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Fantasy Comedy

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I do spend a lot of time in London. Therefore I am very often on the train to and from the Capital. As I was about to get off one at Marylebone Station a few weeks ago. I randomly bumped in to somebody, who I had not seen for a ages.

On the second ever series of Big Brother. There was a gentlemen from Oxfordshire in the house. He was only in there for a couple of weeks and was voted out fairly early on. But he did still make a bit of an impression with his regular work outs and his tendency to wink at people quite a bit. His name was Stuart Hosking.

I was at the time working at Mix 96. When he came out of the house and the series was over. He ended up getting a Sunday morning show at the radio station. I produced the programme for the first two or three weeks. Which was great fun and a good laugh.

Neil Quigley

I think on show two. We had somebody who had been on Blind Date the night before in for a chat. It was interesting to get the inside track on how it all works from someone who has been through it. We all went for a quick drink afterwards. Which was normal practice for our post programme meeting. Well it was, while I was producing.

I seem to meet up with Stuart at various things over the years. I once went with him to an Industry Magazine Party. And fair play to him he managed to get us in to the VIP section. Which meant we upgraded from free beer to free champagne.

I also went with a mate of mine to a big birthday party. That he threw at a very nice hotel a few years ago. That was a brilliant evening. The entertainment were the Rockoakie Band. Who are amazing. They are a live band. Who then give you the chance to perform songs with them. My friend did a few numbers on the night. As did the Birthday boy himself. Chris Moyles often booked them for his live theatre shows.

Stuart Hosking Sings
Stuart Hosking Sings

It was nice to see him and have a quick chat. As we headed up the platform. He is still keeping nice and busy and up to some fun and interesting things. He is still good friends with a few people in the entertainment business. Personally I think that the first three Big Brothers were the best. Then it started going down hill from there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Frank Skinner has been one of my favourite comedians, since I can remember. I have read both of his books. I have watched from the studio, as he hosted an episode of Room 101. Plus over the years spent hours watching Fantasy Football. And I even watched his sitcom Blue Heaven. The one thing I had not seen him do was stand up comedy live.

Happily I finally managed to put this right a couple of Saturday’s ago. I found out he was doing some work in progress shows at the Soho Theatre in London. I managed to grab myself a ticket. As I have said before it is a nice venue for comedy. He was playing the down stairs room. Which is set up like a lounge bar with tables and chairs. It is a little bit like a cabaret place similar to the London Hippodrome set up.

Soho Theatre
Soho Theatre

Needless to say the gig was a sell out. As I was in the bar beforehand I saw the unmistakable figure of Mr Skinner arrive and make his way down stairs to prepare for his audience. The title for this appearance was “The Man With No Show” Therefore the idea was he would just come out chat to the audience and hopefully find some stuff. That he can then polish into comedy gold. Probably for a big tour.

He is for me one of the funniest and most quick witted comics around. His brain does just seems to process things much quicker than us mere mortals. Bearing in mind he was on stage with no pre-prepared stuff. He was hilarious. I have not laughed that much at a comedy gig for ages. He has such a calm, warm and relaxed way of talking to people. Even when he is having a bit of a go at people. He does it in the right  way and makes it feel inclusive. Like he is still on their side.

I had a brilliant night. It is always pleasing when your hero’s do not let you down. He is doing some more work in progress gigs at the same place in August. I certainly have not ruled out going again to see him. As it will actually still be a completely different show. Frank Skinner is quality.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I started my radio career at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio twenty three years ago. I met some wonderful people there. Many of whom I am still friends with all these years later. Two of the first people I met and worked with back then are now both living in Yorkshire. I started working with them producing their shows before I got my own programme on the station.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio

Last weekend I went up to visit them. I was staying with one of them at their house in Castleford. On the Friday night we stayed in to watch the football. Had an Indian take away and a nice bottle of red wine. While of course having a good chat about the old times and our current lives. A really fun and yet relaxing evening.

During the day on the Saturday we went and had a look around an Armed Forces Day event. That was taking place at Pontefract race course. My mate was in the RAF, so has an interest in this venture of course. It was basically like a classic County Show with charity stalls, arena displays and a wide selection of various refreshments.

They had a stall there for the Vulcan plane. As they are trying to build a special hanger for it in Doncaster. Which will include a coffee shop viewing area. So visitors can see the plane sat there in all its glory. While enjoying a drink and a piece of cake. It was nice to visit a race track and leave without losing any money for a change.

