Tag Archives: Liverpool

Festival of Fun

Hello again, hope life is good and you are feeling fine. Last weekend was an annual event in my diary. Which I look forward to every year. It is something I first went to more than ten years ago now. I always enjoy any trip to Liverpool. But being there for Ladies Day at Aintree is brilliant fun. We have been doing it for such a long time now. That we have got the whole operation down to a tee.

I travelled up to Liverpool on the Thursday afternoon by train. On the journey I was catching up on the Gary Lineker and Danny Baker Podcast “Behind Closed Doors.” Which they launched at the start of this year. If you are a fan of football stories and banter. Then take a listen. I enjoyed it and it passed the time nicely. As I went through Birmingham on my way to Lime Street Station. On arrival there I walked past and tipped my head to the Ken Dodd statue by the exit. As I always do.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

Then it was the short walk to Central Station to get the Mersey Rail to meet my mate at his local station. I feel very at home there. I put that down to my Granddad having grown up in that area. As always my pal meets me from the station. And we head to his local pub. To have a few beers and a catch up. I drink in London often, so there is something almost exciting about being able to buy two pints for less than four pounds.

It is then back to his place. Where thankfully he always lets me stay. As hotel prices in the city rocket in price unsurprisingly during the Grand National Race Meeting. Food and some tea. Accompanied of course by some music. And this time a little bit of Alan Partridge. We do tend to get to bed at a reasonable time ready for Ladies Day itself. The next day.

Ladies Day 2019

I do not always, but this year I did treat myself to a new suit. We all dress up. Buying a suit is always an odd experience. As normally the men in those places can take one look at you. Then bring things out in exactly the right size. Something I can never manage. When I am shopping alone. Any way we are all suited and booted. And in a pub just down the road from the famous old course by midday.

Next we head down to the entrance. It is always spectacular when you walk in and see those familiar huge stands. Not to mention the amount of people milling around. As you enter you pass the parade ring. Race horses are such beautiful and amazing animals. We were in the big marquee. It has several bars, some bookies and some huge televisions showing all the races. They also have a live band, who go on in between races. So there is just a big party atmosphere in there all day.

I had three winners, while we were there. Including the first race of the day. Which is always a good start to proceedings. The place is rammed with people having a good time. We leave before the last race. To get ahead of the crowd and get into Liverpool City Centre. If you leave it to late. The queues for the trains are horrendous. We as ever timed it perfectly.

We normally start off in The Jacaranda. Which is yet another place where The Beatles used to play a lot. They have a jukebox and great music in there. So it is always a good laugh. From there we continued the fun in several different bars. As more people we knew, who had been at the races earlier, joined us. We then ended up in an eighties bar finishing the night dancing in there. Once again it was another fantastic day. It is brilliant fun! With good company and venues. Plus a nice vibe to the whole thing.

Ladies Day 2019

The next day is of course The Grand National. We also have a bit of a tradition for this momentous event to. We always spend it with my mate’s parents and sister in a lovely pub, near to where they live. It is such a relaxing and fun afternoon. We have a few drinks, a laugh and watch all of the races including of course the big one.

Well done to Tiger Roll on winning it for the second year running, Which is some achievement. I was at Cheltenham when he won so convincing there this year. I must admit after that performance. I knew that he would be the best horse at Aintree. But that is not a guarantee. That you will win it. It was a great race . When he got in front. There was no way that anyone was going to get past him. I am pleased to say that I did have some money on him. Fair play to you if you picked him out to.

Grand National 2019

I came home on the Sunday afternoon. After yet another amazing weekend. I have already booked to stay with my mate again next year. We did have a drive around the course before I had to head to the station. As you can normally, when there is not a race on, drive down the Melling Road. We did just that and looked back down the course at all those daunting fences. A big thanks to everyone who joined in and made it such a fun and memorable few days. To quote The Beautiful South “You can’t have too many good times.”

Ladies Day 2019

I went and saw a brand new show recently. It is starting in the West End before it goes on tour all over the United Kingdom. It stars four Strictly Come Dancing contestants. Three of who won the show and one who really should have done that as well. Or at the very least got a lot further in the competition than he actually did. They are Harry Judd, Louis Smith, Jay McGuinness and Aston Merrigold. The show is called Rip It Up.

Rip It Up

It is basically a tribute to the nineteen sixties. It is set up like the American music television programmes. That were on during that decade. Complete with over the top US host. There is a band on stage throughout. A company of brilliant dancers. And the four stars who mostly perform the dances. Either in groups or with a partner. They do also all do a bit of singing. Including Louis Smith. Who then demonstrates what a great gymnast he is in one section. Harry Judd does some drumming. Aston Merrigold throws in some back flips.

It is a nicely put together show. Which features some quality songs and some great dancing. It is good fun. And the audience were up on their feet singing and dancing along by the end. Some bits do feel like they are shoe horned in a little. But it is a brilliant night out. It does not take itself too seriously. It pays homage to a great time in world music. Plus they do have some huge musical stars to help with the narrative. I enjoyed it.

