All of the Arts

The year seems to be flying by to me. The weeks are passing by so quickly, it does not feel like fourteen days since we last spoke. I think part of the reason for that might be when the world reopened again after the lockdowns, due to the fact we felt aggrieved at not being able to do anything, we just said yes to everything we could and our diary rapidly filled up. You know you must be pretty busy when you actually have to book a quiet weekend of not doing much into your schedule. I have always liked keeping active and experiencing as many different things as I can but I seem to have upped the ante a bit so far this year. I am not complaining, just reflecting.

Neil Quigley

Two Saturdays ago Lynda and I went to The Rex in Berkhamsted. She had been there before but this was my first visit. Obviously we went for a nice meal in the area first. As ever our restaurant choice was fuelled by my gluten free requirements. We ate at a Lussmanns which was just a five minute walk from the art deco cinema where we were going. The food and service were both great. I always like to ideally round off any meal with a dessert. They had a few coeliac friendly options on the menu and I went for the panna cotta with chocolate. I will be honest I just expected a little dribble of melted chocolate on the top, however the whole plate was swimming in the stuff and it was amazing!

Neil Quigley

The Rex is tucked away just off the High Street. The entrance looks quite low key really but when you walk into the auditorium it is very impressive. The top level is just set up like a standard cinema but the two levels below that have big red comfy chairs in groups of four set around tables. This is the area where we sat and one of the reasons I wanted to go, as even I liked the idea of watching a film sat at a table in nice surroundings while having some wine. That is the other great thing about the place it has a bar in the auditorium where you can get drinks as you enjoy the action on the big screen.

The Rex

The film we were seeing was Kenneth Branagh’s new version of the Agatha Christie classic Death On The Nile. As well as directing it Kenneth also played the lead Hercule Poirot. The cast included Gal Gadot, Tom Bateman, Russell Brand plus French and Saunders. I am not sure if this was just the surroundings or the nice glass of Rioja I had during it, but I really enjoyed it. There was quite a lot of humour for a film that in the end had a fairly impressive body count. I must admit I have not seen the original so have nothing to compare it to but it kept my attention. I did like the atmosphere and feel of the place, seeing a movie there felt like an occasion. I would happily go back and watch something else.

The Rex

The following night a mate of mine who runs quite a lot of comedy events around the Hemel Hempstead area had one on at Boxmoor Social Club. I had been meaning to catch up with him for ages so Lynda and I went along. We got there quite late so ended up at the front to the side of the stage, which can sometimes be dangerous unless you know the organiser, compere and some of the acts. Then it is totally safe to be that close to the action. It was a bit like an old fashioned working man’s club everyone there was nice and friendly.

The host for the night was Matt Hake who I have gigged with a few times in the past and like me is a former attendee of a Logan Murray Comedy Course and a Tringfest Roving comedian. Both of which were amazing fun for the record. He was great as always. The two opening acts were both good and set the tone for the night perfectly. Having tried it myself there is nothing harder than making a room full of people laugh and they achieved that. The closing act for part one was someone I have seen a few times before called Stu Turner. He combines comedy with magic. That is a winning combination in my book. I always enjoy his act and like most comedy magicians he actually does a few very impressive tricks.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

The headline act was somebody I had admired from a far for many years and who I remember watching as a child on television. He even appeared in an episode of one of my favourite programmes Only Fools and Horses, playing a comedian at The Nags Head. I was not disappointed I thought he was excellent. It is always a good sign when you are watching a comic and your face is aching from laughing so much. His name is Jeff Stevenson, he has been in show business a long time and even appeared in the 1976 version of Bugsy Malone as a fourteen year old. He does a lot of work on Cruise Ships so if they are your thing keep an eye out for him while on board. It was great to see him in action. The whole night was good fun, well done to Lee Bryant for putting it all together.

Neil Quigley

I have been working in the Radio Industry in some form or another since I was twenty which it is fair to say is a long time now. In all of that time I had never been to what were the Sony Awards and now are the Arias. My old boss and I Steve Carpenter did go to an event in London where they announced the nominee’s in 2007 as we had entered and we felt we might have a chance of being shortlisted. We were not in the end but we had a nice afternoon out and got to meet a few people. A last minute opportunity arose this year to go to the ceremony at the Adelphi Theatre in London. It was a bit of a rush to get there from work but I arrived about ten minutes before The Radio Academy Audio and Radio Industry Awards began.

