Real Good Night   Recently updated !

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with loads of fun stuff going on. I have mentioned before that I did an eight week comedy course led by the brilliant Logan Murray, prior to making my stand up comedy debut at the Tringe Festival five years ago now.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

It was an excellent course and so much fun. He still runs them regularly all over the world, but mostly in London. I would recommend it to anyone whether you are interested in doing comedy or just want to try to improve your public speaking skills. While having a right old laugh at the same time. His course’s are quite a breeding ground for comics Rhod Gilbert, Greg Davies and Andi Osho have been on them in the past.

I know lots of people who did the course like I did as part of the Tringe Festival and have gone on to do very well for themselves. One such person is Olaf Falafel. He did the course in Tring the year before me. Then the year that I did it, he was the host in one of the pubs that I performed in. After that I ended up gigging with him a few times at various events over the years. Fast forward a few more years and he is regularly headlining comedy nights up and down the country. He also has now got two solo one hour shows at the Edinburgh Festival under his belt.

Logan Murray

Logan Murray

A couple of Friday’s ago I went along to the fantastic Museum of Comedy to see him perform his current full length show. It is a brilliant venue with lots of classic comedy memorabilia on display, including a Milton Jones shirt, a stuffed bear from Steptoe and Son and a Freddie Star jacket to mention but a few items. I have previously seen Michael McIntyre, Josh Widdicombe, Trevor Noah, James Acaster and Stewart Lee there. Olaf Falafel was performing his Marmosets of My Mind show. Which he did for a whole month in August at the Fringe in Edinburgh.

It was very funny, with some clever and very different bits in there. Mostly just silly fun, but very well done. It included one of the ten best jokes from this year’s festival, as selected by the TV channel Dave. Which he did reference himself, mainly to share his disbelief but it is a good joke and deserves to be there. The show does involve quite a lot of audience participation. But I sat at the back and managed to stay well away from all of that. I really enjoyed seeing him do a full show for the first time.

I did manage to have a quick chat with him afterwards. He is already booked in with the same venue in Edinburgh for next year’s festival, so will be taking a brand new show up there for that. He has two children’s books out, as he is a very talented artist and writer to. Plus he is well worth a follow on Twitter as he posts lots of very funny jokes and produces a lot of comedy videos. Great to see him and have a nice catch up. Keep an eye out for him and go and see his comedy show if you can.

Olaf Falafel

Olaf Falafel

I do like the Camden part of London and have been out in that area quite a few times over the years. But up until last Monday I had never been to the Roundhouse there. It does host a lot of great gigs with big artists. It is a place I was always keen to check out. Finally the opportunity arose when a friend of mine invited me to go there to see an American artist called Jason Isbell play with his current band The 400 Unit. He is from Alabama, he has won a Grammy and he plays a mixture of Country, Blues and Rock music.

I will be honest I knew very little about him before I went to the gig. I was aware of a few of his songs, though. I am a big fan of any guitar based music. Which is what he  plays. I was impressed with the Roundhouse in general. It is a pretty cool and friendly venue. We did have some great seats with a decent view of the stage.

The concert itself was brilliant. Jason and the group were fantastic. The atmosphere inside was excellent. I would certainly go and see him again and happily go back to see some other gigs at the Roundhouse based on this experience. An ace night listening to a quality performer play some great tunes.

Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell

As you know I have been taking full advantage of the fact that Tottenham Hotspur are playing at Wembley Stadium this season. I am trying to get to as many of the games as I possibly can. I was delighted to be able to make the Champions League game against Real Madrid. That is the sort of big high profile match you really want to see your team involved in. The whole night was brilliant.

I met some friends in The Arch pub before for game for a couple of drinks. Then I headed in to the Stadium to grab a bite to eat and get myself in position for the game. I had my heart set on some Pizza but there were no Pizza places near me in the ground, so I had to settle for a Chicken Balti pie. Which I have to confess rather surprisingly was really tasty and enjoyable.

Spurs v Real Madrid

Spurs v Real Madrid

I took my seat ready for the game feeling excited and optimistic that we could get a result. It was a boost to see Harry Kane fit to play. Then it was disappointing to see Toby Alderweireld limp off injured early on. When Dele Alli touched in Kieran Trippier’s cross for the first goal the noise nearly took the roof off. At that point I felt we could win it. We got through to half time one up. Then early in the second half Dele Alli’s shot was deflected in for our second. At this point me and the rest of the Spurs fans were in dreamland. Then just when we thought it could not get any better Christian Eriksen added a third and Madrid looked beaten.

I really could not believe when in the sixty-second minute we started knocking the ball around them to shouts of “Ole” from the crowd for every pass. That was a brilliant moment. Predictably Ronaldo scored to pull one back for them. But we held on for what was a memorable victory. One which means we have already qualified for the knock out stages of the competition. We could top our group to and go through as champions, well sort of.

