Fortune Favours The Brave

It already seems like a long time ago now but I hope you had a nice fireworks night and you got the chance to go to a big display to see the sky lit up with lots of bright colours. As a child I was really scared of fireworks so I hated going to those things but as an adult I grew to like them and ended up hosting plenty of bonfire night events over the years. My girlfriend went to one in St Albans where they had twenty minutes worth of fireworks set to the music from James Bond. She had a video of some of it on her phone that she showed me and it looked spectacular.

I did not manage to see any fireworks in person this year. My sister had been invited to a Wedding Reception on the Saturday of that weekend. She has a dog that is sadly getting very old now and does not like being left on her own at the best of times. Let alone when it was likely there would be lots of loud bangs going off, so I agreed to dog sit for her. The animal and I generally get on alright so when I got there she came over to me and had a stroke with a bit of fussing. It is a pleasing site when a dog greets you wagging their tail.

Fireworks

I had a list of instructions of what to do including what time and how much food I could give her and also what time she was allowed to have the various tablets she requires, that she takes with honey. That is now something I am thinking of adopting when I have to take any tablets now. We both went into the living room and I turned the TV on. I put the volume up reasonably loud to try to drown out any fireworks and because after years of headphone wearing my hearing is not the best. I chose what we watched though just to try to at least give the illusion that I was in charge.

I managed to get the dog to have her food and tablets at the correct times. Then she settled down and fell asleep on my foot, which was good as she was no trouble at this point and bad as it meant I could not move for about two hours. We did have some issues as a few times she thought my sister was upstairs so I had to take her up and down twice to prove that she wasn’t. The dog’s legs are a bit weak and she cannot do the stairs anymore so I had to carry her up and down. When my sister got back after her night out I am not sure who was more relieved to see her, the dog or me?

Sleepy Dog

I had my Flu Jab a couple of weeks ago and for the first time I got a bruise in the area that I had the injection. I am not sure if I somehow upset the nurse who was doing it or it was just one of those oddities. Anyway I felt fine afterwards. A few days ago due to me being both an asthmatic and a Coeliac I had my Covid Booster. It was very quick and simple and I suffered no big issues from having it. Anything that means I can keep going out to enjoy the things I like doing and that helps me not to die is fine with me. I am very happy to trust medical science as I have been relying on it since I was born.

Neil Quigley

Last Saturday afternoon Lynda and I went to the theatre to see a play that has been playing in London since 1989. It is on at the Fortune Theatre near Covent Garden, where it has been since the day it opened. Obviously as it was a play I had not seen before it was also a venue that I had not visited either. It is quite a small compact little theatre, the toilets are particularly cosy, but it is as you would expect such as place to look and feel. It does of course have a bar so we enjoyed a glass of wine in our seats before the performance and during the interval.

Neil Quigley

The play was The Woman in Black. I do not want to give too much away but it is a ghost story. It has a cast of two, Terrence Wilton and Max Hutchinson both of whom were brilliant. The production I think is very cleverly done it is atmospheric with a few little surprises for the audience along the way. The story unfolds and builds nicely and I enjoyed it. As I have said many times before I just love the whole experience of going to the theatre and the connection with a live performance developing in front of you.

The Woman In Black

After the theatre we went for dinner. There is an Indian style place near Covent Garden that Lynda likes. She has actually got some of this restaurant’s cook books and has made me a few dishes from it during the last eighteen months. Due to the world closing down she had not been there to eat for a while and was keen to do so. And as they have a decent selection of gluten free meals on the menu it seemed like the obvious choice as we were in the area. It is called Dishoom. They only offer bookings at certain times or if there is big group of you. Otherwise it is simply on a first come first serve basis, it is extremely popular.

I am not a fan of queuing for anything but I was aware how good the food was in this place and we had plenty of time on our side so we joined the line outside. One of the staff comes past with a tablet and books you in and then you just wait your turn. They did bring us out a bit of Chai Tea to enjoy while we were there. The queue moved at a reasonable speed and we found ourselves at the front door with the next available table for two set to be ours. We got ushered in to the front desk. It is huge inside and has two floors. We got taken to our table which was in the corner of the conservatory area. I thought it was a great location.

Neil Quigley

To celebrate the fact that we had actually made it there at last we had a cocktail each. I had their version of a Pina Colada which was lovely. I had told them I was coeliac when we booked in so there was already a gluten free menu for me on the table. I then got given the allergen folder to aid my decision in choosing dishes that were safe for me to have. I had a nice selection to pick from so I went for the following the Mutton Curry, Paneer Tikka and Gun Powder Potatoes along with some rice. The food was amazing it was such a tasty and filling meal. The staff were brilliant and it was a really nice dining experience.

Dishoom

After the meal we decided to go and have another drink somewhere before we got the train home. We found the Cork and Bottle Wine Bar in Leicester Square. From the front it just looks like a disused shop but when you go in and walk down the stairs it is a nice little traditional wine bar in the Parisian style. Obviously they had an impressive selection of wine in there. I tried a large glass of their Rioja which was very nice. We only stayed for one relaxing drink in there before deciding to head home. It was an excellent Saturday out. You cannot go wrong with the theatre followed by an exquisite meal then rounded off with a few drinks, just perfect.

Cork & Bottle Wine Bar

England have qualified for the World Cup in Qatar next year then. It is taking place during November and December. That is going to be so strange for me having it on during my birthday. Supporting the national team in a competition during the winter is going to be extremely out of the ordinary. We made quite light work of getting there and winning our group. It will be tough of course but we have got a pretty decent squad containing a lot of young players who all being well could be available for the next two or three tournaments so it could make for some interesting times going forward, hopefully.

