Tag Archives: Fireworks

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

The Sky Bars The Limit

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy with lots going on. I mentioned previously that a member of the Wembley Stadium management team was leaving. Well on his last day there, they arranged a few drinks in the evening at the Sky Bar at the Wembley Hilton. The hotel is used by a lot of the teams, who play at Wembley. And also by artists who are performing at the Arena next door. It was though the first time that I had been in there.

It is a very cool bar. Which would have wonderful views right across London. If it wasn’t for the great big stadium in front of it. You do get a brilliant view of the stadium. And from that vantage point you can see what a spectacular building it is. It did provide a lovely backdrop for the occasion.

They also had potentially the most addictive bar snacks ever in there. They were like miniature chilli flavoured rice cakes. It was impossible to just have one and walk away. You could not stop helping yourself to at least three or four every time you walked past them. Trust me they seemed to disappear very quickly. Personally I thought they complimented the drinks very nicely but then you would expect that kind of class from a hotel of that calibre.

Wembley
Wembley

I was once again working behind the scenes at the final NFL American Football Game of the year at Wembley Stadium between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions. It was a fun weekend working with both the teams, VIP guests and the officials from America. Also at the game were the Spurs forward Harry Kane and the singer and actress Alexandra Burke. So I was in very good company. It was great to see the Military Wives performing the National Anthem. They did a brilliant job and looked to be having a good time.

The pre-game show saw Madness perform three of their biggest hits. I was lucky enough to be one of the few people inside the ground when they were sound checking. So it did feel like Suggs and the gang were giving me a bit of a private concert. They were sounding fantastic and as you would expect went down an absolute storm before the start of the game. It was great seeing over eighty thousand folks all doing their best Madness style dancing in the stands.

It was another successful NFL International Series at the home of English Football. There will be at least two matches played at Wembley Stadium next year to. If you ever get the chance go along and give it a try the atmosphere is always electric. The Americans really do know how to put on a great show.

Dolphins V Jets
Dolphins V Jets

I hope you enjoyed a safe and fun Fireworks Night. For the first time in as long as I can remember I did not actually go to a display this year. As much as I do like them. It was nice to take a break. Owing to working in Radio for over a decade. I have been to and hosted a lot of these big events over the years. I have also sometimes organised the entertainment element of them. So I have booked acts to perform, hired staging plus Sound and Lighting. I have even stage managed a few of them.

Making sure everything goes to time. This normally included having the Fireworks set to music. So as you can imagine the timing on something like that is very critical, to say the least. I have loved every minute of doing them. I had great fun being involved and standing up on the stage, seeing the people really enjoying themselves. But it was certainly a nice and refreshing change to have a slightly less stressful Bonfire Night. This year I just kicked back and relaxed with a nice cup of tea. While watching others’ displays from my window.

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

I do like live comedy. And I do like to see as many different comedians as I can perform in person. Last week I managed to tick another person off my must see list. When I went and saw Sean Lock do a Work in Progress gig at the Leicester Square Theatre in central London. The last time I was there was about twelve months ago. When I was taking part in a Stand Up Comedy competition myself. It is fair to say that there were slightly more people there to see Sean.

I have seen quite a lot of these warm up kind of shows from many different comics and most bring on bits of paper and books to remind them of their new material. He had a big white board flip chart on stage with him. Mind you it seemed to work a treat as the new stuff he was doing seemed to flow expertly and effortlessly. And most importantly it was very funny.

All of the top comedians do tend to have their own brand and style. So nobody else could do the jokes and material that he does. As it would not really work without his personality and seemingly slightly grumpy outlook on life. They talk about finding your own voice in comedy. That is something all the top performers have. It is not just about telling the jokes. It is about making it sound conversational and natural. It was a top night out. If you have tickets for his tour, you are in for a treat.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Something else that I would recommend seeing is the latest Derren Brown Show called Miracle. It is on at the Palace Theatre in London until the 16th January next year. I was lucky enough to go along and see its opening night in the Capital. It has been on tour around the country earlier this year but will now be based in the West End for a couple of months.

I am massive fan of what he does and I have seen him live before at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. This latest show has got all the magical ingredients that you would expect from one of his appearances. All of it just leaves you thinking. How on earth did he do that?

There is plenty of audience interaction with lots of different people involved in the elements of the evening. There is also a lot of humour and jokes in the show. Which all just adds to the entertainment. I like the way he makes no secret of the fact that he will be able to slightly manipulate people to do what he wants. Yet there is nothing at all you can do about it. It does touch on one of his earlier Channel  4 televisions shows (which I also love), for a bit.

It is a positive and feel good production. Which will leave you feeling upbeat and with a big smile on your face. The stuff he does on that stage is amazing. You can clearly see the dedication and hours that have gone into honing his almost super humans skills. Not to mention the way that he and the production team have put it all together, in to such a great piece of theatre. With his breath taking mind skills. He is the nearest thing that I have ever seen to a real life “Jedi”.

Derren Brown
Derren Brown

Later tonight I am going to the last ever Laughing Badger Comedy Night. It is a comedy club that was set up by Hertfordshire impresario Lee Bryant around three years ago in Hemel Hempstead. I was honoured to be one of the acts who performed at the very first one. It was my fourth gig after the Roving Comedy Night at the Tringe Festival. Night one was headlined by the former Hollyoaks and Casualty actor turned comedian James Redmond. Who is a top bloke and really funny. It also featured the brilliant Flange Krammer. He is well worth seeing by the way, if you get the chance to.

I did about four or five of the Laughing Badger Nights and really enjoyed them. It is a shame that they are ending. But I am assured by the main man that they are going to go out with a bang. It will be a memorable end to what has been a fun venture. I am really looking forward to it.

It will be lovely to catch up with some friends and have a good old giggle. No one knows the list of comedians who are performing yet. But I have a funny feeling that Lee has some good things up his sleeve and lined up for us all. Congratulations to him for running them for the past few years and I wish him all the best with his future projects and plans.

Laughing Badger Comedy Night
Laughing Badger Comedy Night

This weekend is packed full of comedy for me. Tomorrow I am going to the BBC Radio Theatre in London to see two separate stand up comedy shows recorded for a new BBC Three show called Live at the BBC. They are keeping the acts a surprise at the moment. So at this point I do not know who I will actually be seeing. I am also not sure when it will be shown on television either. But I am really looking forward to spending Sunday afternoon in a lovely venue. Enjoying some top quality comedy. I will let you know who the comedians were next time we speak. But I am confident it will be a great line up.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

 

Many years ago when I was working in Yeovil I met a great gentlemen called Neil Sands. Who came on to my radio show to talk about his Country and Western show that was playing at the Octagon Theatre in the town. He is a very interesting man who has done a lot of cool stuff. He was a professional wrestler for a while for starters.

And if anybody of a certain age remembers going to Bagley’s Warehouse near Kings Cross on a Sunday to enjoy the crazy party that was “The Church”. He was actually one of the main people and promoters behind that. Next Friday I am looking forward to catching up with him in Chesham. Where he is performing in his latest show called “Christmas Memories” at the Elgiva Theatre at 2pm.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

And finally my favourite television programme of the year also starts tomorrow night. I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here returns with Ant & Dec at the helm expertly steering the ship. I have met two of the camp mates on this year’s show. But you will have to wait until my next update to find out which two that is. In fact I have met one of them on more than one occasion.

And if I am honest they are such a top person I already want them to win the whole thing. Even before the competition has started. This series I fear will pretty much take over my life for the next few weeks. Well certainly my evenings at least.

Neil Quigley is ready for Australia
Neil Quigley is ready for Australia

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