It was a great night to be part of and so good to always be able to say I was there the night we beat and outclassed Real Madrid. There were so many great performances. The whole team played brilliantly. I think my favourite thing to have come out of these two encounters with the Spanish side is this new song we now have “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Who needs Bale? When We’ve Got Sissoko”. I mean that is genius and amusing at the same time. It really is an interesting time to be a Tottenham fan at the moment and long may it continue.

Spurs v Real Madrid

Spurs v Real Madrid

I was back at Wembley a few days later to see Spurs play Crystal Palace in the Premier League. After the euphoria of the previous game and due to this being a midday kick off. The atmosphere was a bit more subdued and the team themselves failed to reach the same heights as in the previous game. Mind you it is fair to say Palace did not try to really get at us as much as Madrid had. Their manager Roy Hodgson of course has lots of experience of managing at the Stadium. It must of felt a bit odd for him to be in the away dressing room.

We gave a league debut to our third choice Goal Keeper Paulo Gazzaniga. Who terrified us all. When in the first minute he completely missed a simple cross and then in the process crashed in to one of their players. Thankfully he recovered from that well, kept a clean sheet and was our man of the match pulling off a couple of great saves. It was a very tight and close game. Which we managed to win one nil in the end.

But with the other top teams playing each other later on in the day, the win and three points was all that mattered. It was job done as I headed off to the pub to watch the next two games on television. When I got home I treated myself to my favourite Indian takeaway meal from my local Indian Restaurant The Radhuni. It was a fitting end to the day and very tasty.

Spurs v Palace

Spurs v Palace

I went to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End recently to see the new stage version of Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein. I always enjoy a night at the theatre. This is another one of those shows that I had been wanting to see pretty much since it was announced. The brilliant cast included Ross Noble, who plays Igor, Lesley Joseph, who plays the house keeper Frau Blucher and Summer Strallen as Inga.

It is a slight reworking of the classic Brooks film. As ever he is very hands on with all of his work, so he also directed and produced this version. It is very funny, off the wall and very clever. Basically everything you would expect it to be.

I have to say I thought Ross Noble was really good in it and if I am honest I was surprised how good his singing voice was. All these comedians nowadays who seem to be great all round performers. I am not sure if I should be very impressed or jealous. Anyway he was great. As were the whole cast. It is a very slick production from start to finish. They got a well deserved standing ovation at the end. There is talk of Mel Brooks producing a stage version of Blazing Saddles.Which if he does, that will be a must see. I really wish that I had got around to seeing The Producers when that was on tour now.

Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein

As ever with working for the BBC at Broadcasting House you never know who you might bump in to. I passed Sanjeev Bhaskar the other day as he was leaving a studio and I was entering it. I still see Ian Wright around when he is doing 606. I am looking for the right opportunity to discuss Arsenal and Tottenham’s season’s with him. I have a feeling that could be a lively conversation.

BBC Radio

BBC Radio

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil


Country & Western

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun stuff going on. A couple of Saturdays ago I went up north to go to a Birthday party. It was for my mate’s son’s eighteenth birthday. This did make me feel quite old. As I remember once walking him to school with his mum when he was about five and that kind of seems like yesterday. The party was taking place in Warrington, so we were all booked in to a lovely hotel on the outskirts. The staff were great and the place was fantastic. It was called The Partridge. And if you ever need somewhere to stay in that area. I would recommend it.

It was a Country and Western themed fancy dress party. When I was younger I never really liked fancy dress but over the last ten years or so I have actually started to really enjoy it a lot. Plus the chance to dress up as a cowboy was simply to good to miss. I got myself some Cowboy boots, some faded denim jeans and a really nice country style shirt. Which I actually intend wearing again at some point, as it is that good. The outfit was topped off by a Cowboy Hat and bandanna. That I got from a fancy dress shop online. I am not going to lie. I really thought I looked the part. And I believe that look quite suited me.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

We had a quick drink in the hotel before we headed to the party venue. I will be honest at this point I left off the hat and bandanna, to blend in a bit and not to scare the other customers. After that one drink we headed to the hall. Fair play to my mate and his wife. They had done it up well and it felt very country. They had a mobile bar there which was outside and housed in a horse box, very much keeping with the theme of the event. They also had a friend of their’s singing and playing the guitar. He was ace and did a few classic country songs. There was also a disco, so I did hit the dance floor and throw out a few shapes later on in the evening.

During the party one of the people who was there, dressed in non-fancy dress clothes. Suddenly disappeared out to his car and came back in wearing a Robin from Batman and Robin outfit. Admittedly this was very much not in the spirit of the actual theme but as the guy was about six foot eight and pretty skinny. Seeing him dance very badly around the room wearing this costume made for great entertainment. I am not saying it was too tight but let’s just say it did not leave too much to the imagination in certain areas.

