Tag Archives: london

River of Dreams

I hope you have somehow recovered from the excitement of England winning the Cricket World Cup at Lords last Sunday. What a match! I cannot remember ever seeing an ending to a game like it. The Drama and tension was almost unbearable. But we got the job done by the skin of our teeth. I am not a massive Cricket fan. But that was quality.

It does seem we like to win World Cups in all of the men’s sports at the death with a heart stopping moment. Take Geoff Hurst’s third goal right as the whistle blew in 1966 with that famous commentary accompanying it. To win our first and so far only football World Cup. Not to mention the late drop goal by Johnny Wilkinson to win us the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

In England we really do like doing things the hard way. It was a great moment and I was pleased to witness it live on the television. I still do hope that I will get to see the football team win another World Cup. In my life time. Having missed the last victory by a mere ten years. While we are talking sport, congratulations to the ace Lewis Hamilton. Who won the British Grand Prix for a record sixth time last weekend.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have had another busy and fun couple of weeks. When I was about to make my stand-up comedy debut. I tweeted a few comedians for some advice. One of the ones who came back to me was Al Murray. I have been a fan of his for ages. I saw him live at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil. Around twelve years ago. I spotted that he was coming to the Wycombe Swan. I do still follow him on Twitter. So I knew that he normally runs a ticket competition via the social media site. On the day of the gig.

As it happened that day I was at home and free. Therefore, as I really wanted to see his latest show. I made sure I kept a very close eye on his Twitter. When he asked the question for the chance to win some tickets. I made sure I was the first person to reply with the correct answer. He then offered me some tickets for that evening. Which I gratefully accepted. My cunning plan had been a complete success.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

Al Murray performs of course, as his alter ego The Pub Landlord. It is amazing how many people on his Twitter page fail miserably to make this distinction. They cannot seem to be able to see that he is playing a character on stage. I turned up at The Swan to collect my ticket left for me on the door. I got myself a pint of my favourite beer, Rebellion IPA. Which they now serve there. Then I took my seat.

Al starts the show as always pouring pints on stage, spilling them on the front row. Then hailing the ale and welcoming in the wine. It is a bit of fun, it gets the audience involved from the off. And sets up the pub feel to the gig. As basically the landlord is preaching with the bar as his lectern in his boozer. As ever, he is pretty brutal and does not pull any punches.

The first half was fantastic and very funny. At the interval I grabbed myself another pint. At the start of the second half. He gives you the chance to grab a quick picture of him on stage. He poses twice. The first is a wave and the second possibly a more Landlord like gesture. At this point he asked where the competition winners were. I put my hand up and suffered a bit of good-natured abuse for my trouble. All good fun! Totally accurate and completely deserved.

The second half was also brilliant. It is a topical show. This means Politics and Brexit feature. Al himself is a big fan of military history. This is a theme running through one of the routines. As he is such an expert. It was actually quite educational about many of the wars that the country has been involved in. It was also fairly amusing, how the “Landlord” dealt with having seen Bohemian Rhapsody. And what he may have learnt about Freddie Mercury from it.

He is a top quality, clever and funny comedian. I really enjoyed it. If your jaws ache on the way back from a comedy gig. You know, you have had a great time. As well as the intelligently written material. Al is also very good at interacting with and getting laughs from the audience. You cannot beat a night of live comedy. Laughter is good for the soul.

Al Murray

I went to one of the preview performances of the new version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat” At the iconic London Palladium. It is a musical I have always loved. And I have seen it a few times in the past. The songs are all so catchy and so tempting to sing along to. There were also a couple of other reasons, why this production appealed to me. And why I wanted to see it.

Firstly it stars Sheridan Smith. Who I think is fantastic. I tried to see her in Funny Girl. When she was in that. But I managed to get tickets on a night. She was not on. I did manage to see her sing at Children in Need last year. But this was finally my chance to catch her on stage performing in a musical. Then there was also the chance to see Jason Donovan do his thing live to.

As I said it is a new version of the show. Obviously the songs and the story remain the same. But it is slightly re-imagined. Sheridan plays the Narrator. And is the star of the show. She is on the stage pretty much the entire time. And she really drives and leads the story. The set-up is that she is a teacher telling the story to her class. Who are there throughout, as the story unfolds. There are a few other twists and surprises to. But I do not want to give away any spoilers.

