Spurred On

Last Sunday 30th August 2020 saw the last ever show broadcast on the Aylesbury radio station Mix 96. It was hosted by Nathan Cooper who had been there for twenty three years. It is the place where I did work experience when I was at college in the year that it was launched 1994. It is also the station where my professional radio career began. Therefore as you can imagine it was an institution I had very fond memories of.

Neil Quigley

I listened to the final show. I was lucky enough to get a mention on it from Nathan. After all these years I must confess I still love hearing my name on the radio. He did an amazing job presenting that show. The place holds so many professional and personal memories for him. It has been his life for over two decades. His final link was just perfect, delivered and executed masterfully. Plus he did manage to make me cry right at the end.

Mix 96

The radio landscape across the United Kingdom has been changing for at least the last twenty years with “local” regions becoming a lot larger and with more networked shows across lots of radio stations. Mix 96 was one of the last originally independent radio stations to finally dissolve into this new system. Which is a mark of its success, financially and audience wise. A tribute to all who ever set foot in the place and worked hard there and to the Aylesbury Vale as a whole, who got involved, helped and supported the station right from its launch.

Mix 96

Last year to celebrate Mix 96’s Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Richard Carr from Bucks TV made a documentary about the station. I do make a few appearances in it and it is well worth a watch. It will give you a brief history of the station but also supply some great behind the scenes stories and insight into how it came to be in the first place and what it was almost actually called. I have a copy of it that I might just have to watch again now. It was such a fun and exciting place to have worked. Great days!

Neil Quigley

It has been replaced by Greatest Hits Radio. It does feature a few familiar voices including Pat Sharp who did a weekend show for a bit during my second spell at Mix 96. It also has Martin Starke doing the Drive Time Show. He was on my team when we won a Pop Master Quiz live event hosted by Ken Bruce last year, so I can vouch for his music knowledge. It does seem lots of things in life change and move on. Mix 96 was an exceptional local radio station but now on 96.2fm we have Greatest Hits Radio.

Neil Quigley

I am still only prepared at the moment to go to outside events. This does of course limit my options but I do not feel comfortable as yet inside pubs or restaurants. I recently went to a Comedy Store live event at Hatfield House. As I continue my tour of big estate houses that are allowing their grounds to be used for public gatherings.

I have been to the actual Comedy Store in London many times. If you have not had the pleasure of going there it is a small enclosed space holding a few hundred people. It is totally perfect for a fun night out under normal circumstances but currently closed as any chance of social distancing in there is non-existent.

Neil Quigley

Therefore this gig was very much outside on a stage that was quite a long way from the audience. When we arrived and parked up it was raining so we waited in the car for a bit and thankfully it stopped. It did not start until eight-thirty. We made our way to find a tiny white circle to claim as ours. There were lots of them painted two metres away from each other. We had taken with us some camping chairs so we set them up and settled down for the show.

Before it started a man asked me how many people each circle could hold and seemed surprised when I said it depends how many people are in your group. I honestly think he was planning on asking to sit in with us. I can only presume he has not read a paper recently or does not own a television or a radio. Mate if we did not have to all social distance I would not be sat outside in the dark in a field on a chilly night in late August. It was a lot colder than I was expecting and I definitely under dressed for the occasion.

Ian Stone

The host for the night was Ian Stone. I saw him over twenty years ago at The Comedy Store on a night where a work colleague of mine at the time spent his entire set heckling him. It was nice to see him again and hear his stuff uninterrupted. The first act was Tom Ward who I had seen before at the Old Rope Comedy Club in London. He was great. There was then an interval which gave me a chance to get a cup of tea from the one drink outlet they had onsite, which was an old red bus.

Jen Brister

The next comic to perform was the wonderful Jen Brister. I have seen her a few times before including at the sadly short lived comedy night at a pub in Aylesbury. She is very funny, I like her a lot. The headline act was Phil Nichol who I had not seen before. He was brilliant. A bit wild and wacky and I think it is fair to say he brings a lot of energy to the stage. He does some comedy songs as part of his act and he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.

Phil Nichol

Overall it was a good night. The comedians were all great despite admitting themselves that they were a bit out of practice, which of course is totally understandable. Personally I did not feel that the social distancing was as controlled and as good as other events I have been to. But a large part of that of course is reliant on the other people there with you and how they behave. I think that may be my last outside event until at least Fireworks night. As it was not as easy to laugh at the jokes as it could have been, while shivering slightly.

Comedy Store Hatfield House

One of my horses “Proclaimer” ran the other week at Yarmouth. The trainer Julie Camacho had been trying to get him a race for a while. But we were not having much luck. The last race he was due to take part in the race meeting was abandoned just before it was about to start. Anyway he did manage to get a run in at last in Norfolk.

He went off favourite and finished in second place in a seven furlong race. That was a great result for the team and I was happy with that. He ran very well under the excellent jockey Tom Marquand. He does seem to be improving with every run at the minute, so I have plenty to be optimistic and excited about. I look forward to seeing him out on a racecourse again soon. Hopefully in the next ten days.

Proclaimer

A very obvious side product of staying at home more is that I seem to be watching more films. Normally if I manage more than two in one year that is exceptional but I am flying through them this year. Last weekend I watched Bad Boys for Life. Amazingly I had already seen the first two Bad Boys films before. I have like most people of my generation grown up with Will Smith. I probably should add that I did enjoy the first two movies. The first one was my favourite as I think it was slightly funnier.

