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Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun things going on. I was born in Aylesbury and I’ve spent most of my life in Buckinghamshire with the exception of the five years I spent living and working in Somerset. And the two years I spent in Middlesex as a child. The reason I mention this is the other day I visited the place where I used to live from the age’s of around eight to ten.

My parents moved there to run a Forbuoys newsagents. And we lived in the flat above the shop in Isleworth. It was quite a culture shock for a young boy to move from a lovely little village school to a big one on the outskirts of London. I grew up more during those two years than I did all through the rest of my childhood.

Bush Corner, Isleworth

Bush Corner, Isleworth

Everybody there was very nice to me possibly because they knew my parents ran a shop and they thought I might be able to get them free sweets. It gave me the life skill of adjusting to new situations and making new friends from scratch at a very early age. I joined the Cubs while I was there. Mainly as that was the only way I could find to play football locally. But I did gain both my Cooking and Entertainment badges during my time with them.

I also did my first paper rounds with my dad there. A job I later did until I was about eighteen. It was the first time I had been back to the area since we moved back to Buckinghamshire on the day of my tenth birthday. It was a bit odd, as I was walking towards it I suddenly started recognising things and also remembering road names, I thought I had long since forgotten about.

Then suddenly I was standing right outside the shop. It is an Off License now. It seemed quite weird being back there. The front door to the flat is next to the shop and it still appeared to be the same old wooden door from when we lived there. Which was thirty years ago now. I did manage to get a few pictures of the shop. I did not go in but I could see they had moved the counter and changed lots of things with the interior.

It is at an area known as Bush Corner. When my parents ran the shop we did have a couple of celebrity customers. Gordon Kaye and Frances De La Tour used to come in to get their papers. It was nice to briefly re-visit the old place once again.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Anyway the reason I was actually in Isleworth was to watch a recording of Harry Hill’s Tea Time Show for Sky TV. It had been a while since I had been to their studios. It is a very nice set up they have there. All very classy. The show features Harry and a guest. During it they make the most ridiculous three course meal. While they are chatting to each other and having a laugh. Then the whole thing ends in a massive food fight. The episode I watched was an Elvis special, so Harry was dressed up as him complete with a very impressive wig. His guest for the evening was Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Before they started filming Harry Hill came out and did some jokes, which were brilliant and very funny. I have not seen his stand up show but on this basis I would suggest it is worth a look. It also features the brilliant Charlie Baker as his put upon assistant. I am not sure when it is on but keep an eye out for it as there is a good chance you will spot me in the audience. For the food fight at the end they pull some one out of the audience to join in. And the person they selected was sat next to me. It was a fun and as you would expect a pretty surreal evening. Also it was good to see Alan Conley on stage management duties. He works on all the biggest television shows and is brilliant.

Neil Quigley in London

Neil Quigley in London

I was at a friends party earlier this year in London, where I was introduced to someone who ran their own restaurant. In fact they were just about to open their second one in the chain in another part of the capital. The original one is only about an eight minute walk from where I work. Now I had been meaning to try it out for ages but not got round to it. Then last week my mate was in town and met me after work for food, so I suggested we try it out. It is called Calcutta Street and it is owned and run by the ace Shrimoyee Chakraborty.

It serves traditional Bengali Street food. So I guess you could say the menu is slightly different to your more conventional Indian Restaurant. But the food there is amazing. A great combination of tastes and flavours. Having a very sweet tooth, as well as sampling the main meal I had to also try one of the puddings of course. Sadly Shrimoyee was not there when I went, as it would have been lovely to see her and personally congratulate her on what a great place she has. I will be definitely going back, as I really enjoyed the experience. Plus it is located in Tottenham Street. Which is a big selling point for me.

Neil Quigley Presenter

Neil Quigley Presenter

Last Friday I enjoyed yet another trip to the theatre. This time I went to see The Philanthropist at the Trafalgar Studios in London. The new version of a classic is produced by the brilliant actor Simon Callow. It boasts a pretty impressive cast list with Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal, Matt Berry, Charlotte Richie and Lily Cole appearing in it.

It is set at an University and centres around the relationship of the two main characters, who are both super intelligent lecturers. It is a comedy, so there are plenty of jokes and awkward moments. The cast do a grand job. Matt Berry gets the award for best costume for his very bright purple suit. It was a nice evening out enjoying some live theatre entertainment.

The Philanthropist

The Philanthropist

Near to where I live there is a Home of Rest For Horses where a lot of former Police and Military Horses go to retire. It is in a village called Speen. Last weekend they had a Horses, Hounds and Heroes Day. Some friends of mine were taking their children along, so I said I would go and meet up with them.

I think the last time I had visited the place must have been about twenty years ago. The stables area did not seem to have changed and it was still pretty much how I remembered it. You can go up to the stables to see the horses, which are all very friendly and will let you stroke their heads. So it is a great way of introducing kids to the animals.

Home for Horses, Speen

Home for Horses, Speen

As part of the event they had a main arena set up with Birds of Prey displays, Police horse demonstrations and an appearance from some military gun horses. Plus around the site they had pony rides, more birds of prey and emergency vehicles for the children to sit in and have their pictures taken in. It was a really nice and friendly place and the animals are lovely and actually seem to enjoy the company of the visitors.

