Bat Out of Hell   Recently updated !

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been fun and interesting. In a world where we all just seem to be getting busier and busier it is important to make the most of your free time. Therefore the other Monday I did just that, as I enjoyed another evening at the Horse Racing at Windsor. I am a huge fan of the sport and it is always a good fun way of spending a few hours. I like the whole experience from the dressing up, the arriving and getting a race card to try to find the winning horses, to the looking for the best odds in the betting ring before each race.

I generally have mixed results on selecting the horse that is going to shine and be successful in each race. But let me tell you when your horse is in contention coming in to the final furlong that certainly gets the adrenaline pumping and raises the excitement level. It also gives you a nice rush when your horse does win. Sadly for me on this last visit I was not troubling the bookies at all. I did not pick any winners. But it was a great evening of racing with some exciting contests. Which included one race which was won by a horse whose odds were eighty to one. Trust me we all wished we had put ten pounds on that one afterwards but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The atmosphere was good as ever. As Windsor is quite a small course it is very easy to move between the parade ring, the grandstand and the winners enclosure. So you can really follow the story of each race and feel very involved. Plus they do tend to theme each of their events and often put on live music after the racing has ended. This time it was a sausage festival, which I did have to get involved with and sample a few of the flavours on offer. Well it would have been rude not to.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

The first football team I joined after begging my dad to get me in, as he knew the manager was Risborough Rangers, my home town team. I was seven years old. I played for them pretty much from the Under ten age group through to the Under sixteen’s. Then I played for the Aylesbury United Youth Team for a couple of years before returning to play for the reserves at Rangers and then going on to make a few appearances for the first team. Before I found radio and swapped football pitches for studios. Now the reason I bring this up is the other week I actually got to watch the first ever club I played for, play in the FA Cup.

They were at home in a FA Cup Extra Preliminary replay against Cockfosters. Who they had drawn with at their place the previous Saturday. It was a Tuesday night and I was free, so I thought I would go down and cheer them on. They play at a ground called Windsors. A pitch that I have played on and scored on many times over the years. It is a really nice set up down there and is a very friendly club. They have two small seated stands for fans and the playing surface is in excellent condition. Plus they serve tea at the tea bar in proper actual cups, which is a huge plus point for me.

Risborough Rangers

Risborough Rangers

Before the game it was great to bump in to so many people I knew. I saw my first ever football manager who would have picked me for my first ever match when I was a kid. He was also the manager of the reserves when I played for them. I also caught up with my manager at the Aylesbury United Youth Team, who then went on to manage the Risborough Rangers first team for many years. He is now the stadium announcer there. While his son has replaced him as manager. I ended up watching the game with my Uncle and another former player, who we had both played with. It was great reminiscing about the old days and talking about how things had changed since our time.

Needless to say none of the players I knew are still playing, so I did not know any of the current side. And it was the first time that I had ventured down to watch them for years. The game itself was very entertaining. It was a competitive and close fought encounter until the away side grabbed two late goals at the end of the first half to lead two – nil going in to the break. Bearing in mind Cockfosters were a league above Rangers, it looked like a big ask for the home side to get back in to the game.

However Risborough pulled a goal back about twenty seconds after the restart. This gave them the momentum and hope to keep going and they were creating some decent chances but were unable to take them. Until they were awarded a penalty with about twenty minutes to go. Which was emphatically converted much to the delight of the home fans. And but for one exceptional save from the home keeper Risborough had the better chances but just could not get the ball in the net. So it went to extra time and penalties. Risbourough lost four-two in the shoot out. But it was a good performance and the town can be proud of the team and players for the effort they put in. I had a nice night, so I might even try to get down and see a few more games there this season.

Risborough Rangers

Risborough Rangers

The Premier League football season is now also underway. It was an interesting and exciting opening weekend with a few surprising results and plenty of goals. It was good to see Tottenham start the season with a win. We have been very slow starters the last couple of seasons, which may have cost us a little at the business end of things. Plus Newcastle’s last game in the Premier League before they were relegated was a big home win against us, which led to Arsenal over taking us in the league on the final day. So I felt we owed them one. Although it does still seem that Harry Kane is unable to score in August. Hopefully he can change that this weekend against Chelsea.