Heather Small kicked things off with a live performance of Proud. The event was hosted by Rylan with Fleur East as the live voiceover who did make a few appearances on stage to. It is just like every other single industry awards in that they encourage people not to make the acceptance speeches too long and it seems to go on for way longer than it should. It was nice to see so many broadcasters both presenting and receiving prizes. Tony Blackburn as you would expect was on top form, as was Scott Mills and Shaun Keaveny. The first person to swear was Vanessa Feltz and it was lovely to see the wonderful Adele Roberts win the special moment award for her honest and emotional return to Radio 1 after her Bowel Cancer treatment.

ARIAS

We also got music performances from Tom Odell and Callum Scott plus a surprise live link up with Lyse Doucet in Ukraine. I have had the pleasure of working with her at the World Service in the past and she is an exceptional person and journalist. Rylan did a great job hosting the event being funny and entertaining while moving things along when he had to, which was not always easy at times. There was of course an after show party. They had hired out an entire pub just around the corner. I did get a very quick word with Rylan as I was arriving at that. There were a few live DJ sets and the chance to catch up with some radio people who I had not seen for a while including my former Ivel fm colleague Scott Temple. He was there with his current station Pirate fm as they had been nominated for an award. It was great to see him and I look forward to hopefully being there again next year.

Neil Quigley

Lynda managed to get us a couple of tickets to see Blondie in Birmingham last weekend. The gig was on the Saturday night so we thought that we would make the most of it and book a hotel nearby so we could have dinner and a few drinks before the concert. We found a place to stay that was near several decent bars and just a five minute walk from the music venue. On the way to dinner we found a nice bar by the canal to have a cocktail each to kick start proceedings. Then we ate at one of my new favourite places Miller and Carter. They are Coeliac accredited so I am safe to eat there plus they do have a fantastic range of aged steaks and a pretty decent wine selection.

Cocktails

We arrived at the Utilita Arena just as the support act was starting. It was Johnny Marr and he was brilliant. He played a lot of the old Smith’s stuff which went down very well with the crowd. Not only is he a great guitarist he can really sing, do not say this too loud but I think I might prefer his voice to Morrisey’s. The queues for the bars were massive but we noticed the food places did a limited selection of drinks so got ours from there to save time. We had great seats in the second block back and right on the end of the row which meant it was easy to pop out for drinks or comfort breaks.

Johnny Marr

Blondie were on at nine and made a great entrance they almost just materialised on stage. They played for an hour and forty minutes and did all of the big hits as you would expect. I really like their late seventies and early eighties stuff and of course Maria from the big comeback in nineties. They are not all the original members of the band they have got in a little bit of youth in a few areas. Their former bass player grew up near my parents until he moved to America and then joined the group. They had Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols on bass guitar for this gig.

Blondie

They sounded great. Clem Burke is clearly the musical driving force behind their sound. That is the first time I have seen him close up. He is sensational, must be up there with the greatest drummers of all time, so much energy. Talking of which Debbie Harry of course still fronts the band and let us face it she is basically Blondie. Now seventy-six years old she puts in a high octane performance still dancing around the stage while belting out all those well known hits. Although she did have to remove her heels three songs in but I am more than happy to accept that as being perfectly reasonable. It was an enjoyable night listening to some iconic music. Needless to say we may have gone out for a few more cocktails after the gig, well if a seventy plus year old can still be rock and roll so can we!

Blondiw

When we had arrived in Birmingham my oldest friend and his wife noticed from our social media that we were there and messaged me as they were coming to the city for a different concert the next day. As luck would have it their train got in an hour before ours left so we arranged to meet up for a tea at the station for a bit. It was great to see them both and catch up on what has been going on in our lives. In the end we got to spend a bit more time with them as our train was cancelled and the next one that we could get was an hour later, so that actually worked out brilliantly, a very happy coincidence that we both happened to be randomly there at the same time. We are going to see them for the weekend in a month’s time and I am really looking forward to it.

Neil Quigley

We are now getting to the business end of the football season with just two games to go. I have renewed my season ticket so I will be there at the matches during the next campaign cheering them on through the highs and lows. Oh the joys of being a football fan. I hope that Antonio Conte stays and the club back his plans as I think he could really make an impact at Tottenham given the time and support. I was of course at the North London Derby in the week the atmosphere in the ground was sensational and as ever it was great to beat Arsenal and pretty comfortably on this occasion. We just need to win our last two games and see what they do. We still have an outside chance of Champions League football next season.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley

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

Time After Time

I hope you enjoyed your Easter Weekend. My mum still insists on buying me an egg which although I always tell her that she does not need to, I did as ever enjoy. In other news I did find some gluten free Hot Cross Buns that I had with some mini eggs for breakfast on the Sunday. Chocolate is an acceptable breakfast food for that weekend that is just a fact!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The trains were completely screwed during the Bank Holiday weekend, with lots of cancellations due to engineering works. Therefore I had to for the first time ever drive to a Tottenham game. Parking at the stadium is not that easy, so I decided to be organised and use one of those parking websites to book someone’s driveway. It worked out great to be fair I found a space in a nice little cul-de-sac about a thirty minute walk from the ground. The sun was shining and it was quite warm so it was a pleasant stroll. Even the traffic there and back was not too bad. In fact what was on the whole a decent experience was quite predictably ruined by the team getting beaten by Brighton thanks to a goal in the last minute. That made the walk back to the car in the sun a little bit less fun.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