Most of those horses have seen active service and some of them have seen things that possibly still give them flash backs. It was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Even just for the great views of the countryside that you get from the place.

Home for Horses, Speen

Home for Horses, Speen

Congratulations to my good friend and former colleague Nathan Cooper who celebrated reaching twenty years at Mix 96 the other week. He joined in the year after it had launched starting on the Evening Show. He has since presented every single show on the station and I am pretty sure virtually carried out every role he possibly could have while he has been there.

As well as being a fantastic bloke, he is an excellent presenter, who has now been keeping Bucks and Beyond entertained for two whole decades. He has hosted more firework displays than most people have had hot dinners. It was a pleasure and an honour to work with him during some of that time at the Aylesbury based radio station. Here’s to another twenty years of Nathan Cooper at Mix 96. Well done mate!

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

We are now around a month away from the start of the Premier League Football Season. I am quite excited about it. As my team Tottenham Hotspur have had a couple of decent years and I am hoping we can push on and improve again this year. One thing that is going to be odd this year is that we are playing all our home games at Wembley Stadium.

Which from a purely selfish point of view is a lot easier for me to get to and from than White Hart Lane. Therefore I am hoping to get along and see quite a few games this season. It is going to be interesting to see how we cope with these new regular surroundings. I am also intrigued to see who we and the other clubs sign before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I first wanted to work in radio after hearing Chris Evans do the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. It is a station that I have listened to quite a bit over the years. A couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to sit in and watch the lunchtime Radio 1 Newsbeat update. It was the first time I had actually been in to the Radio 1 offices.

As you would expect the journalists were busy working hard putting the programme together. With the Editor then checking every story before he was happy to accept it was ready for broadcast. It was only about fifteen minutes before the show was due on air that the programme was completely ready to go.

It is such a rapid and fast paced update with lots of production. It has to start exactly on time as Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra both take it. The programme comes from its own purpose built studio and the main stations studios pick it up and play it out themselves. The fifteen minute show really does fly by.

It is very slickly put together and is very fast paced. In an average show they will use eight or nine different music beds during the course of it. It was interesting to witness something I had heard on the radio many times over the years, in person. That is the closest that I have got to any Radio 1 output currently.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

A while ago now I also got to see a bit of Radio Five Live’s Pienaar’s Politics. The host John Piennar is brilliant by the way at keeping the discussion moving and his guests in order. Which is not as easy as it sounds but he does it effortlessly.

The guests on the show I witnessed included the comedian Mark Steel, the politician Ian Duncan Smith and the film director Ken Loach. It was not long after the general election, so as you can imagine there was lots to talk about. It was interesting seeing how Five Live works and how it is different in some respects to some of the other BBC Stations.

BBC Radio

BBC Radio

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


Roving Comedy

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 recently went to see one of the London heats of the BBC New Comedy Award 2017 at the Up The Creek Comedy Club in Greenwich.

Former winners of this award include Marcus Brigstocke, Alan Carr, Nina Conti, Rhod Gilbert and Angela Barnes. Peter Kay was a finalist back in 1997 but was beaten to the award by Paul Foot. The night I saw was hosted by the great Kerry Godliman. Who if you think her name sounds familiar, played Hannah in Ricky Gervais’s Derek. She is a brilliant stand up in her own right. And did a top job.

There were Ten acts competing to get through to the semi-finals. I thought the quality and standard was exceptionally high. They were all really good and put in some very composed and professional performances. I was very impressed with everyone.

The judges on the night, who included the comedian Holly Walsh. Had to choose a winner and two runners’ up to send through to the next round. Personally I think they got it about right with their decision making. Whoever wins the overall competition gets a cash prize and a radio show commission for Radio 4. Which is pretty cool. The heat was recorded and put out on Radio 4. The Semi-finals this year will take place during the Edinburgh Festival.

BBC New Comedy Awards

BBC New Comedy Awards

Now having previously worked for Regatta Radio. I got to know a few people involved with Henley-on-Thames and a little bit about the rowing itself. So every year I do try and get to at least one day of the Henley Royal Regatta. This time I went on day one. I met up with my mate George Thomas.

We started off by having a quick drink in one of the pubs near the bridge. Then we headed off to the river bank to catch some of the big race action. If you have never been it is a fantastic occasion. As you walk down the river there are lots of enclosures where you can get a selection of food and drinks. Many of them have live music to. So as you watch the races go past, there is plenty to keep you entertained until the next one comes along.

Neil Quigley & George Thomas

Neil Quigley & George Thomas

We walked all the way down to the start and watched a few races from the grandstand there. Before then heading back up the river. While we were watching the rowing we did treat ourselves to a couple of pints of one of my favourite local ales. The IPA from the Rebellion Brewery in Marlow.

I think it is fair to say that the Regatta is very much a celebration of rowing. And there are certainly plenty of people getting right in to the spirit of things. I think it is something you should do at least once in your life. I would guess once you have been once, you will probably go back again and again. I fully intend to return for an afternoon there again next year.

Henley Regatta

Henley Regatta

We then left the river and George took me for a pint in his favourite pub in Henley. Which did not disappoint. It is fascinating walking through the town when this event is on. You obviously see lots of very tall, fit and strong athletes. As well as lots of very smartly dressed people.