The latest one is good and a fun easy watch. That is meant as a compliment. Although due to the ages of the two stars now it is in danger of being a bit Lethal Weapon at times. There is plenty of action in it and it was a bit gorier than the previous ones from my memory anyway. I did like it although that may have been because it did seem to borrow a key plot line from my favourite film franchise. Spoiler alert! There is a bit of a hint of Star Wars about it. Up to the point of where the set piece finale scene looks weirdly familiar. It was a good though.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars

I was not totally sure if I was looking forward to this or not as we had not had the greatest season. And I was a big Mauricio Pochettino fan so I was disappointed when he was sacked. However I have watched the first three episodes of the new Tottenham Hotspur Amazon “All or Nothing” documentary. I think I decided as a Spurs fan and season ticket holder that it was my duty to see it. I never got round to seeing the Manchester City one even though I had heard that it was really good, so I did not really know what to expect.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

In the end you see very little of us under Pochettino and he is gone by the end of the first episode. They have got some great shots of the stadium and our training complex. It is quite interesting seeing what goes on behind the closed doors of a Premier League club. Although I feel it is not exactly secret camera stuff. You do feel everyone is at least aware of the cameras being around. It was very nice to see my former radio colleague Amy Lewis feature at Jose Mourinho’s first press conference asking a question. Mind you, it is only the back of her head you see but you can hear her voice. She currently works for ITV sport.

Tottenham Hotspur

One thing that was good to see and that impressed me was Harry Kane in the team meeting saying to the whole squad exactly what we were all saying about the performances in the stands at that time. In fact he almost said word for word the views that I had been expressing. It is interesting to see how Jose deals with and talks to his players. He is actually a lot calmer in the dressing room than I may be thought he would be. The only annoying thing is I get to relive the moments when we totally blew the chance of a top four finish.

I am looking forward to the next six episodes which will be released over the next two weeks. Possibly due to the fact I know quite a bit about the club I have not seen or learnt anything ground-breaking as yet. But in the first three episodes we only saw small snippets of each situation. It is referenced in the introduction but I do also feel that losing the Champions League Final against Liverpool really did affect us mentally during the last campaign. I hope I continue to be entertained by the behind the scenes workings of my club.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

As you can probably imagine from the way I am dealing with the current ongoing situation there is no way I am going on holiday abroad at the moment. But I am heading off for a short break near the seaside in just over a week’s time. I have rented a cottage on a cliff overlooking the sea in Norfolk. I am looking forward to getting away for a bit. It is always good to have a change of scenery now and again. I will tell you all about it next time we speak.

Neil Quigley

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Radio Go Go

Everything is still a little bit strange and more and more issues are arising as a result of the ongoing fun and games. If you have received your exam results I hope you got what you were expecting, which seems very unlikely, if you feel that you have not been treated fairly do speak up and fight your corner. It is such a long time ago now that I got my A Level and G.C.S.E results I can barely remember how it felt. They have never been any direct use in helping me get any of the jobs I have had as an adult, so far at least.  

If you are determined enough to pursue what you want to do, you will get there no matter what setbacks arise. I have still got over fifty rejection letters from various radio stations that I received before I even got my first paid gig in the industry. It took me until I was twenty-five to get my first full time presenting job. Therefore you have time on your side, you have got this and good luck for the future!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been trying to be a bit more social but I still favour outside meetings with people. That is just my own personal choice in the unusual constraints that are currently placed on our normal lives. A few weekends ago on the Saturday I went to a barbecue at a friend’s place just outside Reading.

It was only a small gathering with five of us in total enjoying the sunshine in his garden. The host fed us with a huge selection of traditional Jamaican dishes, which were amazing! They included a few things that I had never tried before. It made me want to go back to the Caribbean for another holiday.

St Lucia
St Lucia

I had a great time eating too much good food and chatting while also enjoying a few drinks. I had booked a hotel in Reading for the night. It fulfilled my current requirements for these things. The following morning I had breakfast in a well-known coffee shop. They were also on top of the ongoing extra demands. That was the first inside food or beverage place I had visited since this lock down thing began. On the way back I stopped in to see a really good mate and his wife and their children in their back garden. I was not driving the person I was with was fortunately for me in charge of our transport.  

My pal offered me a beer which would of course been very rude to refuse so I politely accepted. We were just planning to stop in for a little bit of a catch up as I had not seen them for over five months. It was a lovely warm and sunny day. We were all having a brilliant time chatting and laughing away. Anyway six hours and a few more beers later we finally left. But not before my friend’s wife had fired up the barbecue and cooked us a tasty dinner. It was a wonderful afternoon spent in fantastic company, the time just flew by.

I had really missed seeing them. I cannot wait to see them all again at some point soon hopefully, probably in similar circumstances. It is so nice to be able to see your friends in person again. You realise how important they are to you and how they can instantly lift your mood. If you can and it is safe to do so I would totally recommend it. Things are getting better and you can start doing more as long as you follow all the rules and you are sensible. One thing we can take from this is that if you invite me round to your place there is a very good chance that I might overstay my welcome.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A friend of mine is an actor and a singer so he is not exactly having a great time work wise at the moment. Most of his jobs for this year have already been cancelled sadly. It must be really tough when all your income is stopped suddenly through no fault of your own.

