Simply The Best

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I have to admit I have never really been in to Halloween. Even as a child I never dressed up or went trick or treating. It does not interest me in the slightest. And it never has. May be because I do not believe in ghosts or have never watched any horror films.

Every year I try to avoid it completely. By always going out for a meal at a local pub with the family. I am happy for others to enjoy it. But it is just not for me. It was a nice evening. It is good to actually sit down and eat together round a table. And talk to each other. Which you do not really do, if you meet up in a house. In the same way.

We went along to the Red Lion in Longwick. As it happened my dad’s cousin was doing the cooking. So it was nice to see him to. We went for a main and a pudding. As all of us have a very sweet tooth. I had a pint of the local Chiltern Brewery Ale. Which went down very well with my meal. By the time I arrived home all signs of Halloween had  disappeared. Therefore as far as I was concerned. It was yet another very successful night.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I did not end up going to any firework nights this year either. In the past working in radio. I have ended up attending, working and also organising a lot of them.

I have had some great times doing that. It was always hard work but lots of fun on the actual night. Plus there is something pleasing about leading the countdown to the start of the display. Which were mostly set to music and always spectacular.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley point’s the way on stage at the Mix 96 Fireworks.

Personally I prefer going to a big organised event, if I can. Although I think the really big displays seem to be in decline nowadays. When I was younger. I remember going to a few little family displays at my Nan and Gramps. With lots of my cousins there. The ladies would be in the kitchen making soup and Jacket Potatoes. And the men would be up the garden. Helping my Gramp set off the cheap rockets and traffic lights. That we had clubbed together to buy. And stored in a old biscuit tin.

I would normally just watch through the window or if I was feeling slightly braver from the door way. When I was a child. I was a bit scared of fireworks. I liked the pretty colours, just not the big bangs. I do remember once a rocket slightly misfired and a spark from it somehow managed to find its way into my Mum’s trainer. Which gave her a little burn. And did not help to ease my concerns about these multicoloured explosives.

I do enjoy going to displays and watching the fireworks. But then again if I do not go to any, like this year. I am perfectly fine with that to. The best display now seems to be in London on New Years Eve anyway. A couple of years ago I got to witness the whole thing. While I was standing on the roof of Broadcasting House. Which I must say was a brilliant and yet slightly surreal moment.

New Years Eve
New Years Eve

Last Thursday I took my mum, dad and sister to see the Tina Turner Musical. I had heard brilliant things about it. Since it had opened. So I was really looking forward to seeing it for myself. It is playing at the Aldwych Theatre in London. Which is a lovely venue situated just off The Strand. And for the record I can confirm that they do a perfectly adequate Merlot there. Which I sampled before the show and during the interval. Well that is all part of the theatre experience, right?

The show itself is amazing. We already know all the huge songs from her career. Therefore before it starts. You know the music is going to be great. It is a very fast moving production. A lot seems to happen to her in a very short space of time. And most of it is horrendous. I guess that in real life and real time. What she had to live through and deal with was even worse. When you consider how much they may have had to leave out.

Her life story is as amazing, as it is inspiring. It just shows what an incredible and strong women she is. Both parts of the show tug on all of your emotions. It really is a bit of a roller coaster ride. I must be honest I did not realise how much she was actually struggling before she properly launched her amazing solo career. It was a real fight to get to where she did. At times sadly, literally.

Tina The Musical
Tina The Musical

The cast were sensational and all brilliant. But special praise has to go to Jenny Fiztpatrick. Who was sublime as Tina. As I am sure you can imagine with it being her life story. She is always involved in the action. And by default has to carry the whole thing. Including belting out all of those huge classic hits. Which of course she does brilliantly. She has a truly sensational voice.  Plus she has all of the recognisable Turner mannerisms down to a tee.

I can totally see why it has been getting so many five star reviews. It is an excellent show. It is endorsed and supported by Tina herself. It is very dark and deals with a lot of issues and situations. But happily it is ultimately a success story. It finishes with a party style sing-a-long with the cast. Which is a fantastic way to end any theatre trip. If you can, I would say go and see it.

Tina The Musical
Tina The Musical

After the show we went for dinner at the wonderful Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden. The staff and service are always top class. And the food is delicious. I personally think the place has a really nice atmosphere to.

While I was there I sampled a bottle of their 2011 Reserva Rioja. Which was very nice. My dad and I then finished the meal by having a Champagne Cocktail each. Which was a top way to round off a lovely afternoon/evening.

Cocktails
Cocktails

Tottenham Hotspur will be playing all their home games a Wembley until at least the end of December now. So I am going to have to wait till next year to see and sit in my season ticket seat for the first time. I am still getting to all the games at the national stadium. I was there to see us lose to Manchester City. We played well. But unfortunately one mistake and then one missed golden opportunity cost us a draw. Which I think we would have just about deserved. But alas it was not to be.

The pitch was not quite at its best having had three weeks worth of American Football games played on it. Including one the day before. After a very wet weekend. It was very bare and odd seeing the NFL pitch markings so clearly. I was lucky enough to play a charity match on the Wembley pitch a few years ago. At the end of the season. Just before the pitch was about to be relayed. I think it may have been in better condition for my match, than it was for the game against City.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I also went to the must win Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven. Which happily for Spurs we did. But for a long time it looked like it we would not. And it would just be one of those nights. It did not help much going one down in the second minute. Then we had lots of chances but they were not going in.  Finally Harry Kane managed to inspire us to two late goals and the three points.