Many of them in very bright jackets. Which show you the rowing club they belong to. And if they have previously rowed in the Regatta. Many people who rowed in school still come back to see the next generation of rowers compete and to enjoy the unique atmosphere for many decades after they originally raced.

"Gloriana" looking very regal at Henley Regatta

“Gloriana” looking very regal at Henley Regatta

Thanks to an invitation from my friend and former boss Steve Carpenter. I made a very late decision to go along with him to see the first British Summertime concert of the year at Hyde Park last Friday. There are several of these concerts taking place over the next month with lots of different headliners.

They have three stages there. The main one called the Great Oak Stage, the event’s sponsor Barclaycard have one and then there is a much smaller stage called the Summertime Stage.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park

The line up at the gig I was at was brilliant. On the main stage alone we had KC and the Sunshine Band, Mike and the Mechanics, Blondie and the headline act Phil Collins. So I did not really need to go and check out any of the other stages.

But I did have to pop along to see a few songs from Chas & Dave. Who were playing on the Summertime Stage. And as ever they were ace. I interviewed Chas several years ago. He was brilliant. Such an interesting and lovely bloke.

Chas & Dave

Chas & Dave

The set up in Hyde Park was very good. It was packed as you would expect but it was still pretty easy to get food and drink, as well as to get to the toilets. It is a bit like being at a mini festival except with the bonus that you can sleep in your own bed when it ends. So KC and the Sunshine Band kicked things off on the main stage.

I think the last time I had seen them would have been about fifteen years ago at the Birmingham NEC. As part of one of those seventies and eighties revival nights. They really are one of those bands who have had more decent hits than you think. And you will recognise more of their songs than you thought. They did a great job. And even though it was early evening and still sunny. They still got the crowd dancing.

Phil Collins

Phil Collins

Next up it was Mike and the Mechanics. I have to confess I am a fan of their work. I know and like a lot of their songs. The line up of the band has always been fairly loose and has changed lots over the years with Mike Rutherford whose band it is, as the constant. Andrew Roachford is now part of the line up. His voice really does lend itself to their songs. They played all their big hits and their brilliant new single. Closing their set with the fantastic “All I Need Is A Miracle”. Which is a quality tune.

It was at this point that I nipped off to see Chas & Dave for a bit. Before then returning to the main stage area to see Blondie. They are another band with an amazing back catalogue of songs. I am a huge fan of theirs and I was excited to see them play for the first time.

Debbie Harry is one of the best front women of all time, I would say. The band were sounding great. Though if I am honest Debbie seemed to struggle a bit on some of the vocals of the early big hits. But in her defence some of them were released nearly forty years ago. She sounded excellent on the newer stuff though. I thoroughly enjoyed them. It was a great afternoon/evening having a few drinks and listening to some top quality live music.

Blondie

Blondie

Then it was time for the headline act Phil Collins. He is struggling a bit nowadays. Several back operations have left him struggling to walk, so he needs a stick to get around and had to sit on a stool to perform. But that did not stop him from being absolutely sensational. His band which he had clearly assembled himself were quality, so together and tight.

Phil of course renowned as one of the best drummers of all time, had passed on the baton to his sixteen year old son Nicholas for this gig. He was exceptional, as let’s face it there are some big drumming parts in Phil’s songs. As he wrote these for himself when he was playing them on the records. He must have one of the coolest jobs of any teenager I know. Playing drums in front of sixty-thousand people on some of the biggest hits of all time with your dad.

Phil Collins

Phil Collins

Phil Collins was brilliant, his voice sounded better than ever. He was very chilled and chatty between the songs. And he performed a great set of his own songs with a few of the big Genesis hits thrown in for good measure.

I must admit hearing some of those songs performed live for the first time reminded me how good he is. He had the whole crowd up on their feet dancing and singing along. I am so pleased I decided to go along. I had a fantastic time catching up with a good friend, while enjoying some excellent live music.

Phil Collins

Phil Collins

Last Saturday I went to meet a mate for a birthday drink at a Summer Garden Party at The Shoulder of Mutton pub in Wendover. It was a family event. With plenty for the children to do, a mini beer festival and some live music. While I was there a young lad with a guitar was performing a mixture of covers and his own songs. He was ace and provided a nice back ground to chat and catch up with people to.

Then a very decent band rounded off the event. They featured a couple of people I knew from various other bands from the Aylesbury area from over the years. They were fronted by a father and daughter combination. They played a wide and varied range of cover songs. It was a nice way to spend the evening just in a pub beer garden listening once again to some live music.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Last Sunday it was The Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night 2017. I first performed at this event five years ago after completing a course with the comedy guru that is Mr Logan Murray. So this time I was back with five minutes of new material to unleash on the good people of Tring.

As I arrived at the meeting place for our pre-show briefing I was actually feeling a little bit more nervous than I did the first time that I did it in 2012.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Everyone performing this year had done it before, so we were representing our original groups’ year at this year’s gig. It was nice to meet the people who I would be gigging with from the first time. We introduced ourselves to each other and then shared our own previous experiences from the first time we had done it. I was going to be touring around with Nick Mellors, Damian Hammond and Jake Cuddihy. The professional with us for our mini show was the great Paul B Edwards.

We would perform our show in four different pubs in Tring but we would each have to sit one out and so perform three times each through the night. The first pub was the Kings Arms, which was the one I was to sit out. So I got to watch all the other acts, while mentally preparing myself for my first gig at the next pub.