When I got back to Lynda’s after the match she was doing a barbecue. Her brother and his family were there along with her aunty and one of her cousins. It was nice to see everyone and have a laugh. Plus to be fair the burgers and sausages did actually cheer me up after the football. It was still nice enough to sit out in the garden and eat. The food was great as ever and there just happened to be some homemade gluten free chocolate chip doughnuts for pudding to. I think I may have eaten my own body weight in meat but in my defence I did miss out on lunch while I was watching Spurs lose.

Gluten Free Doughnuts

I do not have my own Netflix account but Lynda does and the other Sunday night she managed to convince me to watch one of the films on there. I do not mind a good heist movie I normally find them quite entertaining. The one we watched was called Red Notice. It starred The Rock, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. I actually really enjoyed it, helped by the fact that it was more of a comedy than a thriller. There were some nice set pieces and nods to lots of other well known films plus a rather surprising but obvious cameo at the end. If you fancy some easy to watch light hearted fun, I would recommend it. This film is not going to change your life but it certainly will amuse you for a bit. Maybe I could still be the new Barry Norman with insight like that.

Red Notice

I appreciate I am a little behind the times on this one but last weekend we finally got round to completing series three of After Life. I like Ricky Gervais and always enjoy his shows, as ever there were some very funny and largely unexpected moments. It is I guess in many ways sadly a pretty accurate reflection of real life and the different types of people we come across most good some of course bad. This may just have been me but if I am honest I did not like it quite as much as the first two series. It was still good and I am glad I have seen it but it just felt like something was missing somehow. As far as I am aware he is not doing any more of them and it did tie up a lot of the loose ends nicely in the final episode as you would expect.

I did keep getting a bit distracted as a lot of the outside shots were filmed around the Hemel Hempstead Old Town area so I kept seeing a few locations that I recognised. I have the same problem when I very occasionally see any Midsomer Murders or Morse as a lot of that was made near where I live and always like to work out where they were. The first series of After Life used Beaconsfield quite a bit and I do remember watching an old episode of The Professionals where I was thrilled to see Bodie and Doyle driving through Old Beaconsfield in their Capri’s. Not sure why I like seeing places I have been to in random television programmes but I do!

I have recently celebrated the fourteenth anniversary of the day that John Nettles came on to my radio show in Somerset to film for a documentary that he was doing about the arts. I interviewed him on my show and then he asked me some questions afterwards. Both sections were used in the finished programme. During my bit to camera when he was asking me about the pressures of live radio when things go wrong I out of nowhere uttered a phrase I had never used before saying “you have just got to power on basically” which I still maintain is good life advice. I have a DVD of it which I do watch every now and again. John was great and it was a pleasure to meet him and appear on screen with him.

Neil Quigley meets John Nettles

Late Easter Monday afternoon I met up with a mate of mine who I had not seen for a while. It was a nice day so we decided to go for walk, meaning not only could we have a good chat but we could also get some fresh air and do some light exercise. He suggested we go to Dunstable Downs. Even though I must have driven past it a hundred times I had never actually been there, so I caught up with him there. To be fair it was also pretty much the half way point between us which as I am not a massive fan of driving was another selling point for me.

The car park machine either accepted change which I did not have on me or you had to pay via an app or by calling a phone number. Annoyingly I did not have any 4G signal so I could not get the app which left me with the phone number. I called the automated line thinking that I could just pay for the parking and be done, but oh no! I had to first create an account then assign a credit card to it before trying to enter the registration number of the car, in to some sort of voice recognition system that could not seem to understand a single word I said!

Ten minutes into this process just as I was losing the will to live and still miles away from completing the task in hand my mate arrived and lent me the change to pay at the machine. Most of them accept cards nowadays but not that one. Anyway to relax after my parking issues we had a nice ninety minute walk with a tea break at the cafe in the middle. It was good to see him to talk radio, football and quote various comedy shows’ dialogue at each other, a great way to round off the Bank Holiday weekend. 

Neil Quigley & Andy Holmes
Neil Quigley & Andy Holmes

Last Saturday Lynda and I went out for a meal at Pizza Express. It is on the Coeliac UK accredited list, which means that it is totally safe for me to eat there. I booked us a table for 8pm and when we arrived the place was packed. We both had a three course meal each with a couple of glasses of wine. By the time our main had arrived we were the only people still left in there. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves.