With Spurs playing at Wembley Stadium this season I am hoping to get to as many games as I possibly can. Annoyingly I am unable to attend our first two Premier League matches but I will definitely be at the Swansea game. I am trying to organise a weekend in Liverpool for the Everton away trip to. Whatever happens I am sure it will be a fun and exciting season. I am looking forward to it. Plus who does not like a season that also ends with a World Cup to enjoy. It really has never been such a good time to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Last week I went and saw Bat Out of Hell The Musical at the London Coliseum. It features the music of course of Jim Steinman and many songs that were made famous and originally performed by Meatloaf. It was initially written as a musical before it was then turned in to the classic album that we all know and love. Which this October will celebrate its fortieth birthday. Packed full of big rock anthems, all performed in Meatloaf’s unique and distinctive style. It was huge.

The musical is very futuristic and American in setting and story line. It did remind me a little bit of We Will Rock You in places. But it is very high energy with exceptional staging with great use of props and video imaginary. You can really tell it is a Steinman production. Featuring moments created on stage with occasional nods to Meatloaf videos or his classic performances or even his famous ribbon on his microphone. It is basically a very complicated love story set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Bat Out Of Hell

Bat Out Of Hell

The cast are brilliant and each get their chance to shine performing one of the big songs from the show. All the songs fit in nicely with the story and the narrative. And if you were in any doubt as to exactly what some of the songs were about the way they perform them and act them out. They make it pretty clear.

They have kept the arrangement of the songs as close to the original versions as possible in most cases. So it is basically just a rocking good night out. A top show that got a deserved standing ovation, as the cast and audience joined together for a version of its title song to end proceedings. So Rock and Roll dreams can come true.

Bat Out Of Hell

Bat Out Of Hell

Up in Scotland currently it is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This is an event that somehow I have never been to but would absolutely love to. I really must get up there one year to experience it or may be even get the chance to perform up there.

There are so many great comedy shows and comedians there currently it is ridiculous. I know a few people who are up there doing shows. These include Silky and Olaf Falafel, who I gigged with at the Roving Comedy Night in Tring last month. They are both brilliant, so if you are at the Fringe you should definitely go and see them.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night

Silky at Roving Comedy Night

It seems such an inclusive, wide and varied festival. As you have so many high profile and established comics performing their brand new shows for the first time. Normally before they take them out on a nationwide tour. But you also get so many acts trying to make their mark on the comedy circuit. They hire small venues and put on daily free shows, in the hope they can build an audience or that one of the many industry people there spot them and want to make them the next big thing.

So many comedians have said that Edinburgh really launched their careers and opened lots of doors for them. I would ideally like to spend a week up there and see how many different comedians I could watch a day. I like to laugh as much as possible every day, so I think it would be an amazing experience and most importantly lots of fun. I would imagine you would also meet a lot of fun and interesting people. I will get round to it one day I am sure. I am a great believer of trying to do as many different new things as possible every year and going to this would tick a big box for me, personally.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Did you see any of the World Athletics from the London Stadium? There were some great performances and magic moments.  It was lovely to see the place full of people enjoying the athletics. It was a little disappointing to see Usain Bolt and Mo Farrah both bow out of track running with defeats. But you know what, that just shows you how tough it is to achieve what they have and to maintain the level of performance that they have through their careers.

Sport is unpredictable and there are no guarantees. Two legends moving on to other things. Nothing lasts for ever. Enjoy your successes, live in the moment. And if you have given your all except the times when it is just not quite your day. So many good lessons in life can be learnt from sport. I have always thought this.

The London Stadium

The London Stadium

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


Blues Brothers

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy with loads of fun stuff going on. A couple of weeks ago I made my maiden visit to the Cabaret Theatre at the Hippodrome in London to see a Blues Brothers Show. I was pretty impressed to be honest.

You have to go through the casino to get to the theatre. So the house rules are, that you have to check in any coats and bags in to their cloak room. Which to my surprise and delight was free. We had booked what they said were standing tickets. But that turned out to mean we were by the stage in an area where they had tables and booths. They put us in a booth just to the left side of the stage. Which was perfect. We had a great view and there was nobody around us.

It was table service, so they had waiters to take your drinks and food orders. I had not eaten, so I thought I would try one of the Blues Brother themed dishes they had on the menu. I had the Jake & Elwood classic burger. Which to be fair was reasonably priced and actually very tasty. So while you are enjoying your food and drink the actual show takes place on the stage.