That win keeps us in with a chance of making the next stage of the competition. If we basically win our last two games. One of which is an away trip to Barcelona. Fair play to the PSV fans. They were brill. They never stopped singing, bouncy and clapping all night. Mind you I did bump in to a few outside before the game. And I think that they were making the most of the London hospitality. The Dutch know how to enjoy themselves.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

Last Saturday night I went to my cousin’s wife’s 40th Birthday Party. It was held at a pub in Towersey. Well it was in their function room. Which was a lovely little barn. It was a brilliant night. Great to catch up with some family members. Who I had not seen for a while. I do come from a pretty big family. And we do not get the chance to all meet up. That often nowadays. So it is always nice, when we do.

I was also pleased to discover that the pub served Rebellion IPA. Which is one of my favourite beers. That was a bit of a result. The disco was really good. Top music all night. Played at just the right volume for the size of the room. Which I know does not sound like a massive compliment. But that is an easy thing to get wrong. And this guy did not. He was spot on with it.

The birthday girl seemed to enjoy herself. She took lots of photos. And using one of the many apps you can get nowadays. She made a montage of them all. Which was set to music. She posted it on her Facebook page. For us all to see. Which I think is a brilliant idea. I might have to steal that idea for my next party. Which will not be for at least another eight years, I think.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The other week I had my final day working for the BBC. There were a few of us leaving on the same day. So we went out for a few drinks and some food.

We actually found a pretty new and fairly cool bar. It is just along the road from the BT Tower. It describes itself as an US Dive Bar.

BBC
BBC

It serves American beer and Philadelphia style food. We had booked a table in there. And I must say the food and service was really good. I would certainly go back there again. It is not a very big place. So it can get quite cosy in there, quite quickly. Buy I really liked it. It is called Passyunk Avenue. I think it has only been open for about a month. But it is worth checking out. Specially if you like traditional style greasy American cuisine.

From there we moved on to a more traditional English Pub. Which was one of our normal go to “work” pubs. It was ace to see everyone who managed to pop along for a drink. I have had a great couple of years working there. It was fun, interesting and exciting. But now it is time to move on to my next big adventure.

BBC
BBC

For Father’s Day this year. I bought my dad a Red Wine tasting experience for two people. Today me and him are heading up to a posh hotel in London to partake in this. I am really looking forward to it.

As well as sampling the wines. We also get to enjoy some accompanying cheese and chocolate. It sounds like a perfect couple of hours to me. I will tell you what it was like next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Magical Mystery Tour

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been predictably busy and fun. The other weekend I went up to Liverpool. To see my mate who lives there. This is not unusual, as I normally go and see him two to three times a year. More often than not these visits tend include a football match or a day at the races.

This time however there was no event as such. Although there was a certain exhibition I wanted to see while I was there. Which I will tell you more about later. As ever, I let the train take the strain to make my way up to the North West. I arrived about half past six. And as is the tradition. He met me at his local train station. Then we headed to the nearest pub to have a few drinks and catch up.

As someone who goes out drinking in London and therefore is used to the premium prices you pay for this privilege. I still find it very odd that I can order two pints for under four pounds in the particular bar we go to. Anyway after a few very reasonably priced beers. We went back to his place to have some food. Before enjoying a lovely cup of tea. While listening to some top quality music. Before bed.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The next morning he had decided to take me to a very nice cafe for breakfast. It was in an area of Liverpool. That perfectly lent itself to his very own Beatles inspired Magical Mystery Tour. Which I loved by the way. The first stop was the Church Hall. Where Paul met a certain John for the first time. It was also where the band use to play and rehearse in the very early days.

We then quickly nipped across the road to the Church Yard. To see the grave stone of Eleanor Rigby. From there it was on to the gates of Strawberry Fields. The park is actually closed at the moment. But it is being refurbished and it is expected to re-open in a few years. I think it is brilliant that they are doing that. Another nice tribute and nod to the band. And its two main song writers.

Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields

Next I was driven down Penny Lane. While my mate was pointing out all the things that are mentioned in the song. Fair play I must say the description of it in the song is very accurate. I mean talk about writing about what you know about. I must also add that during this personally guided tour. That I was being treated to. All the relevant songs were playing in the car at the relevant times.

He then took me to see John Lennon’s child hood house. Which was actually pretty big and on quite a main busy road. We then went to see where Paul McCartney grew up. Which was on a council housing estate. It is hard to comprehend the huge songs that were written in that little house in Merseyside. And then from there what they both went on to achieve in their careers.

Sir Paul McCartney's place
Sir Paul McCartney’s place

That brought to a close the Beatles VIP Tour. It finished with a really tasty breakfast in a lovely little cafe. I had poached egg on toast with spinach and mushrooms. Which was delicious. Next on the agenda was kind of the main reason for my visit. To see a new free exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool.

The museum is at The Albert Docks. We had a quick walk around there. I have been there many times before. It is always busy and bustling there. With some nice restaurants and shops. And of course it is famously the place that This Morning used to come from. Before it moved to London.