As with all good parties there was a buffet, which included a cake my mate had made himself. Which for the record looked and tasted amazing. I also rediscovered an item of food from my childhood. Which I had not had for years. They had little packets of Iced Gems available. Do you remember them? They are tiny little bits of shortbread style biscuits with different coloured icing on top. Now I had enjoyed a couple of drinks by this point but they tasted so good. I wondered how I had survived not having them in my life for so long. It was a good fun night and a brilliant party. I had a lovely time celebrating such a happy and special occasion.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

My friend and his family have recently moved to a lovely village on the English/Welsh border between Wrexham and Shrewsbury. The day after the party I went back to their new place with them to spend a nice relaxing Sunday there. After the birthday boy had finished opening all his cards and presents from the previous night. We decided to go out for an afternoon walk. The view of the countryside from their house is breathtaking. There is a river that runs down from the hills near by and just down the road a canal that actually goes across a viaduct.

So we went for a nice relaxing walk along the canal. It was so peaceful and relaxing. Despite being very popular with dog walkers and bike riders. As all good walks should the first part ended with us popping in to a pub on the canal to enjoy a couple of pints and some food in the beer garden. It was pretty busy with lots of other folk clearly all having the same great idea. Once we had refueled we walked back to the house this time along the river and through a field of sheep. Then to round off a great weekend we watched the Blues Brothers film. While having some tea and a chat. It was nice to see them all and an enjoyable couple of days.

Blues Brothers

Blues Brothers

The current series of Newsjack has come to an end on Radio 4 Extra. It was another brilliant and very funny series. Sadly I did not get any of my jokes featured this time but that will not stop me trying again when the programme returns in the new year. One of the weekly writers of the show Jenny Laville is another former attendee of a Logan Murray Comedy course, just like me. Nice to see her involved and doing well.

I do of course produce my own weekly topical five minute comedy podcast. It is on I-tunes please follow the link to subscribe and then you will get it automatically delivered to your phone or tablet every week. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/neil-quigley-podcast-41-2017/id1236437663?i=1000393780498&mt=2

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

Last week I met up with a great bloke, who I used to work at Wembley Stadium with for a couple of drinks. There is always a chance that you could bump in to him pretty much anywhere in London. As he works at so many different places. For example he is sometimes at The Globe Theatre, The London Stadium, The Houses of Parliament and on the River Thames.

He is a professional and brilliant tour guide, who knows his stuff and always puts on a great show. Not only that but he is a drummer in a band. Who at one point nearly ended up going on the road with Status Quo for a bit. A real life actual Londoner and always good fun to be around. I am hoping to enjoy one of the trips around the House of Commons he fronts at some point in the not too distant future.

The London Stadium

The London Stadium

I have been asthmatic since the age of seven. It used to be quite bad as a child specially when I got a cold or a chest infection. But it has never really held me back or stopped me doing anything. As an adult it is very much under control. Although I still do require a couple of squirts of an inhaler every morning. Recently I had my annual check up. Where they simply have a chat about how you have been, check your blood pressure and note your weight. I had put on four kilograms since my last visit and the nurse then warned me that now I am in my forties I need to watch my weight, as it is easier to put it on apparently.

The final thing they do is make you blow in to a tube, so they can see how much puff you have got against their flow chart meter. I have always been rubbish at it. This is one of the reasons why I have never been able to blow up a balloon. I just cannot do it. It is always so annoying and frustrating. As when I do it I always feel like I have managed it brilliantly. Then they read you the score back and it turns out I have done badly. Every time I go I feel I am doing it better and every time the results are slightly worse. But this test does still prove I have asthma, so therefore it means I am eligible for a flu jab. Which I gratefully accepted. Anything that is free and that could stop me getting ill has got to be a good thing. So at the moment I feel invincible.

Star Wars Exhibition

Star Wars Exhibition

I have managed to squeeze in a couple of more trips to Wembley Stadium to see Tottenham Hotspur play. Firstly in the Premier League against Liverpool. Which I have to say was a very enjoyable game. We scored early on added a second soon after. We then conceded a goal and wobbled for a bit before going on to score two more goals and run out as comfortable four-one winners.

It was a game that I never felt we would lose. Which is still a new feeling that I am getting used to with Spurs. A very good mate of mine is a Liverpool fan and he was less than pleased with his team’s performance but I was delighted with mine.

Tottenham V Liverpool

Tottenham V Liverpool

I also managed to meet up with my friend Dez Kay for a beer before the game. Which is always good fun. He had been to the away game at Real Madrid, so I was getting all the details about that from him. I am looking forward to seeing the home game against them this coming Wednesday. At half time during the Liverpool game they brought out Diego Maradona. Who was at the game with our former player and fellow Argentinian Ossie Ardiles.

He actually played for Spurs in Ossie’s testimonial. Our Manger of course Mauricio Pochettino is also Argentine. In fact it was him who gave away that famous penalty David Beckham scored against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup. He had much longer hair then. Maradonna seemed very impressed by the team and also gave Harry Kane a bit of decent advice, while he was there to.

I took my dad to the League Cup game against West Ham United. And just like the previous round I managed to get some tickets to sit in the perfectly positioned and very comfortable Bobby Moore seats. Which seemed even more fitting bearing in mind who the opposition were. The manager juggled the squad around a bit, as I expected him to do. But I was very happy to see some players returning from injury and some others getting a run out.