Once again during this international break Harry Kane has proved what a world class striker he is, never mind the opposition you can only score against what is in front of you. He will almost certainly beat Wayne Rooney’s total and become England’s all time top goal scorer. He has already got more competitive goals than the current record holder. I am not sure why but I still do not feel Harry always gets the respect he deserves from all of the England fans. He is a very special player and proving to be a decent captain. I might be a bit biased of course, but his goals suggest I am right.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been very impressed with the way Antonio Conte has come to Spurs and already made a huge impression. He has taken control and began changing things plus been honest and upfront and about the task facing him. You cannot argue with this guy’s passion and determination that is why he is a winner. I never wanted to have Mourinho at the club I just felt he was not right for us. I liked Nuno but he just seemed like a stop gap and I think he knew that himself probably. Conte needs to see this through as at least a three year project I think, it will not happen overnight but this is as excited as I have been for a while about a new Tottenham manager.

I am going to see us play Leeds United at home tomorrow. It will be a difficult game as they all are. He still has not had much time to work with the whole squad yet. It is tricky coming in mid-season when you want to change things and put your stamp on it but the games just keep coming thick and fast. We are still in all the cups at the moment and if he can grab one of those in his first half a season then that will be an amazing start. I expect there to be plenty of ups and downs before the end of the season, but getting the first league win under Conte this weekend would be a big bonus. Come on you Spurs!

Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am going to Taste of London at the Tobacco Docks today I will tell you what that was like the next time we speak. Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

A Right Spectacle

The clocks went back last Saturday which always seems to leave me a bit disorientated for a week or so even though I did take advantage of the extra hours’ sleep. I think that when you reach November the year just seems to disappear before your very eyes. I am preparing myself the best I can for winter being an Asthmatic and Coeliac I am having my Flu Jab today and my Covid booster injection in ten days. I have so much booked in for the next three months I have no time to be ill so I am happy to take every precaution available. Plus I do have two older parents so I need to do what I can to help protect them.

I have been wearing glasses since I was five and contact lenses since I was twelve, as I have terrible eyesight. If I can I prefer wearing the contacts not because I dislike the look of my glasses it is more, that I do not like the feel of them on my head. I like to be frameless when I am out and about ideally. That said I very much require both of them to function and see during the day. I left Lynda’s place the other night wearing my lenses. As I have spent the last twenty odd years in radio and I am often in studios my phone is mostly always on silent.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

When I arrived at my place and parked up I picked up my phone and noticed four missed calls and a message from her. The message was a picture of my glasses with the text “Did you forget something?” At one time I had several pairs of glasses but one by one I managed to break all of them and I now have only one pair. I literally cannot see anything without assistance and there was no way that I could keep the lenses in all night. Lynda lives about forty minutes away from me but I had no choice other than to jump straight back into the motor and go and pick them up.

That meant I got to enjoy an extra eighty minute round trip that of course ended with me doing the very same journey that I had done earlier. I was starting to understand what it was like for Bill Murray when he was filming “Ground Hog Day” Although he did at least get to correct his mistakes in affect in real time. This incident has made me decide to order a new pair of glasses as a back-up. As to be fair if my current ones broke I would be in a bit of trouble and before you suggest it no I am definitely not getting one of those chains to keep them around my neck, not yet anyway.

Neil Quigley

The other Saturday another fairly rare event took place I watched a new film. Lynda is a big fan of Denzel Washington and she had for a while wanted to see his latest movie. I had managed to put this off for a bit but eventually I ran out of excuses and agreed to see it. This decision was helped by the offer of a gluten free pizza from Pizza Express, which we had delivered before we settled down to watch the film. It was really nice and already with my limited amount of experience of being Coeliac I have discovered decent pizza bases that I can eat are hard to come by. This one was good so I will be using them for a take away again in the future.

The film is called The Little Things it also stars Rami Malek and Jared Leto. It is kind of a murder mystery come cop thriller with a former detective demoted to an officer and shipped out of town finding himself accidentally back at his old station assisting a younger cop with a case against the wishes of his bosses. I am sure you can guess who is playing what role but just in case Denzel is the old guy and Rami the younger bloke with Jared playing the prime suspect. It is good but quite intense and at the same time it is a little odd in places. At the end of it you are left to make your own mind up about what happened you do not really get any definitive answers.

I enjoyed it and it kept my attention all the way through despite some accusations that I talked too much during it. I thought I was enhancing it with my own sort of director’s commentary but that was not the case apparently. You cannot really go wrong with the quality of actors that were in it. Any police movie put together in this way does feel a bit like Lethal Weapon to me, although the dynamic of that was actually reversed with the younger guy being a bit more stable than the more experienced man. There was a bit of blood and gore but it was not too bad, I think I only had to cover my face and look away from the screen a couple of times.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We went to the theatre last Sunday afternoon to see The Mirror and the Light. It is the third and final part of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy. It is playing at the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. At school I was really into History I did it as one of my GSCE options and got a B in it as it happens. One of my favourite periods of history was that of The Tudors. That is where the play is set as it tells the story of the demise and ultimately the death of Thomas Cromwell. Who had worked his way up from the gutter to being Henry the Eighth’s right hand man, much to the annoyance of many of the nobility at the time!

The whole thing is very cleverly put together, it is basically the story of his trial but you see how he ended up where he did due to the things he did and the decisions he made, as the play times shifts between events and the questioning at his hearing. The cast as you would expect for a Royal Shakespeare Company production are fantastic. The brilliant Ben Miles is Cromwell and Nathaniel Parker is Henry VIII. I thoroughly enjoyed the show it is brilliantly written and performed. It is fast paced and they get through a lot of action and dialogue. It is certainly worth seeing if you get the chance. In case you were wondering the wine there was very good and only £5 a glass, which is not that bad for London theatre land.