The girl who was serving us had already told me her mum was also a Coeliac which made me feel relaxed as she was clearly fully aware of the condition. Then as I was paying she spotted the screen saver on my phone which is a picture of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son she told me she was not only a Spurs fan but was also having a trial for our ladies team. We had a lovely meal in there and needless to say our waitress got a nice tip courtesy of the information we learned about her.

Pudding

I have a new fun challenge at work next week as I am covering for someone who is off on holiday and working on Radio 4 Extra. I just hope I do not break the station while he is away. I am sure it will all be fine!

BBC
BBC

I am looking forward to going to a Comedy Night at the Boxmoor Social Club in Hemel Hempstead tomorrow night. It is being run by a mate of mine Lee Bryant. He puts on a lot of events in the area. Back when I was doing a tiny bit of stand up comedy I did a few gigs with him. I will let you know what this one was like next time we speak.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Grand Weekend Away

I first went to Ladies Day at Aintree in 2010 and had such a good time within three years it had basically become a tradition. I would go up every year on the Thursday afternoon and come back on the Sunday staying with my mate Jeff. A group of us would then go to the races on the Friday, then watch The Grand National in a pub around Liverpool on the Saturday. Then of course Covid happened meaning I had not been able to go on this pilgrimage since 2019.

Jeff Nolan and Neil Quigley
Jeff Nolan and Neil Quigley

Fortunately the world has now reopened so the festival was back and welcoming spectators once again. Last weekend Lynda and I got the train from London to Liverpool Lime Street on the Thursday and set off on another fun adventure. Before we left we had a big meal at Leon who are a fast food chain that caters for gluten free people like me, so they have become a bit of a regular option for me.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

When we got to Liverpool we then took another train to the station nearest Jeff, where he picked us up and took us back to his place. We had a cup of tea and a chat to him and his fiance plus I got to meet his son for the first time. Then Jeff, Lynda and I went out for a few drinks at a lovely local bar he knew. The plan was to ease ourselves gently in to things but failing slightly, we had a few more drinks back at his place before we took ourselves off to bed. We managed to have a bit of a lie in before it was time to get a late breakfast and get our suits on and head to Aintree. A big breakfast is very important as you can never be totally sure when you will eat again.

Neil Quigley

We were joined at the house by Jeff’s sister for a pre racing glass of fizz. The girls got a lift with Jeff’s girlfriend’s dad while we jumped on the train. We met up with them at the entrance before all heading in together. We had got tickets in the festival zone which is basically a huge marquee with bars, big screens, bookies and a stage where a band plays in between races. It is great in there as you get to have a drink, place your bets, watch the races and sing along to the band without moving too far. The racing was first class. Lynda had a couple of winners early on but I had no success on that front whatsoever. We always leave before the last race so we can get the train in to the city centre a bit ahead of the rest of the crowd. I did manage to get a quick picture with the Grand National Trophy before we left.

Neil Quigley

We arrived in the city centre and on the way to the first pub we decided to get some food. They all found a pizza place for a quick snack, while I found a subway where I managed to get a chicken salad box, not the ideal mid drinking session food but often as a coeliac you have to be a little creative in these situations. After a few different random bars including a quick dance in a place called Flares we ended up in a cocktail bar that we seem to every year now. It just so happened to be two for one happy hour so we had a few cocktails, me of course with the sweet rum and pineapple ones.

Neil Quigley

Next door there was an Only Fools and Horses themed bar. Jeff had told me about it ages ago and I really wanted to see it. Nobody else fancied it so Jeff and I literally popped in there for five minutes just so I could get some pictures of the place. We were straight in and out with the photos. I have no idea what the staff or the other customers thought we were up to. I liked it in there and the pictures are great. We then went to Eric’s on Matthew Street for more drinks and a bit of live music.

Neil Quigley

By this point we had been out for ten hours so we decided to call it a night and head back to Jeff’s for another drink and some takeaway pizza. This was my first experience of Domino’s gluten free offering and although it only comes in a small size it was very tasty. It was fantastic to get dressed up again and spend the day at the races. The atmosphere is brilliant and I always have a good time when I am out in Liverpool. My granddad grew up there and for that reason I have always felt an association with the place.

Neil Quigley

I woke up the next day feeling a lot better that I possibly deserved to, which from previous years’ experience was a bit of a result. Jeff is a huge Everton fan and they had a lunchtime kick off so he went to the game, while Lynda and I went for a nice walk round Crosby near where he lives to find some food. We tried the Moroccan restaurant that Jeff and his girlfriend recommended to us. The food was really good in there and once again we had a big meal to set us up for the day. We then went to a great bar called Inside Number 4 where we found a table near the bar to watch the day’s racing from Aintree including of course the main event The Grand National.