Well at least I was at half time when we were two nil up and looking very comfortable. Then in the second half we stopped playing and they came back to win three-two. Which did sour what was very much otherwise a good evening. Going out of any cup competition is disappointing. But to lose after being two up and against another London club makes it even more annoying. As I said earlier I will be back at Wembley on Wednesday to cheer on Spurs against Real Madrid in the Champions League. That will be a good night whatever the result. But a win or even a draw would be brilliant.

Tottenham V West Ham

Tottenham V West Ham

It has been another couple of fun weeks working for the BBC in London. I watched the last series of W1A. It is slightly weird watching a comedy programme set in the exact place where you work. You are trying to relax and enjoy the programme but it does just remind me of being at work.

I have the same feeling when I am watching the news and they show shots of the people in the newsroom or the building, you can never really escape. That said it is always a great feeling when I arrive there and walk through those famous doors.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil


Much Ado About Nothing   Recently updated !

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with loads of fun stuff going on. During my school days I never studied any Shakespeare. I did not get to read or see any of his plays. I did however visit Stratford-Upon-Avon for a weekend as a teenager with my Cousins and my Uncle and Auntie. While we were there we did go and see a few Shakespeare related tourist attractions. Then I will be honest I had kind of forgotten about him until Ben Elton did a sitcom based on him starring David Mitchell called Upstart Crow. I guess this kind of got him back in to my mind again. And started me thinking that as a lover of theatre and performance in general. That I should at the very least go and see one of his plays.

A few years ago I went on a tour of the Globe theatre in London. Which is a replica of the very theatre that he used to put his plays on in the capital during the early sixteen hundreds. I remembered from the tour that it was an inspirational and spectacular place. Since that visit it had been in my plans to see a show there. I put these two things together and I decided the only place to see a Shakespeare play for the first time should be the Globe Theatre. I went to see the current version of Much Ado About Nothing. Now the Globe does have basic wooden seating on three levels and also private balcony’s. Traditionally these were for the rich and even for Royalty. While peasants would stand up to watch the action in the yard area on the floor level. I decided that I wanted to do it traditionally this way. Plus I had never stood at the theatre before.

London River Cruise

London River Cruise

The tickets to stand and watch the play in the yard were just five pounds each. It is an open air theatre by the way, so if it rains you will definitely get wet seeing the show from there. I wanted to have as authentic experience as possible. There was a Mexican theme to this particular production so the staging, costumes and music were adapted for this. But everything else was pretty much directly from the script as written by the great man himself. It did take me a few minutes to adjust to the South American feel of things and to get in to the rhythm of the Shakespeare style speech patterns. But I have to say I absolutely loved it.

The whole cast were fantastic and it was all so cleverly and smoothly done. They pretty much used the whole theatre as their stage and walked amongst us poor people in the yard area, as they would have back when it was originally performed. The story line, plot twists and development of the saga were so good and very easy to follow. Plus it does contains so many laughs. Fair play to the “man” he did pack quite a bit of comedy in to this piece of work. As well as some nice drama and tension. I would without hesitation certainly go and see another performance there. Five pounds for nearly three hours of top class entertainment is exceptional value for money. I am now keen to see more of his work.

The Globe

The Globe

I took a trip out to the Brixton area of London with a friend the other week. It is not often I venture that far south of the river but I always think it is good to experience new places. We had a bit of a look round and found a very nice pub to have a pint in. By what looks like a really fancy new flat development. Then we decided to go and get some food. We stumbled across The Blues Kitchen. Which was a place I had heard of before but never been to. As there are actually not that many of them around.

They play Blues Soul and Funk music. And specialise in New Orleans style food. So we are talking lots of barbecue meats and fried chicken dishes. Which we of course took full advantage of. We had a starter that consisted of ribs, wings and sweet potato fries. Then for my main I had fried buttered chicken, which was lovely. Their portions are very generous. I was so full when I left there, I could hardly walk. Plus if you are into you Bourbon. They have the biggest selection there I have ever seen. I would certainly eat there again but they do only have places in Brixton, Camden and Shoreditch.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live

Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

As I have mentioned before Tony Law was the professional comedian who headlined my first ever stand up comedy gig. I had seen him perform a few times but only doing ten or fifteen minute slots. I had never seen one of his full length shows. I put this right last Monday. When I went to the Soho Theatre in London. To see him do his show from this year’s Edinburgh Festival called “Absurdity For The Common People”. It was my first time at this venue. It is a great place to watch comedy and also it seems to attract a lot of decent comics. When I was waiting in the bar before the show I spotted Alex Horne who had also been doing his show there earlier in the evening.

Tony Law kind of goes against almost every lesson I was taught in comedy school. He is so unique and has his own very well crafted style. You would have to go quite a long way to see such a surreal show covering so many random and historical facts. It is so out there, sometimes it is impossible to tell what he is completely making up and what if anything is actually true. But the important thing is that it is very funny. You are never quite sure where he is going to go and what he is going to do next. He always has on such strange outfits. Sometimes he will reference them and other times completely ignore them. He is a top man to and was very supportive and helpful during my first ever gig. It was great to get to finally see a full show of his.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I went to see the musical Kinky Boots recently. It was another one that had been on my radar for a while. Ever since I saw the cast perform two numbers from it during one of the Sunday Night At The Palladium recordings, I was at. I think I do vaguely remember seeing the film when it came out. Would you believe it was actually released back in 2005. And another fun fact Nick Frost was in it.