Gielgud Theatre

After the show we went to a place that offered gluten free fish and chips. It is called the Mayfair Chippy. Relax it also does regular fish and chips to, they cater for everyone. We had booked a table there at a time that meant we could have a very leisurely walk from the theatre. The food was really good. The piece of cod that I had was excellent and it came with chips and mushy peas. I also had a gluten free battered wally which if you are wondering what that is as I was it is a pickle. We had a lovely meal in there and a nice glass of Rioja. It was the perfect end to an entertaining afternoon in the West End.

Neil Quigley

I have a very small amount of shares in a few race horses through an excellent company called Owners Group. They are brilliant in that they send you weekly updates on your horses, lots of videos of them and they give you the chance to visit them at their stables. And when your horse is running you can enter a ballot to get an Owners Badge and be with your horse before and after its race. I have one horse trained by Dan Skelton called Rock Legend who finished third in his last race a few weeks ago. It was his first run of this season so we are hoping he will be better for having it and hopefully will be a bit more competitive in his next outing.

I also have one with the ace Julia Camacho called Proclaimer. After returning from a wind operation he has had a very good last couple of months winning his last three races in a row. He is a wonderful horse. The day after his last win we got sent a lovely video of him back at his stable enjoying a couple of well deserved Polo mints. I am very much looking forward to seeing him run again soon. Four in a row would be a massive ask but it does seem that he is improving all the time. And he is still relatively young so hopefully we can have some fun with him during the next couple of years.

Lastly I have a horse with the Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls OBE in Somerset called Stage Star. He was the first horse I got shares in and I have been to the stable to meet him. He made his debut last season and managed to win, come second and then third. A couple of weeks ago he had his first race this season his first over hurdles and won very comfortably. He looks like a very exciting prospect who we are hoping that if he keeps progressing could find himself featuring in some big races. He has already had runs at Ascot and Aintree. I am really looking forward to seeing him get back out on the track again soon.

Neil Quigley and Stage Star
Neil Quigley and Stage Star

One of my favourite television programmes is back on this month. They have not announced exactly when yet which does seem a bit odd. As if you want people to watch something it does help to tell them when it is on. I am talking about I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. They are back in the Welsh castle again this year instead of in the Australian Jungle. However that does not alter the thing I enjoy most about it which is Ant & Dec. This programme gives them the perfect vehicle to just mess about and have fun at the celebrities’ expense. I have purposely avoided seeing who is rumoured to be going in as I liked to be surprised during the first episode.

I have met countless former camp mates over the years and they all say it is the best experience ever, even though from the outside it can look pretty miserable at times. I am such a fan of the show when I went to Australia the other year I spent three nights at the hotel that they go to when they get kicked out of the jungle. It is an amazing hotel and it was fun seeing all the areas that I recognised from many years of watching the show. Weirdly one of the Bell Boys there does look a little bit like Dec. Maybe it is his Australian cousin or something. I must say I prefer it when they all get on and have a laugh together rather than when they are arguing and falling out. That is what I want to see this year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was at the Tottenham Hotspur game against Manchester United last Saturday evening. We played well for the first ten minutes then totally disappeared from the game. It was an awful performance and the longer it went on the worse we got. The confidence just seemed to drain from all the players and they started making errors.

During the second half I think that was the worst atmosphere I have seen at the new stadium. There were boos at half time and full time. People are entitled to their opinions but there we no boos from me as I will not turn on the players and would rather support and encourage no matter how bad things are.

Tottenham Hotspur

Since that game of course we have sacked Nuno Espirito Santo and replaced him with Antonio Conte. The question is if he was the man we wanted and we were linked to him in the summer why did we go for Nuno, surely it would have been better for Conte to be in from the start. How we look a more interesting proposition now when we are possibly in a worse position I do not know. Like many things that happen at Spurs it does not make much sense. I will support the club whoever is at the helm and whoever is out on the pitch wearing the shirt. All I ask for in return is 100% effort and commitment, playing badly is not a crime but not trying your best is.

I still think we have a better squad of players than they have proved themselves to be during the last three years. But I do not know why they are not performing and bonding. Something has clearly been wrong with the culture of the team for some time and I think the new boss’s biggest challenge is sorting that out. We lost a lot more creativity then many people think when Christian Eriksen went. He was the conductor for me when we were at our best under Mauricio Pochettino. One thing is for sure there is never a dull moment being a fan of this team. Come on you Spurs!

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

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.

The Name Game

Despite the obvious mask wearing in certain situations things in my life do now seem to be more or less back to normal in the things that I am doing and the places that I am going at least. That said I am still trying not to get too close to strangers and I keep my distance if I am able to. For me personally with how things look globally and in the United Kingdom especially that just seems like common sense and good practice to me to protect myself and those around me as much as possible. It is no real extra inconvenience plus as it gets colder the mask will help keep me warm I reckon.

A couple of weekends ago my girlfriend and I ventured up north to see some friends of ours. We went to stay at one of their houses for the night. This required a Saturday afternoon trip up the M1. It had been a while since I had been on it for that length of time but I think it is fair to say it is not one of the most exciting stretches of road. We were on it as far as Stoke and then it was A roads all the way to our destination of Congleton in Cheshire. It was somewhere I had never been before but on arrival my first impressions were that it seemed like a nice place.

When we arrived at their house as it had been a journey of over half an hour I required a cup of tea. That is simply a basic human right when you have been travelling any distance as far as I am concerned. We were meeting some other mates there so there were six of us in total. The plan was to hit the town and have a few drinks then some food. Our hosts had very kindly done some extra research and found a place that did gluten free meals and booked us a table there. Even before we left the house we may have had a couple of glasses of fizz each, which is of course the perfect way to begin any event.