We then headed to Sheffield, so we could all catch up with my other friend and his wife. We went to his house and sat in his garden for a bit. Before heading in to town for a really nice meal and a couple of drinks. I have been out in Sheffield a few times over the years. I also went through a spell of spending some time just down the road in Worksop. Therefore I do know the area a little.

My mate had booked us a table at The Botanist. The table they gave us was right in the middle of the restaurant. Kind of in a sort of glass band stand. It was really not a place to be if you prefer keeping a low profile. Luckily none of us there fell in to that category. The selection of drinks there was fantastic. I chose to sample a few of the German beers they had on offer. The food there was really good to.

I had a homemade scotch egg for starters. Their famous hanging chicken garlic kebab with sweet potato fries for my main. Then for dessert I had the sticky toffee pudding. It was a really enjoyable meal. The company was fantastic. It was a wonderful night talking and catching up. While winding each other up and chatting about the glory days. When we regularly used to all go out and do discos together. Fun times!

Yorkshire
Yorkshire

I travelled home on the Sunday after first enjoying a massive brunch with my friend and his wife. The perfect end to a lovely weekend. I decided to treat myself to first class train travel on the way back. It was only about ten pounds more than the standard ticket. It meant that I got a comfier seat. Plus free tea, biscuits and water during the trip. Worth every penny as far as I am concerned. I could get used to it.

World Cup
World Cup

The World Cup in Russia is very much up and running. I am trying to watch as many matches as I can. I did of course make sure that I saw the England against Tunisia game. I was delighted for Captain Harry Kane and the whole team. The first game of any tournament is very tough. We are on the whole a young and inexperienced side. It was not a classic. We left it late but most importantly we got the three points.

Harry Kane will score goals in this tournament, He loves scoring and is very driven. I would not rule him out being there or thereabouts for the Golden Boot. If we can get the win against Panama tomorrow then we will be through to the knock out rounds. At that point really anything can happen. Good and bad. You just never know. Looking forward to getting behind the team and supporting the country. Come on England!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Obviously working at Broadcasting House in London. I do often see some recognisable faces around. Recently I found myself in the lift with new Radio One Presenter Maya Jama. Who as well as being an excellent broadcaster. Just happens to be going out with a certain gentlemen known as Stormzy. I saw the lovely Reverend Richard Coles. Who was dressed in his dog collar. And as you would expect he was just chatting to everyone and being generally lovely.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

Tomorrow night I am off out in Tring to enjoy The Roving Comedy Night. I have performed at this event myself twice over the years now. But I am looking forward to seeing this year’s trainees do their stuff. And make their stand up debuts. I remember the nerves I felt before I did my first one. And the feeling of pure joy and exhilaration at the end of the night. I was walking on air for the next week or so.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I will be there laughing, clapping and cheering on all the first timers. As well as enjoying all the professional comedians accompanying them. It will be great to catch up with a few people. I know and have met through this wonderful event. Especially the comedy guru and my teacher himself Logan Murray. It will be my annual catch up with them. Although I am hoping that I might see some of them, when I go to Edinburgh for the festival in August.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

The Roving Comedy Night signals the start of three weeks of gigs during the Tringe Festival. With lots of top comedians coming to Tring to do warm up shows for Edinburgh. I am going to see Marcus Brigstocke a week Sunday at the Court Theatre. If you like your comedy and are local it is well worth a look. Here is a link to their website http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am really looking forward to going to Royal Ascot today. I went for the first time last year. And I enjoyed it so much. That I have decided to make it an annual event. I will be in the Queen Ann Enclosure. Which means I will get to have a sing-song at the famous band stand after the day’s racing has finished.

I will tell you all about it next time we speak. I will be wearing my lucky suit, so I am hopeful of picking up a few winners. I may also sip a few glasses of champagne. It is a brilliant event. Plus as a bit of a Royalist I am hoping once again to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

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

The 100th Edition

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been great with lots of fun things going on. Firstly a very warm welcome to the 100th edition of this fortnightly update. Thanks for reading and in some cases being involved with them. I hope that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. The very first one was published back on the 24th September 2011. So as you can imagine a lot has happened during this time.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I feel that we have shared some exciting and fun moments together. Including my stand up comedy debut, some brilliant nights out at the theatre plus I think I have been lucky enough to meet some interesting people along the way. And I have been able to do some pretty cool things to. It was back in September 2011 when I got to meet and interview the lovely Victoria Pendleton.