Jason Donovan makes a brilliant cameo appearance as the Pharaoh. His costume, make up, style and all round performance is excellent. Jac Yarrow makes his West End debut as Joseph. His voice is quality and his stage presence is good. So I suspect we will see him in plenty more shows over the years. I really liked the quirkiness and in many ways more light-hearted approach to this classic tale.

Something happened during it. That I had never witnessed before. At the end of one of the numbers. The stage managers started to call the actors off stage. Then they came on to tell the remaining ones to get off. At which point the safety curtain came down. The show had been stopped.

Then there was an announcement saying that the performance had been suspended. Due to a technical fault. At first they were hoping to resolve it within five minutes. The audience were asked to stay in our seats. Which we duly did. In the end we were waiting for about twenty minutes. With many different rumours starting to go round the theatre.

Eventually the curtain went up again. And standing there were the show’s Director and Producer. They explained what had happened. The sound desk had gone dead. It took a while, but they got it fixed. They apologised and then thanked us for our patience. Before the performance resumed. Just before the point at which they had to stop it.

The show then continued as planned. At the interval I had another glass of the very drinkable Rioja. They serve at this great venue. I thought Sheridan Smith was fantastic. I felt that you could not take your eyes off her. She really does know how to hold and captivate an audience. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. If you do fancy a fun and upbeat night out. Go and see this show. But be quick, as it is only on for a short time. Until the 8th September.

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Since I did some work with Regatta Radio. And got to watch rowing for the first time. Managing to meet a few rowers and learn a little bit about the sport. I do now try to get to the Henley Regatta, on at least one of the days, every year. I have over the years had a fun time there, seeing the racing from on the riverbank. And also from a boat going up and down the course. This year a friend of mine invited me to go along and enjoy it with him.

I was staying at his house. So I got the bus to Henley. And then just walked to his house. To drop off my stuff and get changed in to my suit. The traffic getting in and out of the place during Regatta week is a bit of a nightmare. But the queues were not too bad by the time I arrived. My mate Mike Sterling managed to get us tickets to enjoy all the action from Phyllis Court. This is a Private Members Club with grounds that back right on to the river.

We got there around two in the afternoon. We grabbed ourselves some meat and salad for lunch. And as luck would have it. They had Rebellion beer there. So I had a pint of that. We then made our way down to the river to watch the afternoon session of racing. We got a table to sit at and a jug of Pimms. To enjoy the rowing in the glorious sunshine. At that moment in time, I do not know if I could have been anymore English, if I had tried.

Henley Royal Regatta

It is exciting and yet very relaxing watching the crews row past you. At the end of the session we headed back to the lawn of the club. To have a hog roast and a glass of Champagne. Both of which were ace. We then went for a drink in one of the pubs in Henley. On the way we stopped briefly to see the grave stone of the legendary English singer Dusty Springfield. Who had spent her final years living in the town.

We ended the night in a nice Restaurant. As Mike was performing in there. It was good fun. He is a top live performer. I do enjoy it when he sings. It was a very sociable night. In fact, as we were talking to the owners for ages after the gig. We did not get back to his place until about 4.30am. Proving that I am very much still Rock n Roll. Well at least I am occasionally. Another wonderful day and night spent having fun with friends.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

My mum wanted to go and visit the Tower of London. My sister also expressed an interest in coming along. The other Wednesday I took them both there for the day. My mum had been to see the amazing Poppy display there a few years ago. But she had not actually been inside the walls of the famous landmark. Since she was just a little girl. Coincidentally the last and only time I had visited it. I was just eight years old. My sister however had been there within the last ten years, so she became our designated expert on the place.

Tower Of London

We got off the tube at London Bridge Station. As my Mum had never walked across Tower Bridge. We ticked this off her list on the way to the Tower. I had sensibly pre-booked the tickets. So I picked them up from the group bookings window. Bypassing all the queues. As they say, you cannot buy experience. The guy on the ticket desk was very helpful as well, which was good. On entry we decided to go and see the Crown Jewels first. As at this point the queues were not too bad.

On the way in my sister stopped for a chat with the first ever female Yeoman Warder. Who she recognised from a documentary that she had seen. About five years ago. The jewels were stunning. The gold and precious stones within that building are exceptional.

