Tag Archives: Hyde Park

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

Drinking In A Winter Wonderland

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with loads of fun stuff going on. I finally got round to seeing the musical version of Aladdin the other week. Ever since I went to a recording for last year’s Children In Need and saw the cast perform a couple of the songs from the show. I had been meaning to go. It has only taken me just over a year to make that happen. It was however well worth the wait and it did not disappoint at all. It is a fantastic show.

It is produced by Disney. As it is their version of the story, adapted from the cartoon film they made in 1992. With it being by Disney that means it is all done to the highest possible standards, the sets, the props and the staging is all spectacular. The whole cast were fantastic. They did an amazing job. But there is one man who really does steal the show. He is Trevor Dion Nicholas and plays The Genie. He really provides the fun, lots of comedy and the brightest most flamboyant costumes on display. You cannot help but smile when he is on stage. It is worth seeing for him alone, I would say.

It also features the former UK Eurovision Song Contest entrant and one time Sugababes member Jade Ewen as the Princess Jasmine. It gives her chance to showcase her stunning  voice. Singing some of the brilliant songs in the show like for example “A Whole New World”. And just in case there was any doubt I can confirm the version that she and “Aladdin” Matthew Croke perform is way better than the Katie Price and Peter Andre version. It is a real feel good family show. It is definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.

Aladdin
Aladdin

I once again visited The One Show studio last Wednesday. To see another episode of the programme go out live. I actually walk past the studio pretty much every day and I do sometimes have a peer in the window to see who is on. But you really cannot beat being inside and watching all the action as it happens. As with most television sets they are actually a lot smaller than they look on television, when you are sat on the sofa at home. The One Show studio is very small and cosy. It is all very chilled and low key. In that you get in there only about five minutes before the show goes live to air. And it is standing room only.

Then Matt Baker and Alex Jones wander in, say hello and sit on the famous green sofa ready to start the programme. Then the evening’s guests are shown in. On this latest visit they were Alexander Armstrong and Alexandra Burke with a cameo appearance from her current Strictly Come Dancing partner Gorka Marquez. The show also had a Pantomime theme running through it. So there were lots of people dressed up in costume as various characters. In fact during the night I was at different points stood next to a Dame, a villain and a pantomime cow. Right before the show started we had a quick rehearsal for some Panto style interaction with Matt. Which if you saw it, you may have heard right near the start.

It is always a fun experience being there. There are the chats with the guests which are great but of course there are lots of films to. You do get to watch them on the screens in the studio. While the presenters and the guests are setting up for the next item. I am always fascinated about how television is made from camera angles to auto cue and everything that happens in and around the studio to make it all work seamlessly. The end part of the show saw us head out to the Piazza to see more Panto animals in a bit hosted by the man I once saw on a train between London and Slough Matt Allwright. It was a good laugh. The whole team including the presenters are always so nice and friendly when you are there.

The One Show
The One Show

Talking of returning to places that I have been to before and after not making it along there last year. I did pay my second ever visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park on Monday. It is a massive event with lots going on, if you like your fairground rides, Christmas stalls and winter activities like ice skating.

Personally I have no real interest in those things. But having been twice to Oktoberfest in Munich. I do like Bavarian style Beer Keller’s. Which is something else that they have on offer to enjoy there. Entry is free to the actual site, so it costs nothing to visit these bars.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Therefore as you have probably already guessed as soon as I arrived I just headed straight for said Bavarian Village. You can buy pints in plastic glasses or you can pay a five pound deposit and get a handled pint sized stein made out of a tougher plastic. As you get your money back on the return of your glass when you leave. To enjoy the beer a little better this option was a no brainer for me. So I got myself a stein of Bavarian Gold. Which I have to say tasted great. It is a nice drop.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

When I went a couple of years ago there was a singer performing all sorts of classic and Christmas style songs. Well he was back there again doing exactly the same thing. I mean pretty much exactly the same set to be honest.

He does a great job, though. I really enjoyed hearing him do his thing again. It all makes for a really good atmosphere.  There are also other bands and singers dotted around the place. But as I was enjoying his work and as I had managed to find a table. I stuck with him for the whole evening.