Albert Docks
Albert Docks

The exhibition called Double Fantasy did keep on with the Beatles theme of the day. As it is all about John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It tells the story of both of their lives, how they met, how they worked and lived together. It also features lots of personal possessions. Like the outfits they got married in, a pair of John’s glasses, original hand written lyrics and lots more.

It is fascinating. I certainly learnt a lot about the pair of them. That I did not know. He was a very unique and special individual. There are some great photo opportunity’s. Including your chance to join their famous “Bed In” for peace. I found it really interesting. It did also highlight issues they had. That I was not aware of. For example at one point the authorities wanted them out of America. And made it very hard for them to get VISA’s.

Give Peace A Chance
Give Peace A Chance

If you can. This is an exhibition well worth seeing. It is on in Liverpool until April next year. Then it may well move around the country or even around the world. It is of course such a tragic shame how and when John Lennon died.

He was still so relatively young. We have all been robbed of at least twenty years of amazing songs. And I would also guess some thoughtful quotes and observations about the world in which we live.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had some drinks in London after work the other night. We started off in the BBC Club for one. This is a bar actually located in Wogan House for staff. A place to relax in and grab some food, if required. I however decided to eat at Byron. Which is my burger place of choice when I am in London. And in need of a fairly quick meal. I think I have tried everything on their menu. And it is all good!

Next up was a pub on the Marylebone High Street. That is always a pretty classy place to hang out. There are some decent bars and restaurants in that area. That do offer a good selection of drinks. Specially, if you like me, do enjoy trying different ales. It was a fun night. There is something in having a few drinks straight from work that somehow makes, what you are drinking taste even better.

Blues Brothers
Blues Brothers

It was nice to see Tottenham continue where they had left off before the International Break with a win at West Ham United. Our next league game is against Manchester City on Monday Night. I am off to see that game at Wembley.

The way the table is currently poised, if we could somehow beat them. It would really put us back into the mix to be challenging for the top spot. But I would definitely take a draw and a share of the points in this one. Let us just gloss over the whole Champions League thing at the moment.

The London Stadium
The London Stadium

For the first time this series I managed to watch the whole of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday. It is still a very entertaining show. All the dances were really good, I thought. A lot of praise needs to go to the professional dancers. For not only coming up with brilliant routines every week. But for also teaching them to their celebrity’s in under five days. They must have the patience of saint’s.

There are a couple of really good celebrity dancers this year. But then everybody else appears to be at more or less the same level. Which makes it a very exciting competition. Meaning it is extremely hard to predict. Who will leave the show every week. Ashley Roberts and Faye Tozer are for me the best two dancers. I like Danny John-Jules. For a man of his age. He is quite the mover.

I also think Joe Sugg is very good. I will be honest I had no idea at all who he was when the show started. But he seems like a really nice and decent chap. He could do well in the competition, I think. It was Vick Hope who was voted out last week. She was maybe a little bit unlucky to go. Although once you are at the bottom of the leader board. You will be up against it. If you end up in the dance off.

I like Seann Walsh. Not the best dancer, but his performances are I think quite watchable. I think he could well be the next to go mind. Since the shall we say incident between him and his partner. Things and the atmosphere just seem a bit odd around them both. And the other cast members. It all just seems awkward. I am looking forward to the Halloween Special tonight. It will be another cracker for sure.

Evita
Evita

I had another fantastic night seeing the brilliant Evita at the Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. It stars Lucy O’Byrne, Glenn Carter and my mate Mike Sterling. It is a spectacular version of a classic old school musical. The staging is perfect. It is basically a touring West End production. It is that good.

It was wonderful to catch up with Mike both before and after the performance. He is brilliant in this show. It was opening night in High Wycombe, so I gate crashed the cast drinks for one with him after. He has been full on busy recently.

As well as the current tour. He has also performed in Swansea with the Moody Blues and in Sweden with some musicians who played with ABBA. Which is pretty cool to say the least. Great to spend time with him as always.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

I have mixed views about the upcoming Only Fools and Horses Musical. I cannot really imagine anybody else playing Del and Rodney. Other than Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst. That will just seem really weird.

However the fact that the additional sketches are written by John Sullivan’s son and Paul Whitehouse. Does give me hope that it will not tarnish the show. And it will be a nice homage to it. Plus some of the completed songs have been co-written by Chas Hodges. So they will be good. Despite my reservations. I will definitely have to go and see it. When it opens next February in London.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As I have said before spending some time working at Broadcasting House. Can often mean seeing a few familiar faces around.

Recently I have found myself in a lift with Ian Wright and Evan Davis. Also in a studio with Danny Baker and Kirsty Gallacher. Plus I have seen Tom Daley, Scott Mills and Matt Forde just walk past me.

BBC
BBC

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

Messi Time

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. As a season ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur. I managed to get myself along to the Champions League game against Barcelona at Wembley Stadium. It was a match I had been looking forward to since the draw was made.

Unfortunately going in to it we had a few injuries to key players. But I still felt we could give them a good game. Although we were a goal down inside the first two minutes. Thanks to some genius from the legend that is Lionel Messi. And possibly a little bit of poor decision making from the otherwise excellent Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham v Barcelona
Tottenham v Barcelona

It was a very exciting game to be at. The place was full and the atmosphere was great. Well it was at least for the first few minutes. Then it did go a bit quiet when they scored. Spurs put in a battling performance. There were two moments. When we pulled goals back. That I did think might see us grab a draw or even the win.