Paul B Edwards

Paul B Edwards

That pub was the Robin Hood. I went on first as I wanted to get my first one done. As this was all untried new material that had not been performed in front of an audience before. Happily it went well and I had a ball doing it. It was great to be back at the Tringe. You can’t beat that adrenaline rush when they announce your name and you walk to the stage to do your stuff.

The next pub was The Black Horse. Which was the first venue I performed in five years ago. The compere’ in there was my comedy dad Logan Murray, so it was great to see him again. Even though he scared the life out of me, as I was expecting to go on third at this venue. So I was just relaxing when he announced me as the second act, and I had to race to the stage to perform but it was all good though.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

The final venue was The Anchor where I performed my new material for the third and final time that night. Therefore completing my second Roving Comedy Night. It was great fun once again. And I still think one of the best experiences you can have.

I think because I had done it before I could take it all in and actually enjoy it a bit more this time around. After the last gig it was back to The Kings Arms to catch up with everyone and have a couple of well deserved beers.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

It was lovely to spend some more time catching up with Logan Murray. Nice to have a quick chat with Arthur Smith. Great to see and thank Ben Moorhouse, the man who makes the whole Tringe happen for organising such a great and enjoyable event. I got to meet and chat to the other former Rovers who had performed including the very funny Olaf Falafel. Who did the course the year before me and is really starting to make a bit of a name for himself in the world of comedy.

And lastly it was lovely to catch and and have a chat with Silky, who is a brilliant comedian and a great bloke. In fact he was one of the finalist’s in the very first BBC New Comedy Awards. And everyone in Comedy knows him and has probably worked with him at some point.

Logan Murray

Logan Murray

It was a wonderful evening going back to perform in Tring at an event so special to me. I loved every minute of being back there and doing my comedy. It has inspired me once again to try and do a bit more Stand Up.

It seems a shame not to get a bit more value out of the new material I have written. Plus I really do enjoy getting up on stage and doing it. It was great to be back!

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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


Stand Up and Make It Count

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun things going on. It has been a pretty decent week weather wise and I do think I am more of a Spring/Summer person, as I do like the sunshine.

The other Sunday afternoon I met a mate and just went for a few drinks in and around London. When you have no timescale and no real plan. You can just wander around and go where the mood takes you. And let’s face it there are lots of options in the Capital.

We started off just by Bond Street before making our way to Soho to enjoy a pint in the legendary Dog and Duck. From there it was just down the road to The Cambridge just opposite the Palace Theatre. In there we tried a few different halves of some local real ales including an intriguing plumb flavoured porter, which was lovely.

Next we headed to a tried and tested favourite The Albany at the top of Great Portland Street. The main reason being that they do a fantastic Sunday roast in there. Which once again did not disappoint. Then we called it a day and went home. I do like relaxing and fun afternoons like that.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I have always been good at going to the Dentist pretty regularly, which I appreciate some people do struggle with. Now I have got to the stage where I actually book my own clean and polish appointments without being asked to.

I would not say I particularly enjoy these extra trips but my dentist is very nice and I always feel better for them. It is a pretty thorough clean which I am relieved I do not have to go through every morning and evening when I am brushing at home. I mean what do they use to power that special tooth brush? I am guessing it is the battery from an pneumatic drill by the sound of it.

Neil Quigley Presenter

Neil Quigley Presenter

I had a bit of a disaster the other week. I was walking out of work when I decided to look at my mobile phone. As I was getting it out it got caught on the side of my pocket and fell out of my hands only to fly about a meter through the air and come crashing down twice on the screen. Needless to say this did not do it much good.

In fact it pretty much shattered the whole display screen. Luckily it was still somehow working but with the screen broken and big cracks in it. It was pretty hard to read anything on it. After doing quite a bit of emergency research on what to do next. I was advised that as I had insurance it was best to claim on that and get a new replacement phone.

So I phoned the insurance company and they said it was all fine. They could do it but there was an excess charge of one hundred pounds to pay. But as this was considerably cheaper than buying a new I-phone. I went ahead with the claim. So you have to send them the broken phone and then they assess it before sending you out the new phone. This process could take up to seven working days. I got my first mobile phone in about nineteen ninety-nine and I had not been without one since. Like most people pretty much my entire life is on my phone, so I was a bit concerned about being without it for a whole week. But basically I had no choice. So away it went.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I will be honest I actually found not having one to be quite liberating. It meant I actually had to talk to people and just spend time chilling and thinking when I was travelling to places. Although I will admit it was annoying not to be able to check the internet whenever I wanted. It did feel a bit strange only being able to speak to people by email or through Facebook when I was near a computer.

But I did not actually miss it as much as I thought I would. I mean I still managed to have friends and meet up with them prior to ever having a mobile, so I should still be able to do that. However it was really odd not having one. But I kind of liked the freedom that no one could get in touch with me, like some wild and crazy maverick just going through life by himself.

That said I was pretty happy and excited when the new phone arrived. Happily they under promised and over delivered, as I received it within five days of making the initial claim. Although setting up the new one was a bit stressful. I use I-cloud so all my settings and documents were saved there, ready to install on the new device.