Neil Quigley

It was about a ten minute walk to the High Street and our first stop was this rather dark and trendy looking Cocktail Bar. We arrived in there just as their Happy Hour was starting so Lynda and I enjoyed some “two for one” Margaritas. We only stayed for one drink before moving on to another very friendly pub. Then it was time to head to the table that they had booked us for dinner. When we got there and tried to order our food they had run out of nearly everything on the menu. We did all however manage to find something to eat. I had a gluten free halloumi burger with salad. To be fair to the staff they were really nice and looked after us well, all things considered.

Next up we went to a bar that we had passed on the way up that I really wanted to go to as it was called Quigley’s. Naturally the first thing I did was had my picture taken pointing to the sign outside. I was tempted to show them my driving licence at the bar to see if I could get a discount on my drinks. I did not do that in the end but I did swan around like I owned the place. It was a nice pub but it did have quite a young feel to it. I think it is safe to say we were the oldest people in there, but I liked it and would definitely go back if for no other reason than its magnificent name.

Neil Quigley

We then stopped off at one more pub on the way back to the house. There was meant to be a DJ in drag performing in there but sadly the event had been cancelled. We stayed for a drink anyway as they did have some decent music on. When we got back to where we were staying it was time for dessert. Lynda had made a gluten free Cherry Bakewell Cheesecake so I had two large helpings of that and may be a couple of glasses of red wine before we all decided to call it a night and head to bed.

The next morning our host cooked us a huge breakfast which I really enjoyed. You cannot beat a nice fry up after a night out on the town it kind of just resets the body does it not? Once we had digested enough food to be able to move off our seats we jumped in the car and headed back down the M1 to home. It was a fun night out in a new place that had lots of decent venues to spend time in. The best of them of course was the one named after me. I do not know if it is owned by any distant relatives or not but I am really hoping they could become the next nationwide pub chain. That would be pretty cool!

Neil Quigley

As part of her birthday present for this year I took my mum to see the Elvis Tribute Artist World Tour at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury recently. It was the first time I had been to see this show to. It features a backing band and three different Elvis Tribute Acts all of whom have won the competition that is held in Graceland as part of Elvis Week. That is basically the premier event when it comes to pretending to be the great man and is technically endorsed by his estate as they are involved in the staging of the celebration. As you can imagine as a result of this I was expecting big things from these guys.

Ben Thompson

First on it was Dean Z who came on dressed as 1950’s Elvis and did a few of his early hits followed by some of his early movie songs. He is from America and did look a lot like him and certainly displayed his famous energy on stage. Then we had an English performer in Ben Thompson who covered a lot of the film songs. He had a fantastic voice and was really good. They all have the moves and the way he talked down to a fine art, that is clearly why they have all won the big contests to be the best portrayal of him.

Dean Z then returned wearing the leather suit from the famous 1968 Comeback TV Special. That was the thing that kind of relaunched his singing career after his movies had stopped. You could not fault his effort and stage craft like the man himself Dean is clearly a born entertainer who loves being up on stage. He really did seem to be enjoying himself and to be fair quite a few of the women in the audience also seemed to be really enjoying it to. The first two performers were on for an hour and fifteen minutes then it was the interval.

Dean Z

As mum and I were having a proper rock and roll night out I got us some water and ice- cream during the break. The final “Elvis” was the winner of The World’s Greatest Elvis (apart from the real one of course). His name is Shawn Klush and I had heard of him before. He has toured on his own many times but for whatever reason I had not quite managed to see him in action until now. He was portraying the seventies Las Vegas and touring Elvis complete with of course the white jumpsuit and silk scarfs to hand out to the ladies and also the occasional gentlemen in the audience.

I thought he was excellent, he looked the part and had all the moves but he looked very natural doing them, which is not always the case with some tributes. His attention to detail was spot on I thought. Does he have the exact same voice as the real one of course not nobody can sing with the range, power and emotion that the actual Elvis Presley used to but Shawn can really sing and entertain and he does try to keep it as authentic as possible. He did eighty minutes on stage.

Shawn Klush

During the whole evening they did so many of the hits finishing as Elvis always did in his live concerts with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and no encore. By the time that song had finished Elvis was normally in the car and on his way from the venue before the announcement that Elvis had left the building was made. The great thing was all of them were massive fans of the man and his music. They saw it as a celebration of his memory rather than actually believing that they were really him. It was a great night out and I am glad I caught the show happily my mum really enjoyed it to.

We are both big fans of Elvis Presley a couple of years ago we went to see “Elvis” and the London Philharmonic Orchestra play the 02. Elvis was on video and the orchestra were on stage. They were joined by members of “The Kings” TCB band for a few of the songs including his long-term drummer Ronnie Tutt. Sadly he died last weekend at the age of 83. If you watch any of the live footage of Elvis from 1969 until his death you will see Ronnie sitting there just behind him on the drums. The connection they had really comes across in all of their performances.

TCB Band

Last Thursday night Lynda and I had a midweek night out at the theatre for the first time in a very long time. We had managed to get some very good and reasonably priced tickets to see Blithe Spirit at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London. I met her after I had finished work and we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Pizza Express round the corner. I had a rather nice gluten free pizza and a nice glass of red. It was then time to go to the venue for the play. I prefer to get in there a bit early to get to the bar and have a drink before the show and place your order for the interval to avoid any unnecessary queuing.

For the record the Malbec there was very nice I would definitely recommend it. The play was brilliant it starred Jennifer Saunders, who was hilarious and wonderful as she is in every single thing that she does. Just in case you are not aware of it Blithe Spirit is a comedy based around an eccentric clairvoyant “Miss Saunders” who has a talent for bringing back deceased wives so it appears. It is lots of fun and was written by Noel Coward no less. If you fancy a quirky, easy and entertaining night out go and see this show, although you will have to be quick as it is only on until the sixth of November.