Even if we had managed that. Although we played well. We would not really of deserved it. Barcelona were by far the better team. It was an honour to get to see Lionel Messi play in person. He is still, I think the best player in the world. And Yes I have seen Ronaldo play to. He struts around like he owns the place. Always finds space. He can pass, dribble and shoot better than anyone.

He scored two great goals and hit the same post twice. It was a great pleasure to see him play. That Barcelona side has a lot of very good players. But he still looks head and shoulders above of all them. It is possibly the first time I have seen my team lose. And not been too disappointed. We gave it our all. And we were just beaten by a better team.

Neil Quigley and Lionel Messi
Neil Quigley and Lionel Messi

A few Friday’s ago some mates and I made our now annual visit to the Ascot Racing Beer Festival. It is just a good excuse to all meet up, have a laugh and watch some racing. Oh and have a few drinks. Well it is a beer festival. So it would be rude not to. We decided to go a bit crazy. And spend an extra five pounds each for the King Edward VII Enclosure.

One of my friend’s took responsibility for buying the tickets. I then sensibly checked out the dress code requirements. And sent them to the Whats App Group. That we had set up for this event. This is how seriously we were taking it. We had to wear a shirt with a collar, tie, and a Jacket. I suggested we should all wear suits. Which to be fair, everyone did.

On the day. We met up outside the race course. As the friend who bought the tickets, still had them. When I arrived I noticed that he was not wearing a tie. Almost straight away I asked him if he had one with him. He said no. Then claimed it was not a requirement of the stand we were going in to. I however said otherwise.

Ascot Beer Festival
Ascot Beer Festival

Anyway as we go to walk into the King Edward. He is stopped and told he cannot go in without a tie. The gentlemen informs him that he can buy one downstairs. He then heads off to find himself some neck wear. With us being the great friends we are. We went straight into the enclosure to all get a beer.

We then get a message from him saying the cheapest tie he can find is sixty five pounds. We offer to forfeit the great views and private bars we have. To spend the day downstairs with him. He feels bad, so he goes out in to the High Street to find a tie. But he still cannot find one.

Then he comes back in to the racecourse and finds another shop in the grounds. Where he buys a tie for fifteen pounds. He must have been gone about twenty minutes. He then comes and joins us in the stands for the rest of the day. The moral of this story is always make sure you read all Whats App messages properly.

King Edward VII Enclosure
King Edward VII Enclosure

We had a great afternoon, chatting, catching up and laughing. They also had my favourite locally brewed pint there. Which is Rebellion IPA. They are based in Marlow. So it had not had that far to travel to Ascot. It was lovely as ever. I also sampled a pint of the very local Windsor & Eaton Brewery’s Champions Day Ale. Which was also very agreeable.

I think everyone had at least one winner during the day. We had a great view of the whole course and the finishing line. From where we were up in the King Edward VII Enclosure. Once the racing was over. We then went to a pub in Ascot for a few more drinks. Luckily they had a barbecue there selling cheeseburgers and hot dogs. We had somehow neglected to get any food during the afternoon. So it was a much needed snack.

It was a brilliant day spent with good friends. We have already made plans to do the same thing next year. Hopefully my mate will make sure he wears his newly purchased tie to. We then got a taxi home. Stopping off in High Wycombe to get some more food.

I was not sure what I fancied. Then I spotted a new Chinese Take-Away. I just grabbed some Chilli Beef and some Dim Sum. The food was great, although I ate it using just my fingers. It was not till I had finished. That I noticed they had put a plastic knife and fork in the bottom of the bag. But on the plus side I will know that next time.

Ascot Beer Festival
Ascot Beer Festival

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending my cousin’s wedding. The ceremony was in a local church in Monks Risborough. In fact, it was the church associated with my Primary School. Therefore for me, being in there waiting for her to arrive. It bought back memories of concerts, Harvest Festivals. And the time I played a Monk in a play there.

I did have plenty of time to do this. As she was about fifteen minutes late arriving at the church. Her husband to be, was cool about it. And took it all in his stride. Plus to be fair, he had already predicted that should would almost certainly not be on time.

It was a really lovely service. My dad gave a reading towards the end. Which he did flawlessly. It really was a job well done. And I was very proud. I did give him a little bit of coaching. When he first started rehearsing it. Therefore I think I should get some of the credit for his performance.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

With the marriage ceremony completed. It was then off to the Reception. Which was being held in Burnham Beeches. They had laid on a mini bus to take us there and back. We each had a little snack goody bag to enjoy on the way there. Keeping our energy levels up until the Wedding Breakfast later on. It was Champagne on arrival. Credit to the waiting staff. They were very proficient at topping up glasses. My planned one glass of fizz turned in to being two.

We had some photos taken. Then it was time to sit down for food. The meal was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once the deserts had been tidied away it was time for the speeches. My cousin sadly lost her dad a few years ago.