He is an amazing performer and such a lovely person. His name is Mike Sterling and he actually sang at my fortieth birthday party. He was due to be in Spain now working out there for the next month but like seemingly everyone else this year all his gigs were postponed and he could no longer go there.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

This is proof of what a nice bloke he is last Friday he did a special online gig to raise money for a charity in Spain that he would have been working with if he could of made the trip. It was on Facebook and came live from his house. He had set it all up perfectly with a nice stage backdrop featuring some of the huge musicals that he has starred in. It looked and sounded great as did he in his suit.

He did an hour show, singing a mixture of songs from the musicals and standard classics. His voice is spectacular. It did feature a guest appearance from his youngest daughter. She must be about eleven or twelve now. I remember when she was born which I must confess makes me feel very old. She was absolutely brilliant doing a bit of Ed Sheeran with her dad. I watched it online with a nice cold bottle of beer. I really enjoyed it but I am looking forward to hearing him sing live in a theatre once again at some point.

Mike Sterling
Mike Sterling

I first remember becoming seriously interested in radio when Fox Fm launched in Oxford. There were adverts and news reports about it on television. I saw inside a radio studio for the first time and guess it switched on a light inside my head somewhere.

Fast forward a few years later to when I was attending Aylesbury College. A brand new radio station launched in the town I was born in Aylesbury. For me it was exciting and I started listening to it from the start. It was called Mix 96.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

At this time I was doing a Travel and Tourism Course and an A Level in Physical Education, while also thinking that I could still become a Professional Footballer. When I realised I was never going to make it as a footballer I then decided that I wanted to be a radio presenter. I wrote to Mix 96 to enquire about Work Experience. To my surprise they got back to me and offered me a week there. I am not sure who made that decision but whoever it was, thank you very much.

I somehow managed to convince my lecturers to let me do it even though it did not relate to my course at all. I had a great time there everyone was so nice and helpful to me. They all took turns to be stuck with me for a bit so I could see every aspect of the station. I learnt a lot. I even got to sit with Jon Earley during the evening show. I thoroughly enjoyed my first real taste of radio.

This was during the first year of Mix 96’s existence. Thanks to my work experience stint I did end up going along to the Mix 96 first birthday party at Stoke Mandeville Stadium with Jon and Max Hailey. I remember there being some live music and a bar area. I must confess it felt really cool hanging out with all the presenters at such a big event.

On the suggestion of the presenters at Mix 96 I then joined Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio to get some presentation experience with the aim of one day getting on Mix 96 myself. I used to send regular demos to the Programme Controllers at Mix. If they got fed up with me they never showed it, which was very decent of them.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio

Three years later thanks to Colin Morton and Pete Simester I had an in at the station at last. I came in as a volunteer to collect and read out all the local football results on the Sports Show with Colin on a Saturday afternoon. This led to me going to my first fireworks night that the station used to be involved in at the Aylesbury Rugby Club, but more on that later. I was so happy to be on the radio in my home town even though it was for about one minute a week at that stage.

From here I then ended up there on a Sunday morning producing the Phil Angel Show from the studio. It was a recorded show so I had to play everything in myself. Another step forward! It was a slight bit of confusion that led to my first live show on Mix 96. Pete Simester agreed to let me cover for Phil one week when he was away. He thought I was going to record the links and play them in like I did for Phil. I thought differently and did the whole two hours live. It went alright and I had made my debut doing my own show.

As time went on I ended up presenting the Sports Show myself for several years. I also did the Saturday Night Party Show for a while. It then got to the point where I was covering the evening show when the regular presenter was off. I really enjoyed doing that and it was at that point that I finally felt I was starting to establish myself at the station at least a little bit.

Neil Quigley

From there and thanks to one of the presenters shall we say leaving a bit sooner then we and even they were expecting I got six months presenting Drive Time on Mix 96. Seven years after first walking into the place for work experience I had now made it to presenting a regular show during the day. Glory Days! Dreams do come true!

I then moved to the morning show for another six months, which was a lot of fun. At that point a reshuffle put me back to just the sports show, which I had continued to host. This ultimately led to me leaving for Yeovil to work at Ivel fm. After five years in Somerset I then returned to Buckinghamshire. Thanks to the legend that is Danny Cox I managed to get a weekly Saturday Afternoon show back on Mix 96. I felt I was home. It was brilliant to be back. This led to me hosting the Evening Show for a couple of years and being in charge of the events team.

Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video

As head of events I had to organise and produce the Fireworks Night at the Aylesbury Rugby Club and the Christmas Lights Switch On in the centre of town, as well as many other events and occasions. I was also covering the Morning and Afternoon Shows when people were off.

I had such an amazing time and lost count of how many shows I presented from the famous Friars Square Studios. I was lucky enough to work with so many talented and fantastic people at the station over the years.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley point’s the way on stage at the Mix 96 Fireworks.

I had an absolute blast. I was honoured to be on my hometown radio station for in the end quite a long time. From work experience to presenting most of the programmes on the station at one time or another it was all great! The laughter, the fun and everything that went on behind the scenes that were often actually more amusing than what was happening on air.

Why I am suddenly reminiscing about my time at Mix 96 you might very well ask? It is because from next month Mix 96 how we know and love it will in effect be no more. Firstly my thoughts are with all my friends at the station who will be losing their jobs. It is so sad. My mate Nathan Cooper has been there for over twenty years, he is basically part of the furniture. I think he might be like the Ravens at the Tower of London.

Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride
Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride

From next month the station will become Greatest Hits Radio and the name Mix 96 will be no more. It will still be on 96.2fm but the presenters will all be different. This has happened to a lot of other radio stations I have worked at already.