It was a recognised and established Blues Brothers tribute show featuring a great live band, with excellent backing singers and the two stars who did sound and look just like Jake and Elwood with brilliant voices. They also put in quite a few nods to the film. Plus there was quite a bit of humour in the show. All done in a fun and professional way.

Blues Brothers

Blues Brothers

I went with two mates who had really gone for it and had turned up dressed as the Blues Brothers themselves. Fair play to them they both really looked the part. There was a great moment when the performing Blues Brothers were waiting off stage near us, while the rest of the cast were doing a song that they were not involved in. As they were there Elwood clocked my friends and gave them a smile and a thumps up.

It was a ninety minute show with a quick a ten minute interval. They as you would expect did all the big songs associated with this story. By the end everybody was up on their feet dancing and singing along. It was an excellent evening and all finished by around nine thirty.

Blues Brothers

Blues Brothers

It was the first time that I had been in the establishment. I have to say I was very impressed, it was all nicely run and the staff were great. I would happily go back and see something else there. I believe this Blues Brothers show that I saw is there until the end of August.

When I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil I interviewed a guy who was in a Blues Brother’s tribute act, as they were coming to play at the Octagon theatre in the town. He looked exactly like Jake. He had even changed his name by deed poll. Plus on his passport had got special dispensation from the Foreign Office to wear his dark glasses in his passport photograph, wearing that iconic suit and wearing the hat. It really was total dedication to the cause. Although I do believe, that he was not on the run from the police or anything.

Blues Brothers

Blues Brothers

I went out for a few drinks after work in London the other Friday. It was the perfect storm. As a few friends actually all happened to be finishing around the same time on the same day, which is pretty rare to say the least. We just visited a few of the near by pubs before heading off to see another friend of ours who was Djing at a bar not to far away. It was an eighties themed night. So when we arrived we found the bar staff dressed as a Ghostbuster, a member of Kiss and a character from Fame. Beer costs and we had to start paying.

We were chatting in between him selecting and playing songs. While talking all over the intro’s to the songs and hitting the vocals.  Which weirdly is something that pretty much always seems to happen, if you have at least two radio presenters and music in the same place. It was quite a decent and busy bar. I had been there a few times before but only during the day, so it was nice to see it full of people for a change. Another friend also popped in for a quick beer, so it was good to see and catch up with him to. A nice sociable evening with good company and decent music. Always a good way to kick off the weekend.

Neil Quigley Presenter

Neil Quigley Presenter

My cousin moved to the Richmond area about a year ago now. And last Saturday I finally got round to visiting him. Something we have been trying to organise for ages. In this hectic world we live in, it can be really hard to find a suitable date when two different people have nothing in the diary. But at last we managed it.

I have not been there for years. But it is a lovely area. We were hoping for a nice sunny evening, so we could have some drinks by the river but it was actually hammering it down with rain. After a cup of tea and an initial chat at his flat. We headed out and found a couple of really nice pubs in the centre of town.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

Then we thought we better get some food. So we ended up in Nando’s. Which I guess you could argue, depending on what you order is potentially one of the more healthy fast food style options. The service in there was super quick to be fair. From there despite the weather we did go and have a drink in one of the pubs on the river. Which I can imagine would be lovely on a warm hot evening but not as good in the rain. So we stayed inside.

There was a section cordoned off for a private party. We noticed that everybody was pushed back against the wall all facing the same way. It was at that point we worked out it must be a surprise party, but it did look really odd seeing them all like that. I was relieved for them as much as anything when the birthday girl arrived. Meaning they could then mingle and use the other half of the room as well.

We then decided to head to Putney to try out a bar that my cousin had heard was good and wanted to try out. We decided to get a taxi there, but only ended up finding one on the wrong side of the Richmond one way system. Which meant the journey took longer and cost us a bit more than we were planning.

It was five pounds on the door to get in, once we had paid the money the bouncer then told us there was a private party there, so only half of the place was open. It was not that busy, so we ended up having just one quick drink there before moving on. So the money to time ratio for this particular excursion, did not make particularly pleasant reading.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

We both came to the conclusion that we fancied some live music, so we hopped in another cab and set off for Road House in Covent Garden. I actually got asked for ID on the way in, which I must admit has not happened for a very long time. Took me ages to find my driving licence and I am pretty sure I had not been asked to produce it for at least twenty years.