Blithe Spirit

Last Saturday as Lynda had been sent a voucher for a free bottle of Prosecco from Prezzo we went there for dinner to take advantage of their generous offer. I quite like it there nowadays as they are fully Coeliac accredited and have a good selection of gluten free meals for me to choose from. We walked there and back so it was quite a healthy evening apart from the three course meal and the bottle of fizz. While we were eating a couple of teenagers came in to eat and they were holding hands over the table and smiling at each other it was lovely to see, although it did make me feel really old to be fair.

Neil Quigley

I do not watch much television really but I do like a good chat show. I am clearly quite a nosy person as I like finding out people’s secrets or what happened off screen or in their private lives. I have been lucky enough to interview quite a lot of celebrities over the years. Surely it is about time I got given my own chat show Graham Norton cannot go on forever. Mind you I might be wrong but I think the producers may already have Jack Whitehall lined up for that gig. I think I just like the idea of drinking wine and having a laugh with people as that is what I do most weekends anyway.

Neil Quigley & Russell Brand
Neil Quigley & Russell Brand

Tottenham returned from the latest international break with a win away at Newcastle. A good result in the end bearing in mind they were on a high after their recent takeover. We are currently fifth in the Premier League and just four points off the leaders, which if you say it quickly and do not look into it to closely sounds encouraging. We have a difficult game away at West Ham United tomorrow in which anything can happen! They are always up for the games against us and would love to beat us. Hopefully we can nick the three points come on you Spurs!

Neil Quigley

May I remind you that the clocks go back next weekend so you will get an extra hour in bed or an extra hour partying totally up to you! When the clocks change it always reminds me of somebody I played Sunday football with as a kid. Every single time the clocks altered you could guarantee this lad would always be either an hour early or an hour late for the match that weekend depending if it was October or March. To be fair to him he was consistent, it was the same every year. He was really bright apart from when it came to amending the time on clocks and watches seemingly.

London River Cruise
A well known clock

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

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Meat And Greet

How are we in October already? At the start of the year we could not really go anywhere or do anything. Ten months later and I am now able to do all of the things I did before February 2020 albeit with some extra considerations and actions of course. The time seems to have flown by although that could just be due to the fact I am getting older. I have gradually gone out more since restrictions were relaxed, when I have felt ready and comfortable in doing so. I am still curious as to how the Autumn and Winter months will go as we continue to live with Covid but if everybody is sensible and we all look after each other I am very optimistic that it will all be fine.

Last Friday night I went to support some old friends of mine at the Bucks Radio 80’s Night at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. The two men behind the Buckinghamshire station are Nathan Cooper and Richard Carr. I used to work with them both at Mix 96. I think I must have been about twenty when we first met so it is fair to say we have known each other for a very long time now. They launched the new station online at the start of the year and this was their first big live music event.

Bucks Radio

I went with my girlfriend Lynda. It was in the second space area of the theatre as the touring version of 9 to 5 the musical was playing to a full house in the auditorium, which as a huge fan of the theatre was great to see. Although that combined with it being the release of the new James Bond film at Cinemas made it pretty difficult to find a car parking space in town. We did eventually find one and got there about half an hour after it had started. I always feel you need to be a little bit late to these things if you like to make a big entrance, as I do.

I saw both Nathan and Richard when I arrived and had a good chat to them about how they were doing in general as well as a little bit of reminiscing about the good old days. It was a very colourful event as fancy dress from the decade had been suggested and fair play most people really made an effort. We had a Faith era George Michael, a Freddie Mercury from the “I Want To Break Free” video, a couple of new romantics and The Pink Panther. I only decided that I was going quite late on so I wore some double denim and channelled my inner Shakin’ Stevens.

Dan Blaze was the DJ. I think he must have been around fifteen or sixteen when I first met him back in the Mix 96 days. He has been working in various pubs and bars in the Aylesbury area for a lot of years now. The set up he was using reminded me of the old school Chicago Rock days as he had the video playing as well as the audio. I am a massive music fan so obviously I enjoyed a night of nothing but tunes from the eighties. They also had a band, although the act they had originally booked sadly had to cancel as their lead singer had caught Covid. However the replacement group did a good job and played a very wide range of songs from the decade.

Neil Quigley

I was driving so I was drinking water all night that is not unusual for me at a disco style event as I rarely drink when I am working doing a gig. Although I do remember this one event for Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio where I had been at a football match enjoying the corporate hospitality in the afternoon and then went straight to the gig in the evening. It was a party for the station so we were all taking turns, I was only meant to do half an hour so I went on and half way through my set I managed to stop the track that was playing, which is always highly embarrassing. Nobody wants a sudden silence on the dancefloor. But normally I am always sober and really good for the record!

We had a good night dancing in our spot at the back of the room, while singing along to the music. It was nice to see so many people out together letting their hair down and enjoying themselves. It just felt normal to be back out in this kind of scenario again. I always find myself playing a game in my head where I try to second guess what song the DJ will play next based on what I would do in that situation. It is something I have done for years and proves that I spent way too much time doing gigs in my twenties and thirties. I did manage to avoid joining the large human chain during Kylie’s version of “The Locomotion”; I just felt that personally I was not quite ready for that level of contact with group of strangers just yet.

We had our picture taken by Richard on the way in as did most of the people who attended. It was against a green screen and you had the option to use some inflatable props. As soon as I saw it I had to grab the big microphone they had and start pretending to talk into it old habits die hard you know. It was a well organised and fun event. I am glad I managed to get there, hopefully it will now become an annual event and a good excuse for us all to get together and have a laugh. I also got to meet the new drive presenter Craig Wakeling. It is a great sounding local radio station run by two mates of mine, who know a lot about radio so it is definitely worth a listen if you are in or around the Aylesbury area.