But Mix 96 as far as I was ever concerned was my local station. Thanks Mix 96, I will miss you. All the best for the next chapter in your life! To quote my favourite Spice Girl from one of her solo hits “Never Be the Same Again”.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Sunday 16th August was the forty-third anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. He was just forty-two when he died at his Graceland mansion in Memphis. I am a big fan of “The King”. A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit Memphis.

I did the VIP Tour of Graceland. It was amazing to walk through his house and see all the spectacular rooms. I am not a believer of these things at all but there did appear to be a presence in the place and a special feel to it.

Graceland
Graceland

He had a Racket Ball Court and Gym area built away from the main house. There is a piano in there. The day he died he returned from a drive and played a few songs on it including “Blue Eyes Crying in The Rain” That was the last time Elvis ever sang.

Right at the end of the tour I had to put on some white gloves for the chance to hold one of Elvis’s own personal microphones. That was a big highlight for me.

Graceland
Graceland

While in Memphis I also went to Sun Studios where he recorded his first ever record. Originally as a present for his mum as they offered the chance for people to come in off the street and pay to record.

A long time after this the owner Sam Phillips invited him back in to record a few other songs and as they say the rest is history.

Sun Studio
Sun Studio

As part of the trip I also went to Nashville and Studio B which is where Elvis recorded a lot of his best known songs. He installed different coloured lights in there and he would alter them to get the right mood for the song he was recording.

He could not find the right atmosphere for “Are You Lonesome Tonight” so in the end he ended up recording it in the dark with all the lights off. He suffered from insomnia so his recording sessions were often overnight starting around 6pm and finishing at 6am!

Studio B
Studio B

The voice, stage presence and the way he inhabits each song in my opinion makes him the best singer and performer there has ever been. This really shows when he has the full TCB Band behind him. He is the one conducting everything from the front.

He had the best musicians and backing singers in the business, which all added to the overall quality. I would recommend you watch some of his early seventies stage performances. They are as close to perfection as you can get.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

I have now managed to get fully up to date with the Netflix show After Life. Series Two for me was about the same as the first one in that it was easy to watch and it had a nice mixture of sadness and comedy. Ricky Gervais seems to be on a mission to make legends of comedy say the worst swear words he can think of on screen.

It is not a laugh a minute programme but there are lots of big laughs in it. I guarantee you there are jokes in there that you would not find risked in any other sitcom. I just need to wait for him to finish writing and then film series three. Although I reckon it will not be released until next year at the earliest. But it will be worth waiting for though, when it finally arrives.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Picnic At The Palace

It is all still a bit odd currently isn’t it? We have all turned in to our own health and safety advisers. Every day is like one big continuous risk assessment. That is how I am finding things anyway. I want to start going out and doing a bit more, yet I still want to be as safe as possible to protect myself and everyone around me. I am of course following all the rules and wearing my mask when and where it is required.

I am limiting the amount of people I come in to contact with as basic maths tells me this has to reduce the chances of acquiring the virus. I have not quite reached Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” level yet but I am a lot more aware of who and what is around me at all times than I used to be, which is no bad thing at the minute. We all need to pull together to do the right things and help each other through this situation.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still mainly favouring outside entertainment and gatherings as if I am honest I feel they are safer and easier to manage. Recently I did try out another one of those Drive In Cinema events, even though I was not totally sure about them from my previous visit.

This one was at Knebworth House, which is a fantastic setting. They have so much space there and the house was in view from where the screen was set up. It was a bigger screen this time round, although it was a much larger venue.

Knebworth House

As before when you arrive they give you a speaker for your car when they check you in. Then you are directed by several marshals to your own space to park in. To be fair they made sure we were happy and could see the screen alright. I did have to visit the facilities before it started. They were properly spaced out with hand sanitiser stations on the way in and way out. Not something I used to review or even consider but the world is a slightly different place now.

The film they were showing was the absolute classic “Back to the Future”, which is really what tempted me to try another movie in this way. It is just such a great film! It began at half past nine therefore it was dark for most of it, which I found much better, as you could see the screen easier. And it also added to the atmosphere and cinema feeling. I preferred that to my last first visit to a Drive In that we did in the early evening sunshine. We also sneaked in our own Peanut M&M’s, which again made it feel more normal.

Drive In Movie

I enjoyed seeing it again. There were actually a few bits that I had forgotten about or misremembered. It was a bit darker in places than I remembered as a child. It does examine a lot more life issues in more detail than I thought, plus it contains a few swear words. So either they were edited out of the version I originally saw or back then nine year old’s were deemed to be able to handle such language or possibly my parents let me watch films above my age group. It is very cleverly put together with the references between the past and what was the current at the time the film was released.

It was still good seeing it again even sat in a car parked in a field next to a massive house. This experience was better than my first try at this new style of event. With the actual cinemas re-opening, I am not sure if the “Drive In” thing will keep going. It is different and gets you out of the house and at a shared event. However I think may be the two of these I have now attended could well be enough for one year. It is always good to try new experiences and I have done that now.

Drive In Movie

Staying with the theme of trying out new outside entertainment options last Thursday I went to a Picnic in the Palace event at Blenheim Palace. Unbelievably although it is not that far away from me I had never been there before. A friend of mine had noticed it and suggested we go and because we both fancied a few drinks we booked a hotel in Woodstock for the night. It was as it happened the first time I had been there to.

We arrived late afternoon. It is a lovely town and even in these times seemed pretty busy and I noticed as we were finding a parking place that it has plenty of decent looking pubs. I duly noted that for the future. The hotel was of course following the social distancing rules as we checked in. I was a little unsure in staying in one at this current time but it was organised and managed well.