So here’s to the next one hundred updates with hopefully plenty more fun times on the way. As ever I am working on a few different and interesting projects at the moment. So I am hoping that the rest of this year will be just as entertaining.

Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley
Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley

I had a wonderful time at the Irish Race Night with my parents at Windsor Races the other Monday. They have a meeting there every Monday during the summer. And they tend to have lots of different themed nights. Which normally end with a live performance of some kind. Firstly let us start with the nights racing. Which went very well for me.

I had two decent winners including the aptly named Shakerattleandroll, who I had a couple of pounds on at odds of 14-1. So it is fair to say that put a big smile on my face and led to me treating myself to a nice pint of Guinness to celebrate my victory and of course get into the spirit of the evening.

Windsor Races Winning
Windsor Races Winning

Once the racing was fully over and after all the horses had been safely put away the entertainment then started. It was the Irish Race Night, so live on the stage, on the green area near the parade ring were the Dublin Legends. They feature two of the original members of The Dubliners. The band kind of formed, when the iconic group decided to stop touring after two of its members sadly passed away. So they got a couple of new members and called themselves The Dublin Legends. They were just fantastic, effortlessly playing classic Irish song after classic Irish song. Every one sounded perfect. The band were totally brilliant. And created a great party atmosphere.

The Dublin Legends
The Dublin Legends

Each one of them a master musician with an exceptional voice and clearly a love of the music they were performing. It was impossible not to join in and sing along and have a good time. They were taking audience requests and pretty much just deciding what to play next, only after they had finished the previous number. While still making it a very slick and professional all round performance. If you are a fan of your Irish music I would definitely recommend that you catch The Dublin Legends live. So basically, it was a great night. With horse racing and music the big winners.

Windsor Races
Windsor Races

I enjoyed an overnight stay in London recently due to a couple of long days, that I was doing in the capital. In the evening I went out for a nice meal at a well known restaurant chain. That has an Italian/American theme. And that is named after two men. There are two things that I like most about that place. Firstly the menu is quite varied, so you do have a nice selection of dishes on offer. And secondly it is the music they play. Anywhere that you can hear Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, while you eat, definitely gets it my vote as a great place to dine.

Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70's #crazydays
Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70’s #crazydays

The food was lovely but most importantly the waitress and the service was top quality. She was happy, funny, helpful and efficient. So we had a laugh, and were fed and watered in a timely manor. Leaving the place full and content. And of course then in turn leaving the member of staff in question a sign of our appreciation. It is great to see good customer service, I think it makes a huge difference to your night out.

I am pretty sure most employers and some customers do not always reward this. But without your front of house staff, you have no business. To be fair though my opinion may have been slightly skewed, as I was drinking bottles of Coors Light. That was my drink when I was in Las Vegas and whenever I have it, it brings back great memories of my week there.

Las Vegas Baby
Las Vegas Baby

The following morning I needed to grab a quick breakfast on the way to my meeting. And as I try to have a reasonably healthy breakfast I declined the hotel’s full English offering and popped in to a shop that’s French to English translation is “ready to eat”. Which as I was in a hurry seemed the perfect place to grab something from. I thought I would try their porridge in a pot with some added honey. I have to say there was deceptively more than I thought in the container, it had very much a Dr Who’s Tardis feel to it. It was actually very tasty, which surprised me a little. It was also quite nice to have creamy and soft porridge. Normally when I make it myself at home in the microwave. It comes out basically just like a big bowl of flapjack.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live
Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

Last Saturday I was at Wembley Stadium for the Women’s FA Cup Final. It was the very first time that the final of that competition had been played at the home of English Football. I took a group of guests around the venue first. Before settling down to watch the match myself. It was great fun as ever to be pitch side before the game. Just as the players were having a walk around prior to the match. Being that close you can really feel the excitement and atmosphere building from that area.

I was cheering on Notts County for two reasons. Because as a Spurs fan I hate to see Chelsea win anything and also because I have met and sort of know the England striker Ellen White. Who plays for the Nottingham based club. We were actually both born in the same town. Although one of us was born quite a few years before the other.

Women's FA Cup Final
Women’s FA Cup Final

It was an entertaining game with some nice football played by both sides. But despite a very good and positive start from the Midland’s team you did always feel like Chelsea had slightly the upper hand. They got their winner towards the end of the first half through their lively number ten Ji So-Yun.

