Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been nice and busy, with quite a few fun things going on. A few weekend’s ago I had a great catch up with one of my oldest friends from school. We met when we were just four on our first day at Primary School and it is fair to say, we are both a little bit older than that now. So have therefore known each other for many years. I had a really lovely evening having a drink with him, his wife and his son. And also meeting for the first time his eight week old daughter.
It was great to see them all. They live up north so obviously we do not see each other that often. It was nice reminiscing and telling his son about how we were perfect pupils when we were at school. No really we were. Neither of us were ever given a detention or sent to the see the headmaster. So needless to say I wasn’t exactly the edgiest or coolest person at my school.
Talking of which. I have mentioned this before but believe it or not there is another Neil Quigley. Who is a very well respected dance music DJ and Producer. He has recently produced a stripped down remix of the big Madonna hit Vogue. Which appears to be getting quite a bit of attention on the internet. How do I know this you might ask? Well on Twitter I am simply @NeilQuigley and the other Neil Quigley is @djneilquigley.
During the last week or so people on the social networking site have been getting us a little confused. And I have been receiving quite a few compliments on my new take on the Material Girl’s classic song. While I am delighted to take the credit because I have listened to it and it is very good. I think it is probably the right thing to do to point out on here that it is definitely nothing to do with me and not something I have worked on or produced.
I had to go and buy a new suit for something the other day. I always get a bit swept away when I go into a proper suit only shop because the staff are so good in those places. You will be hovering around just looking at a couple of different styles. Then they will spot you and hone in on you from nowhere for the kill. They will instantly pick out two suits that they think will look good on you. Then just by looking at you, they will tell you what size you are and pick the relevant garments off the peg. Before you know it you are trying one of them on. It fits perfectly and looks great. So a few minutes later you are paying for it. While the same member of staff is still trying to sell you a matching shirt and tie set to go with it.
Those guys are amazing. Many years ago on my lunch break. I went into a designer tailors just to look at some nice suits with a view to buying one possibly at a later date. But some thirty minutes later I was sitting back at my desk having just spent around five hundred pounds on an Armani Suit with a shirt and a tie combination included. Wondering how on earth that just had happened. It looked great. But it was a very brief and expensive outing that I was really not expecting.
I have been speaking to an amazing man called Ray Coates recently. He is a singer, who seven years ago was diagnosed with throat cancer. Which left him virtually unable to speak for a year. Happily he is now free of the disease and has been for five years now. He wants to give something back to the people who helped him and in turn hopefully help others in the future.
So he is trying to record an album of original songs. Which he is planning on both writing and recording himself with the help of other singers and musicians. Once completed he hopes the album will raise awareness and much needed funds for 20/20 Voice. Which is a head and neck Cancer Charity. Ray has already released the first single from the proposed album it’s called “The Voice Within”. Which is available from I-Tunes and Amazon now. If you want to find out more about Ray Coates or download the song just click on this link http://www.raycoates.co.uk/
I told you last time we spoke that I was reading John Cleese’s Autobiography “So Anyway”. Well I am nearly three quarters of the way through reading it and it is totally fascinating. Now I thought I knew quite a bit about his past and how his career developed but I was very wrong. I have learned lots of things that I did not know so far. For example he had tickets for every single England game for the 1966 World Cup Finals but after watching the first group match against Uruguay, a goalless draw gave away his final ticket to Bill Oddie. As he could not see the home country making the final. He was wrong and suitably gutted for missing the greatest moment in English football history.
I have said this before but I love Twitter and here is another reason why I do. I follow John Cleese, so I sent him a tweet just telling him how much I was enjoying his book. And he replied with these words. “So anyway…thank you Neil Quigley for your kind remarks”. And if you do not believe me check out the screen shot picture below. It’s not every week you get a mention from a comedy legend.
I was back working at Wembley Stadium the other week. While I was there I actually got to very briefly hold the actual FA Cup that was used between 1911 and 1991. So it was the very trophy that my team Tottenham Hostpur had lifted in 1961, 1981, 1982 and finally in 1991. It was retired and a new one was used between 1992 and 2013. Then Arsenal last year got their hands on a brand new one. The base the cup sits on holds so much history as it has inscribed on it all the teams that have won the competition since it started in 1872 up to Spurs. Who were the last team to receive that version in 1991.
Talking of lifting trophies at Wembley. Tomorrow it is of course the Capital One Cup Final between my team Tottenham and Chelsea. I am very excited and really looking forward to seeing the game. I hope we can win it. I had a great day out in the national stadium for the 1999 League Cup final when I witnessed Spurs beat Leicester City by one goal to nil. The whole day was brilliant fun, before, during and after the game itself. I am very much hoping for more of the same this time round. Also while I was there this week. I caught sight of the great Luis Figo. The former Portuguese footballer was there for the press launch for his bid to become the next FIFA President.
I do like varying my meals and eating lots of different styles of food when I can. There is an Indian Restaurant and Takeaway in the town where I live. Which I have been meaning to try for about the last five years but had never got round to it. Until last Saturday that is. I was working in London and returning home quite late in the evening. So basically I could not be bothered to cook. And I had not had an Indian Meal for ages. So while I was on the train home I found their website, decided what I wanted to eat.
Then when I was about twenty minutes away I called them with my order. Happily timing it perfectly meaning I walked straight from the train station to the takeaway. Where my food was ready to collect instantly. I just ordered a mild chicken curry, some rice and a garlic naan. When I got my meal home I found I had also been given a complimentary bottle of lager and a couple of poppadom’s with a mint dip. Which I thought was a very nice touch. Which was very much appreciated by me. The food was great. I will be taking advantage of this facility more often in the future I think. In fact I am off to experience my first meal in the restaurant next month. As a mate of mine is performing his Elvis Presley Tribute Show there on the 18th March.
I watched as I do every year the Brit Awards. I have been lucky enough to attend it in the past and it is a great night out. I thought this year’s show was brilliant. It was expertly hosted by Ant & Dec, who have to be the best presenters in the business. I always feel so relaxed watching them in action as I know everything is in safe hands and they are in total control. The Brits is a tough gig. As host you are mainly playing to the people watching on TV but needing also to include and get some reaction from the guests. Who are usually to too busy talking or drinking to really get involved. But the lads pitched it all brilliantly, linked it together faultlessly and kept it moving along nicely. While still putting their stamp on it and making it entertaining. Pure Class. Not as easy as it sounds. In the past many have tried and many have failed. Pleased they are already booked to host again next year.
There were some great performances on the night. The British music scene is in a very good state at the moment I think. Not only are they all hugely talented but they are nice, polite, humble and supportive of their contemporaries. Which I felt made for a very good atmosphere at the event. Well done in particular to Paloma Faith, who I think is amazing. Ed Sheeran, who simply gets up and belts out great songs, just him and his guitar. He has sold out Wembley Stadium for three nights this summer. I thought both of their live performances were sensational. In fact all the acts who played on the night were excellent and put on great shows.
There is one performance I of course have to mention and that is Madonna. She closed the show performing her latest single. I did genuinely gasp when her cape didn’t release and she got pulled back down some stairs. But fair play after falling in a heap. She dusted herself down and continued with the song, including some quite vigorous dance moves. I like her and she has done so much for the music industry. So I felt bad for her when her big appearance did not go quite to plan. Or did it? As that clip of her stumbling has been watched by millions of people all over the world. She is still a great live performer and knows how to put on a show. But the important thing is she was OK.
Finally on the Brits it was nice to see Jimmy Page there presenting one of the awards. He was looking really well, just so cool and relaxed on stage. As I guess you would expect from one of the greatest guitarists of all time. This is a true story. I once went to a fancy dress party at his house. Where I got to meet the great man himself. While I was dressed as Elvis Presley in full Las Vegas white jumpsuit mode. And while Mr Page was dressed as an eighteenth century Lord of the Manor. It was a truly surreal but brilliant night. He was so friendly and nice to talk to. A brilliant bloke who does a lot of unsung charity work.
This week saw the start of the latest series of the brilliant Radio 4 Extra Topical News Comedy Show Newsjack. A programme which I have written jokes for in the past. I will be again be doing a bit of writing for it this time around. There is a new host as Romesh Ranganathan has moved on to be replaced by Nish Kumar. It is on the radio every Thursday night at 10.30pm for the next five weeks.
I am looking forward to going to the BBC Radio Theatre next week to see the latest edition being recorded. It is always a decent night out there. I am really hoping I will be there to witness some of my material being used on the night to. As far as I am concerned there is still something pretty cool about hanging out in the BBC Cafe before you head in to the theatre. You never know who you might bump in to there, so I will be keeping my eyes open to see who I can spot.
On Thursday I went to the Duchess Theatre in Covent Garden to see the fantastic “The Play That Goes Wrong”. A friend of mine told me about it last year, sometime. She said she had heard it was very good and definitely worth seeing. So I had been meaning to see it for ages. Then last week just after I had booked tickets to see it and was looking forward to it. Ant McPartlin no less went to see and he said it was brilliant and he wasn’t wrong. I had some cracking seats right in the middle and five rows front the front. I am so glad I went to see it because it is hilarious. I was laughing from start to finish.
The fun starts as soon as you enter the auditorium. It is so well performed the whole cast are amazing. And it is fair to say it is quite a physical piece to perform in. The title does give you an indication of what to expect but sitting there and seeing it. You can’t believe just how wrong it goes. There are so many laugh out loud moments. It is madness and mayhem half of the time. There is never a dull moment. It is not Shakespeare or the Phantom of The Opera but if you fancy a good old fashioned laugh for a couple of hours. I would go and see this show. The timing required by the actors to make it all work is phenomenal.
I am looking forward to going to see the first episode in the new series of Celebrity Squares being recorded at the London Studios. I wonder which big stars will be in the squares on the night. I have seen Warwick Davis before at Panto Press Nights at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. He is a really nice bloke. And does a brilliant job hosting the show. I think he is really funny and does have good comedy timing in my opinion. I will tell you what it was like next time we speak.
Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.