MAN ABOUT TOWN: CELEBRATING

Updated: Apr 1



CITY CELEBRATION AT LAST!


What’s your favourite day of the year?


Most people would probably say it’s their birthday, Christmas Day, August Bank Holiday or the anniversary of their divorce.


Well, mine’s Daylight Saving Time in March when spring officially begins and summer is knocking on the door.


The clocks have gone forward and instantly I begin to get excited about being outside more and turning my heating off, so I can afford to eat again.


There’s so much to savour on our doorstep in the next few months and spring meeting summer is being marked in the best way possible with a festival at Ferry Meadows between May 13 and 15.




The Peterborough Celebrates Festival is a three-day family event packed with free entertainment, sport and arts that promises to bring together everything that’s great about Peterborough – you can read all about it in this issue.


It’s been a long time coming and I really do hope it’ll be the start of an annual city celebration event, which has been missing since the demise of the Peterborough Festival that used to be held at Central Park.


Please let this festival not be a one-off. A city (soon to be a university city) the size of Peterborough should be hosting a showcase celebration like this every year without fail. But support starts with us and that means no trips to the coast or nearby cities that weekend please – we need to keep it local.


Check out www.peterboroughcelebratesfestival.co.uk


EASTERN DELIGHT AS GREAT RACE RETURNS


There are a handful of festivals and events taking place on the Embankment this year (more to come with the new masterplan) but the one I’m most excited and proud about is the return of the Great Eastern Run on October 16.


I’ve ran our city’s half marathon three times but the relationship I have with it is a deeper one after leading on the event’s marketing and PR for six years.


As a member of the organising team, I lived and breathed The Great Eastern Run for 10 months a year and used to joke that running it was easier than working on it! The race took a mammoth effort to manage by a small team at the city council who worked with sponsors, charities, volunteers, contractors and an excellent running advisory group.



A couple of years before the last race in 2018, we reached the dizzy heights of more than 5,000 half marathon participants and almost a thousand fun run entries. However, its potential was never properly achieved because of certain barriers to growth and new additions to running events nationally.


Hopefully now the sky’s the limit for this excellent half marathon, following the announcement of an external company who are organising it with the council’s support.

I’d charge around on race day helping to ensure the smooth running of the event and occasionally I’d get the chance to catch a word with some of the race’s previous entrants and life-long supporters.



One of those advocates is Phil Elmer – the man who got me into running 15 years ago. In this photo he’s probably going on about how I practically wore everything I owned (it was freezing) for my first 10k.


His wife Alison (also pictured) makes damn good puddings, which is probably the reason I went over and spoke to them in the first place (sorry Phil).


GETTING EXCITED ABOUT TWO WHEELS!


The 2022 Devitt MCN Festival of Motorcycling is back and bigger than ever this year and as always, I’ll be sitting on and salivating over as many bikes as I can.


Peterborough Arena will be awash with everything two wheels, including all the major manufacturers exhibiting and bargains to be had on motorcycle clothing and accessories.

You can also take test rides and new to this year are Silverstone Auctions, who’ll be hosting a live auction of classic and contemporary motorcycles.


It’s on the same weekend as Peterborough Celebrates, which could mean more visitors to both events. To book, visit www.mcnfestival.com


BRIDGE STREET READY FOR A BIT OF BIJOU


Remember The Apprentice episode about Bouji Cruises? For a minute I thought the ‘brand’ was coming to town and we were going to be a laughing stock, but that’s what I get for skim-reading.


So, on closer inspection, the press release sent to me was introducing Bijou – a new venue offering coffee, tapas, wines, music and cocktails in what was most recently an Oxfam charity shop on Bridge Street.



What’s on offer is nothing particularly new but what’s definitely going to make it top of my list to check out is the inviting décor. Set over two floors, it’s been thoughtfully and beautifully designed to provide an intimate, contemporary, warm, and inviting Bijou environment. Best of all, you don’t need to be a Bouji type to go there.