Rip It Up

During my time working in radio. I have met a lot of very talented and lovely people. One of these is the wonderful Neil Sands. He toured the country as a professional Wrestler. He was one of the people behind “The Church”. If you ever went to that place on a Sunday afternoon in Kings Cross. As I did on a few occasions. And for many years now, he has been producing and starring in several different touring shows across the country.

His latest show. Brand new for this year is Sentimental Journey. Which I went and saw at the Wycombe Swan a few weeks ago. It is simply a celebration of great music from the forties through to the seventies. It stars Neil himself alongside some other great singers and performers Chelsea Turnbull, Sophie Presley and Szara King. He works with a brilliant backing band called The Golden Times Duo.

He has been a professional entertainer for many years. He has such a nice way with the audience. It is just all so very inclusive and good humoured. Right from the start the audience are encouraged to join in. I took my mum to see it. And we had a very enjoyable afternoon clapping and singing along to all these fantastic songs. Plus any show that features a section on Buddy Holly, Connie Francis and a little bit of Country and Western is always going to be a big hit with me.

It is a show full of memories and nostalgia delivered with love and grace by the cast. It also has a fitting tribute to our armed forces. Which is equally poignant and joyful. I really enjoyed it. As I have all the Neil Sands productions that I have seen. He was sadly feeling a little under the weather. But I did manage to have a very quick chat with him afterwards. It was great to see him. He is such a nice person and extremely talented. Keep an eye out for him and his shows. They are always worth seeing.

Sentimental Journey

I went to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the second test event there. Which was a Spurs Legends side against Inter Milan. It was great to see so many former players back in the famous white shirts and on the pitch. It was a quality line up. Some of them had not played for a very long time. While others were a lot fitter. And dare I say still pretty athletic. I was very impressed with Jurgen Klinsman. He was still strutting around the pitch and looking sharp. Also David Howells deserves a special mention for treating it like a cup final. He was taking no prisoners out there.

It was great to see Robbie Keane score and do his famous cart wheel celebration. Always a joy to see Dimitar Berbartov play. Nayim was a bit bigger than I remember. But still very skilful. Great to see David Ginola out there after his recent health problems. But there was one player I was looking forward to seeing the most. It was the man who I remember running our whole midfield and scoring that ridiculous free kick against Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi-final back in 1991 Paul Gascoigne.

He was on the bench to begin with. And sadly in true Gazza style, he had managed to damage his Achilles Tendon in the warm up. But fair play to him. He still came on to a brilliant reception from all the fans. The whole place was singing his name. It was clear that he was not moving very easily, so he only lasted about ten minutes. Before he was then replaced. Still great to see him. What a Spurs and England legend. I wish him all the best in his recovery. The game was a good laugh, even though we lost in the end. It gave me another chance to get settled in to the new home.

Tottenham Hotspur

Talking of which I was of course there for the official opening and our first league game at the currently named Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The ground opened early. So I took advantage of this by having a pint and a pie there before kick off.

There was a bit of an opening show. We had a local youth choir. Who were ace. They were then joined by the Opera Singer Wynne Evans for a different version of Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham Hotspur

At the end of which there was a big fireworks display on the roof. Something I had completely missed until I saw the footage after. I was looking straight at the pitch only, I never thought to look up. So I missed it. Then I could not work out where this smoke was coming from. Before the match had even kicked off. A tweet I posted earlier appeared on the four big screens inside the ground. I was very happy that my name had already been displayed at the stadium. I managed to get a really bad picture of it.

The game itself was a must win. We had to get the three points. To keep in the hunt for a Champions League place. Thankfully after a bit of dogged resistance from Crystal Palace and a slight deflected shot. We managed to score our first senior goal at the stadium. And go on to win the game two – nil. Which felt great. It is a brilliant stadium. I can tell I am going to have a lot of fun going there over the years.

The Boss

I was at the Champions League Quarter Final First Leg against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The atmosphere in the place was so electric. We won one-nil thanks to another strike from Son. All of the players were immense.

But it is only half time, really. We still have it all to do in the second leg this Wednesday. The only disappointment on what was a very memorable night was Harry Kane going off with an ankle injury. The mood in the ground at full time was delightful.

Tottenham Hotspur

Huge congratulations to the amazing Charlotte Milchard. Who won Best Supporting Actress at the recent National Film Awards. For her role in Best British Film Scott and Sid. I first met her back in Yeovil in 2004. She was playing the villain in that year’s panto. And although on stage she was terrifying. Off it she was one of the loveliest people you could meet. I saw her a few times over the years performing in Somerset. She always popped in to have a chat on the radio. Which was fantastic.

Since then of course I have been following her career on stage and on screen. It is great spending time in her company. Such a talented and yet humble person. She richly deserves any success that comes her way. I was so happy for her when I discovered she had won this big accolade. A great achievement. It seems she had a wonderful night collecting her award. Which also makes me very happy. Well done Charlotte! A pleasure to know you.

Charlotte Milchard

Tonight I am off to see another performer I know compete for an award. I am attending the final of The Musical Comedy Awards in London. To see the excellent Silky perform for the title.

The evening will also feature The Brett Domino Trio. If you not aware of them. They are always good fun. I am looking forward to it. A Saturday night spent laughing at top quality acts. It always a bonus.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

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

Magical Mystery Tour

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been predictably busy and fun. The other weekend I went up to Liverpool. To see my mate who lives there. This is not unusual, as I normally go and see him two to three times a year. More often than not these visits tend include a football match or a day at the races.