The Palace grounds were only about a twenty minute walk away. It all started at seven thirty, so we strolled there from the hotel at the required time. It was a lovely day weather wise fortunately, dry and sunny. We walked up the main entrance enjoying the views as we headed towards the event entrance.

Blenheim Palace

When we arrived there was no queue so we checked in very easily and we were shown to our seats. We had a bit of luck. We had booked seats for two, which should have been two deck chairs. But we got upgraded to a proper table meant for four, which was a right result. The tables were well spaced out from each other. It was a comedy night that we had booked to see. The stage was set up away from all the seats, with the Palace behind us and the lake to our left. It was a lovely setting.

They were serving drinks out of a caravan but because the event numbers were so well managed and everything was carefully set out. Getting drinks from the bar and bringing them back to the table could be achieved with the required social distancing. As part of the ticket price you got what they described as a grazing picnic, which they delivered to your table. Fair play it was crammed with food. It included bread, crackers, cheese, hummus, fruit and vegetables. It did what it said on the tin and it took us most of the evening to slowly eat our way through it.

Picnic At The Palace

While we were stuffing our faces the comedians performed. Having done a little bit of comedy myself I could see that it was a tough gig for them. For starters the stage was miles away from the audience plus when it got dark they could not see anybody in the crowd. That said they all did an amazing job and were great.

The tickets for the whole thing were not cheap but I thought that it was all brilliantly organised, I would go to something there again. Everyone there was very well behaved and enjoyed themselves. No heckling which was helpful as the comics would have struggled to see where it was coming from.

Picnic At The Palace

The comedy night was MC’d by the fantastic Rich Wilson who I have seen a few times before. He is always ace. The first act was Michael Odewale, who was great. We then had a short break which was my queue to dash to the caravan bar to get a few more drinks. Red wine as it happens, a nice Merlot. The second half of the comedy featured firstly Olga Koch who has been on my radar to see for a while and she did not disappoint. She was excellent. She is also very funny on Twitter to! Seeing her was a result!

Then it was Jacob Hawley who I had never seen live before. I had seen him around Broadcasting House a few times but not seen him do a gig. If the name sounds familiar he is responsible for several BBC Podcasts. He was really good and was performing even though he had a pregnant girlfriend who could be about to give birth at any minute. Luckily for everyone he managed to finish his set.

The headline act was also somebody I had seen before at The Tringe Festival last year. It was the hugely talented Jayde Adams. She was very funny and treated us to some Opera. She has a fantastic voice and in that setting it seemed the perfect way to end the evening. You might know her from the Channel 4 show “Snack Masters”.

Picnic At The Palace

It was so good to go be able to go out and enjoy some live comedy again I have really missed that, such a fun and entertaining night. Just before the headline act they gave us some amazing Chocolate Brownies for desert. For a man who always likes to finish any meal with something sweet that was a big bonus. The whole thing was masterfully done as you would expect from an event that was hosted at a Palace.

As we were walking back to the hotel I had a very short chat with Rich Wilson through his car window as he was leaving with the headline act and his girlfriend Jayde Adams, which was nice. As we were having such a good time we did treat ourselves to one more glass of wine each when we got back to the hotel. After a decent night’s sleep and a lovely Eggs Benedict for breakfast. We then left Woodstock. I would definitely go to something at Blenheim Palace again, they have got lots of events on and they are worth checking out.

Blenheim Palace

I appreciate that I am well behind the times here but what can I say I have had a bit more time on my hands than I would normally have recently. Therefore I have finally got round to watching the whole of the first series of the Ricky Gervais show “After Life”. Yes I know I am still a series behind but I am working on it. I have always been a fan of his work. I follow him on Social Media and I feel like he used his experiences on there in certain aspects of this project.

I thought it was really good. There are some great moments and scenes in it. The cast are amazing! He has got such a talented array of performers involved with it. The great thing is that they cross so many generations of the comedy scene both past and present. It is not laugh a minute but there are some huge laughs in it. There is a focal point and as ever with his stuff the main story and several sub stories, so you have an interest in all the character’s lives to a degree.

I think I could relate a little having worked in local radio to some of the stories that the local free newspaper he works on has to cover. I am not convinced any of those are made up. I reckon they could all be real things reported in these publications over the years. Ricky is really good at taking you on an emotional journey and then dropping the C-word when you least expect it. I am looking forward to seeing the second series, which I plan do to at least before the third series which he is currently writing is released.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Premier League Football season is over albeit a bit later than normal this year. My team Tottenham Hotspur finished in sixth place which means we have qualified for the Europa League. Or to put it another way not made it into the Champions League, which we have enjoyed playing in for the last few years. It is time to have a bit of a rest and then comeback stronger and better next season. There is only a short break before the new season is due to start back up in early September.

Spurs have already released their new kit for next season. When did it become a thing to change it every year? I am sure at one point at least they used to last for two or three years, so you could get used to it and work out if it was lucky or not. Now with more strips, there are more that I do not like as much regularly coming out.

The new kit is alright but as you have to make it different every year you almost feel they are changing bits for the sake of it. Relax I know they change them ever year to try to extract more money from the loyal fans. If I am honest I do find it a bit annoying but I cannot rule out that I might still buy the new shirt. I know, I know, I am part of the problem!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I found a new mobile phone application to play with last weekend. It gives you the chance to put your face on certain celebrities. It offers you the chance to face swap in short little video clips that it supplies. I tried a few out initially and they did not look that different from the originals and you could not really see that it was me. I then tried a few that I thought might really stand out to see which one I could post on social media for a laugh.