Tower Of London

Not to mention the history behind them. I was impressed by the fact that the current State Crown apparently contains Pearls, thought to be from Elizabeth I’s necklace. Just let that sink in for a second. How old they would be now. The security is rightly tight. You are basically viewing these items from within a vault. If you do go check out those doors on the way in and out. Thick does not even cover it.

After the Jewels we went to the White Tower. To see all the Armour. I am not saying that Henry VIII was may be trying to make some sort of statement about his inability to sire a son. But the size of the cod piece. On one of his sets of Armour on display is a thing of beauty. It also contains quite a few of the weapons from that era. And it is fair to say they were brutal. Everything from swords right up to muskets and very early pistols are there to see. In fact there is even an actual golden gun, near the end.

Tower Of London

Next up, we just made a short talk on the Ravens. Delivered at their cages. That was interesting and reconfirmed the legend. That if the Raven’s leave the Tower, then London will fall. Although we are safe, as all of the birds are born there. They are very territorial creatures. And are very well looked after. So basically those birds are not going anywhere.

We stopped for some sandwiches, cake and a nice cup of tea in the Cafe. It turns out sight-seeing and reminding yourself about English history is hungry and thirsty work. Once we were totally refreshed. We went on one of the guided tours. Taken by the Yeoman Warders. To become one of them, by the way. You have to have served in the Military for at least twenty-two years. And have reached the rank of at least Sergeant Major. So what I am saying is, that it is not an easy gig to get.

The tour was really interesting and I learnt quite a bit about the Tower and its history. It has had so many different uses over the years. And of course many well-known visitors. I am very much pro the Royal Family. As of course was our guide. He did make a good point. Last year the Royal Family brought two hundred and sixty-nine million pounds in to the country. Which then in turn goes to our Government. They then give the Queen. The annual Sovereign Grant of forty-five million pounds.

The tour finishes outside the Chapel. Where Ann Boleyn is thought to be buried. Which is still an active church. Used by the people who live within the Tower walls. There is a small community that live in the Tower. It sounds fun, but the place is locked at 7pm every night. Meaning if you are in you cannot get out and if you are out. You will not be able to get back in. Until it is reopened the following morning. On the plus side the Yeoman Warders do have their own pub onsite. So I know where I would be most nights. If I lived there.

Tower Of London

We walked around the walls overlooking what used to be the moat. And of course the Thames. At one point we noticed Tower Bridge was being raised. So we stopped to watch. Expecting it to be a big exciting boat coming through. Then up the river comes what is a small unimpressive vessel with a huge mask. I am not going to lie to you, it was slightly disappointing.

We then visited as many of the other Towers. That we could before the venue closed to the public. This included one, where one of the old kings lived. It was decorated how it was believed that he had it. We also looked around the Army Exhibition. Which contained a bust of both Hitler and Mussolini.

Tower Of London

There were a couple of interactive bits. One of which was a Soldiers back pack. The challenge was, if you could lift it up or not. I could just about lift it up. Which I was quite pleased about. Until you read that it is only a quarter of the weight. That actual Royal Marines carry on their backs. Total respect to them there.

It was a lovely day with my Mum and Sister. I really enjoyed looking around the Tower of London. And seeing things I had not seen since I was a kid. We stopped off for a KFC on the way home. As I know how to treat ladies properly. Everybody had a good time. So it was a total success. Another well-known place. That is certainly worth a visit.

Tower bridge

My sister has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Keira. She is a lovely dog but is twelve years old now. So she is starting to feel her age a bit. To keep her joints moving and strong. She has to do these regular Hydro-therapy sessions. I went along to one of these with my sister last week.

Basically they have a treadmill. You can fill with water. The dog gets in. Then they fill the water up to her belly. Then she has to do several sets walking on the running machine under water. It is quite funny to see. It looks like quite a tough work out, though.

The dog is not a natural exerciser. And requires someone at one end with treats to encourage her to walk at the required pace. I am half thinking about getting someone to do this with cakes and chocolate for me. The next time I go to a gym. As I think that might improve my performance.

Dog Gym Work out

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

By Royal Appointments

I hope you enjoyed last Saturday. It was gorgeous. Sunny and warm. In fact it actually saw me getting my legs out and donning a pair of shorts. My rule is that I will only wear them if the temperature is above twenty five degrees Celsius. Unless I am playing sport. We have had quite a few pleasant days. They have just not been as hot. As I would have liked them to be in the main.