This time however there was no event as such. Although there was a certain exhibition I wanted to see while I was there. Which I will tell you more about later. As ever, I let the train take the strain to make my way up to the North West. I arrived about half past six. And as is the tradition. He met me at his local train station. Then we headed to the nearest pub to have a few drinks and catch up.

As someone who goes out drinking in London and therefore is used to the premium prices you pay for this privilege. I still find it very odd that I can order two pints for under four pounds in the particular bar we go to. Anyway after a few very reasonably priced beers. We went back to his place to have some food. Before enjoying a lovely cup of tea. While listening to some top quality music. Before bed.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The next morning he had decided to take me to a very nice cafe for breakfast. It was in an area of Liverpool. That perfectly lent itself to his very own Beatles inspired Magical Mystery Tour. Which I loved by the way. The first stop was the Church Hall. Where Paul met a certain John for the first time. It was also where the band use to play and rehearse in the very early days.

We then quickly nipped across the road to the Church Yard. To see the grave stone of Eleanor Rigby. From there it was on to the gates of Strawberry Fields. The park is actually closed at the moment. But it is being refurbished and it is expected to re-open in a few years. I think it is brilliant that they are doing that. Another nice tribute and nod to the band. And its two main song writers.

Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields

Next I was driven down Penny Lane. While my mate was pointing out all the things that are mentioned in the song. Fair play I must say the description of it in the song is very accurate. I mean talk about writing about what you know about. I must also add that during this personally guided tour. That I was being treated to. All the relevant songs were playing in the car at the relevant times.

He then took me to see John Lennon’s child hood house. Which was actually pretty big and on quite a main busy road. We then went to see where Paul McCartney grew up. Which was on a council housing estate. It is hard to comprehend the huge songs that were written in that little house in Merseyside. And then from there what they both went on to achieve in their careers.

Sir Paul McCartney's place
Sir Paul McCartney’s place

That brought to a close the Beatles VIP Tour. It finished with a really tasty breakfast in a lovely little cafe. I had poached egg on toast with spinach and mushrooms. Which was delicious. Next on the agenda was kind of the main reason for my visit. To see a new free exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool.

The museum is at The Albert Docks. We had a quick walk around there. I have been there many times before. It is always busy and bustling there. With some nice restaurants and shops. And of course it is famously the place that This Morning used to come from. Before it moved to London.

Albert Docks
Albert Docks

The exhibition called Double Fantasy did keep on with the Beatles theme of the day. As it is all about John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It tells the story of both of their lives, how they met, how they worked and lived together. It also features lots of personal possessions. Like the outfits they got married in, a pair of John’s glasses, original hand written lyrics and lots more.

It is fascinating. I certainly learnt a lot about the pair of them. That I did not know. He was a very unique and special individual. There are some great photo opportunity’s. Including your chance to join their famous “Bed In” for peace. I found it really interesting. It did also highlight issues they had. That I was not aware of. For example at one point the authorities wanted them out of America. And made it very hard for them to get VISA’s.

Give Peace A Chance
Give Peace A Chance

If you can. This is an exhibition well worth seeing. It is on in Liverpool until April next year. Then it may well move around the country or even around the world. It is of course such a tragic shame how and when John Lennon died.

He was still so relatively young. We have all been robbed of at least twenty years of amazing songs. And I would also guess some thoughtful quotes and observations about the world in which we live.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had some drinks in London after work the other night. We started off in the BBC Club for one. This is a bar actually located in Wogan House for staff. A place to relax in and grab some food, if required. I however decided to eat at Byron. Which is my burger place of choice when I am in London. And in need of a fairly quick meal. I think I have tried everything on their menu. And it is all good!

Next up was a pub on the Marylebone High Street. That is always a pretty classy place to hang out. There are some decent bars and restaurants in that area. That do offer a good selection of drinks. Specially, if you like me, do enjoy trying different ales. It was a fun night. There is something in having a few drinks straight from work that somehow makes, what you are drinking taste even better.

Blues Brothers
Blues Brothers

It was nice to see Tottenham continue where they had left off before the International Break with a win at West Ham United. Our next league game is against Manchester City on Monday Night. I am off to see that game at Wembley.

The way the table is currently poised, if we could somehow beat them. It would really put us back into the mix to be challenging for the top spot. But I would definitely take a draw and a share of the points in this one. Let us just gloss over the whole Champions League thing at the moment.

The London Stadium
The London Stadium

For the first time this series I managed to watch the whole of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday. It is still a very entertaining show. All the dances were really good, I thought. A lot of praise needs to go to the professional dancers. For not only coming up with brilliant routines every week. But for also teaching them to their celebrity’s in under five days. They must have the patience of saint’s.

There are a couple of really good celebrity dancers this year. But then everybody else appears to be at more or less the same level. Which makes it a very exciting competition. Meaning it is extremely hard to predict. Who will leave the show every week. Ashley Roberts and Faye Tozer are for me the best two dancers. I like Danny John-Jules. For a man of his age. He is quite the mover.