Inside Number 4

Jeff joined us after the match and we had some drinks while seeing the races. In the second race of the day one of the horses that I have shares in Stage Star was running. He led pretty much from the start but then tired quickly as they came to the home straight and sadly never troubled the winner. That was a bit of a shame as we thought he might run well and with a bit of luck he could win it, but sadly that was not meant to be. The Grand National is such a tough race to find the winner of, there are forty horses and thirty of the hardest fences there are, so a lot can happen over the course of the race.

I did manage to back the horse that finished fifth each way Fiddler on the Roof so I did get a little money back but there was no way I would have picked out the winner. Although with hindsight as it was Sam Waley-Cohen’s last ever race I guess it was one I should have done just in case, as it would make an amazing story as indeed it did in the end. Big congratulations to him that is one way to finish your career off on a high by winning one of the biggest occasions in the world. Fair play if you picked Noble Yeats and had a few pounds on him, you did very well there.

Neil Quigley

Last Season in the FA Cup my team Tottenham were drawn away to Marine. It was during lockdown so no fans were allowed to go to the game. That meant the club would have missed out on some vital extra ticket money, so they decided to sell virtual tickets to raise some funds. Lots of Spurs fans bought them and with the money they have been able to build a few new things at their ground including a brand new bar. The club’s base is near where Jeff lives so on the way back to his we stopped in there for a few drinks and if I am honest to see the Tottenham game which they had on the TV’s there. It was a nice bar and as Spurs won it was a lovely experience all round.

Neil Quigley

When we got back to the house we again ordered a Domino’s pizza delivery and I had exactly the same one as the previous night. Jeff is a massive Beatles fan and I had not got round to watching the Peter Jackson documentary Get Back. Therefore we watched the final part of that which culminates with that iconic rooftop concert on top of the Apple Building in London. I really enjoyed it but it is quite long so that meant we all had another late night, but having fun and being a bit rock and roll was the whole point of the weekend.

Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields

We had another leisurely start to the day on the Sunday, which did mainly involve drinking tea and chatting. Lynda and I had to get the train home so Jeff and Fiona took us into Liverpool City Centre and we had a walk round the Albert Dock with them before we left them to have a very nice steak meal at Miller and Carter. Afterwards we just about managed to get ourselves to Lime Street Station to get on our train back to London. It was as ever a fantastic weekend, it was great to see all my mates up there and I am already looking forward to Ladies Day at Aintree 2023.

Neil Quigley

Although it was not meant to be for Stage Star at Aintree another one of my horses Proclaimer just won his eighth race the other night at Kempton. He has been successful there several times this season so it is turning into his favourite place. Obviously he cannot keep winning and eventually the handicappers will catch up with him or he will have an off day, but he has been magnificent this year. He is being entered for his biggest ever race this week, so it will be very interesting to see how he does in more high class company.

Proclaimer

My football team Tottenham have been doing a little better again recently they have managed to string a few wins together with good performances while scoring a lot of goals. I was happy when Antonio Conte got the job and he has finally got the team playing in a certain pattern and style of play that seems to suit the players we have and is making us seem a lot more stable and competitive. Admittedly if you have two world class players like Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son up front that also helps quite a bit. It could well be an interesting and entertaining end to the season now, I hope.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

I went for my annual dentist check up in the week. I am sure when I was at school we had a special assembly one day demonstrating that we should really scrub our teeth clean, well either I imagined that or they were wrong. Although my teeth are perfectly healthy the gums are receding at a rate that could cause me real problems in the future. I need to adapt the way I clean my teeth. I already have an electric toothbrush but now need to just place it on each tooth and let it go between them for a few seconds. Hopefully I can master this new skill and keep my teeth and gums in good order.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have a great Easter Weekend whatever you decide to do. I will be hunting down some gluten free chocolate eggs and possibly some Hot Cross Buns to as my way of marking the occasion. I may have a glass or two of red wine across the long weekend but as that was drank at the last supper I think that is perfectly acceptable and dare I say what he would have wanted.

Neil Quigley

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

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

Food and Funny

Due to the situation over the last two years most of the comedy nights I had been to were open air events. A couple of weeks ago for the first time in a very long time I went to a “normal” comedy night inside, something which at one point was a monthly occurrence. A friend of mine was down in London for the day so my girlfriend and I decided to book a hotel and plan a night out in town meeting up with my mate beforehand. Unfortunately owing to a string of unexpected developments this did not happen but even though that was the real reason why we organised it, we still had a great time.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We had booked tickets to the 99 Comedy Club in Covent Garden. It was being held at a University Student Union bar which gave it a real air of nostalgia. We arrived and had to go down about four flights of stairs to get to where it was taking place. It was a bigger area than I was expecting with a civilised queue for the bar. As it was an actual college venue the drink prices were favourable for central London, therefore we had a couple of glasses of wine each that were it is fair to say better quality than we were expecting.