I was lucky enough to make two visits to Royal Ascot this year. I was there on the first and last day of the festival of horse racing. On the Tuesday I took my Dad there for the first time. We set off suited and booted. To get the train to the Berkshire course. This involved going into London first. To then get the tube to Waterloo. Just to alleviate any doubt wearing a three piece suit on the Underground is like you are in a Sauna. Which coincidentally is somewhere else people rarely talk to each other. And also avoid eye contact.

Royal Ascot 2019

We managed to get a seat on the busy train from Waterloo to Ascot. It might have been the best dressed train in the world. It is not every day. Everyone in a carriage is wearing at least a suit. If not as in many cases Top Hat and Tails. It is wrong to portray stereotypes of course. But everyone did seem to be very friendly and nice to each other. So there may be something in the way people dress. And the way they behave. At least in public, possibly before they have started drinking too much.

Sadly it was a bit of a wet and showery day. We were undecided if we should bring jackets or something to fend off the rain. In the end my Dad did not bring anything. I brought the world’s smallest umbrella. Which I got for three Euros when I was in Rome. It was all we had. So when it started raining as we arrived. I had to try to use it to keep the both of us dry. As we walked up the busy road to the entrance. With limited success. We got in to the Queen Anne Enclosure and happily the rain eased a little.

We grabbed a rather nice Chicken Burger for lunch. Got a couple of race cards to study. Then somehow managed to get ourselves a seat undercover at one of the outside bars. Where we treated ourselves to a glass of beer. Then it was time to take our place at the Parade Ring to watch the Queen arrive.

The Queen

She is a massive racing ran and she loves this meeting. She has not missed one single day of Royal Ascot since 1953. And to be fair to her that was because it was the day of her Coronation. Therefore she did have a slightly more pressing engagement that particular day.

I have said it before, I am a big fan of the Queen and the Royals. I think they are great ambassadors for the country. They bring in a lot of tourism from abroad. And they are well loved and respected all over the world. The Queen for me is an amazing lady. Always acting perfectly in every situation. I wish I could learn that skill. I have to admit I really enjoy watching her arrive. Normally on the first day a lot of the family come along to support her.

I got a really good position to see them all arrive. The Queen was no more than about five metres away from me. When she went past in her horse drawn carriage. Also in the procession and going right by me were Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, The Countess of Wessex, Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Plus the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I am totally convinced that Prince William waved at me as he went past

With the Queen in attendance and the Royal Standard flying on top of the stand. It was time to get the racing underway. I had a terrible day on the betting front. And did not have any winners. In any of the six races. My Dad however did have two winners. During the races we grabbed some Fish and Chips. They were tasty. The standard of food on offer was generally pretty good.

Royal Ascot 2019

After the racing had finished for the day. We had another drink at one of the many bars in the enclosure. We then went to a pub on the High Street in Ascot. For one more final drink. As we waited for our taxi home to arrive. It was a fun and enjoyable day. Despite the rain. The quality of the races was excellent. They were almost all close run things with exciting finishes. I then watched the next three days of the festival from home. And happily did rather better on the betting front.

The final day of Royal Ascot this year. I was back in another three piece suit. At the house of two very good friends. Getting ready to jump in a taxi and once again make my way to the world famous race course. Before we left, we had a glass of fizz to toast the day ahead. This time it was a dry and sunny day. Which does just put everyone in a much better mood.

Royal Ascot 2019

After a pretty decent walk from where our taxi dropped us off. We entered the Queen Anne Enclosure. As I had been there just a few days before I took our group on a short tour. To help them find their way around. Then we went and got ourselves a drink. Well it would have been rude not to.

I was back in the Parade Ring again to watch the Queen arrive. Then it was on to the day’s racing. I managed to pick the winner of the first and third race. So I was a bit more successful than my previous visit. A bit earlier in the week. We had a few drinks during the afternoon. It was all very sociable.

Royal Ascot 2019

We got talking to lots of different people from all over the country. At one point a very beautiful women. Who I can only presume must have been a little drunk. Stopped me to tell me what gorgeous blue eyes I had. As she walked past me. I will take that compliment all day long. And for the record I do have nice eyes.