I hope you are sitting down for this bit as I put my face on a short eight second clip of Britney Spears. And it is the most terrifying thing you are ever likely to see. I must confess I thought that it was so bad and shocking that it was funny. I would also argue that in at least two of the scenes I looked weirdly attractive as the American singer. I will warn you that it might give you nightmares but here is a link so you can see it for yourself. Some people may find the following scenes offensive! https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10163808501395591/

Neil (Britney Spears) Quigley

I did also do one of me as The Rock, which because we both favour a similar hairstyle actually looks alright. It is interesting to see what I would look like with arms that big. I have already deleted the app from my phone now as I fear I may waste far too much time doing these for fun. Plus after the reaction to the Britney one I do not want to lose all my online friends. I did just see it as a bit of fun but if you have seen the clips I will apologise as you cannot unsee them, those images will be burned into your eyes forever.

Last Tuesday it was the end of series finale for my weekly Pop Quiz. I had been doing it for the last fourteen weeks having started it a few weeks into lock down. It seemed like a good time to take a break. I will probably bring it back again as we head towards winter as I did really enjoy doing it. To make the last one for a while memorable I decided to dress up as Elvis Presley. If you want to watch any of the episodes of “Quigger’s Plays Pop” they are all still on my Facebook page. It was just for fun and a laugh. Here is the link to see the final show if you missed it. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10163792438540591/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Taste Of Success

I have very slowly and tentatively started venturing outside of my house and began to engage with life a bit more than I had been since Lock Down. I was just keeping my head down and waiting for it to all blow over really. I appreciate that I was very lucky in that I was in the position of being able to work from home during this whole period.
It does appear that may be the combination of being outside and the warmer weather does seem to be slowing down the transmission of the Coronavirus, as long as we continue to social distance of course.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A few Sunday’s ago I went to an event for the first time in just over four months. It was a Drive in Movie at the home of the Saracens Rugby Union Club Allianz Park. I had never been to one before. Previously I had only seen them on American television shows like Happy Days and The Flintstones. Therefore I did not really know what to expect. I believe it is a fairly new idea in this country to cope with the extra demands of staging anything at the present time.

We arrived at the entrance to the Car Park it was being held in. There we were checked in and given a big speaker to put on the dashboard. It was tuned to the correct frequency for the film and was playing music with announcements before show time. There were marshals directing all the cars to particular spaces. We were shown to a spot right at the back, although it was directly in front of the screen. We got there about thirty minutes before it was due to begin.

You could order drinks and food through a mobile phone application they had set up. They would then deliver it to your car. It was a grid system and they put a marker on one of your wing mirrors so they could find you. We had some chips and pizza washed down with a cup of tea. I am so rock and roll nowadays. The delivery person arrives on an electric scooter, which adds to the fun a little.

The film we were watching was Moulin Rouge. I had seen it before but I was more interested in checking out the experience rather than seeing something new. As we were at the early showing which began at six thirty the sun was still shining on the screen, which made it a little tricky to watch. Mind you there was something cool about wearing sun glasses during it. You could pretend you were a film star and too cool not to wear them. The screen was smaller than I was expecting, which at times made it tough to see what was going on.

Moulin Rouge

As an experience it was alright and quite quirky. I am glad we choose to see something that we had seen previously as I felt you could not really get into the film plus it did not matter if you missed the odd bit. You do not have the benefit of surround sound as you would in a normal cinema.

As you are in your car you can chat during the film without disturbing anyone. It was nice to be around people and feel like you were at an occasion and on a night out. I am not a massive film fan as it is but I am not sure I will visit to many of these over the summer.

Drive in Movie

I then got a little braver and had my first socially distanced barbecue. It was in a friends back garden so we were all outside and had plenty of space between us. It was a bit strange not shaking hands or giving people a cuddle on arrival and when leaving. We were lucky that it was a warm and sunny afternoon. Therefore I had a very pleasant time having a few drinks and chatting with everyone. I settled back into being around people and having a laugh effortlessly which was a big relief. Plus the host had got a keg of beer in from a local brewery so it was nice to have a poured pint for the first time in a while.

You have to think and concentrate a bit more than you used to do just to make sure that you keep everyone safe and of course stay within the rules. But it was good fun and nice to get out and do something a bit more normal and social than I have done for a while. As long as friends and family are honest with each other with how they are feeling. And you all take a few extra precautions these gatherings are so worthwhile and essential to us as people. I look forward to my next one!

Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun
Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun

Last Saturday I was able to enjoy my Christmas present from my parents at last. They had got me a Luxury Wine and Cheese Tasting Experience. I bought my Dad the introductory one a few years ago and he took me along with him. We had an interesting and fantastic time at that one, so I thought I would return the favour and take him on the luxury version with me. Believe it or not this had not actually been delayed by Covid but it was the earliest date we could book in January when we were both free. It had been in the diary for a while.

However it was still a bit touch and go up to just a few weeks ago due to the current rules and regulations for these sorts of things to be able to take place. They did have to change the venue it normally takes place at which is a very nice hotel in Central London. It had to be moved to The Oval Cricket Ground to allow them to be able to comply with social distancing requirements. Rather than do battle with the public transport system we decided to treat ourselves and book a taxi there and back.