The music and lyrics for the musical version were written by Cindy Lauper. It originally opened on Broadway. Where it won a Tony Award. I have to say I thought it was brilliant. It has a great story behind it with a bit of pathos to it as all good plays do. It is very colourful and spectacular. The songs are brilliant. Plus the cast were fantastic. It received a well deserved standing ovation at the end of the performance.

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots

I had a quality day out with friends at the annual Ascot Beer Festival Race Meeting. A full programme of races with an onsite selection of beverages from local brewers. I mean what is not to like? I had not seen all my mates together for a while, so that was brilliant for starters. It was so good to have a catch up and chat. While enjoying the racing and sampling a few of the ales on offer. Luckily for me they had two of my favourite local brewery’s there. So I did enjoy a couple of pints from Rebellion in Marlow and XT, who are from Long Crendon. I did also try an ale from another beer producer, who I had not heard of but who are based in Prestwood.

Mind you I had a terrible day for picking the winners. However I was not alone as we all struggled apart from one of us who managed to get a couple of wins. Two more had some placed horses, so got some money back. Although one of my friends who is not really a gambler managed to put on a five pounds each way bet, which he then got six pounds fifty back from, so despite coming second in the race and sort of winning. He was still three pounds fifty down there. Once the racing was over we just went to one of the pubs in Ascot and had a few more drinks. It was a fun day out with good friends. Which is always time well spent.

Ascot with mates

Ascot with mates

The day after the races I had been invited by another mate on his birthday outing. Which was a day trip on the Waverley, the last sea going paddle steamer in the World to Southend-On- Sea and back. I had to catch the boat from Tower Pier in London at nine thirty in the morning.

Which after a day out at the races the previous day was not as easy as it may sound. Anyway I got on board just after nine in the end. It really was an impressive sight as I walked up to the vessel and it looked great against the back drop of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Waveley Steamer

Waveley Steamer

It has a restaurant, tea room and a couple of bars. On arrival the first thing I did was grab a bacon roll and a cup of tea. I then managed to find the rest of the group with the birthday boy. There were about fifteen of us in the end, I think. We set off down the Thames passing all of those great iconic sights. The boat is so big that they had to raise Tower Bridge for us so we could get under it. Which is possibly a once in a life time thing to pass under it in those circumstances.

There was commentary provided on the things to see as we headed down the river. It was very impressive I thought going through the Thames Barrier. I had never seen it that close up. Inside the ship there was a viewing area where you could go and watch the steam powered engine in action. That was hugely impressive. Its top speed is apparently around twenty-five miles per hour.

Waveley Steamer

Waveley Steamer

They do of course have toilets on board the ship. Now bearing in mind it was about a three and an half hour journey to Southend. I did have to use them a couple of times. I did not mind however as they had port holes in. So you could be at the urinal while looking out and enjoying the views along the river. It was almost therapeutic. When we docked on the pier at Southend and got off the boat.

We had about four hours there. So we tried to do as many sea side style things as possible. We took the train down the pier. Then had fish and chips on the beach overlooking the sea. Played a round of crazy golf. Had a couple of pints in a pub on the sea front. Got an ice-cream. And finally enjoyed a stroll down the pier on our way back to catching the boat.

Waveley Steamer

Waveley Steamer

During the journey back to London I enjoyed the hospitality of the bars on board. Got another fix of the toilets and admired the working steam engine. Making sure I was back on the top deck to enjoy coming up the Thames in the dark and seeing everything lit up. It was a great experience and a thoroughly enjoyable day.

I will be honest it is probably something I would have never of done had I not been invited to. Which would have been a shame, as I really enjoyed myself. After being on a cool boat all day, it made the train journey back from London to Buckinghamshire seem a bit dull.

Waveley Steamer

Waveley Steamer

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil


You Can’t Be Serious

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with lots of fun stuff going on. I went to see a brand new radio comedy being recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre a few Friday’s ago. It is being produced by the brilliant Ed Morrish. Who has been behind lots of great radio shows over the years. It is called Welcome To Wherever You Are.

It is hosted by the Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell. It looks at the world of stand up comedy literally with guests from all over the world coming on for a chat. Then doing some of their stand up set to the audience via skype. Which all sounds very odd but it did all work brilliantly.

In the episode I saw we had Storm Xu a Japanese comedian who performed from Shanghai, Tats Nkonzo from South Africa who performed from Cape Town and finally we had Ari Eldjarn who is from Iceland and was performing from Reykjavic. All three of them were very funny.

It just proves how comedy is pretty much the same all over the world. They were all addressing the same subjects that you would expect from British comedians. But obviously putting their own country’s slant on things. It was great to see brand new comics for the first time to. I am not sure when the show will go out on the radio but I will let you know when I do, as it is well worth a listen.