Her Mum gave her away in the church. And her Sister in effect gave the Father of Bride speech. Although she very much did make it her own. It was an exceptional speech and performance. Pitched I felt perfectly for the occasion. Plus it was very funny. I rate myself as a bit of a public speaker. But I am not sure I would have wanted to follow that.

The Happy Couple
The Happy Couple

That task fell to the Groom. Who did a splendid job. Before passing the baton on to the Best Man. He did a fantastic job to. Nothing was missing . It was a text book speech with all the key elements in there. After the speeches it was time for a few more group photos. While the room was reset for the evening do and disco.

I must admit that is probably the most I have danced for a while. But rest assured I still have all the moves. I am more than match fit and ready if Strictly Come Dancing come calling.

Wedding Fun
Wedding Fun

They also had one of those photo booths there. You know the ones where they have a bit of dressing up box. And you can go in and take silly photos. I ended going in there five times with different people during the evening. It was good fun. I am looking forward to seeing some of the pictures.

I had a really lovely day. Talking to lots of relatives. I had not seen for a while. Having a bit of a boogie. Taking funny photos. But mainly of course celebrating the special day of a beautiful couple. Who I wish a very healthy and happy life together. Congratulations to the both of them. Thanks for letting me share your big day with you. We left just before midnight, so I did not turn in to a Pumpkin.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There is quite often something unusual or interesting happening outside my place of work. Which I must confess, I like. As I walked out the door to head home the other evening. There was a full orchestra and large choir performing the classic song from Mary Poppins. That is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

It sounded brilliant. And I must confess it did put a spring in to my step. And make me smile, as I went past them. I enjoyed it so much I would now like that to happen every time I leave to go home. It was in my head for the next two days. I could not stop singing it!

BBC
BBC

People of Buckinghamshire and surrounding areas. This is your last reminder that the brilliant Evita comes to the Wycome Swan from the 23rd October for a week. My good friend. The super talented Mike Sterling is playing Juan Peron in it. I went and saw it a few months ago in Great Malvern. It is a sensational production of a classic musical.

I am going to the opening night on the Tuesday. I am looking forward to seeing the show once again. Plus catching up with Mike. As I said if you can get yourself a ticket to see this then do. You will not be disappointed.

Evita
Evita

Lee Ryan was voted off of Strictly Come Dancing last week. It was a shame to see him go. He is a nice bloke and good fun.

I did a gig with him in Yeovil once. During his solo career. After he had performed he stayed around for the rest of the night drinking and chatting to the audience.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

By Royal Appointment

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. It was my Mum’s birthday at the start of September. Her present this year was a day out with me in London including a visit to Buckingham Palace. Over the years I have been up to the front of the Royal house to admire it and watch the changing of the guards several times. The first time I would have been about seven, I think.

For many years now the Palace has been opened up to the public when the Royal Family are away on their summer break. Having a nose around the place is something I had been meaning to do for a while. So when discussing what my mother would like to do for her birthday this year. The suggestion to do the tour there was made. I booked the tickets and we went along to do it the other week.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

There were three parts to the option that I purchased. The first was a look around the Queen’s Gallery. In this display area they put on a different exhibition every year. Which features various items from the Royal Collection. This is made up of the many gifts the family has received over the years. As well as items purchased by some of the Kings and Queens from the past.

The theme for this year’s exhibition in the Queen’s Gallery was the Splendours of the Indian Subcontinent. This included manuscripts, paintings, diamond encrusted jewellery and some very elaborate weaponry.  Some of the items on display are amazing to look at. And impossible to put a price on. Interesting pieces from world history. It makes you think how talented people were back in the 1600’s or so to create these amazing things. Using the tools and the technology that they had at their disposal.

The second part of our Royal Day out included a nice look round the Royal Mews. Where the horses, carriages and some other modes of transport are looked after. Luckily as we arrived a free guided tour was about to start, so we jumped on the back of that. It was great to learn about the history and the current workings of the Mews. They were the idea of Queen Victoria. Who was actually the first Royal to use Buckingham Palace as her official residence.

There were a couple of horses in the stables. Including one of the famous Windsor Grey’s. Which are the horses that always pull the carriage that the Queen is in. Talking of which they do have lots of the carriages on display. Including the one our current Queen went to her Coronation in. The one Princess Diana went to her Wedding in. And the one used by both William and Harry after their big day’s.

Royal Mews
Royal Mews

They do look spectacular and amazing close up. There is a new one that is a few years old and has only been used a handful of times. It has wheels on it designed by a Formula One engineer. And features wood from HMS Victory inside the cabin.

Once the tour ended we were free to have a look around ourselves. They give you the chance to dress up as one of the Queen’s footmen for a photo. Which I did. There is one of the official cars on display. The family always have a car ready to go. And a chauffeur on duty. Should they require to have to go anywhere.

Royal Neil
Royal Neil

The last part of the experience was the thing I was looking forward to most. The chance to actually step foot inside Buckingham Palace. They give you the opportunity to visit the State Rooms. You get an audio guide. Which tells you some information about every one of the fifteen rooms you get to visit. These include Dining Rooms, Ball Rooms and Drawing rooms. All of which are sensational. The look and feel of the place is amazing.