Neil Quigley

Since I have been diagnosed as Coeliac I have to be more selective and careful about where I eat out. I need to find places that have a good selection of gluten free meals and that have good practices in place which means there is no risk of cross contamination. I must confess I have been very lucky and founds lots of very good places that I have felt safe eating at. The latest one of these was just a ten minute walk from Lynda’s house. It was somewhere that we had been thinking about going for a while, so we had already done the research on it. Finally we managed to find the time to try it out last Saturday.

It is called the Villas Brazil and it is as the name suggests a Brazilian steak house. We had heard very good things about it and discovered that all the meat they serve there is gluten free. The other thing that people were saying about it was that it served up a decent selection of classic cocktails. We booked a table for six. On arrival the lovely staff showed us to our seats and explained how everything worked. You could select different meal options. We went for the premium meat option. That meant we could have as much food as we liked from the buffet plus unlimited meat from their rotisserie section.

The way it works is you grab a plate and get your first selection of items from the buffet. Then you have a place mat that you can use to say yes or no depending on which way up you put it. If yes is up they will keep bringing different meat to the table and serve it to you in slices. They had a decent offering including lamb, chicken, gammon, Brazilian sausages and several different cuts of beef like some rump, sirloin and rib eye. We sampled everything more than once. They will feed you as much as you like. It was all cooked perfectly and served to you at the table straight off the skewer.

Villas Brazil

As we were enjoying the amazing food we did both treat ourselves to some cocktails. Firstly I had a Pina Colada and Lynda had their traditional Brazilian one. Pina Coladas as I have said recently did used to be my go to holiday special treat drink of choice plus they remind me of Derek Trotter, who in many ways is an idol of mine. They were both really good.

Next she had a Margarita while I for some reason went for an Expresso Martini. I do not really like coffee but I remembered having one of these before and enjoying it. I was struggling a bit with this one when I remembered the last time I had it was after a day out at Aintree Races, so I may not have enjoyed it that day as much as I thought I probably just needed the caffeine hit!

Neil Quigley

After we could not manage anymore meat they then offered us slices of caramelised pineapple, which had also been cooked on a skewer. That tasted fantastic and was certainly something I had never tried before. Somehow we also both managed desert. At the end of the meal neither of us could move. I was paying for dinner, the waitress handed me the card thing, normally when they do that you just put your pin in but she had left me to press confirm and I did not realise so I was happily putting my pin in when I noticed the amount had gone up to over one hundred thousand pounds. I pointed out the error and she returned it to the actual price that I then gratefully paid.

I would definitely go back there, it was nice and friendly. The food was brilliant. The only thing I would do differently is not eat for a few days before I went as it was an effort walking home. I love my meat but you do end up consuming more of it than you need. It was also a nice change having a few cocktails. It made it feel a bit different and special. You do have a set time of an hour and forty-five minutes at your table but that is more than enough time to enjoy all they have to offer. Lastly they were great with me and explained clearly what I could and couldn’t eat and they generally looked after us really well. Another successful meal out!

Villas Brazil

I have once again along with my girlfriend I would like to add been watching the latest series of First Dates. It is the show that I guess made Fred Sirieix a star, although he does not really do much in it. I personally think Merlin behind the bar seems to do more talking to people as well as serving the drinks. He is exactly the barman you would want if you were meeting someone on a Blind Date, I think. I do enjoy trying to work out if the couples will be compatible with each other and how they might get on.

They do seem to get some interesting people on it but they do not seem to get that much success with getting the daters in long term relationships with each other. Mind you they are trying to make an entertaining television show firstly and anything else is a bonus. I find it funny how I warm to some people easily or decide who I do not like when I first see them then often change my mind about them halfway through their date. I think I would like to eat in that restaurant it does look like it would be fun. I would like to go there with Lynda and just eaves drop on the daters in real time during their initial meeting while eating a decent meal.

Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur’s season is still very hit and miss. We lost to Chelsea and then followed that defeat by then getting beaten by Arsenal in the North London Derby. That is always very upsetting when that happens, since then though we have had a good win in the pointlessly named Euro Conference with Harry Kane getting a hat-trick. Then we beat Aston Villa two-one in the Premier League. I was at both of those games and we played well and showed a bit of spirit which had been missing recently.

We go into this latest international break in eighth place four points off the leaders, which is not that bad really. We are still in all of the cup competitions so there is a very long way to go yet. It seems the issue at the moment is consistency both with the team itself and the players. They are good in one game and then not so good in the next. I am delighted with Oliver Skipp’s development I think he has been outstanding this season so far. The one pleasing thing at the moment is that despite losing to them a couple of weeks ago we are above Arsenal in the League now, come of you Spurs!

Tottenham Hotspur

I am heading up north to just outside Manchester this weekend to see some friends, which will be good fun. We are going out to a pub that not only serves gluten free food but also has a selection of some gluten free beer that I am looking forward to sampling. Just solely for research purposes of course you understand.

I am also taking my mum to an Elvis Presley Tribute night at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Monday which was part of her birthday present. We are both big fans of “The King” so I am sure we will have a great time. I will tell you what it was like next time we speak.

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

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

Festival Of Fun

Two months ago a mate of mine asked me if I might be interested in going to the Isle of Wight Festival this year. My first question to him was will that involve camping? Happily he said no it would not so I thought in that case if we can pull it off at such relatively late notice then why not! I had not been to a big festival since Glastonbury back in 2007 and obviously due to the global situation and the last couple of years we have experienced I was a little bit concerned at suddenly being around that many people even if we were outside. In the end I figured still well why not!

We only confirmed that we were definitely going a week before it was taking place. My friend is from the Isle of Wight and his mum still lives there. She was going away for the weekend so very kindly let us stay there, which was perfect as we would get to enjoy the benefits of the festival without having to sleep in a tent. It was a very nice house in Carisbrooke with great views from the back garden of the famous historic castle on the hill there. It was the ideal base for a weekend of music and fun.