BBC Radio Theatre

BBC Radio Theatre

While we are talking about radio comedy Newsjack is back for its latest series currently. It is a weekly topical comedy programme that anybody can write for. So you can submit your own jokes for it and if they make it in they will pay you for them. I have had some of my material used on it in the past.

I am sending in a few one liners this time round hoping that I can sneak something in. It is very funny and well put together. It always features an excellent cast led by the brilliant Angela Barnes. If I do get any of my jokes in the latest series, rest assured, I will let you know. It goes out Thursday’s at 10.30pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I also went and witnessed the recording of another brand new comedy series for Radio 4. Once again at the BBC Radio Theatre earlier this week. It featured the excellent comedian Rhys James. Who I have seen perform a few times at the Old Rope Comedy Night’s. The show is called Rhys James is……There will be four episodes each taking a look at his life and his outlook on things. I saw all four of them recorded on the same evening.

It is being produced by the very experienced Carl Hooper. Who also works on such programmes as The Now Show and Just a Minute. It was a fun evening featuring some of Rhys’s stand up mixed in with clips of his parents talking about him and some other elements. It is due to go out some time in January next year. It is definitely worth keeping a ear out for. As he has some great jokes and a clever way at looking at the world, as most comics do. He basically got offered the show on the back of Carl Hooper seeing him performing at the Edinburgh Festival. Which shows the value and status of that place.

Radio 4 Comedy

Radio 4 Comedy

I always like discovering new and different places to have a drink in and around London. I stumbled upon one I really liked the other week. It is called the Phoenix Artists Bar. Which is predictably enough next to the Phoenix Theatre.

It is a downstairs bar with a nice selection of drinks and lots of theatre memorabilia on the walls. Including lots of posters and signed photos of performers. Plus they have a piano in there. I saw a poster advertising their sing-a-long-a-musical night. Which sounds brilliant. It is just a nice relaxing bar with a good vibe to it. I would say it is worth a visit, if you are in the area.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I have been to Wembley a lot to watch Tottenham recently. I went to my first Premier League game at the Stadium to see them play Swansea. I met a mate in The Arch pub for a drink before the game. Then headed in to the ground with every intention of having a cup of tea before the match. Until I walked past a pop up Real Ale stand and my plans immediately changed. I really do not have any will power.

The game itself was a bit frustrating but still quite an entertaining goalless draw. I then ended up going to the League Cup game on the Tuesday. They had reduced the tickets to ten pounds. Which is pretty good value for money.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Now having worked at Wembley I have a pretty good knowledge of the place, so I noticed they were even selling these cheap tickets for the best and comfiest seats in the stadium. They are called the Bobby Moore seats after England’s great World Cup winning captain. They are the ones by the players tunnel, behind the benches. Granted these seats normally come with full hospitality. So say for an FA Cup final they are probably around eight hundred pounds each.

Therefore to sit and watch a game there for a tenner was to good an opportunity to miss. Spurs won the game against Barnsley one nil with Dele Alli getting the goal. So it was a good night all round in the end.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

I had never got round to going to Wimbledon and as tickets for the championships are very hard to get hold of to say the least. I decided to do the tour there. As at least that would mean I would be guaranteed to get inside. It turns out the nearest tube station is Southfields, so that is where I got off.

Despite these claims being totally true, it was still about a fifteen minute walk to get to the All England Club. The entrance to the tour brings you right in by Centre Court. You sign in at the shop, then there is a meeting point outside where the tour starts. They have all the order of play boards left up around the place from the previous event across all of the various competitions.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Wimbledon is a big international event and in this modern age digital and internet coverage demand is huge. So we started off in the media area. Before moving on to the TV Studios. Visiting the BBC one where Sue Barker presents from.

One thing that surprised me was how small the outer courts looked, Plus I did not realise how close quite a few of them were to the main show courts. How they get the extra seating in I have no idea. It looks like there is no room for them. The TV studio complex overlooks court eighteen.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Then we were taken to see the players entrance as well as the members and players areas. There are five hundred members of the club. You will not be to surprised to hear that there is a long waiting list and that it is incredibly hard to become a member.

In fact the easiest way to become a member is to win the singles title, as you instantly are then an honorary member. We then went to the press conference room, where all players are contracted to go and speak to the media after their matches. And lastly we were shown in to Centre Court. Which is such an iconic sporting arena.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

The tour was very enjoyable and it was great to have a look around the place. It has definitely made me want to try and get tickets to see a match there. They also do have a museum. So I went and had a look around that. It is very educational about the origins of tennis and of Wimbledon itself. Plus they have a very clever hologram style video of John McEnroe.