That might seem a bit flash but I have not been out for so long that I have saved myself a fortune, so it made sense to make this outing as special and as simple as possible. It worked out perfectly, the car delivered us right on time outside the gate we needed to enter the ground. It was all so well organised from arrival. They took your temperature on the gate before they even let you in the place. There were two metres markers and lots of hand sanitiser everywhere you went.

We found are way to the John Major Suite where the event was to take place. We were checked in and predictably we were the first to arrive. I have got a real thing about being late so normally arrive at things nice and early. It was a Wine Cottage Tasting therefore it was hosted by the brilliant Kam Zadeh who had educated us during our first experience a few years before. To prove how good he is, he did actually recognise me and we had a lovely chat before things got underway.

As we got there first we managed to get a table in prize position. We had a glass of red wine as we were waiting for everyone else to get there and for it all to start. You need to get yourself in the mood of course. The room slowly filled up and the first wine to sample was poured into the first of the six glasses in front of us. They are so good and professional. They always make sure the next wine is poured in advance so it gets to the right temperature before you taste it.

Wine Certificate
Wine Certificate

Kam does the introduction. Where he tells you what to look for and how to be able to decide pretty much where a wine comes from and most of its characteristics just from a few simple tests. He is so knowledgeable and passionate about the subject, yet he explains it all so simply, so it is easy to understand. You get a sheet with details of all the wine you will be trying, which has space for your notes and findings on each one.

Every wine that you sample has been paired with a particular cheese by Kam, so it enhances the flavour of it with every sip. During the tasting we had four different French wines, one from Spain and one from Australia. Each one was slightly different and showed how the grapes, location and the fermentation process can make a difference to the taste and alcohol content. I once again found it fascinating and I learned so much. Lastly we got a small glass of a very sweet desert wine that came in an edible chocolate cup, which was amazing!

Wine Cottage sell their own selection and you can purchase the wines that you tasted at the end of the proceedings. My dad and I both treated ourselves to a bottle of our favourite tipple that we had sampled on the evening. At I must be honest very reasonable prices for such high calibre of red wine.

I feel I know more about wine now so I can hopefully make better informed choices when I am choosing it in the future. My favourite fact is still that all grape juice is clear. It is the skins of the red grape that give red wine its colour, if they removed the skin straight away like they do with white, you would not have red wine. As you may have guessed I favour red over white wine I just prefer the taste. In fact I do like a full bodied oak flavour with a long finish just in case you are ever planning on buying me a bottle.

If you are really into your wine I would certainly recommend a Wine Cottage Tasting Experience. The whole team are easy to deal with and very professional. Kam is faultless, you will have a laugh and come away feeling educated plus you get to sample some quality wines. What is not to like? Of course you do not get drunk as they are controlled measures but you certainly come away feeling very merry. I would happily do another one, if you want to purchase one and take me along as your guest.

A Lovely Drop of Red…

Huge congratulations to Wycombe Wanderers on their promotion to The Championship. After beating Oxford United at Wembley Stadium in the League One Play Off Final.

It just seems mad to say that, I remember watching them play at Loakes Park in the old GM Vauxhall Conference. I was only a child granted but never at that point did I think they would one day be playing in the league below the top division in England. It is quite amazing how far that they have come.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

I must confess I saw them play at Adams Park twice this season. One game they comfortably won and looked great. And one they were so outclassed by Coventry there was no way I would have suspected they would get promoted this year.

They did have a bit of luck in that when the season was suspended they were outside of the play off places. Then the way that the “points per game” system was worked out it put them back in contention. From there on in fair play they took that chance and grabbed it with both hands.

Adams Park

I watched all of the Play Off games including the final and you could not fault them for effort and determination. It is such an amazing achievement for a club of their size and resources. It might be a bit tough next season but you cannot take this bit of history away from the players and the manager. And as the boss said after that crazy final win the extra money will guarantee the Club’s financial security for at least the next two years, which is the aim of the game for a lot of teams at the minute.

I did play for half a season with the Wycombe Lions Under Sixteen football team who were linked to the club. Plus I did have a trial for the Chairboys Youth Team before I ended up playing for Aylesbury United. As it happened my League debut for the Ducks was up at Beaconsfield against Wycombe Wanderers. I can now say that I once had a trial with a Championship side.

Whatever happens next season I really hope the manager, players and the fans totally enjoy the experience. It would be fantastic if they can finish just above the relegation places, I know that sounds a bit negative. But doing that for Wycombe would be the equivalent of finishing in a Champions League place for a Premiership side.

Wycombe V Barnet
Wycombe Wanderers

Talking of securing European football my team Tottenham Hotspur have had an indifferent end to the Premier League season. That said it was great to win the North London Derby and it has been pleasing to head towards the end of the season with some back to back wins. However it looks like we can only qualify for the Europa League at best. I would rather not be in Europe than play in that competition. It was odd watching the last home game of the season from my home. It is normally a fun day where we get to clap the players and them us and it is always an excuse for a bit of a party!

It looks as if next season will resume in the first couple of weeks of September meaning there will not be much of a break. It is being suggested by the government that fans could return to stadiums by October but we shall see. It is going to be a strange close season and transfer window. It will be interesting to see how much it is affected by the current environment. I suspect for “us” Spurs supporters as ever we will not get the players in, we want or indeed suspect. There are always a few out of the blue surprises. All part of the fun of being a fan!

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

As it stands I am still doing my weekly Pop Quiz on a Tuesday night at 8.30pm on my Facebook page. I started it as a one off for a bit of fun. But while we are still a little restricted on what we can do and where we can go.