At the end of racing everyday. They have a traditional sing-song at the Bandstand in the Queen Anne Enclosure. I made sure that I was down there right in the middle of it all. The band are the Band of the Coldstream Guards. And they are absolutely brilliant.

A singer joins them for about forty-five minutes. It is just classic song after classic song with the whole of Ascot joining in. It is so much fun and a real feel good part of the day. At the end of the last song on the last day. There was ticker tape everywhere. It looked amazing. This is always one of my highlights of the day at Royal Ascot.

Royal Ascot 2019

After I had finished my Pimms that accompanied my partying around the bandstand. I got another beer and rejoined my friends. We then discovered an open air disco on the course. And spent a good hour or so dancing there. I can confirm I have definitely still got all of the moves. The DJ was playing some top tunes.

As we were leaving the race course. We randomly saw the former footballer Andy Cole. We were on our way to another pub again in Ascot. To have a final drink to celebrate a fun and very enjoyable day. We met a few more new “friends” in there. Before getting a taxi home. It is such a epic event. You get to dress up, see some great racing, do a bit of partying and have a few drinks. What is not to like? I will be going there again next year, for sure. And I cannot wait.

Royal Ascot 2019

In a piece of genius timing. The day after my second visit to Royal Ascot. A good friend of mine had organised a game of Foot Golf. For his birthday over in Milton Keynes. Happily it did not start until early afternoon. And I managed to get a lift over there. So I did not have to drive. I had played the game once before. At a course near to the famous Pinewood Studios. I had been rubbish on my debut. And I was hoping to put in a better performance this time round.

There were eight of us in total. So we split up into two groups of four. I have always considered myself a pretty decent footballer. And have played for some good teams and been fairly successful within them. But I do seem to really struggle with Foot Golf. I was terrible at it once again. In fact we had one hole. Where we all had to use our weakest foot. And unbelievably this was the hole that I did the best on. The only one I won. So may be I am actually left footed. And have been using the wrong foot during my “career”.

Despite me being awful at it. It was a good laugh. And great fun. The birthday boy won overall in the end, very fittingly. Afterwards we got a bite to eat and had a drink in the club house. Which was a perfect way to round off the afternoon. I would certainly play another game of it at some point in the future. Purely on the basis that I cannot get any worse at it. Mind you I am still better at that, than I am at actual golf.

Foot Golf

I was lucky enough to get to see the new Gloria Estefan musical “On Your Feet” the day before its Press Night. It has been a massive hit on Broadway for the last few years. She and her husband Emilio are very involved in the production. In fact it was their idea to do it in the first place. It features so many of her amazing back catalogue of hits. I have been a fan of her music for years and remember listening to it quite a bit as a teenager.

The show is all about Gloria and Emilio’s lives. Both of their families were immigrants from Cuba. Trying to make their way in America. In a way they came from almost identical backgrounds. It tells the story of how they met. And how they managed to take their Cuban Sound and conquer not just America but the world with their music. Gloria had the songs, the voice and the stage presence. While Emilio was a great producer and businessman.

They make a great partnership in life and in work. Which causes a bit of friction with Gloria’s family at times. It is a real life story, so it does include the terrible bus crash. That she was badly injured in. But it is basically an inspiring and uplifting tale. Showing how love, hard work and desire to succeed can make your dreams come true. The cast are excellent. The band and overall sound are spot on. And the dancers are stunning, as are their routines.

As I said earlier the whole thing is carried along nicely by the great songs. You do not win twenty-six Grammy’s for nothing. At the end the whole audience were up on their feet swaying their hips and all joining in. The rhythm is gonna get you. And there is nothing you can do about it. A powerful and uplifting show. Where the good guys, all win in the end. Worth seeing if you want to learn about the Estefan’s while enjoying a bit of the Cuban Beat.

On Your Feet

Last Sunday it was the latest Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night. I have been lucky enough to perform at this event in 2012 and 2017. It is so much fun. This year I was there to watch and support the new class of 2019. All make their stand up debuts in Tring. Just like I had done seven years ago. It is always a brilliant night. And this one did not disappoint.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was in The Castle. I like to try a different pub every time I go and see it. The stage was set up in the beer garden. The way it works is, the Roving Comedians go around four pubs in groups of three. They have a professional comedian with them. Who then headlines their mini show. The “Rovers” get five minutes each and the Pro’s get ten minutes. The compere at The Castle was the brill Joe Jacobs, who I had previously seen perform at The Musical Comedy Awards up in London. A couple of months ago.