Player of the match was the Chelsea and England star Eni Aluko, who did look dangerous and a real threat every time she received the ball. It was not the result I was hoping for but it was a fun afternoon. Which saw a new record attendance of over thirty thousand for the big show piece cup final of the Women’s game. Well done to all involved.

Women's FA Cup Final
Women’s FA Cup Final

Wembley Stadium are actually giving people the chance presently to take a Zip Wire ride above and across the pitch. So you can have a tour around the venue. Which then ends with you whizzing across it for a once in a life time view of the home of English football. It is only on offer for a few weeks. I have been offered the chance to do it, but I have declined the opportunity.

I am not really a fan of thrill seeking experiences or any roller coasters. So there is no way you would get me up there to do it. Although all the people I have seen do it looked like they were enjoying themselves and having fun. Good for them but I am still not doing it. Even though part of me thinks it would be a fairly cool thing to say you have done. But not a big enough part to make me want to do it.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

Last week I had an audition to be a contestant on the second series of a game show hosted by Vernon Kay called 1000 Heartbeats. Now I rate myself as quite a relaxed and laid back person, so I thought I would be good at it. So I applied to be on it and then got invited in to meet the producers. This involved a fun afternoon at an arts studio in central London. I had to pose for some photos, take part in a general knowledge quiz and then I actually got the chance to pretend to play the game itself with one of the producers.

ITV Studios London
ITV Studios London

I was pretty impressed with how well I did. I also thought that I remained fairly cool, calm and collective. So therefore kept the heart rate down to give myself more time to answer the teasers. And hopefully ultimately if I do get on the show, win the jackpot. Lastly I just had to answer a few questions about myself on their camera. They are filming the new series next month. I will know by the end of August if I am going to be on it and going face to face with Vernon Kay or not. Either way, it was a fun afternoon just doing the audition itself.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

This weekend see’s the start of the new football season. I am hoping as ever that my team Tottenham Hotspur can have a decent year. We have quite a young team. So it is going to be exciting to see them develop and hopefully improve together. A few weeks ago now the club announced the plans for its new stadium. Which look amazing. I am really looking forward to getting the chance to see a game in there, when it opens.  As hopefully it will give me more chance of actually getting a ticket, as it will hold more fans than White Hart Lane does.

White Hart Lane
White Hart Lane

I am not convinced we can win the league but I would like to think that we might have a chance of winning a cup competition or two. As ever I am sure there will be plenty of twists and turns and ups and downs as ever. Which is one of the beautiful things about being a Spurs fan. Good luck to Mauricio Pochettino and the rest of the squad. Just give your all in every game. And we will support you all the way. That is all you can do. It would be great to get the chance to watch Spurs at Wembley again this season. And this time may be see them win.

Spurs at Wembley
Spurs at Wembley

I am a huge fan of the social networking site Twitter. There are a couple of things that I have enjoyed getting some behind the scenes information from via this medium recently. I follow Ant & Dec and also a lot of the Geordie’s Duo’s friends.  So therefore I got to see some great photos and comments about Declan Donnelly’s Wedding. Which by the way looked amazing. Plus I thought it was a really nice touch that his brother, who is a fully qualified priest was the vicar that conducted the ceremony.

Ant & Dec
Ant & Dec

I also follow a few of the professional dancers from Strictly Come Dancing. And last week they met up to start rehearsing their show dances for the up coming series of the BBC One Show. They were posting some behind the scenes pictures of their training room. Which were already getting me excited about this year’s offering. It will start filming at the end of September. When we will find out the full list of the celebrities that will be on it this term. I went and saw the opening show recorded a couple of years ago now. It was a fantastic evening out. It was great seeing the dancers all doing their thing and also seeing both Jessie J and Rod Steward perform live at such close quarters.

Arriving at Elstree Studios
Arriving at Elstree Studios

At the moment there are a few interesting and exciting possible radio based opportunities that I am currently looking in to. It would be brilliant if may be one or more of them came off. Fingers crossed, something will happen in this area. So watch this space is all I can say. One of these is with the BBC. I have a meeting with them next week, which I am really looking forward to. It would be nice if I can share some news on this with you in the not too distant future.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

One thing I can confirm though is that I have not made the short list for this years BBC New Comedy Award. The standard as ever was very high again this year. Best of luck to all those who have made it through to the live heats. Go out there and make them laugh. At some point soon, when I do get the chance to I do plan on putting myself back out there and doing some more stand up gigs, as I do really enjoy doing them. Best of luck to all comics up in Edinburgh for the festival at the minute.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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