Carisbrooke Castle

There were four of us in total my friend Robbie, his mate who I also knew James and my girlfriend Lynda. We all met up in Portsmouth on the Friday morning and went across to the Island in Robbie’s car on the ferry to Fishbourne. Once on board we headed straight for the top deck to enjoy the view. It was a nice day which made for a very pleasant crossing of the Solent. Robbie is an Isle of Wight Guru so he had plenty of interesting facts to tell us and a few landmarks to point out.

The ferry trip seemed to fly by really quickly and soon we were on the road heading to our accommodation. We pulled up to the house and dumped all our stuff inside before walking to the local shop to get some lunch to enjoy outside in the sun, while admiring the castle view. It was then time to go and get our first taste of the festival. We drove about a two thirds of the way there and then walked the last fifteen minutes to Seaclose Park in Newport where it is held. To get in you either had to show a Covid Certificate to prove you have had two vaccination jabs or show proof of a negative lateral flow test. That is a requirement that sounded sensible to me and that I fully supported.

Neil Quigley

We had weekend tickets which meant we could go in and out as many times as we wanted to over the three days. The first time you enter you exchange your tickets for a wristband that will then get you access to the site for the rest of the event. The first thing we did was take a walk around to familiarise ourselves with what was there and where everything was. This included scouting out bars, toilets and potential places where I could find some gluten free food. We then watched You Me and Six followed by Becky Hill on the main stage.

Towards the end of Becky’s set we decided to take a ride on the big wheel they had there so that we could get an aerial view of the place. I am not a massive fan of heights or rides but this one was gentle and quite relaxing so I enjoyed it. Next I found a stall that served gluten free Paella so had some of that to keep me going through the rest of the night. I may also have sampled some of the cider and wine that they had. The cider was nice and the wine not as bad as you think it might be.

Neil Quigley

We then found a spot back at the main stage to see James play. Yes of course they did do Sit Down which went down well. After them it was the legend that is Sir Tom Jones. He was fantastic of course he did a selection of his greatest hits alongside some new tracks off his latest album. He voice is still sounding as good as ever at the age of eighty. I think what sets great performers aside from the rest is their stage presence. Tom has it in abundance you just cannot take your eyes off him. And like me he seems to have a story for every single occasion. I really enjoyed seeing him live again.

The other area where the more, well known acts play is called the big top and is as you would imagine a big tent with open sides. We went to see Shed Seven there next. They played my two favourite songs of theirs Going for Gold and Chasing Rainbows. Then it was off to the main stage to see some of Liam Gallagher’s performance. He obviously did mostly his own solo stuff but also threw in quite a few of the Oasis hits to, which I thoroughly enjoyed. He should have taken the ferry home after though as he managed to hurt himself falling out of a helicopter on his journey back after the gig.

Liam Gallagher

After Liam we did try to catch some Primal Scream in the big top but the crowd was so vast that we could not get near enough to be able hear them properly so we decided to call it a night. When we got in because we are so rock and roll we had a cup of tea and then went to bed. The next morning Robbie offered to take James and me to the beach to possibly even go in the sea, we both jumped at the chance. He took us to an exclusive beach he knew about twenty minutes away. It was lovely and sandy with only a few dog walkers around.

As Robbie had grown up there and been close to the sea most of his life he came prepared with wetsuits and body boards for us to use. I had never been body boarding before and rarely venture too far in to the English sea but with the offer of the loan of a wetsuit I was up for giving it a go. The wetsuit was great and I happily waded out to waist high water carrying the board. I was surprisingly much better at it than I thought I would be and managed to catch several waves and on occasion get quite a bit of speed up. It was good fun and the thirty minutes we spent doing it flew by. I would happily do it again even though it is harder work on the upper body than you would think.

Neil Quigley

After messing about in the sea we went back to the house to get ready for our second day at the festival. Since I became coeliac back in February I have not managed to have any fish and chips. When we knew we were definitely going for the weekend I sent Robbie a list of places that did gluten free food, one of them was a fish and chip shop in Newport called Stotesburys. It just happened to be on our walk to the festival so on the Saturday afternoon we went there for lunch. I had to phone up to order my gluten free haddock and chips half an hour before we were going to be there, which was totally fine.

When I arrived to collect that and the other meals they were lovely, everything was kept separate and all clearly labelled, which is really important for me. We went outside and found a place to sit and eat it. I must say it tasted amazing, it was so good and the first time I had been able to enjoy fish and chips for nearly a year. If you are gluten free and anywhere near the Isle of Wight you have to get some food from there. Most fish and chips shops do not do gluten free options at all, some do once a week, at this take away you can pre order them any day that they are open and they are very tasty.

Neil Quigley

We arrived at the main stage just in time to see the Lightning Seeds who I really like. I saw them over twenty years ago supporting The Beautiful South at Wembley Arena and they were as good this time as they were then. They played all the big hits and finished with the anthem Three Lions, which had the whole park singing along. While I was enjoying the band I bumped into a mate of mine who I have done some comedy with in the past so we had a nice catch up and chat.

As we had found a nice area to sit down to enjoy the sun and the music we stayed there to watch All Saints. They also did all of the hits and it was nice to see the whole band back together. I always liked them and they had a few hits so I knew all of the songs. We then wandered over to the big top to from a safe distance hear a bit of Maximo Park doing their thing. I then decided that I fancied some food so I returned to my safe gluten free Paella option, which again was very good.

Neil Quigley

On the way back from the food that may or may not have been washed down with another pint of cider we stopped off at the big top to see Example storming the place. Then it was back to the main stage to see Sam Fender. I thought he was really good plus he did a cover version of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark that I liked being a big fan of the boss. We stayed where we were to witness the band that Lynda was looking forward to seeing most Snow Patrol.