Joe Jacobs opened the night, warmed up the crowd, introduced the three trainee comedians, who were all great. Then he welcomed to the stage the first headliner of the night. The always hilarious Silky. He has been involved with this pretty much since it started. He is always quality. After my debut in 2012. I gave him a lift back to his hotel. I have been harassing him whenever he appears at this event, ever since.

Silky

There is a short break before the set up is repeated. The next lot of first timers and the second headliner. Who was the fantastic Jayde Adams. The professional comedian with the next batch of Tring new bees was the wonderful Rich Wilson. Who is always a top quality act. I have seen him a couple of times before and he has always made me laugh.

Lastly we had two more of the Rovers. Before the last headliner of the night. The very funny Ben Norris. Who closed the show with a brilliant set. Well done to all the Roving Comedy performers. You were all brilliant. And I hope you enjoyed it, half as much as I did when I did it. You smashed it! It was another very enjoyable gig.

Ben Norris

Afterwards I went to The Kings Arms to gatecrash the after show party. As I know from my time’s doing it. This is the place where we all end up. I managed to have a quick chat with the lovely Silky. He had been performing at Glastonbury and had driven up specially to be part of things in Tring. He is brilliant bloke and a very funny man. So do try and see him live, if you get the chance.

I also managed to grab a quick word with the man who puts the whole Tringe Festival together. The fantastic Ben Moorhouse. It was great to see and talk to so many other “Roving Comedy” comics. From all of the different years. That it has been running. We all have a common bound and shared experience.

Lastly I got to speak to my comedy guru and teacher the resplendent Logan Murray. Every comedian who makes their stand up comedy debut on the Roving Comedy Night. As part of the process attends an eight week comedy master class with Logan.

And not only is he stupidly funny. He is also such a nice and lovely person. It was brill to catch up with him briefly. He seemed rightly proud of his latest batch of students. Who he had now set free out in to the world of comedy. A fantastic night. I look forward to going to see it again next year.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

It was also the Glastonbury Festival last weekend. I was there back in 2007 when The Killers last headlined the Pyramid Stage. I camped there for three days in the the backstage area with VIP access. And I must say it was brilliant. This year I had to make do with watching all the action from the comfort of my own house. And with the use of a clean toilet, anytime I wanted it. It was tough but I survived it.

Neil Quigley at Glastonbury
Neil Quigley at Glastonbury

I did watch The Killers set. And I thought they were fantastic. I mean they are from Las Vegas, so they should know how to put on a show. Brandon Flowers is a great front man. You cannot take your eyes off him and he really sustains the audiences attention. I think he might have pretended to the rest of the band that they were not going to dress up for it. And then at the last minute went out and got himself a stand out suit. But lets face it, nine times out of ten, the singer will be wearing the most elaborate clothes.

Their guests on stage were a bit random. Jimmy Carr made a brief cameo sweeping the stage. They were then joined by the Pet Shop Boys for a couple of songs. I can only imagine the pop duo had not seen the weather forecast. As they turned up in winter coats and a hat. Then they were replaced by Johnny Marr. To finish things off. I thought they closed the Saturday night perfectly. A lot of their big songs work really well in this kind of arena.

School of Rock
School of Rock

I also caught Liam Gallagher’s performance. That man definitely has the swagger to own that stage on such an occasion. He did a mixture of his own songs alongside a few classic Oasis anthems. It did amuse me. When he did Rock N Rock Star. And then straight after it started moaning that he was cold. As someone had advised him not to wear his Parker. Living the dream. Rock excess is not dead! Excellent set from him. Looked and sounded the part. Completely as expected.

The artist I was most excited about seeing perform this year was the lovely Kylie Minogue. I really did wish I was in that cow field in Pilton to watch her fill the legends slot. This pain was eased slightly by the fact that I got to see her play at Radio 2’s Festival in a Day at Hyde Park last September. She was sensational that day.

