Cup started on the Friday and although it looked over by the end of that day there was still the thought that Europe might make a comeback. Saturday lunchtime was Chelsea v Manchester City, a must watch game from two of the teams expected to be battling it out for the Premiership title. City playing really well and getting the win. We left the house at 4pm that afternoon for my eldest Sons game in Palma. He was Captain and they ran out 3-0 winners. Saturday night was the World Heavyweight Championship boxing between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, whilst we were still getting gubbed in the Golf. Now talking of getting gubbed, what happened to Joshua? As soon a I saw his ring walk I was worried. He was smiling, fist pumping everyone and kissing grannies! And so it proved, he was well and truly outclassed by a better boxer. By that time there was a little hope for Europe as they had rallied but was it enough?  

Sunday was a busy day particularly on the football front. We left the house at 8am for my youngest sons game in Palma. They won 3-0 and the it was off to watch Atlético Baleares play Real Betis B at 12. They are going a little under the radar as Mallorca’s other Professional team as most people’s attention is on Real Mallorca in La Liga. They won 1-0 and are second in the league behind Villareal B. We left that game a little early to arrive on time for Real Mallorca to kick-off against Osasuna at 2pm. A game that Mallorca should have won they ended up losing 2-3 and their form is a little worrying having lost 3 out of the last 4 games. While this was on, the F1 was happening in Russia with Lewis Hamilton winning an exciting race in the rain in the final 2 laps. We arrived back home at 4.30 in the afternoon just in time for the big North London derby, Arsenal v Tottenham. As an Arsenal fan it couldn’t have gone much better, winning 3-1 and even going above them in the league. Unfortunately Europe couldn’t close that gap in the golf but at least it meant I could get to bed early after what was a hectic weekend.

The sporting theme ran onto my radio show this week. I’m not a huge boxing fan but if there is a big fight on TV I will always watch it. I’ve been lucky enough to meet and interview a couple of legendary boxers in Nigel Benn and Joe Calzaghe. Also I’ve been a ring announcer for a couple of boxing events on the island which was really enjoyable. 

My two boys have been doing some boxing conditioning work with Paul Hamilton at the Shambhala Gym in Santa Ponsa. It hadn’t escaped my notice that Paul had been training a young Welsh boxer by the name of Liam Jones. He looked very handy and I asked Paul if we could interview him on the radio. Paul said now would be a good time as he’s about to turn professional. Liam is from the Rhondda Valley in Wales and has been coming to Mallorca on and off all his life as his parents have a place here. He first entered a boxing gym at the age of 11 and his inspiration was watching the Rocky movie. Floyd Mayweather is the boxer he admires the most and he hopes one day to emulate him. He’s a softly spoken guy but don’t let that fool you. This boy can punch and Paul tells me there are a lot of people looking at him here in Mallorca, on the mainland and back in the UK. But he wants to stay with Paul here in Mallorca and learn his trade. Paul has trained many champions over the years and took young aspiring fighters from all over the world, some of Britain’s top Thai Boxers have been produced by, trained by or have benefited in some way from him. Liam has already accrued a list of sponsors including Cardiff Steel, Motor Connect UK, Watches of Wales, Sam Dry Lining and Custom House Wales and he becomes one of the first boxers here in Mallorca to be paid to train. His first fight is scheduled for November 6th in Calvia and if you like your boxing I suggest you go along and watch someone who in many people’s eyes already is a future World Champion. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

We Are In Danger Of Being Left Behind!

Last week I was invited to a meeting of the Asociación Balear de Ocio Nocturno y Entretenimiento (A.B.O.N.E.) which in English is the Balearic Association of nightlife and entertainment. There were representatives from all over Mallorca and they were joined on Zoom by representatives from Ibiza and Menorca. The majority of the businesses within this Association haven’t been able to work since the Lockdown of March 14th 2020. The ones that have been able to open have done so with great difficulty and under strict restrictions. 

As of today there is still no set date as to when they can reopen and also when all restrictions will be lifted. The pandemic situation in the summer was far worse than it is now and yet the Government still won’t let them open. I think the Government have to come up with a plan to make sure these people can restart their businesses. It may well be too late now but if we want to safeguard the islands and it’s biggest industry then something needs to be done. I said this a couple of weeks ago the  Nightlife Sector generates a whopping 20 billion euros, according to the National Federation of Leisure & Entertainment Businesses, or FNEOE. That surely can’t be ignored for much longer. We are in danger of being left behind by other resorts like Turkey, Greece and Croatia and we need to be sure of the message. Do the red zones still exist in Magaluf, Playa de Palma and San Antonio? Remember this was a law brought in for the 2020 season to curb the excessive drinking tourism. I don’t know many that are against it but why make it certain zones only? Either have it for all or don’t have it at all. What I mean by that is how can you have certain measures in Magaluf but not have the same measures in the neighbouring resort of Palma Nova? Equally even in the same town of Magaluf, how can you have some places being told they can’t offer free drinks or all inclusive packages but some hotels that are on their doorstep can? It’s utterly ridiculous. What happened to “one for all and all for one!” I’m all for cleaning up the resort but that works both ways. Away from the promenade and beach, which are looking great by the way, the rest of the resort looks tired and rundown. If you don’t believe me look around, I do as I’m there most days. See how many for sale and for rent signs there are. Is it me or does the Graffiti seem to be getting worse?  There is an area by the football stadium that is dedicated to that art and it looks good. But it’s starting to crop up everywhere, it’s ugly and if we are looking to attract more tourists this needs to be dealt with. Have a look at the motorway between Palma Nova and Portals and see how much there is. They’ve even started on that central reservation wall that I’m still none the wiser on! It’s all right saying that you’d like a better class of tourist but if the resort they’re coming to isn’t up to it then they’re not going to return. Compare and contrast that to the resort next door of Palma Nova and things are very different. Now I know the resort differs from Magaluf as it mainly exists of the promenade road and that’s it. But you can notice there’s a marked difference between each resort. At the moment they’re seems to so much uncertainty that somebody has to have the cojones to say. We’re getting ready to make 2022 the best year the island has had in recent times and here’s how we’re going to do it. Surely we’re not going to tip toe along waiting for some good news, we need to make that good news ourselves. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com