I also think Joe Sugg is very good. I will be honest I had no idea at all who he was when the show started. But he seems like a really nice and decent chap. He could do well in the competition, I think. It was Vick Hope who was voted out last week. She was maybe a little bit unlucky to go. Although once you are at the bottom of the leader board. You will be up against it. If you end up in the dance off.

I like Seann Walsh. Not the best dancer, but his performances are I think quite watchable. I think he could well be the next to go mind. Since the shall we say incident between him and his partner. Things and the atmosphere just seem a bit odd around them both. And the other cast members. It all just seems awkward. I am looking forward to the Halloween Special tonight. It will be another cracker for sure.

Evita
Evita

I had another fantastic night seeing the brilliant Evita at the Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. It stars Lucy O’Byrne, Glenn Carter and my mate Mike Sterling. It is a spectacular version of a classic old school musical. The staging is perfect. It is basically a touring West End production. It is that good.

It was wonderful to catch up with Mike both before and after the performance. He is brilliant in this show. It was opening night in High Wycombe, so I gate crashed the cast drinks for one with him after. He has been full on busy recently.

As well as the current tour. He has also performed in Swansea with the Moody Blues and in Sweden with some musicians who played with ABBA. Which is pretty cool to say the least. Great to spend time with him as always.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

I have mixed views about the upcoming Only Fools and Horses Musical. I cannot really imagine anybody else playing Del and Rodney. Other than Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst. That will just seem really weird.

However the fact that the additional sketches are written by John Sullivan’s son and Paul Whitehouse. Does give me hope that it will not tarnish the show. And it will be a nice homage to it. Plus some of the completed songs have been co-written by Chas Hodges. So they will be good. Despite my reservations. I will definitely have to go and see it. When it opens next February in London.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As I have said before spending some time working at Broadcasting House. Can often mean seeing a few familiar faces around.

Recently I have found myself in a lift with Ian Wright and Evan Davis. Also in a studio with Danny Baker and Kirsty Gallacher. Plus I have seen Tom Daley, Scott Mills and Matt Forde just walk past me.

BBC
BBC

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

Grand Event

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and lots of fun. I have been to Liverpool for my now annual visit to the Aintree Grand National meeting. Which as ever was fantastic.

I arrived on the Thursday night, so I was rested and ready for the main day of madness. Which is Ladies Day on the Friday. Looking very sharp in my lucky suit. I made it to Aintree for around one. It is always such a colourful and spectacular day. You really do see some eye popping and amazing outfits.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

I did not have any winners on the day. But I am still prepared to give the suit another chance at Royal Ascot later in the year. As it gets pretty crazy due to the amount of people there, me and my mates headed in to Liverpool City Centre before the last race. To get ahead of the game. Which worked perfectly, as we managed to walk right in to The Jacaranda, get a drink and find a table instantly.

It is a bar I like. It was one of the first places The Beatles played in their home city. It looks cool and always plays good music, so we stayed in there for quite a while. Then we went on to another bar. Where we had some cocktails and a dance. There was not actually a dance floor there. We just created our own. Well at least we cleared a space for ourselves anyway.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

The day was rounded off how any good day out drinking should be with a burger from a fast food restaurant. Well it was actually a Five Guys one, therefore it was not that fast. But at least you can get your food custom made. I am not saying I may have had a few drinks but I spent far too long trying to throw and catch the free peanuts in my mouth. But I was pretty successful at it to be fair.

On the day of the Grand National itself. We went to a pub to watch all of the afternoons racing from Aintree. Including of course the big race. I won some money on Tiger Roll at Cheltenham. And I was very impressed with how he ran and jumped the fences. Therefore when I got home from there. I instantly put ten pounds on him to win the National at odds of 16-1.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

I did have a couple more each way bets on the race. But they all did nothing. Though that did not matter much when Tiger Roll powered down the final straight and held on at the last to clinch it. It is always nice to pick the winner of this iconic event. It is not easy as mostly it is unpredictable and never goes to plan. I did buy a round of drinks to help celebrate my victory.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

After the horse racing we went straight to a different pub to watch the Tottenham against Manchester City game. Let us just say you can always rely on Spurs to put the dampener on a great weekend. Though they are now the Champions and they deserved to beat us. As is becoming another small tradition now. My National Day ended with a Dominos Pizza. It was not the healthiest weekend I have had for a while. But it was the most fun.

I am already looking forward to returning again for next year. If you have never been to Liverpool, you should. It is a great place with lots of fun and interesting things to see and do. Plus during the National Weekend it is just one big party there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had to go for my first ever MRI Scan the other week. I have had lots of X-rays taken over the years for various things and had some Ultra Sound treatment on one of my knees as a child. But this was my maiden encounter with this particular piece of medical machinery.

I was told not to wear anything with any metal in. As if I did I could just wear my own clothes for it. Instead of those horrible backless hospital gowns. This did mean I had to quickly purchase a new pair of jogging trousers. But I felt that was money well spent to avoid any potentially awkward situations, while I was there.

I was having the MRI scan on my head. You walk in to the room and this contraption looks like it should live in the lair of a Bond villain. The two gentlemen who were doing it were great. They got me in to position. Which as far as I could tell involved putting on a neck brace and sealing my face with a plastic shield. The reason I am unclear on this is that I chose to close my eyes at this point. They then press a button which sends you in to the contraption.