Bavarian Village
Bavarian Village

It does make you feel Christmassy being there. Everybody is there to have fun and have a good time. Pretty much everyone seems to be drinking to. It was busy enough on a Monday, so I imagine it is absolutely rammed during the weekend. It was a nice evening of music and beer. Which let us face it is always a winning combination.

I certainly think the place is worth an annual visit. If you have never been it is worth experiencing. Be prepared to queue for a bit on the way in and I would try to avoid the really busy periods or it could become a bit frustrating with waiting for drinks and food.

BBC
BBC

I recently spent an evening in the BBC Club. Which is just that, a bar for members of staff to relax in after work. I was there for a leaving do for someone who is heading back to his native New Zealand to host a new Breakfast Radio Show there. It was a top night, it was lovely to relax and chat with people that I normally only get to see in a work environment.

It is a venue I do not visit that often as I rarely seem to get the time. You never of course know who you might see in there. As it is open to anyone who is at the BBC. They do tend to have some decent beers on offer, whenever I have been in there. Which is definitely a plus point. It is very basic and simple. Like any social club you would see attached to a workplace.

BBC
BBC

It is the final of this years I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here tomorrow night. My choice to win did not even come close to happening as Shappi Khorsandi was voted out of the camp first. In her defence I thought she came across very well, was very amusing and did not do anything wrong. But that is show business. It has been another fun series and as ever on the whole they have all thrown themselves in to the experience. The surprise for me has been “Toff”. I will be honest I had no idea who she was before the show started. But she seems really nice and positive. Which is something I really like. She always sounds so upbeat and excited whenever she talks about anything.She coped well with everything that they have thrown at her.

Ant & Dec were once again on top form. I think they are getting cheekier and more brutal when taking the rise out of the camp mates. While of course not taking themselves or the whole thing to0 seriously. They know what it is all about, simply entertainment. This series did bring up an interesting moral dilemma. When Amir and Ian won the Dingo Dollar challenge and ate the reward of Strawberries and Cream. Before they got back to the camp. Then initially lied to everyone by telling them they had not won it. What would you have done? Would you have eaten them? I would not have eaten them myself, as I am a team player. But if I had one thing is for sure I certainly would not have told them about it while I was still in the Jungle. That would have been a confession in the hotel bar of the luxury hotel afterwards, just after getting a round in.

I have been quite lucky in meeting a few of the winners and contestants from it over the years. My first ever live radio interview was with Tony Hadley. I interviewed Katie Price at one of her book signings. I worked with Kerry Katona at Truckfest. I once appeared on stage with Joe Pasquale. I have hosted an East 17 gig featuring Brian Harvey. I was in the same bar as Sid Owen in Tenerife once. I have worked with Blue a few times, so I have met Anthony Costa and Simon Webbe. I have interviewed Jenny Frost. I have chatted to Tommy Cannon in a hotel bar. I have spoken to Myleene Klass. I have met and interviewed the legend that is Christopher Biggins. I have met on a couple of different occasions the lovely Timmy Mallet. Many years ago now I met Britt Ekland at a pantomime press do. Finally I have met and briefly worked with Pat Sharp.

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

I was at Wembley this week for the final Champions League group match for Tottenham Hotspur. Before which we had already qualified in first place from the so called big group of death. Therefore it was a kind of odd game.

It gave us chance to play a few players who needed some match time and to introduce a few younger players in to the first team set up for a bit of experience. It was a very comfortable three nil win. It was nice to see a couple of players get their first goals for the club. So we now look forward to the knock out stages. Bring them on!

Tottenham Champions League
Tottenham Champions League

I had a brilliant celebrity spot in London recently. I was walking with a friend near Baker Street. Ahead of us I noticed a man step in to the road to try to hale a taxi as it was going past. It stopped he spoke to driver but then it drove off. By this point we were getting nearer to him. He stepped back on to the path pretty much right in front of me. Then as he turned round, we were pretty much face to face. I realised it was Noel Gallagher. I did not speak to him but gave him a knowing nod and a smile as I walked by. I have to admit he was looking well. He does just look so cool, though. Every inch the rock star.

School of Rock
School of Rock

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