However as a part of this set up Apple send you a code to your phone, which at that point is not set up so you can’t see it. So unless you own another Apple device that you can log in to, it means a long call to Apple Support to get it sorted. Credit where it is due, the lady I spoke to was brilliant and very helpful and talked me through it. But we can certainly file this in the nothing is ever simple is it file. Mind you I got it all sorted and set up. So I am now back in the twenty-first century. And have a mobile phone with me again at all times, just like the rest of the world.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live

Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

I went to see a Radio 4 Sitcom pilot being recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre last Monday. It starred the brilliant Tony Law. Who was the professional comedian that I was with when I did the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night for the first time five years ago. More on that later.

This comedy was written with him in mind and has his name in the title. As I have met him and do kind of know him we did have a brief Twitter exchange beforehand. Although to be fair as it was such a lovely hot and sunny day it was just me checking the air conditioning was on. Which for the record it was.

So Tony Law being Tony Law he had dressed up in character for the performance. But to be fair his stage gear is usually pretty distinctive anyway. The cast also included the great Helen Lederer and excellent Nina Wadia. The basic premise is that Tony is an explorer, who leads his own unique crew around the world on missions. A little bit like a kind of radio Indiana Jones.

It was a fun night and I really enjoyed the show. It is just a pilot but the episode will get played out on Radio 4 at some point and then the powers that be will decide if it gets a series or not. I enjoyed it and would like to see it get a series, mainly because I think it is something that Tony Law deserves. Keep a look out for it. It is worth a listen, if you like your comedy a little surreal and slightly off the wall.

BBC Radio Theatre

BBC Radio Theatre

I had my first experience of Royal Ascot this week. It is an event I had always wanted to go to but never quite got round to. Until I decided very last minute to go along to day one of the festival on Tuesday.

I had been to Ascot a few times before but as soon as you stepped off the train at the station you can tell that it is a big deal. The atmosphere is ace and hits you right from your arrival. All the bars have marquees and music blaring out and there are just very well dressed people everywhere.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I had managed to get myself a ticket in the Windsor Enclosure and headed straight there. It was around lunch time, so my first port of call was the food stand to get a pretty decent burger. As you know it is important to fuel yourself properly for these occasions.

It was a lovely hot day and my hair does not offer the protection it once did so I then decided to check out the Ascot shop and buy myself a Royal Ascot baseball cap. Which did an excellent job keeping me from burning my head.  Although I am not sure it went that well with my suit.

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

Now I know opinions differ on this but I am a big supporter and fan of the Royal Family. So I made sure that I secured myself a nice spot to see the Royal Procession. Which takes place before the start of the days racing.

It was a spectacular sight with the military horses leading the way followed by the carriages containing the Royals. It was great seeing the Queen and Prince Phillip go past smiling and waving. And it was the first time I had got to see Prince William and Princess Catherine in the flesh, which was nice. Once they had gone past, it was time to get down to the racing.

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

I had a bad day on the betting front. Despite wearing my “lucky suit” I did not pick any winners at all. That is the first time in four meetings that it has let me down. But I am seriously thinking about burning it. That’s show business. I do not think I was alone I saw a lot of happy bookmakers at the end.

Despite my lack of success it was a great day. The whole thing has a party atmosphere to it and it was an exciting day out. It is such a spectacle. I am already hoping and planning to go back and do it again next year.

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

This weekend it is the Glastonbury Festival. I have been twice before to this amazing event. In fact this year is the tenth anniversary since my first visit. I camped there for the whole weekend and had a brilliant time. Although we did have back stage passes and were in a special area with our tent.Which did make the whole experience a bit more exciting and interesting. I saw some brilliant and amazing acts and performances.

I would really like to go back to do it all again but I never quite get round to organising it. If you have never been I would recommend you try to go along once to experience it but tickets are so hard to get hold of as the demand is so high. It is well worth experiencing though. The atmosphere there is so special. There is so much on offer to see and do. You will miss much more than you actually manage to see but the things you do see will become a special lasting memory.

Neil Quigley at Glastonbury

Next Sunday 2nd July it is the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night. I made my debut at this great event five years ago. And this year I return to the event at which I gave my first ever stand up comedy performance. I am really looking forward to performing. It is going to be a fun night.

It will be great to catch up with the members of the Roving Comedy Club and my comedy guru and teacher Logan Murray. He will be the host at one of the four pubs in Tring that are taking part. One of the four venues has already sold out. So if you want to get some tickets for one of the other venues, I would not hang about. Roving Comedy Night 

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

So you buy a ticket for one of the pubs and stay there all night to see all of the comics performing. While the comedians move around and perform in each of the pubs. So we have a great laugh and giggle moving from pub to pub and experiencing a completely new audience every time. Headlining each of the groups of comedians at each venue will be Carey Marx, Paul B Edwards, Silky and Arthur Smith.

The first time I did it, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was happily recommending to people that they should do it, so when the opportunity came up for me to do it again. I did not hesitate and said yes straight away.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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


Food for Thought

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy with some fun stuff happening. A couple of Friday’s ago, a good friend of mine invited me around to his house for some food and a few drinks.

Everybody has such busy lives nowadays, it is really hard to organise the time to meet up and see people. Which I think makes this time spent with mates and family even more special and precious. Even more so in light of the recent events in Manchester and London. So it was brilliant to catch up with one of my oldest friends and his family.

Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun

Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun

It was a lovely hot and sunny day. He has a very nice garden. So we had a few beers outside before he fired up the barbecue. Both him and his wife are excellent cooks, so the standard of food when I go round to there place is always high. He cooked up a selection of steak, chicken, salmon and sausages. Which was supplemented by a potato salad and finished off by a wonderful home made fruit salad.

This was all washed down with a few glasses of a twelve year old Rioja, which I supplied. I know my Red Wine. It was a fun night spent in great company with lovely food and drink. It is so important to enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I also went out in Oxford recently for some food and drink. One of the things I really enjoyed from my recent trip to Barcelona was the Catalan style Tapas. Somebody told me about a great restaurant in the Jericho area of Oxford, which did this type of cuisine. So it would have been rude not to try it out. Firstly I sampled the wine. The Rioja there was very nice. Then I ordered a selection of four different dishes to try. Which is kind of how a Tapas style meal works. You have a little selection of what is on offer from the vast menu.

The first dish that arrived was baked goats cheese and honey. Which although I admit sounds a bit of an odd combination was fantastic. So that was a very strong start. Then the waiter brought out the spicy potatoes, the chicken and chorizo in tomato sauce and the roasted peppers dish.

The first two were nice and I enjoyed them but the peppers were a little disappointing. The first meal I had in Barcelona was a pepper dish and that was sensational. I was hoping for more of the same here, but sadly this offering was no where near as good. Mind you, I was too full for pudding, which I must confess is very rare for me.

After the food I continued the evening at a really nice wine bar down the same road as the restaurant with a few more glasses of what else but Rioja. It was a civilised evening. Some decent food and and few glasses of a nice Red Wine. Which is the kind of night I am starting to enjoy more as I get a little bit older.

Oxford is such a beautiful City. And now a really easy journey from my local train station. So I think I might end up doing some more exploring there before the end of the summer. I did work there for a bit at a radio station called Passion 107.9. But I did not really go out there that much at the time, so there is plenty for me still to discover.

Oxford

Oxford

I have to be totally honest for the first time ever in my entire life I had no interest in the FA Cup Final and for the first time ever I did not watch it. Normally I will want one of the teams to win, so support them for the day. Or I will really not mind who wins and just watch it hoping for a good and entertaining match. Sadly this year it was kind of like the perfect storm for me.

Being a Tottenham Hotspur fan, my two least favourite teams in the world are Arsenal and Chelsea. I wanted both of them to lose and did not want either of them to win the cup. Which I knew was impossible, so I avoided the game. That said well done to Arsenal on winning. Hopefully next year I will be able to return to the joy and excitement of FA Cup Final day once again.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

My dad celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday last weekend. He also retired from work to. So he held a retirement party for all the people he has worked with for the last twelve years at his final place of employment. Fair play to him. He organised it all by himself at a local pub near by where he lives. There was food, music and some nice speeches, so I was very impressed. It was also nice to see how popular he was at work, judging by the number of people who turned up to be there with him. And the nice messages that he got in his many leaving cards.

During his speech I found myself in the rather unusual position of cameraman, so he could have a nice memory of the occasion. Although me, my mum and sister slightly spoiled the effect by laughing a little bit too loud at his former boss making fun of some of his quirks. Which he only discovered when he watched the video the next day.

I to played my part. He had a buffet there. When it was announced it was open. Nobody at all was going up to get any of the food. As they were all politely waiting for someone to go first. Luckily I stepped in here, went up and filled my plate up. Then suddenly everyone started following me and started eating. In life there are shepherds and sheep and that night I was the shepherd.

Family Meal

Family Meal

I am not saying he was really milking the occasion but we also went out for a nice Sunday lunch to celebrate. There is nothing better than heading out to a pub for a nice roast dinner, it saves cooking and washing up for starters. We returned to the same place where my dad had held his party the night before.

While there I continued my support of locally produced beer by having a pint of the award winning Chiltern Brewery “Beechwood” beer. The other bonus about having food out is that generally most places have a much better selection of puddings than you do at home. Which for someone who always likes to finish off any meal with something sweet is a big plus point.

Windsor Races Winning

Windsor Races Winning

Then the final part of his Birthday celebrations was a trip to Windsor Races. He booked us a table in one of the restaurants in the Club Enclosure. Which overlooked the the home straight. It was the first time that we had, had this experience at a course that we have visited many times. I have to say it was brilliant.

There was a glass of Champagne on arrival. A fish platter to share. Which was amazing and unbelievably the first time I had ever tried Crab and Mussel. It will not be the last. Then we had a top quality three course meal. I had the Pork dish for my main. Not only did it taste fantastic but the presentation was sensational. It was made to look like a rural country field with even the crackling made in to a gate. It almost looked to good to eat.

After the food was over we enjoyed a great evening of racing. I was wearing what has now become my lucky racing suit. I bought it for Aintree and had a winner there. I then wore it at Newbury and had a winner there. And once again at Windsor it gave me a decent winner. Which pretty much paid for my night. So next time I go racing, I make no apology for the fact that I will be wearing it again. It was a lovely way of rounding of my dad’s celebrations and a great way to enjoy an evening’s horse racing.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

It was also the Britain’s Got Talent final last weekend. This year was a bit different as the judges did not actually have any say in the acts going through to the final. They were allowed to have their say on the performances but for the first time ever it was solely decided by the public vote. Credit where it is due. Doing it this way did mean there was generally a nice variety of acts. Although three magicians with two of them doing similar things was probably a little bit over the top.