You are allowed to request music to be played while they are doing it. I asked for Radio 2 but either they did not hear me or forgot, as I had no music playing in the end. They did give me a button to press if I wanted to stop it at any time. But all this did was make me view it as like a Bush Tucker Trial on I’m A Celebrity. So there was no way I was ever going to press it. As I was very determined to win all the stars to feed my camp mates. Fortunately it did not fill up with Cockroaches.

I am not going to lie it is not the most pleasant experience in the world. Plus with no music. I could hear every clunk and buzz the machine was making. I am pretty sure at one point it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was bearable and painless but at the same time I was pleased when it was all over. I felt I had achieved something, though.

It was just a precautionary thing. I received the results a week or so later via my doctor. If you do ever have one, do not worry. They are fine but I would make sure the music is working, as that would make it a little more relaxing on reflection.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I spent last weekend with my oldest school friend and his wife. They live in Shropshire now. But came down to Buckinghamshire for a few days. We stayed together in a hotel in Beaconsfield. They arrived on the Friday evening. So we just had a lovely meal and a few drinks in a couple of the pubs round there. Places that I have now been visiting for over twenty years. It is a nice town and I do enjoy spending time there specially with good company.

When we got up on the Saturday. Despite having been going out in the place for years. I had never stayed there before, so I had no idea where to grab some breakfast. Luckily in easy walking distance from the hotel. We stumbled across an old style Tea Room. Which did a tasty one. It worked out well and set us up nicely for the day ahead.

Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

The main reason they were down was that we were all going to see Kinky Boots in the West End. I had seen it before but it is one of his wife’s favourite films, so she wanted to see the musical. And it is so good I was more than happy to see it gain. We made a full day of it in London first, though. With me acting as a kind of expert tour guide.

I took them for a coffee outside the BBC for starters. We spotted Ricky Wilson heading in to Radio 2, as he was covering Zoe Ball’s Show that day. Then I took them both for a pint of Guinness in my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connor’s. It was a nice day weather wise and the sun was out. Therefore next up it was a stroll and a cup of tea along the South Bank.

London South Bank
London South Bank

As with any good Theatre trip. We then went for a lovely pre-show meal. Nothing to fancy just a Bella Italia. But I have to say the food and especially the pudding was fantastic. It was Marathon weekend, so the place was full of runners loading up on pasta. Once dinner was over. It was time to head across the road for the main event.

Kinky Boots is on at the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand. We had some great seats in the third row. I did have my usual theatre red wine. And I can tell you that the Rioja there is acceptable. The show itself was again brilliant. It is so fast paced, colourful and extremely entertaining.

The whole cast are great but I must say I think Verity Rushworth is brilliant as Lauren. She really gets so much extra comedy out of her character. It is the musical that contains the most ordinary and then the most ridiculous stage outfits. Depending on what part you are playing. It is a great fun show and we all had an amazing night seeing it.

Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

Tottenham Hotspur have now lost their last eight FA Cup Semi Finals in a row. Which is not a pleasing statistic. I really thought we stood a chance this year against Manchester United at Wembley. I thought it could finally be our year. It would have been a fitting way to end our one off season at the home of English football by winning some silverware there. Well in my opinion anyway.

But alas that was not to be. As we were beaten by Jose Mourinho’s men after taking an early lead in the game. It is possibly even more disappointing this year, I think. We are playing really well currently and have been pretty consistent in the League over the last three years. However we really do need to win some silverware soon, so that we have something to show for it and something to celebrate.

That said now is not the time to panic. The manager and the players are doing a great job. And you cannot win them all. Although I would have loved to have seen my team lift the cup this season. But I have seen them do that before. If this group could actually win a league title. That would actually be something I had not witnessed before and it would be amazing. To dare is to do, on-wards and up-wards.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

While I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil. I ended up featuring in a ITV West Country documentary presented by the great John Nettles. In this Podcast hear what happened when he came in to my studio and what happened when he interviewed me. Click on the link and hear it all via I-tunes. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-show-podcast-ep12/id1236437663?i=1000409103344&mt=2

Neil Quigley meets John Nettles

As I was arriving at work the other day Bill Gates walked past me. You really do never know who you might see or bump in to. It can often be the most random and unexpected people. I am always a bit concerned about being cornered and then interrogated in a lift by Andrew Marr or Emily Maitlis. That is the beauty and the lottery of using the work lifts. You never know who you might be standing next to.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Sweet Soul Music

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been lots of  fun and very interesting. A couple of Friday nights ago now I went to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Stax Prom. Which was a special performance celebrating the music of the great soul record company of that name. It had so many amazing artists signed to it. It was part of the BBC’s Proms series. So it was also shown live on BBC 4.

It was fronted by Jools Holland along with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Plus it featured three fantastic British singers. Who are all big fans of the genre. They were James Morrison, Beverley Knight and Sir Tom Jones. But then it got even better than that, as many of the original Stax performers were there to. And if that was not enough joining the band for the whole evening were Steve Cropper (the great guitarist who amongst many other things co wrote “Sitting on the Doc of the Bay” with Otis Redding) and one of the greatest organ players of all time Booker T Jones. The original Stax artists were Sam Moore, William Bell and Eddie Floyd. Who were singing the huge songs that made the record company and them stars. Some of them just on their own and some of them with the sensational British singers I mentioned earlier singing with them .