Have a peek at the latest www.bijoupeterborough.co.uk



LITTLE ITALY RETURNS TO CITY CENTRE



Another great event that’s always attracted hundreds of people is the Italian Festival and it’s back!


Get September 18 in your diaries and don’t bother eating that day because in true Italian Festival tradition Cathedral Square, Long Causeway and Bridge Street will be full of food offerings representing the best of Italy.

There’s also wine making and a Prosecco bar, plus lots of live entertainment from the Guild Hall stage. This year’s special guest has yet to be confirmed but I’ve been reliably informed the Italian Community Association are in talks with a couple of top celebrities that I know will draw a big crowd.


Watch this space for all the latest on the country’s longest running Italian festival.



SATURDAY WITH KEITH AND KAREN


Here’s a text exchange between PCRFM presenter Keith Dalton and myself, which proves he’s not been to Specsavers since 1981.


We were at the New Theatre watching the excellent Firedance show starring Gorka and Karen from Strictly.




His eyesight was fine to start with because we all know I obviously look like Gorka. But how does professional dancer Karen Hauer remind him of his Saturday morning co-presenter Claire Tod?


I sit next to the lovely Claire when I’m invited onto their show every month, but comparing her to Karen is a bit like saying Harry Kane reminds me of Leonardo Di Caprio.


Keith: maybe it’s time for a prescription check.



GODFATHER IS THE DON


Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather has been voted the UK’s favourite gangster movie of all time, which is no surprise.


But what is a surprise is the omission of other notable gangster movies like Once Upon A Time In America, Road To Perdition and White Heat (or any James Cagney gangster film for that matter).


Here’s the top 10. Discuss.

1. The Godfather

2. Pulp Fiction

3. Goodfellas

4. Reservoir Dogs

5. Bonnie and Clyde

6. The Untouchables

7. Scarface

8. Gangs Of New York

9. The French Connection

10. Bugsy Malone


CHEERS TO THE MEMORIES


So, that’s it, a small pile of rubble in the corner of where the beer garden used to be was what was left of The Solstice and Radius.



The Solstice was an instant hit when it opened in the late 1990s and it consistently drew crowds right up until its closure. It was a neutral venue, meaning you wouldn’t be offended popping in for a drink no matter what side of the night scene fence you sat on.


It was a crowd-pleaser venue and I always had a good time in there. I even saw the New Year in at The Solstice in 1999, that’s how good I considered it to be.


But like most things in life, the venue was temporary and time moves on. Apartments will be taking its place and what a fitting tribute it’d be if the block was named The Solstice. I’d drink to that.


FIGHTING FOR BETTER LIVES



It’s time I gave a big right hook of a shout to the guys at Boxing Futures gym.

My body and mind are kept in check at their boxing circuit sessions and every penny I pay goes directly to the Boxing Futures charity.


The Boxing Futures team have built a safe place where young people can express themselves and realise their potential by empowering them through non-contact boxing.


The crew, which includes former city boxer Cello Renda, help young people develop their physical and mental wellbeing and build the confidence they need to navigate life’s everyday challenges.


Like all charities, Boxing Futures are always grateful for support and donations. The team will be hosting the excellent Yaxley Festival’s (same weekend as Peterborough Celebrates) health & wellbeing zone and are inviting businesses to sponsor their activities.


To get involved, email andy.burley@boxing-futures.org.uk


MY WORD OF THE MONTH: FESTIVAL



Festivals are all things great for all people, but here are a few of my (tongue in cheek) thoughts: Don’t you just love…lobster skin, flip-flops with the Brazil flag on it, £9 for a pint, £7 for a hotdog, nowhere to charge your phone, meaningless conversations with people you went to school with, bumping into your ex and bands that shout instead of sing.


CAUGHT IN THE ACT...

An unforgettable name with an unforgettable music history. Always a pleasure to bump into a local legend.


CIAOS OUT

No names this time. If you’re reading this and you’ve met up with me face-to-face since the turn of the year and listened to my broken record, thank you. It’s time for a change and I’m working on it…