Kylie
Kylie

I thought she was totally amazing. Her choice of songs were perfect. To reflect her thirty years in the business. She has during that time released at lot of very good pop songs. Songs we all know and love. And can sing along to. I thought she looked stunning in each of the outfits she wore. However four outfit changes in a hour set at the biggest festival in the country. Is possibly a little bit over the top.

She was clearly enjoying herself. Which was fantastic to see. She was meant to headline Glastonbury back in 2005. But unfortunately she had to pull out when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Happily as we now know that story ended well. And she got to appear on the stage finally. And do her thing in a massive field in Somerset. I am a huge fan of hers. She always puts on such a great show. She is very hardworking. And I get the impression, she is lots of fun. Nice one Kylie!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Spice Up Your Life

Life is for living and to be enjoyed. And I think to be seen as a great big adventure. For me personally going out and having fun is a huge part of that. Therefore once again I have had a pretty busy couple of weeks. Doing lots of diverse and different things. As I do believe that variety is the spice of life.

For starters I had a brilliant night out with some very good friends of mine. Believe it or not it was the first time that we had all been in the same place at the same time this year. Which is impressive given that we are now half way through it. But we are all so busy, just getting on with our own lives. That finding a date when we are all available, is to say the least a challenge.

However we finally managed it. Meeting up at a local pub that was in a central location for everyone. For some food and a few drinks. I am always the first one to turn up to these things. I really hate being late for anything. So I normally turn up ridiculously early. I am not saying I was keen. But I arrived an hour before the agreed time. I have spent a shocking amount of time in pubs by myself waiting for people over the years.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The other three turned up. I had been pretty good and was only one drink ahead when they arrived. We made our way to the restaurant area. As we are grown up and organised nowadays, We had booked a table. We had a very civilised three course meal. Washed down of course with a few more drinks. A splendid evening catching up on all the current news. While taking the mickey out of each other. And as ever reminiscing about days gone by.

After dinner there was a singer performing with a guitar in the bar. We stayed and listened to him for a bit. Before heading up to the other end of town to try another pub. We had a couple more there before calling it a night. You really cannot beat spending time with friends. It is very good for the soul. But not that good for the head the next morning, sometimes.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see a fantastic new musical recently. Well I say new, but it has been in the West End since the end of January. And has won four Olivier Awards. But compared to the more established ones. It is still possibly, lesser known. It is actually set around the time of the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on 9/11. It focuses on knock on side effects from the actual incident. That I must admit, I had not really thought about.

Based on a true story. It explains what happened to a small Canadian suburb. When seven thousand stranded air passengers from all over the world ended up there. After the terrible tragedy. All flights were grounded and American Airspace was closed. Gander International Airport in Newfoundland offered to house inbound flights coming from Europe. The whole community then came together specially to look after these weary and confused travellers. Many of whom are a long way from their planned destination.

It is called “Come From Away”. Because “Come From Away’s” is what the residents of the towns and villages, who took them in called their guests. The show itself is fantastic. It is wonderfully staged and very clever. The whole cast each play at least one of the locals and one of the visitors. But credit to them, as you always know which one they are in every scene. The songs are catchy and memorable. And are all performed in an Irish musical style.

There are so many layers to it. You have of course got the backdrop of the actual horrific incident. The story of how the locals cope with the population of the place suddenly being doubled for a week. Then there are the individual tales of the passengers themselves. Who are suddenly stranded. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I thought it was amazing. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I would certainly recommend seeing it, if you can. It is well worth it. As well as being an interesting story. It will restore your faith in all human nature. Just in case it is lacking a bit at the moment. It runs straight through with no interval. Luckily though I was aware of this so I took a nice glass of Rioja in with me. “Come From Away” is on at the Phoenix Theatre in London. Go and see it!

Come From Away

A mate of mine took me to the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in London for the first time the other Sunday. He is a member there, so goes a lot. It was yet another place I had been wanting to experience for a while. And it did not disappoint. We arrived, put our jackets in at the cloak room. Then we were shown to our seats. Like a theatre show you buy tickets for certain areas. Either on the round tables right at the front of the stage or at the straight tables to the sides.

We were at the straight tables. But like all the others, they still come with a table lamp and waitress service. You order all food and drink from your seats. Then they bring you the bill at the end of the night. It was the Blues Explosion Band performing. Which is made up of great musicians, who have played and toured with many of music’s biggest stars. The songs were excellent. And the second half was a tribute to the great Blues legend Dr John. It was a quality evening. I look forward to going back there again soon.