It was an amazing night. The Royal Albert Hall is such a great venue. I even got caught up in the moment and splendour of the event. So treated myself to a glass of champagne before the show started. From start to finish it was just great song after great song. The musicians and the singers were all fantastic. It is hard to pick my highlights, as the whole thing was so good. But there was something special about Sam Moore doing Soul Man, Eddie Floyd performing Knock on Wood, William Bell and Beverly Knight with Private Number and then Steve Cropper and Tom Jones doing a stripped down version of Sitting On The Doc of the Bay with just the guitar and vocals only.

It really was an exceptional night. I was so glad I was there to witness all those iconic performers in action. My only complaint is that the gig went so quickly. It is still available on the BBC I-player. If you are a fan of great music I would urge you to take a look at it, if you get chance.

Stax Prom Royal Albert Hall
Stax Prom Royal Albert Hall

I ticked off another thing from my massive to do list recently. I was a fan of the Channel 4 show Whose Line Is It Anyway. Which was basically born out of a group of people called the Comedy Store Players. Who are still going strong today and still have some recognisable names on their books. They perform every Sunday and Wednesday at the Comedy Store in London. So a few Sunday’s ago I went there with a mate to have a look. I do love going to the Comedy Store because as a genuine fan of comedy, there is so much history there. The pictures on the wall of the people who have performed at that venue is like a whose who in the world of international comedy.  In case you have not guessed this was an improvisation night. Where the audience shout out suggestions and the cast have to use them to make up sketches and jokes on the spot.

The “players” on the night included Mike McShane, Josie Lawrence and Paul Merton. Who were all regulars on the old television show. Also joining them were long time members Neil Mullakey, Richard Vranch and Lee Simpson. It was an hilarious evening. They are so funny and clever in the way they bring things to life, interact with each other and just keep the whole evening flowing. They all look like they are having a ball to. I bet doing that regularly keeps them on their toes and match fit. Considering it is all totally made up on the spot. There were so many laugh out loud moments.

I am really glad I got to see it. I would happily go along to see them perform again, as it would be a completely new and different show. As it is every night. They were all equally brilliant although Josie Lawrence does really nail those musical numbers. Oh yes there are even improvised comedy songs. Mind you I do always like watching Paul Merton. He is a very talented and funny man.

Comedy Store Players
Comedy Store Players

I went to see the latest version of Annie in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre. The main reason for my trip was to see Miranda Hart play Miss Hannigan. This did not go quite to plan though, as she was sadly ill on the day I went. So Annie Smith was on stage playing the alcoholic Orphanage Manager. Who for the record was fantastic she did a brilliant job. It is such a positive and uplifting story with some great songs and a nice sprinkling of comedy moments.

But every time I have seen this play and this time was no different, despite the whole cast being great the kids and the dog always steel the show. A great production of a classic. And another enjoyable night out at the theatre. Special praise must go to the woman behind the bar who managed to up sell me from a small glass of red wine to a large glass for an extra pound. I wondered if she was trying to get me drunk but then later I saw the drinks menu and realised this was a genuine deal.

Annie
Annie

Last weekend I was back up in Liverpool. That place is almost like a second home to me now. I visit so often. My Granddad grew up there and lived in the City until he was thirty, so I have always felt an infinity with the place. There were two reasons for my visit. To see my mate Jeff Nolan and to see Tottenham Hotspur play Everton. I arrived on the Friday and had a few beers with Jeff in the evening. So we could chat and catch up.

Then Saturday it was game day. I had managed to get a ticket in the Spurs end for the first time. So we met up before the game but then for the match Jeff went to his normal home season ticket seat and headed for the away end. From my point of view it was a brilliant match. As my team pretty much controlled the game. Harry Kane not only got off the mark for the season but got two goals and Christian Eriksen also got one in a three nil win. To be honest it could of and probably should have been more convincing. I personally think Goodison Park is a tough place to go, so I was delighted with the three points and the manner of the victory.

Everton V Spurs
Everton V Spurs

It is fair to say that Jeff was less delighted that he had just seen his team well beaten at home. There was some text banter during the game and we still met up after to head into the City Centre for a few drinks. Well I mean it was Saturday Night. We started off at a pub on Matthew Street, which is the same street that the famous original Cavern Club was in. We then went to the bar above Liverpool’s famous Parr Studios.

Then we popped in to The Jacaranda. Which was the bar in Liverpool where the Beatles played their very first gig. The music is always great in there. They have a jukebox which always has top tunes on it. We then just continued having a good time. Which at one point included having a few shots of Tequila. Which is something I had not done for years. After a few more bars we jumped in a taxi and called it a night. It was another brilliant weekend in a place where I do really enjoy visiting. I am sure it probably will not be too long before I am back there once again.