There were three acts in total on the bill plus the compere. One of the reasons we had picked this gig was because I like the comedian Chris McCausland and he was performing. I have always found him funny on television but I had not seen him live. He was the opening act and he was brilliant as I expected. I like his style and I think he has some great and obviously unique material, so that was a good start to the show. Between each of the acts they had an interval so you could go to the bar or the facilities.

Comedy Night

The next comedian on stage was Marlon Davis who I had seen before. His set was slightly disrupted by a drunk member of the audience which I always find a bit annoying. But he was having some fun with her and seemed to be enjoying the situation. He appears to have quite an innocent way and doing some quite gritty jokes which works very well, I think. There are so many excellent comedians up and down the country get out to see them if you can, one thing we all need at the moment is a laugh.

The final act was Fin Taylor who you might recognise from The Mash Report or Have I Got News For You. I thought he was very funny and would happily see him again. It was a well-run night with three very good comedians. The show lasted about two hours and was finished by half past ten, giving us time to have a quick drink at a pub on the way back to the hotel, as well as one in the bar when we got back to where we were staying. Comedy and a few drinks is always a classic combination for a good night out.

Neil Quigley

Before we went to the comedy club we had dinner in a nice little place in Leicester Square that we discovered last year. It is called the Cork and Bottle. From the outside it just looks like an old shop front but you go in then down some stairs and it is actually a cosy French style wine bar. That happens to do very nice food. We had booked a table there this time but we have managed to walk in and get a seat previously. They do provide gluten free food options and they were great with me and my coeliac requirements.

Cork & Bottle

I had the Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Curry with rice which is amazing. Not sure why but I seemed to be very hungry so I also had some Brie with Gluten Free bread and a huge bowl of ice cream for dessert. And as it was of course a wine bar it was all washed down with two very nice glasses of Rioja. Lynda and I both like it there and it is fast becoming one of our go to places in London when we fancy some food and drink in nice relaxed surroundings.

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Curry

I appreciate all I seem to do is to go out and eat a lot. I would like to say that is not true and I do lots of other things in my free time but last Saturday Lynda and I did go out for a nice meal in St Albans. The key thing when finding a restaurant nowadays is that they have to be able to cater for a Coeliac like me. I have an app on my phone that is set up to suggest such places all over the country. We found one that was called Lussmans that had been recommend by several people who have the same condition as me and who had been there.

When we arrived we were shown upstairs to our table and they took our jackets to the cloak room before we were seated. Our waitress came over to me and explained the gluten free options and the steps they take there when preparing food. That instantly put my mind at rest. The food was lovely. I had the pulled pork and lentils dish for my starter followed by a cod and shrimps creation with leek and apples for my main. As I have said before you must always finish a meal with something sweet so I had the dark chocolate mousse for my pudding.

They had a gluten free beer on the menu that I had not seen before so I decided to try a bottle of that. It was called Green’s and it was really nice, so I will be looking out for that in the future. After I had finished that which was only for research purposes you understand I then had a couple of glasses of a very nice medium priced red wine that they had.

Neil Quigley

It was an enjoyable dining experience. The Staff were brilliant. Once we had finished we retrieved our coats and then found a pub to have some more drinks in. I am not saying we picked the place that all the locals liked but no word of a lie the Mayor was there standing at the bar wearing his chains, I presumed as a nice welcoming party for my entrance. I really wanted to see if he would let me borrow them for a photo but I never got round to asking him in the end.

Grand National 2018
If I was Mayor what I would wear!

It was Mother’s Day last Sunday so I went to my parent’s house to cook dinner for the whole family to give my mum a day off. I did roast beef with carrots, peas, sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli as well as roast potatoes, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings for those that were allowed them and gluten free gravy. I am not saying I am the greatest cook in the world but I do produce a nice roast or a decent steak meal when I am required to.

I am also a terrible judge of portion sizes so it is fair to say I filled my Mum, Dad and Sister up with their food to such an extent that they all needed a two hour break before they felt ready to face pudding. Although I do not cook for more than one person very often I quite enjoy it when I do and even I was impressed with how well this last effort turned out. We had a relaxing afternoon just having a good old chat and a bit of a laugh. I did also get her a card and present to. I am not looking for a medal or anything but I did the washing up myself. By which I mean I put everything in the dishwasher and turned it on.