As well as lots of great memorabilia from the players. Including many of their rackets and outfits. Judging by the clothing, some of those female tennis players must have been tiny. And finally you get to see the men’s and women’s trophy’s on display. They are probably two of the most recognisable awards in world sport.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

I had been hearing very good things about Motown The Musical, so I thought I better get along to the Shaftesbury Theatre in London to check it out for myself. Which I did last Wednesday. I have never seen a theatre manage to hide their toilets so well. They were almost impossible to find. The show itself tells the story of the Motown Record Label and its founder Berry Gordy Junior. He had several standard dead end jobs before he started writing songs. In fact he wrote Reet Petite for Jackie Wilson. But when he did not feel that he was getting the money he deserved for his songs. He decided to start his own record label and sort of run it like the car plants he used to work in.

Smokey Robinson was the first artist he signed. He became a life-long friend of Gordy and a Motown stalwart through the years. When many artists jumped ship and left to earn more money with bigger labels. At one time The Supremes were the companies most successful group. Possibly not hindered by the fact that Diana Ross and the boss were an item for quite a while. Let us not forget they also gave us The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gale, The Marvelettes and of course Stevie Wonder to mention just a few. And Motown gave the Jackson Five their big break, so therefore set Michael on the route to super stardom.

It is a really good show helped by a brilliant soundtrack from the label that the whole thing is about. It does also cover a few big historical moments which happened during the time the story occurred. Which shaped their business and to a degree the world. The cast were great, they all had fantastic voices and they could all really move to. The dancing was sensational. It is very clever how it is constructed. As the starting point, is the end point and the story is told in the middle as a bridge between them. I thought I knew the story of it all pretty well. But I certainly learnt a few things that I didn’t know. It is well worth seeing. As with it containing all those great songs that it does, you can really not go wrong.

Mowtown The Musical

Motown The Musical

It has been quite good for spotting comedians around the BBC recently. I have seen Jack Whitehall with his dad, Angela Barnes and my old mate from the Tringe Festival Arthur Smith about the building over the last few weeks.

BBC Radio

BBC Radio

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil


Sweet Soul Music   Recently updated !

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been lots of  fun and very interesting. A couple of Friday nights ago now I went to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Stax Prom. Which was a special performance celebrating the music of the great soul record company of that name. It had so many amazing artists signed to it. It was part of the BBC’s Proms series. So it was also shown live on BBC 4.

It was fronted by Jools Holland along with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Plus it featured three fantastic British singers. Who are all big fans of the genre. They were James Morrison, Beverley Knight and Sir Tom Jones. But then it got even better than that, as many of the original Stax performers were there to. And if that was not enough joining the band for the whole evening were Steve Cropper (the great guitarist who amongst many other things co wrote “Sitting on the Doc of the Bay” with Otis Redding) and one of the greatest organ players of all time Booker T Jones. The original Stax artists were Sam Moore, William Bell and Eddie Floyd. Who were singing the huge songs that made the record company and them stars. Some of them just on their own and some of them with the sensational British singers I mentioned earlier singing with them .

It was an amazing night. The Royal Albert Hall is such a great venue. I even got caught up in the moment and splendour of the event. So treated myself to a glass of champagne before the show started. From start to finish it was just great song after great song. The musicians and the singers were all fantastic. It is hard to pick my highlights, as the whole thing was so good. But there was something special about Sam Moore doing Soul Man, Eddie Floyd performing Knock on Wood, William Bell and Beverly Knight with Private Number and then Steve Cropper and Tom Jones doing a stripped down version of Sitting On The Doc of the Bay with just the guitar and vocals only.

It really was an exceptional night. I was so glad I was there to witness all those iconic performers in action. My only complaint is that the gig went so quickly. It is still available on the BBC I-player. If you are a fan of great music I would urge you to take a look at it, if you get chance.

Stax Prom Royal Albert Hall

Stax Prom Royal Albert Hall

I ticked off another thing from my massive to do list recently. I was a fan of the Channel 4 show Whose Line Is It Anyway. Which was basically born out of a group of people called the Comedy Store Players. Who are still going strong today and still have some recognisable names on their books. They perform every Sunday and Wednesday at the Comedy Store in London. So a few Sunday’s ago I went there with a mate to have a look. I do love going to the Comedy Store because as a genuine fan of comedy, there is so much history there. The pictures on the wall of the people who have performed at that venue is like a whose who in the world of international comedy.  In case you have not guessed this was an improvisation night. Where the audience shout out suggestions and the cast have to use them to make up sketches and jokes on the spot.

The “players” on the night included Mike McShane, Josie Lawrence and Paul Merton. Who were all regulars on the old television show. Also joining them were long time members Neil Mullakey, Richard Vranch and Lee Simpson. It was an hilarious evening. They are so funny and clever in the way they bring things to life, interact with each other and just keep the whole evening flowing. They all look like they are having a ball to. I bet doing that regularly keeps them on their toes and match fit. Considering it is all totally made up on the spot. There were so many laugh out loud moments.

I am really glad I got to see it. I would happily go along to see them perform again, as it would be a completely new and different show. As it is every night. They were all equally brilliant although Josie Lawrence does really nail those musical numbers. Oh yes there are even improvised comedy songs. Mind you I do always like watching Paul Merton. He is a very talented and funny man.