Liverpool
Liverpool

Now when I was booking the trains for Liverpool. I noticed that by getting them in advance the difference between say a normal and a first class ticket was twelve pounds. I have done a lot of train journeys over the years but I had never tried this option. So I thought it was about time that changed. Therefore I treated myself to see what it was like. And to see if it was worth it for future reference. It was just me travelling. I had asked for a window seat. Which ended up being just one seat all by itself. While still meeting my requirements. I have to confess it did feel kind of good walking into the first class carriage and sitting down in my reserved seat.

There was plenty of leg room and it was a decent comfy seat. There was complimentary water available. Then about twenty minutes in to the journey they offered a free snack pack. Which contained some sandwiches, pretzels, a chocolate cookie and a biscuit. Which as I very much wanted to get my money’s worth. I ate it all. Then about an hour or so in to the trip they came round offering tea or coffee. I enjoyed the experience and thought it was a very civilised way to travel.  I must admit as long as there was a bit of a deal on it. I would happily give first class a go again. But only if my travel time was more than two hours.  Anything less would be pointless, I think. It was a nice little bit of luxury to round off a fun weekend away.

First Class
First Class

The week has been very Tottenham Hotspur heavy as I went to see the Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday. It was a brilliant performance from my team and a very good win against a very skillful and exciting side. It was one all inside the first ten minutes. With the way each team were attacking at that point I feared it might end up eight all. Spurs got on top, the whole team played well and we won three-one. Which is a massive three points to get in such a competitive and tough league. It was a perfect start to the campaign.

Fair play to the Dortmund fans they were excellent and did not stop singing and bouncing through the whole ninety minutes. It was also nice to get a good win at Wembley at last. I am looking forward to going to see them play Swansea this evening. When hopefully we will get that first league win at Wembley out of the way. That would really help get our domestic season properly kick started. Plus build momentum after that great win at Everton. Hopefully I will again prove to be a lucky mascot. As we go for three in a row.

Tottenham V Dortmund
Tottenham V Dortmund

I am still busy working in London for the BBC. The other day I found myself in a lift at Broadcasting House with the former England Cricket Captain Michael Vaughan. And while I was having a bite to eat in the canteen the Brexit Minister David Davis also just happened to walk past me. After he had finished having some Breakfast with Andrew Marr. Plus the other day the Killers were playing live outside the building. Which was pretty cool.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

Finally just a quick reminder that you can still hear me for one more week on Red Kite Radio this Monday to Thursday 4pm – 7pm and Friday 4pm – 8pm . Listen Here

Neil Quigley

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

At The Races

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy with some fun stuff happening. I am of an age where quite a few people I know are celebrating land mark birthday’s.

So a couple of Saturday’s ago I attended a party to mark such an occasion at a golf club just outside Maidenhead. It was actually on April 1st but it was after midday, so it was not just a big elaborate joke, it was a genuine do.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had a lovely night catching up with friends, who I had not seen for a while. The birthday girl seemed to have a great night and really enjoy herself. Which is the main thing of course. I decided to drive but to be honest did not fancy drinking water or lemonade all night. So I compromised by having a few bottle’s of Becks Blue. Which believe it or not is a non-alcoholic lager. Which I would argue tastes better than actual Becks.

I have to confess as a younger man I could not see the point of beer with no alcohol, as that defied the whole object of drinking it. But when you are driving it gives the illusion of drinking beer. And possibly due to some sort of placebo type effect it makes you feel a little bit drunk, even though you are definitely not.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There was also some live music provided by a great bloke called Steve Carroll. I had seen him perform many years ago at a pub in Eaton and remember him being brilliant. I can confirm that my memory was correct. This time he was joined by a female singer. It was just them and their guitars playing some belting songs. And fair play they played for two and an half hours non-stop.

The range of songs was so wide and varied. At one point they went seamlessly from Cotton Eyed Joe by Rednex straight in to 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. They were fantastic and had everyone up dancing and singing along. It was an entertaining evening and nice to be able to drive home from a party and not worry about having a hangover the next day.

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

Since we spoke last The Boat Race has taken place. It is always a great spectacle and occasion. I do keep an eye out for it and try to watch it every year. After working for a few year’s at the Henley Regatta. I have learnt a little bit more about rowing. So I understand it a little bit better than I did previously.

The training and dedication required from the crew’s is amazing. Bearing in mind they are fitting this punishing regime around studying for some very impressive and tough qualifications. I think makes it even more of a wholesome event. One year I really must go to London, find a nice pub overlooking the Thames and see it. I think that would be good fun.

Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Royal Regatta

One big sporting event that I do always try to attend now is the Grand National Meeting at Aintree. Happily this year was no exception, so for the third year in a row I headed up to see my good mate Jeff Nolan on the Thursday before the big race on the Saturday.

To start to soak up some of the atmosphere already building up in the area. He lives right by the famous race course. So when I got there we headed out for a few drinks at a near by pub to catch up, see and meet up with some of the people who had been at the race course to enjoy day one of the festival.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Everyone dresses up and makes a big effort when they go. So there were some very smart people in the particular pub chain we were in that evening. Which you could argue was different to the norm. We only stayed for a few to make sure we kept our powder dry for the next day.

So it was back home for some nice food and to work on the latest episode of his Chasing 40 Podcast. And then as always tends to happen when we get together to listen to some classic and great music. The selection this time included a live performance by Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We were up early the next morning to get ready for the big day ahead. It is now a tradition that we go to Aintree on the Friday for Ladies Day. So after a hearty breakfast to set us up nicely for the day. We head out to pick up the rest of his mates who are joining us.