Roast Beef a la Quigley

Like most of the country I have been doing a lot of remote working recently but in the last month I have started to slowly return to the work place. I am in up to three days a week now, which is great as I like the place where I work. There is always lots going on and you never know who you might bump in to and who might be sound checking outside ready for their performance on The One Show that evening. The worst thing about it is the daily commute. The trains are often rammed and it takes up a lot more time to travel there and back again, time that I was previously using as part of my exercise regime. It is funny how quickly you can adapt your routine when you need to. I am just about getting the hang of it again now.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

England have played a couple of football friendlies as the Premier League took a break for a week. I was delighted to see Harry Kane go past Gary Lineker and draw level with Bobby Charlton’s total goals for England tally of 49. That was the benchmark for such a long time until Wayne Rooney scored 53 goals during his career for his country. Kane is just four goals behind Rooney. He is clearly going to become the greatest goal scorer of all time for England. He has also played 52 less games that Wayne did in total so far. I am a big Spurs fan so I know how great he is as I see it week in week out but I feel sometimes that he does not always get the respect he deserves for his goal scoring achievements.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last night we went to see an amateur production of Evita at the Eric Morecambe Centre in Harpenden. It is where the comic genius lived and it was the first time that I had been to the venue that was named in his honour. The reason we went to see it was to support Lynda’s cousin who was playing in the Orchestra. It is a great show which I have seen a few times before. The cast were excellent and it was all done as true to the original as possible. It is always pleasing to see people performing on stage just for the pure enjoyment and nothing else.

Eric Morecombe centre

I am looking forward to next week as at last I get to go to the Aintree Festival once again. I have been many times over the years and it is always a great few days. I go and see my mate Jeff and stay with him. We go to Ladies Day on the Friday before partying in Liverpool city centre in the evening. Then we watch The Grand National some where local the next day. It is always fun and normally takes me at least a week to recover from it. I will tell you what it was like this year next time we speak.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

A Quick Scan

This year seems to be going very quickly maybe that is because we can actually go out and do things again unlike this time last year. Next week the clocks go forward meaning the evenings get lighter and we can pack even more in to our days. It will be summer before we know it at least I hope it will as my Jamaican sun tan is now just starting to fade a little.

Neil Quigley

I am massively clumsy and always catching my arm on things or quite often knocking my knee somewhere. I also seem to hit my head more often than you would think. Personally I feel that may be due to my lack of hair as I have no early warning system when I am getting a bit too close to something. Anyway I managed to hit my head on holiday on the door frame of a minibus as I was getting out of it. The reason I did it was because I was too busy thanking the driver and not paying attention to where I was going.

At the time it hurt a little on impact but I just about managed to style it out and carry on as normal. A month or so later I was still getting a headache from time to time, so just to be on the safe side my doctor sent me for a MRI Scan. If you have never had one before they feel like the kind of thing that a “Bond Villain” would use to torture 007. They are very small and compact, your head gets fed into it on some kind of moving board. Then for the next ten minutes it makes some of the weirdest noises you have ever heard. They do give you ear plugs and play music to try to mask it but it is still very strange.

The medical Staff were great and made it very simple and straight forward explaining exactly what was going to happen. It takes about a week for the results to come through. I am just hoping that they do find at least a trace of a brain in there somewhere. Joking aside it will be nice to know that everything is fine in that department and the headaches are not being caused by anything sinister or concerning.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My girlfriend Lynda is a great cook who enjoys experimenting with meals that she has not made before, which I benefit from hugely. She has recently got a new cook book and it has loads of recipes in it that she is very keen to try. At the moment she is basically working her way through it. In the week doing fully gluten containing dishes, but at the weekend trying anything that is or can be made gluten free for me to enjoy, due to my special dietary requirements with me being Coeliac.

The other weekend she made us some Malaysian Sticky Spicy Ribs which I must say were amazing. The meat just fell off the bone they were really sweet and came with a nice hot kick from the spices and the chilli. That was just the starter. For the main she produced these chicken satay burgers which she had made from scratch again from this new book. These were spectacular and so tasty she has already promised me that she will do them again for us.

The division of labour when it comes to meals is such that we both play to our strengths. She prepared and cooked all of the food. While I supplied the shop bought gluten free desert and on this occasion at least did the washing up. By which I mean I loaded the dish washer and turned it on. She does enjoy creating new meals and I very much enjoy eating them so as an arrangement it works perfectly as far as I am concerned. I do cook occasionally but the menu I tend to offer is a little simpler to say the least.