As ever with this show there were quite a few people in the final who you could not see progressing any further. The whole act was what you saw and you could not really see it developing or evolving. But then if the competition is to just to win a quarter of a million pounds and perform at The Royal Variety Performance, I guess that does not really matter.

BGT London

BGT London

The show was brilliantly held together by Ant & Dec who for me are still the best presenting duo on television. Even when they make mistakes they help each other out, make a joke out of it and sort of just gloss over it. Which is a skill in itself. Love or hate the judges they do complement each other nicely. They all bring something different to the party across the entertainment genre. They do all have different areas of expertise.

I have said this before Simon Cowell has definitely mellowed a bit since becoming a dad. I mean he still can be honest and brutal when he needs to but he is better at talking to the kids. And certainly seems a lot more emotional about some of the performances that he witnesses. And much as it pains me to admit it, he is still the judge I agree with most often.

BGT London

BGT London

It was won this year by the very talented multi-instrumentalist Tokio Myers. Clearly a very clever and accomplished performer.  Although it is difficult to see what he can do with it to develop and grow it. He may find it tricky finding a big audience to see an individual concert because he is not really a standard classical artist. And you wonder if the people he appeals to would go to that sort of gig. I think collaborations could be the future for him. That said congratulations to him. He deserved to win it.

In third place it was the comedian Daliso Chaponda. He was very good but I do think it is very hard to shine as a comedian on this show. They are clearly very restricted with what they can do and it also feels a bit forced. And it is not a typical comedy style audience. If you are a singer with a great voice you can sing someone else’s song and impress. Comics have to do all their own stuff. I just think it is tough, so personally I can never see a comedian winning it. May be there should be a spin off show just for comedian’s only. If that now happens I want royalties, as it was clearly my idea.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

It is now less than a month until my next big stand up comedy gig at the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night. It takes place across four pubs in Tring on Sunday 2nd July. I am really looking forward to it. I will be on with some other former Roving Comedy performers from over the last eight years.

I made my first appearance there five years ago now.  If you fancy coming along for what is always a fun evening. There are still some tickets available. You will get to see about sixteen comedians in one evening, in one venue. Including at least four professional comics. Follow this link for more details. http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/2017/07/roving-comedy-night/

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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


Up For A Laugh

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun things going on. A couple of Saturday’s ago I went to my mate’s brother’s thirtieth birthday drinks at a cool bar just near to London Bridge Station. I had not been there before and he had hired out a private bar area just for all his guests. It had a decent selection of different craft beers for me to try to work my way through.

I have known my friend and his sibling for years. In fact his brother very kindly designed and built the first version of my website. Which he did as part of his University studies and for the very reasonable fee of a crate of beer. Which is how I like to pay for most services I use. He has now gone on to work for an agency, which promotes much bigger brands than me and which means he is often jetting all over Europe for work. So it is fair to say he has done very well for himself. It was great to catch up with him.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

There were also lots of other very friendly and interesting people there to talk to. I met their cousin for the first time, who is an actor. I have actually seen him perform once before although I did not realise that at the time. He was in a touring version of Spamalot, which I went and watched at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

He was also in the television show Peaky Blinders for a bit to. He has just signed with a new agent who already has some very big and well respected actor’s on their books. So hopefully we will be seeing a lot more of him on screen and on the stage over the next few years. For the record he is a great bloke. We had a really nice chat.

Adam Fisher

Adam Fisher

I also met an amazing lady who has set up from scratch her own Indian Restaurant in a pretty trendy area of London. It has been running for a couple of years and is doing so well that she is about to open another one in Brixton. So this could be the start of a big chain of this particular brand. She seemed so enthusiastic, happy and energetic, which I guess you need to be if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

I have since seen pictures of some of the dishes served there and they look fantastic. I do plan to go there and check it out for myself at some point. As the original place is not that far away from where I work. It was cool to meet her. It was a very chilled, fun and interesting evening.

Neil Quigley Presenter

Neil Quigley Presenter

So since we spoke last my team Tottenham Hotspur have played their last game at White Hart Lane. We beat Manchester United by two goals to one, meaning that we went the whole of our final season at the old place undefeated. There was a fitting send off after the game with lots of former players there.

They are not messing around with the new stadium project though. They literally started pulling it down within a couple of hours of the closing ceremony. So next year we play our games at Wembley Stadium. I must admit that is easier for me to get to and with hopefully more tickets available for each match. I do hope to get to a lot more games next season.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

We finished the season strongly winning our last two game’s away at Leicester City and Hull City by six one and seven one, respectively. If we can somehow take that form in to the start of next season that will be amazing. We finished second, so we will again play Champions League Football next season. Our Striker Harry Kane was the Premier League’s leading goal scorer for the second year in the row.

It has been a brilliant season. As a lifelong fan of the club I can honestly say that there has never been a more exciting time to be a Spurs fan. I already can’t wait for next season. I hope the players enjoy their break and then return even hungrier for success. And that we will keep all our best ones and add a few new ones.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Last Saturday as a Fortieth Birthday present a good friend of mine Adam Fisher took me to Newbury Races. It was the first time that I had been to that particular course. We went via train. It actually has its own dedicated station, which is about two minutes walk from the entrance. So as a way of getting there and back it is excellent.