As with most of the acts on show they were exceptional. They sounded note perfect and they have more upbeat songs than I remembered. Like most sensible bands they did all the big hits and created a great vibe and atmosphere. I can now see why people rave about them as a live band they are very accomplished and just nice guys. They were actually one of my highlights of the whole weekend for how good they were and also how much Lynda seemed to enjoy seeing them playing live.

Snow Patrol

We did not fancy seeing David Guetta so again returned to the big top area to see the Kaiser Chiefs despite the fact that we had only seen them a couple of weeks ago at Pub in the Park. They were once again excellent. There were so many people trying to see them they could have easily played the bigger stage and still attracted a decent audience. We stayed till the end of their set then headed off on the thirty minute walk back to where we were staying. Yet again when we got in we did have some tea before bed.

On the Sunday morning we went for a nice walk around Carisbrooke Castle. You get some great views of the Island from up there. We did not go in but walked all around the wall by what used to be the moat. Robbie had booked us dinner at a pub called the Blacksmith Arms. It was about a seven minute bus ride away and had great views of the countryside through the panoramic windows they have there. It was of course another place on the list of the recommended gluten free places to eat that I had given him. It was a lovely pub and the food in there was brilliant.

Roast Pork Belly

I had the scallops for my starter while enjoying a rather nice glass of Malbec that was slightly better than the festival wine, it is fair to say. For my main course I had the roast pork belly, which was amazing. The huge piece of crackling they served with it was tremendous. It was all gluten free and the way they presented the dishes there was very classy indeed. We all had a lovely relaxing meal before catching the bus back to the centre of Newport to then walk to the festival for the final time.

We arrived during James Vincent McMorrow’s set and positioned ourselves on the grass in the area of the main stage. As we had done a lot of walking and as it was the last day so we were a little jaded we stayed around this area for most of the day. Therefore we were still in the same spot enjoying a few ciders when the brilliant Imelda May came on stage next. When she had finished I had agreed to go on this big swing thing with Lynda. Robbie and James had already done it on the Friday but I had been less keen. However she really wanted to do it and it only seemed fair that I should join her.

Big Swing

This thing went up much higher than the big wheel we did on Friday and did not enjoy the luxury of being surrounded by Perspex. I was if I am honest a little apprehensive but once I was on it and we were up in the sky in was not too bad. I actually enjoyed it and we did get an amazing view of the whole festival from up there. Lynda was waving her arms and legs about while I chose to hold on very tightly to the metal bar in front of me. We both did the ride together and in the end I was glad that I did it.

Next on the main stage it was Supergrass. I thought they sounded ace and played all their big hits. They looked like they were really enjoying themselves. They are I think one of those groups where you know way more of their songs than you think you do. After a break for more drinks while they reset the stage it was time for The Script. I once saw Danny O’Donoghue at a recording studio in Battersea one night when he was working on his solo album.

The Script

The Script are a top band who played all the big songs. Danny knows how to work a crowd and made the show very interactive. At one point he got a member of the audience to phone an ex and then sang a song to them. Plus he was the only act who went down to the fans at the front. He had been struggling with his voice in the lead up to the gig so I think the drummer did a lot of the heaving lifting with the vocals but it all sounded great and you could not tell. They looked like they were just so pleased to be out and playing in front of a big crowd again.

The headliners for the whole weekend were Duran Duran. We had decided to head to an area at the back where they had some wooden benches to watch the eighties icons from. Simon Le Bon predictably came out wearing a white suit and they just tore through all of their many hits. I thought they were excellent, the lead singer’s voice was still pitch perfect and they sounded like they did on all their records. We even got some fireworks during their James Bond theme. They also did a cover version of the Calvin Harris song Acceptable in the Eighties. I thought that was a fun and cheeky way of highlighting when their peak time was maybe.

Duran Duran

After they had finished we were treated to a fireworks display to the sound track of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. Razorlight were the last band on in the big top but we figured that would be rammed so after the explosive finale we decided to call it a night and stroll back to where we were staying. The next morning we got up, packed and then took a taxi to the ferry port to catch the boat back to Portsmouth. The weather remained good all weekend so it was once again a very pleasant crossing. Lynda and I had a quick look around the shopping centre where we had parked and then drove home to put an end to our first ever very successful visit to the Isle of Wight Festival.

Fireworks

A couple of weekends ago now Lynda and I actually ventured to her local cinema albeit on a Saturday afternoon in pre-brooked seats so we knew it would not be that busy. We both wanted to see the new film about the life of Aretha Franklin called Respect. It starred the brilliant Jennifer Hudson in the lead role. I enjoyed it and I did not realise quite what a tough and difficult early life she had and how well she knew and supported Martin Luther King jnr. It was very interesting and of course the soundtrack features all of her big songs. I do like movies about singers and I am very much looking forward to the new Elvis one that is being made at the moment and is being directed by Baz Lurhmann, I am hoping it will be good.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On Wednesday night Lynda and I went to see a friend of mine the lovely Mike Sterling do a gig in London. He was playing at Zedel in Soho doing his An Evening with the Phantom Show. He is a great singer and musical theatre star who has played both the Phantom and Jean Valjean in Les Miserable in the West End amongst many other roles. I always enjoy seeing him perform, he has an amazing voice. It was a great night seeing the show and then catching up with him after for a drink, a top man and top performer!

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur’s season after the international break has not been as good as it was prior to it. We have lost our last two league games against Crystal Palace and Chelsea by three goals to nil. I did know that the way we started was potentially a false dawn but I am a bit concerned about how quickly we have gone from one extreme to the other. It is going to be a long hard season I fear but I will be there supporting them all of the way as that is what us fans do. At least we are still in the Carabao Cup, just. Come on you Spurs!

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

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

Neil Quigley Presenter