You do get a sense of the occasions and the importance of the people who would have graced these rooms at big state events. There are also a few secret doors and passages from the private living quarters. So the Royals can appear in certain places and not have to see their guests until they want to. The furniture is brilliant. Including of course a couple of rooms that do include thrones.

Another room we got to see was the one where the Investitures take place. This is what it is called when people visit the Palace to receive their honour from a member of the Royal Family. Having visited the place. I now know exactly where to sit and to walk to get my OBE or Knighthood from the Queen. In the future when I get one. Plus of course I will be familiar with the surroundings there. Which should help with any nerves on the big day.

Having been for a good look around the house. I would love to go to one of their dinner party’s. A lovely meal followed by a nice brandy with some good conversation in one of the drawing or music rooms. Would be an ideal evening out for me. Specially if Her Majesty then lent me a carriage and some horses to get home.

The tour ends in the Garden. So you get to walk out down the rear steps and see the area where the Royal Garden Parties are held. To get out you then get to walk around some of the garden to. It is so  picturesque and huge.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

There are lakes, orchards, flower beds and I suspect nice areas for barbecues. It would certainly be a pleasant space to go for a morning walk. The only thing is the exit from the garden. Does put you miles away from where you started. And a fair way from any underground stations.

It was a lovely day out. I found it fascinating looking around the Palace. I could see myself living there. But there is no way that can happen. I still would like to get invited back there for some sort of official occasion with some Royals in attendance. Just in case anyone from the House of Windsor stumbles across this.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have had a little bit of a break from the theatre over the summer. Mainly as I was busy swanning off around America. Then having a laugh in Edinburgh. One show that I have been wanting to see for a while is Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. The music for which was composed by Dan Gillespie Sells. The lead singer with the band The Feeling. Who I think are brilliant. That was the initial appeal of it for me.

Add to that the amazing reviews the show has had. Plus the amount of theatre awards it has won since it opened in the West End in June 2017. Everything I heard about it was positive. It is such a modern and progressive musical. Set in Sheffield within the last ten years. Based on a real life story. That was actually featured in a television documentary.

Everbody's Talking About Jamie
Everbody’s Talking About Jamie

Finally I went to the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue to see it. All I can say is everybody was right about it. It grabs you right from the start. The songs are catchy and brill. The story line is honest and real. The cast are all excellent. It is such a well performed and slick show.

It is quite a long show with a running time of two hours and forty minutes including the interval. But when you reach the half way point. You can’t believe it has arrived so quickly. Time flying by is of course a good sign that it is an entertaining and enjoyable show. It is also a bit of an emotional roller coaster. In many ways it is, I suspect quite an accurate representation of school and home life in the area.

I also like the fact that a lot of the actors who performed in the first version of it that opened in Sheffield moved with it. And got to be in the West End version. It also featured a familiar face from the world of Soap Opera. Shobna Gulati is in it and needless to say she is great.

This is another show that is worth seeing if you can. There is some choice language in it, so it is not suitable for children. That said it is all in context and what you would expect to hear for real in the scenarios that they are re-creating. See it if you can.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had to venture up to Manchester recently for a meeting at Media City. I got an early morning train from Buckinghamshire to the rainy city. They have a really good tram network there. You can get one from Piccadilly Station straight to Media City. I quite enjoyed the journey there via the various Quays.

I got there a little bit early, so I had time to have a little bit of a walk around. The place does exactly what it says on the tin. As the area contains BBC television and Radio Studios. ITV have some studios and facilities there. In fact Coronation Street is now filmed at newly built studios and sets there. They even offer you tours of the famous cobbled streets. Sadly I did not have the chance or time to do that while I was there.

Media City
Media City

Several independent radio and television companies have facilities there as well. There are also quite a few bars and restaurants in the area. Well media professionals and creatives need to be fed and of course watered. Just like everybody else.

I bet they would be quite good places for Celebrity spotting specially if you are a soap fan. I had a meeting in one of the BBC buildings there. It was in the Sports Personality of The Year meeting room, as it happened.

When I had finished I did plan to do some more investigating in the area. But it was tipping it down with rain. So I just decided to get the tram back to  the station, have a quick bite to eat and then get the next train home. I have had a few decent nights out in Manchester over the years. I have not had one for a while. May be I need to try and put that right soon.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Things have not been going that well for my team Tottenham. I went to my first game of the season at Wembley. To see Liverpool beat us. The best bits were trying the Vegetarian Burger. Which was curried beetroot and parsnip in a green bun.

Then randomly sitting next to someone who was a couple of years below me at school. The match itself was not so good. Let us just leave it at that.

Tottenham Hotspurs
Tottenham Hotspurs

Then of course came defeat in injury time away to Inter Milan. That was not ideal either. I have my ticket and I am looking forward to the Tottenham v Barcelona game at Wembley Stadium this week. It will be good seeing Messi in action. It was a relief to return to winning ways at Brighton in the Premier League last weekend.

I made my first ever visit to MK Dons Stadium in Milton Keynes to see Spurs play Watford in the Carabao Cup. It is a nice ground. But it was a bit weird watching my team there, as the home side. Plus it is a little harder to get to than Wembley. Parking the car is a nightmare. At least Tottenham won, albeit on penalties. Still in the cup though!

Stadium MK
Stadium MK

I had a brilliant time at my mate’s surprise Birthday Meal. His wife had arranged it all. He had absolutely no idea. We met in a pub. And as he was not expecting me to be there.

I was actually standing right behind him for about five minutes before he noticed me. It was good fun. Although I did have to leave early as I had a very early alarm call the next day. But that’s show business.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Sterling Work

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. After a few weeks taking it easy. Mine were nice and busy, once again. Just how I like it. My good friend. The lovely and very talented Mike Sterling is currently on tour in Evita. Due to my hectic schedule. The only time I could get to see the show was the other week. When it was in Great Malvern.

I decided to make a night of it, so I booked a hotel there. It was the first time I had visited the place. I got the train there and arrived just before five o’clock in the afternoon. It is practically built on a big hill. Therefore wherever you go. You are either going uphill or downhill.
My hotel was about a ten minute walk both downhill and uphill from the station.

I checked in and went up to my room. I do not mean to sound at all snobbish. But it was a Wetherspoons owned hotel. I had no idea that they even owned them. Therefore I will be totally honest. I was not really expecting much. However it was very nice. The rooms were brilliant. And the view of the countryside through the window was amazing. The staff were also great. I was well looked after there.

Great Malvern
Great Malvern

Once I had recovered from the shock of it all being much nicer than I expected. I thought I would watch a bit of television before going for dinner. I stumbled across an episode of The A Team on some random channel. I had not seen it for years. But instantly I was drawn in to it. It was like I was ten years old again. I sat there transfixed until it had finished. I absolutely loved it.

It did mean I headed off out for food a little later than I intended. So I just went downstairs. And had a nice Steak and Chips with a glass of Red Wine in the bar. It was then time to make my way to the Great Malvern Theatre. To see the show. It was only five minutes down the road. I arrived there with enough time to sample a glass of their Red Wine. And to order one for the interval. Before it was time to take my seat for the show.

Great Malvern Theatre
Great Malvern Theatre

I was excited and proud to see my mate in action. He is playing Juan Peron. The President of Argentina, no less. He is no stranger to the stage or musicals, of course. Having played the leading roles in both the Phantom of The Opera and Les Miserables in the West End. He also very kindly performed at my fortieth birthday party, a few years ago. Recently me and him spent a cracking day out at Royal Ascot.

The show was sensational. Mike was sublime in it. The whole cast and the production is faultless. It is in many ways such a powerful story. Which does kind of hold a mirror up to society and the way the world is run. Plus of course it has some cracking songs in it. It is on at the Wycombe Swan in Buckinghamshire running from 23rd to 27th of October. I would urge you to see it, if you can. It has been getting lots of four and five star reviews. And I can totally see why.  Go and see it for yourself.

Evita
Evita

Then after the show I met Mike at the Stage Door. As we had earlier agreed. We were off out for a few drinks with some of the rest of the cast. It was their opening night in Great Malvern. So drinks after that is a bit of a theatre tradition, I understand. Any excuse I say. It turned out the drinks were actually taking place in the bar of the hotel that I was staying at. Which was a bit of a result for me. It transpires some of the other performers were also staying there.

I had a fantastic time catching up with Mike and chatting to the cast. After show drinks are always the best. He is having a ball. It is quite full on though. They do eight shows every week spread over six days. They get a day off and one travel day every week. And they really are heading all over the United Kingdom. I do like being around actors, singers and dancers.  There is always a good vibe about, I find. It was a brilliant night seeing an amazing show and then catching up with a Pal.

Mike Sterling & Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling & Neil Quigley

I recently spent a lovely relaxing afternoon with two very good friends. We sat and talked for ages. Had a Barbecue. Then to round things off. Me and one of them went down the pub for a few drinks.

In this crazy world where we all currently seem to be running on a treadmill. And getting nowhere fast. A whole afternoon away from it all. Just catching up with best mates. Is something to be enjoyed and even celebrated, I think.

Blues Brothers
Blues Brothers

I managed to get along to Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park. Their festival in a day last Sunday. I have done Glastonbury in the past which is great, but means sleeping in a tent. The good thing about this event is that it has the feel of a festival. But I could sleep in my own bed at the end of it all.

The line up was fantastic. But I must admit it was the lady who was headlining. Who I was looking forward to seeing the most. I arrived there at midday and managed to get in straight away. It was already starting to fill up nicely. It gave me time to have a good walk around. See what was about and on offer. And also get my bearings for when it got really busy later on.

Radio 2 Hyde Park
Radio 2 Hyde Park

I have to say it was all very well organised. And of course there were queues for things. Due to the sheer number of people. But it was all managed the best it possibly could be. I thought it would be rude not to at least sample a bit of what the bars had to offer. So I had a pint of the Pilsner they had on draft. Which was six pounds a pint. Now that might sound expensive. But that is not far off normal London prices to be honest.

I managed to find a nice standing area to the right hand side of the stage. Which I could get to and from quite easily. So I decided this would be my go to area. To watch the acts from throughout the day. Jo Whiley was the main host for the event. However for each and every introduction. She was joined by pretty much all of the other Radio 2 Presenters at some point. It was an excellent line up.

Radio 2 Hyde Park
Radio 2 Hyde Park

First on was Lenny Kravitz. He was simply wonderful. His band and him sounded amazing. He did all his big hits including his current one Five More Days Till Summer. Not only did he sound great. But he is such a cool guy.