Then it is time to get the suits on. This was a debut performance for a brand new suit, which due to a lack of time I ended up having to order online. Which much to my surprise actually fitted fine. I actually must know my own clothes measurements better than I thought I did.

Jeff Nolan and Neil Quigley
Jeff Nolan and Neil Quigley

The first stop was the local pub which was already full of men in suits and ladies in their best outfits. Shall we say starting to fuel themselves up for the day. Both with food and drink. Then we made our way to a pub which is right by the entrance to the famous sporting venue. This again is full of people drinking and having a good time. There is a fun and party atmosphere everywhere you go over the weekend.

Next it is time to head in to watch the racing. The place is huge with lots of different sections and bars for you to get refreshments and put bets on. For example there is a giant tent with big screens to see the races and a live band who come on and do a few songs in between the races. It is like a giant all day party.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There was also a special area dedicated to Red Rum to mark the fortieth anniversary since the legendary horse’s third Grand National victory. There is a statue of him at the race course permanently and there was also an exhibition with photos and memorabilia from his glittering career. Which was amazing and fascinating.

Also for a bit of fun they had a photo opportunity where you could have your picture riding Red Rum over a fence at Aintree. Only an idiot would turn down this great and free opportunity. I jumped at the chance (pun intended) and you can see my picture below.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Sadly I only had one winner while I was there and that was a horse called Fox Norton, which came from behind to win an exciting race in the run in. Happily I was outside in the glorious sunshine to cheer it home.

There is something almost magical seeing those amazing creatures thunder past right in front of you, specially when one of them is about to win you some money. It adds to the whole occasion and gives you a nice warm feeling inside. Or that could of course just have been the beer.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

With thousands of people there, it is to say the least a bit busy and the trains after can get a little bit crazy. So as the party continues on in Liverpool City Centre anyway. We left before the last race to get ahead of the crowds and save any queuing at the station. I have been going there for many years now so there are possibly not that many places that I have not been to at least once.

Our first stop was The Crack. Which was John Lennon’s local when he was home. Which gives it quite a cool vibe and you can see how he would have felt at ease there chilling with a pint. It is off the beaten track, so not a busy place. They have a jukebox. Which I was straight on, to choose some songs on as soon as we arrived there.

The Crack
The Crack

Then we headed off to The Jacaranda. Which is a cool bar where The Beatles used to do some early gigs around the same time they were also doing The Cavern. So like a lot of the bars around it has a musical history feel to it.

While we were there the whole pub was involved in an impromptu sing-a-long to The Smiths “This Charming Man”. This included a lot of Morrissey impressions from people up on the dance floor. I am pretty sure there were people filming it, so I would not be to surprised if a video of it made an appearance on You Tube at some point.

Our final destination was The Cavern Club. Which is not the original Cavern sadly that was just down the same road but knocked down years ago. There has been a new thing added to Mathew Street since my last visit and that is a statue of Cilla Black, which I saw as we walked to the Cavern. Now despite it not being the original venue they do still have great live bands there. And quite a few big names have played there over the year’s.

It has a really friendly feel to it and it is always a fun place to just hang out. We had a good old sing along to the band as the party continued. Earlier in the day a famous book maker firm was giving out some freebies including some sun glasses. Which I am modelling in the picture below. It was our last venue of the night. We then headed back to Jeff’s to get a pizza and reflect on another brilliant Ladies Day.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We decided to go and watch the Grand National on Saturday in Liverpool. But before that there was one other sporting event I wanted to watch Totttenham were playing at home against Watford in the early kick off at twelve thirty. So we assembled the same squad as the day before in the pub to watch that.

It was a pretty straight forward win in the end. Keeping up Spurs great current run, which for the record I am very much enjoying. I have said before that I do not think Chelsea will slip up but if we can chase them all the way, finish second and win the FA cup. It will have been a brilliant and fitting season for what could be our last one at White Hart Lane.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So then after a trip to the Bookies to get our bets on for the big race. We went to a big sports bar to watch the action. It was a brilliant Grand National this year I thought, for starters no horses were injured, which is always the main hope. It was an entertaining and interesting race seeing those equine athletes majestically float over those iconic fences. It had everything.

Congratulations to the winner One For Arthur and to you if you picked it and put some of your hard earned cash on it. I selected five horses this year and none of mine were ever really in it. So if you selected the winner you have my up most respect, well done. It is and always will be for me the greatest of all the horse races. I am already looking forward to next year’s.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We found ourselves in the Cavern Pub after the race. Which is just across the street from The Cavern. It had a live three piece band performing. There are lots of signed pictures and guitars up on the walls from some of the famous people who have either visited of actually performed at The Cavern. From here me and Jeff went back to Aintree to meet his cousin James who had been at the Grand National itself. And who had backed the winner.

We stayed out with him to help him celebrate his triumph. Before it was time to call an end to what is always a brilliant weekend. The next day there was time for some breakfast, then it was time for me to catch the train back to Buckinghamshire. Great fun as always, in fact I have already booked up to go back and do it all again next year.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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