On arrival we decided to sensibly get some food, so found a burger bar which fulfilled our needs and set us up for an afternoon’s racing. Now for me personally part of the fun is having a bet on the races. I like going to the bookies by the course and once I have decided on my horse I quite enjoy going round them to find the one which will give me the best odds on the animal I believe or rather hope will win the race.

Neil Quigley and Adam Fisher

Neil Quigley and Adam Fisher

You do get a great view of the track and the racing from the Grandstand. You can see the whole course. Although I do enjoy the social side of things. I do also like to watch all of the races. I only had one winner all afternoon. Which I picked purely because the horse shared its name with a former Spurs forward. So Defoe was the only horse to win me any money.

Although annoyingly I did have a few of my selections finish second but when you have only backed them to win, that is sadly not good enough. It was a nice afternoon, having a laugh and enjoying some exciting racing. After the races had finished we hopped back on the train and headed to Reading for a few drinks.

Newbury Races

Newbury Races

We went to a couple of pubs. In the first one they had an ale called tea. Now as possibly the world’s biggest tea drinker I had to give it a try to see if it compared to the normal standard of my hot drink of choice. Happily it was still served by the pint and not the cup. It was very drinkable but I think I will stick to the other version during the day and at work. For productivity reasons if nothing else.

We then went in to this other bar. There were just the two of us, me and Adam still. We sat down on this fairly big table as there were not many options, so we had lots of spare seats around us. Then a bloke comes over and asks if they can have a couple of the seats, to which we said yes. Then six more of his friends appear to ask to borrow seats to sit at a table for two that had just become available. So me being the nice man I am suggested we switch tables. Although part of me did want to try to see all eight of them with chairs get round this tiny table. But my good manners got the better of me. It was another top day out with a very good mate.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I once again visited the Old Rope Comedy Club at The Phoenix Pub in London. It is the new material night run by Tiff Stevenson. Every Monday night in the Capital. If you are free on a Monday and like new and quality comedy, you need to go and check it out.

If you buy tickets in advance it is not expensive either about six pounds in fact. The place has a good vibe to it. The acts just mill around in the bar area themselves in between performing. Everybody is very friendly and approachable. Plus it always attracts some top quality comedians.

Old Rope

Old Rope

The brilliant Tiff Stevenson was hosting as always. And on the bill trying out new jokes on the night were Sarah Kendall, Phil Wang, Adam Hills, Rhys James, Felicity Ward, Ed Byrne and Tony Law. They were all ace.

I have always liked Ed Byrne, so it was good to see him again. The only time that I had seen him do his stand up before was at the Glastonbury Festival. Another top night of comedy, enjoyed in a great London venue.

Ed Byrne

Ed Byrne

While we are talking about stand up comedy. I am delighted and very excited to announce that I will be performing at this year’s Roving Comedy Night as part of the brilliant Tringe Festival. Now I first did this five years ago. After completing an eight week comedy course led by the guru that is Logan Murray.

My fellow trainees and I headed out to perform our five minute sets in four different pubs in Tring on the same night. We were split in to groups and each one was led by a professional comedian. Who we went round with. I was with Tony Law who was exceptional, as well as being very supportive and encouraging. It was a truly memorable night and an amazing experience.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night

Silky at Roving Comedy Night

So this year there is no training course but they are inviting back former trainees from the last eight year’s that this has been running. So I am very proud to be representing the class of 2012 at this year’s event. When I was offered the opportunity to do it again I jumped at the chance. It is such good fun.

We will again be supported by some top professional comedians including Arthur Smith and the legend that is Silky. Who I gave a lift back to his hotel after my original appearance at this event. It you fancy coming along to support this great and very entertaining night. Tickets are available now. Here is the link with all the information you need. See you there.  http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/2017/07/roving-comedy-night/

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I went to see the comedy play “The Miser” at the Garrick Theatre in London the other night. It is a reworking of a classic French farce with a brilliant cast which includes Griff Rhys Jones, Lee Mack, Matt Horne and Andi Osho. It was brilliant fun.

It is fair to say it does offer both Griff and Lee the chance to drift off script a bit and have a little bit of additional fun with the audience. The fourth wall is knocked down pretty early in the proceedings. There are some brilliant set pieces, as you would expect in a farce. A word of warning you do get to see a little bit more of Lee Mack than you may be expecting. But all done for laughs and in the best possible taste.

The set and costumes are great. I have to admit it was the first time I had been to The Garrick and it is a lovely traditional West End theatre, which I love. The play keeps you amused and chuckling from start to finish. The whole cast were great but  I thought Andi Osho was brilliant. I have seen her do stand up before but this was the first time that I had seen her act and on that performance I can definitely see her doing more theatre work in the future. Overall just good old fashioned theatre fun.

The Miser

The Miser

It has been a good fortnight for celebrity spotting. The other week Serge from Kasabian walked past me on the way to a radio interview. I bumped in to Nick Grimshaw as he was arriving to do his Radio 1 Breakfast Show.

Then one day Huw Edwards was in the canteen queue in front of me and then the next day Sophie Raworth was behind me. I also saw the former Rugby player Matt Dawson wondering around to.

BBC Radio

BBC Radio

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