Comedy Store Players

Comedy Store Players

I went to see the latest version of Annie in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre. The main reason for my trip was to see Miranda Hart play Miss Hannigan. This did not go quite to plan though, as she was sadly ill on the day I went. So Annie Smith was on stage playing the alcoholic Orphanage Manager. Who for the record was fantastic she did a brilliant job. It is such a positive and uplifting story with some great songs and a nice sprinkling of comedy moments.

But every time I have seen this play and this time was no different, despite the whole cast being great the kids and the dog always steel the show. A great production of a classic. And another enjoyable night out at the theatre. Special praise must go to the woman behind the bar who managed to up sell me from a small glass of red wine to a large glass for an extra pound. I wondered if she was trying to get me drunk but then later I saw the drinks menu and realised this was a genuine deal.

Annie

Annie

Last weekend I was back up in Liverpool. That place is almost like a second home to me now. I visit so often. My Granddad grew up there and lived in the City until he was thirty, so I have always felt an infinity with the place. There were two reasons for my visit. To see my mate Jeff Nolan and to see Tottenham Hotspur play Everton. I arrived on the Friday and had a few beers with Jeff in the evening. So we could chat and catch up.

Then Saturday it was game day. I had managed to get a ticket in the Spurs end for the first time. So we met up before the game but then for the match Jeff went to his normal home season ticket seat and headed for the away end. From my point of view it was a brilliant match. As my team pretty much controlled the game. Harry Kane not only got off the mark for the season but got two goals and Christian Eriksen also got one in a three nil win. To be honest it could of and probably should have been more convincing. I personally think Goodison Park is a tough place to go, so I was delighted with the three points and the manner of the victory.

Everton V Spurs

Everton V Spurs

It is fair to say that Jeff was less delighted that he had just seen his team well beaten at home. There was some text banter during the game and we still met up after to head into the City Centre for a few drinks. Well I mean it was Saturday Night. We started off at a pub on Matthew Street, which is the same street that the famous original Cavern Club was in. We then went to the bar above Liverpool’s famous Parr Studios.

Then we popped in to The Jacaranda. Which was the bar in Liverpool where the Beatles played their very first gig. The music is always great in there. They have a jukebox which always has top tunes on it. We then just continued having a good time. Which at one point included having a few shots of Tequila. Which is something I had not done for years. After a few more bars we jumped in a taxi and called it a night. It was another brilliant weekend in a place where I do really enjoy visiting. I am sure it probably will not be too long before I am back there once again.

Liverpool

Liverpool

Now when I was booking the trains for Liverpool. I noticed that by getting them in advance the difference between say a normal and a first class ticket was twelve pounds. I have done a lot of train journeys over the years but I had never tried this option. So I thought it was about time that changed. Therefore I treated myself to see what it was like. And to see if it was worth it for future reference. It was just me travelling. I had asked for a window seat. Which ended up being just one seat all by itself. While still meeting my requirements. I have to confess it did feel kind of good walking into the first class carriage and sitting down in my reserved seat.

There was plenty of leg room and it was a decent comfy seat. There was complimentary water available. Then about twenty minutes in to the journey they offered a free snack pack. Which contained some sandwiches, pretzels, a chocolate cookie and a biscuit. Which as I very much wanted to get my money’s worth. I ate it all. Then about an hour or so in to the trip they came round offering tea or coffee. I enjoyed the experience and thought it was a very civilised way to travel.  I must admit as long as there was a bit of a deal on it. I would happily give first class a go again. But only if my travel time was more than two hours.  Anything less would be pointless, I think. It was a nice little bit of luxury to round off a fun weekend away.

First Class

First Class

The week has been very Tottenham Hotspur heavy as I went to see the Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday. It was a brilliant performance from my team and a very good win against a very skillful and exciting side. It was one all inside the first ten minutes. With the way each team were attacking at that point I feared it might end up eight all. Spurs got on top, the whole team played well and we won three-one. Which is a massive three points to get in such a competitive and tough league. It was a perfect start to the campaign.

Fair play to the Dortmund fans they were excellent and did not stop singing and bouncing through the whole ninety minutes. It was also nice to get a good win at Wembley at last. I am looking forward to going to see them play Swansea this evening. When hopefully we will get that first league win at Wembley out of the way. That would really help get our domestic season properly kick started. Plus build momentum after that great win at Everton. Hopefully I will again prove to be a lucky mascot. As we go for three in a row.

Tottenham V Dortmund

Tottenham V Dortmund

I am still busy working in London for the BBC. The other day I found myself in a lift at Broadcasting House with the former England Cricket Captain Michael Vaughan. And while I was having a bite to eat in the canteen the Brexit Minister David Davis also just happened to walk past me. After he had finished having some Breakfast with Andrew Marr. Plus the other day the Killers were playing live outside the building. Which was pretty cool.
BBC Studio

BBC Studio

Finally just a quick reminder that you can still hear me for one more week on Red Kite Radio this Monday to Thursday 4pm – 7pm and Friday 4pm – 8pm . Listen Here

Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil