The Name Game

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

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

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

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley

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

Ben Thompson

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

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

Dean Z

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

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

Shawn Klush

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

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

TCB Band

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

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

Blithe Spirit

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

Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley & Russell Brand
Neil Quigley & Russell Brand

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

Neil Quigley

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

London River Cruise
A well known clock

You can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Meat And Greet

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

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

Bucks Radio

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

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

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

Neil Quigley

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

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

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

Neil Quigley

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

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

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

Villas Brazil

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

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

Neil Quigley

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

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

Villas Brazil

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

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

Neil Quigley

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

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

Tottenham Hotspur

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings

Neil Quigley

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