I mean who else could pull off flared jeans, leather jacket, big hat and snakeskin Cuban heeled boots. Plus you would never guess he is almost in his mid fifties. It was a brilliant start to the live music for the day.

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz

Up next it was Rita Ora. Who also put on a fantastic show. She was sounding and looking great to. Nothing personal against her. But due to timing restrictions. While she was on I was checking out the Real Ale and Champagne Bar’s. Although with the quality top sound set up and the big screens. I could still see and hear her perfectly. Even from right at the back of the park.

The next act were a little bit left of centre. They were a folk group collaboration. Who have a new album coming out that features folk style re-workings of many disco classics. They are called The Band Of Love. Their set included their versions of Night Fever, Gimme The Night and We Are Family. They were really good. And are clearly a very talented bunch of musicians and singers. Who got the audience singing along.

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz

Then it was time for a trip down memory lane with an appearance from the All Saints. They did all the big hits from their impressive back catalogue. They were sounding ace. And still had all the dance moves and routines.

They looked like they were having fun. And that they were all enjoying being back together on stage. They finished their set with the hit song from the film “The Beach”, Pure Shores. Which went down very well with the Hyde Park crowd.

All Saints
All Saints

Next it was the duo who stepped in to replace the unwell Carrie Underwood. I would have loved to seen her live. But I have been following the careers of The Shires for a while now. So it was quality to finally get to see them play live. I am a big fan of country music. so I really like their stuff.

These two are already Britain’s most successful band of that genre. They were brilliant. Lovely people and talented performers backed by a great band. They are only going to get bigger and better. Next time they are in Nashville. I would be very happy to head over there with them. Seeing them reminded me very of my time in America.

The Shires
The Shires

The first ever Party in the Park style music event I went to see was one of the early Capital FM ones in Gunnersbury Park. A new Irish band called Boyzone were their performing their first two hits. Over the years I have met both Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch. Who for the record are both top blokes. The group are celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year. Which let’s face it. Is making us all feel old.

They are going to go out on one more big World Tour. Then they are going to call it a day for good. They were excellent. I have seen them live a few times. And I did honestly think they were sounding better than ever. Plus you forget what a great back catalogue of songs they had. For example I forgot they did that cover of the Bee Gees Words. That sounded sensational in the evening sunshine.

Boyzone
Boyzone

In between the live performances. They were playing out videos of some of the live studio performances from Radio 2 shows from the last year or so. A few of these were spectacular themselves.

We did also have DJ sets from Craig Charles and Ooh Gary Davies. Which were fun. The sound quality of the event was perfect. But I would expect nothing less from my BBC colleagues.

Craig Charles
Craig Charles

The last time I had seen The Manic Street Preachers was at the Glastonbury Festival. They were great that time and they were equally as good or even better this time around. They sounded fantastic. They played all their huge hits. It was a very slick and entertaining set from a power house of a band. Plus their latest single is excellent.

The whole day flew by really quickly. Aided by the great live music. And a few more of the Portobello Pilsners beers. Fuelled by a burger, crisps and some doughnuts.  I was more than ready to dance and sing along with the headline act.

Radio 2 Hyde Park
Radio 2 Hyde Park

I mentioned earlier the Capital Fm Party in the Parks. Well I went to the first one they held in Hyde Park. Sadly it was raining so hard that day. I had to leave two songs in to a certain Australian female singers performance. I had now waited a long time for the chance to see her again. So I was more than ready for this. And very excited to see her perform live.

The current host of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show Chris Evans came out to introduce her. As he had promised to do when she was last on his show. She came out looking stunning in a pink dress. And went straight in to one of her big hits. After the first song. She then sang a few lines acapella from some of her late eighties hits. The set list was a real celebration of her glorious and long career. In the year that she has celebrated her fiftieth birthday.

After a quick outfit change in to a nice little black number.  She was back out for more fun. I was having a great time singing and dancing away to hit after hit. Then she goes into the song that I would love to do as a duet with her Especially For You. Although I had to make do with singing the male part of the song. With the rest of the forty-eight thousand crowd. But it was still magical. Specially when Jason Donovan then joined her on stage halfway through to re-create the original dance moves. That was a brilliant moment!

The surprises did not end there. A little later on she started singing her debut single, I should Be So Lucky. During this she references the fact that it does sound a little bit like Never Gonna Give You Up. She sings a little bit of that. Then on walks the man whose song it is Rick Astley. To do a brilliant version of it with Kylie. He then stays on stage to do a version of the hit she had with Robbie Williams, Kids.

It was a brilliant end to a great day of live music in London. She is fantastic live. A great singer and dancer. Who is very at ease talking to her audience. The complete, albeit tiny package. She really did not disappoint. You do not have a career that lasts that long unless you are the real deal. And she very much is. Would I marry her tomorrow if the chance arose? Of course I would. Who wouldn’t? You have to love Kylie!

Kylie
Kylie

I will be having a look around Buckingham Palace soon. I will let you know what that was like next time we speak.

I am also finally getting round to seeing the brilliant “new” musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” next week. And today I am off to Wembley to see the mighty Spurs play Liverpool.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley Presenter