Ribs

After we had eaten we decided to settle down and watch a film. This is rarely my suggestion and anything we do end up seeing is usually as a result of a Dragon’s Den style pitch by Lynda pointing out why we should spend the time doing this. To be fair to her nearly all but one of the films we have watched together have at the very least kept my attention. She suggested we watch the latest Ghostbusters film called Afterlife. I had seen and enjoyed both of the original films as a child so agreed to give it a go.

I really liked it as it kept very true to the originals in fact it even had the same style and character to it. There are some very clever links to the first and second instalments from the eighties. Yet at the same time they have made it more modern and up to date. I do not want to say much more about it in case I give anything away. But if you did like the originals and want to hear a bit of the Ray Parker Jnr theme song then I would recommend you see it. The cast are great and it is just an easy to watch fun film.

Ghostbusters Afterlife

I went to the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday. I like to go every year but I ended up having a couple of years off for obvious reasons. It is a brilliant day out for the horse racing enthusiast where you get to see the best horses from the UK and Ireland go head to head at one of the most challenging courses. The atmosphere is always great at the event and the standard of the racing is unbelievably high.

Neil Quigley

It was even more special this year as one of the horses I have a few shares in Stage Star was running in a big hurdles race on the day that I was there. It was fantastic to be there and watch him run in person for the first time. I had previously been to visit him before he started his career at the Equiprep Facility that the Owners Group have. I got to see him in the parade ring and then chilling out in his stable. I have of course followed his journey very closely ever since and this was the biggest moment for him so far.

Cheltenham Festival

I managed to pick the one day this week when it rained all day at the Cheltenham Festival. But it did not matter we still had a great time there. The racing was exceptional despite the challenging conditions. The occasion and weather got to Stage Star a little bit I think and he set off a bit too quickly and was not really enjoying the conditions so very sensible the jockey Harry Cobden pulled him up before the end. The important thing is that he is fine and will learn from it. I do think that if it was a drier day he could have fared a bit better but that is horse racing for you. The well being of the horse is of course the most important thing.

Stage Star set the tone for my day as I did not have any winners while at the track which is quite unusual. We did however see the racing journalist legend that is Brough Scott and the maverick that is Matt Chapman. I did also manage to wear a coat that was more like a sponge than a shower curtain so had that nice damp feeling for a bit. It was as ever a fantastic day out we met lots of nice and interesting people. I am already looking forward to going back next year and hopefully seeing Stage Star or another one of my horses run there.

Stage Star

I did apply for the London Marathon Ballot for this year’s race. I am not totally sure why if I am honest. I entered it when I turned forty as I thought it might be a nice thing to do while I could still run a bit. I did not get in then and as a result stopped trying. But I guess after the lockdowns of the last couple of years I thought it might be good to give myself a new challenge and see if I could test myself and my glass ankles and knees to the maximum. However I was sadly not successful this time either, so I have now decided to accept that I will never do it and I am totally at ease with that decision.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been enjoying the current series of Saturday Night Takeaway. Ant and Dec are still brilliant at what they do. That show is shaped around them perfectly. You can tell that they are heavily involved with every aspect of it. They have been doing live television for so long now I honestly believe there is nothing that can trip them up. I think they have had some very strong end of the show, shows’ once again this year. They just seem to highlight how annoyingly talented they are, whatever they are doing in that segment they seem to pull it off perfectly even if that means they are being Drag Queens!

BGT London
BGT London

I have lots of good friends who support Everton and I have been to Goodison Park on many occasions. I always enjoy it when Spurs play them normally they are close and often exciting games. I seem to remember us winning more times than not but I always have a good time up there with my mates. I went to the match at the Tottenham Stadium the other week. It does of course give me bragging rights when we win, which we did by five goals to nil.

Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan

I did not think it was a good game and I personally did not think that we were that brilliant. However it was a very easy victory and it was possibly the worse Everton team I have seen for a very long time. I have a soft spot for them and would not like to see them relegated. The best bit about the night was giving Frank Lampard some stick. When he was at Chelsea they beat us I think two-nil at our place and he celebrated with their fans after like they had won the Champions League so we gave him both barrels while we were thrashing his new team! 

Not that Tottenham’s current form is much better. We seem to have fallen into a routine where we win one game and then lose the next one, so they give a little hope that a corner has been turned and then remove it straight away. Something Spurs have been doing on a fairly regular basis since I started supporting them as a four year old, who at that time it is fair to say did not know any better. That said they are my team and I support them no matter what. The thing with football is you cannot win every game so celebrate the victories and accept the defeats it is all part of the charm. Enjoy the journey and the end destination for one season at least may hopefully make it all worthwhile.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/ 

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have not been to see live comedy for quite a while but I am happily going to put that right tonight as I am off to see a gig in Covent Garden. I will of course let you know what it was like next time we speak. Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.


Neil Quigley Presenter