I am keeping it going for the time being at least. It is a good laugh to host and hopefully entertaining to play along with. If you have not seen it yet please feel free to tune in. You can actually still see all previous episodes of “Quigger’s Plays Pop” on my page. https://www.facebook.com/neil.quigley

Neil Quigley

You can catch me every Saturday afternoon on Radio Ninesprings between 2pm – 4pm currently. It is the station for Yeovil and South Somerset but you can of course listen online wherever you are. http://www.radioninesprings.co.uk

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Needed A Run

Here we are once again then unsurprisingly I have not been up to much in the last few weeks. Owing of course to the fact that most of the places I visit are still yet to reopen fully. Lock Down in England has been eased slightly in that pubs, restaurants and some areas of the hospitality industry have been able to commence with their activities. Albeit with a lot more rules and regulations in place than there were before this pandemic.

I have decided at the moment not to visit any of these locations. It is just a personal decision that I have made. I am asthmatic which just means I am being extra cautious. Fair play to people who want to use these facilities in a sensible and social distanced way, I of course do appreciate that these businesses need to start at least bringing in a bit of money to survive. But if I am totally honest another factor for me is the almost clinical way that they have to operate. Not their fault at all but Pubs are not what they were currently and I think this would spoil my enjoyment a little.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Therefore I am still keeping a pretty low profile which is rare for me but needs must at the minute. I am on a real fitness drive. For some reason I have decided this is a good time to increase my exercising. I am doing five mile runs three times a week, which are always then followed by forty minutes on the exercise bike. I have started doing Yoga and do ten minutes a day six times a week. I do three weight sessions every week. On these days I also do a further thirty minutes worth of Yoga and Pilates.

I have always played sport and tried to keep in shape ever since I was a child. My diet is relatively healthy but it has far too much chocolate and cheese in it, so I am never going to be the Body Coach. The way that I motivate myself to keep working harder every week is I see training as like paying into a bank account. You put some in every week and then see a bigger benefit every four weeks. For example any work I do today say, I will benefit from in a month’s time in my system. All I can say is it works for me.

I do feel that the physical and mental benefits from regular exercise are huge. I have so much more energy, focus and enthusiasm for my weekly workouts. Although I will confess I think I might be addicted to exercise but let us face it there are worse addictions you could have. Even a nice long walk helps a lot. I always see running and walking as great thinking time. I have come up with many great ideas and solved personal problems during both. Just may be something to think about if you are finding it a bit tough to deal with the current situation that we find ourselves in. We are all in it together.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have a very small amount of shares in three race horses through a great organisation called the Owners Group. One of my horses had its first run of the season at Haydock Races last Sunday. Obviously I could not be there to see it in person as racing is currently taking place behind closed doors.

It is called Proclaimer and is trained by Julie Camacho. On this occasion he was ridden by Kevin Stott, who rode a couple of big winners during the Royal Ascot meeting. He was once a promising school boy footballer who was released by Spurs.

Proclaimer

I managed to watch the race online. It is great fun seeing one of your horses run. You did get a bit nervous before the start. The team does have its own colours purple with black chevrons and a black hat. It is amazing how well looked after these race horses are, nothing is left to chance. They really do get the best care.

As it was Proclaimer’s first run for several months we were not sure what to expect but we were hoping he would run well and enjoy it. He finished third in what was quite an exciting race. A good start to the season! All being well we should see him back in action again soon.

Neil Quigley

The Premier League continues behind closed doors. Congratulations to Liverpool who have been crowned champions. Totally deserved it they have clearly been the best team this last year. My team are still struggling as we have been all season really.

We never got started in the league at all right from the start of the season. That has been the case whoever was manager and whatever players were on the pitch. It is hard to put your finger on it as to why. On paper we have I think a strong squad and we were Champions League finalists last season.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

It now looks unlikely that we will make the Champions League for next season. I appreciate that this sounds like a lack of ambition but I would rather miss out on Europe altogether than play in the Europa League. I have no idea why but for some strange reason playing on a Thursday and Sunday really affects the league form and makes it impossible to challenge for the title.

Liverpool missed out a few seasons ago and they finished second in the Premier League that year. Hopefully we can finish the season strongly still, starting with the North London Derby tomorrow.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Having never seen the original Googlebox because I flatly refused to watch people on television watching television, as I thought it was pointless. I have now somehow got hooked by Celebrity Googlebox. Mainly I think just to see Shaun Ryder and Bez chat at home and then work out what is going on with what they are watching. I think they live in a world of their own but it is captivating! To be fair they have some great couples on there. I actually like them all. Rylan and his mum are great, she is so accidentally funny.

I do also think that Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash make a great couple as do Denise Van Outen and her fella Eddie. Add to that Johnny Vegas, Mo Gilligan, Gyles Brandreth and Emilia Fox’s mum Joanna. It is a very entertaining show. Well done to whoever casts that programme. That is a great group of people that they have persuaded to sit in and get paid to watch TV, actually may be that is not that much of a hard sell. It is my guilty pleasure currently. I have one problem though they keep making them all watch horror films which I hate!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am venturing out for the first time in four months tomorrow night to go to a properly social distanced Drive in Movie at Allianz Park. They are showing Moulin Rouge. I have seen it before but never while sat in my car in a big field, so it will certainly be a brand new experience for me.

I will let you know what it was like in case you are planning on going to something similar this summer. “Drive in” forms of entertainment could be the immediate future it seems.

Moulin Rouge

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Neil Quigley Presenter