Once we got in we caught the last fifteen minutes of the band’s first set, luckily they were coming back on later to do another hour or that would have been a little disappointing. It was a fun night having a few drinks including a rather nice Passion Fruit based Cocktail and hearing some live music. The band were pretty good, as you would hope for a Central London Venue.

They played a lot of guitar based classics by the likes of Oasis, Kings of Leon, Greenday and Bon Jovi. They made the effort to present themselves well and to look the part. The lead singer was even wearing a leather jacket. Which in a room that warm, was at best a very bold move.

The band played till around two and then it was a DJ till the place closed. It was a fun big night out in London, which I had not done for a while. I am hoping not to leave it so long before seeing my cousin again, as I really do want to re-discover Richmond on a nice sunny afternoon and sample a few of the pubs on the river.

London River Cruise

London River Cruise

Last weekend I managed to catch up with two of my best mates and their families at one of their houses. It was really nice to see them all together in the same place. It is quite scary how quick their children seem to grow up. Obviously I only see them periodically but the changes that seem to take place between the times I do see them, are huge.

It was nice to see the children all playing together. And really nice to have a chat to the adults and catch up on what is happening in their worlds. I am not sure if there is a better way of spending a Sunday afternoon than simply having tea and biscuits with close mates.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

I am really in to Horse Racing and I would one day possibly like to own or at least have a share in a race horse. I tend to go to Windsor Races quite a lot, as that is one of the nearest courses to where I live. Recently through their website they ran a charity competition raising money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance on behalf of one of the racing teams.

Basically for a donation to the charity you could then suggest a name for a new two year old horse that the connections have just acquired. If that name was selected you would get a five percent share in the horse for two years. Which would mean you would be able to attend at least one race meeting as an owner. Which for a fan of the sport like me would be amazing. Sadly for me I was not successful but the important thing is a lot of money was raised for a brilliant and essential charity.

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

As ever it has been another couple of fun weeks in the world of radio. I was leaving work the other day when I walked past Michael Gove. I also spotted Vince Cable across the office. Plus I got to do a show with the brilliant and lovely Chris Mason, which was great fun.

On the train in the other day was none other that the travel expert Simon Calder. Although that does not top my best ever train spot on that journey, which was the actor Robert Lindsay. Or even the time that Gabby Logan sat next to me on the way in to London. I clearly did not make that much of an impression, as she did not recognise me when we shared a lift at Broadcasting House a lot later on. But that is show business!

BBC

BBC

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


Back To The Future

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

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

Bush Corner, Isleworth

Bush Corner, Isleworth

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

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

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley in London

Neil Quigley in London

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

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

Neil Quigley Presenter

Neil Quigley Presenter

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

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

The Philanthropist

The Philanthropist

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

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

Home for Horses, Speen

Home for Horses, Speen

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

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

Home for Horses, Speen

Home for Horses, Speen

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

BBC Radio

BBC Radio

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


Roving Comedy

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with loads of fun stuff going on. I recently went to see one of the London heats of the BBC New Comedy Award 2017 at the Up The Creek Comedy Club in Greenwich.

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

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

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

BBC New Comedy Awards

BBC New Comedy Awards

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

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

Neil Quigley & George Thomas

Neil Quigley & George Thomas

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

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

Henley Regatta

Henley Regatta

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

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

"Gloriana" looking very regal at Henley Regatta

“Gloriana” looking very regal at Henley Regatta

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

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

Hyde Park

Hyde Park

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

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

Chas & Dave

Chas & Dave

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

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

Phil Collins

Phil Collins

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

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

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

Blondie

Blondie

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

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

Phil Collins

Phil Collins

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

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

Phil Collins

Phil Collins

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Paul B Edwards

Paul B Edwards

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Logan Murray

Logan Murray

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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


Stand Up and Make It Count

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

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

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley Presenter

Neil Quigley Presenter

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

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

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

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

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live

Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

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

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

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

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

BBC Radio Theatre

BBC Radio Theatre

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

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

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

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

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

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

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

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

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

Neil Quigley at Glastonbury

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley

Neil Quigley

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