Ronnie Scott’s

As part of my Dad’s seemingly never ending birthday celebrations. We had a night at Windsor Races. They have meetings there most Monday’s during the summer. Normally with some sort of theme. This particular evening it was their Irish Night. It was not a nice day weather wise. It had been raining heavily all afternoon. When we got there it was still throwing it down.

I was not convinced we were going to see any racing at all. And I was expecting the meeting to be abandoned at any moment. I had a curry to try to warm myself up. Before the first race. And a couple of cups of tea. It was such a dreary night. That sadly not many people turned up. Although all the racing still went ahead.

The races were quite exciting, possibly due to the weather. Mind you I did not have any winners. We left before the last race and the live music. To get home and dry out. I hope you are also making the most of the Summer, so far to.

Windsor races

I went to the Spice Girls first ever tour at Wembley Arena. I was at the 02 for the last reunion tour. I even went and watched the short lived musical featuring their songs called “Viva Forever”. I did all of these with my sister. Therefore we both just had to go and see their latest show, when it was at Wembley Stadium.

We went to the opening night of the three. That they were doing in the Capital. It was actually the first music concert. That I had been to at the home of the national team. I have of course been to countless football matches there in the past. I will admit the walk up from the train station was slightly different to that of a standard match day. It was a bit more chilled and relaxed. With the same amount of Union Jacks but a lot more leopard print around than normal.

Spice Girls

We got inside the stadium. It was impressive how many people had dressed up as their favourite Spice Girl. I say people, as there were a lot of men dressed up to. We had a burger and a soft drink. I am not turning into Paul McCartney but I did have the Veggie Burger. Which was delicious. I had managed to get us in the Bobby Moore seats. In my opinion these are the comfiest seats in the place. Plus they gave us a decent view of the stage.

The support act was Jess Glynne. She is a fantastic artist. Who has had six number one’s in the UK herself. And sells out her own shows. But I thought she was the perfect choice for the gig. Her stuff is well known and upbeat. The right person to get things started and up and running. Although judging by the reaction when the DJ played C’est La Vie by Bewitched. May be they should have booked them. Joking aside, Jess was brilliant. And looked to be enjoying herself out there. Which was good to see. Great work!

Jess Glynne

Then we came on to the main event. The backing dancers came out nice and early. To get the crowd warmed up. The Spice Band appear and start playing. The big screens at the side of the stage kick into life. Then suddenly the four girls appear from nowhere right at the front of the stage. They launched in to Spice Up Your Life. And we were off and running. The party had well and truly started.

They then go through all of their brilliant back catalogue of songs. There are lots of outfit changes. These breaks in the action were often filled by their excellent dancers. Sometimes with individual routines. We got the usual onstage banter. You would expect from the ladies. Which was often hectic, lively and a little bit fruity. But which was also sincere, honest and real. Containing plenty of good humour.I felt it was all delivered in a very positive way.

Spice Girls

They are all older. They have all been through a lot. They are more emotional than they used to be. Which if anything shows how they have matured. After going off to rapturous applause. They returned for the encore. To perform Stop, Mama and of course the song that kicked things off for them back in 1996 Wannabe. We had fireworks at the start and at the end. It was a bright colourful and a thoroughly entertaining show.

They did of course reference the missing member of the band a few times. The same way a group of mates would, if one person could not make the get together. It was a proper big production. I am around the same age as the Spice Girls, well except Geri, of course. So we have kind of grown up together. Their concerts are just fun and full of lots of positivity. I do not think they try to be anything else. Just live in the moment. And have a good time. Top work all round!

Spice Girls

Next Sunday sees the start of the Tringe Festival. A three week long comedy event in Tring. It features lots of top comedians previewing their new show’s ready for this Summer’s Edinburgh Festival. Now in its tenth year. It is curated by Ben Moorhouse, Most of the events take place at The Court Theatre in Tring.

The first event however takes place across four pubs in Tring. I know this, as I have done it twice. Once in 2012 and then again in 2017. It is The Roving Comedy Night. A group of wannabe comedians work with the comedy guru Logan Murray for eight weeks. Doing weekly three hour sessions.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which I must say from my own personal experience are so much fun. Basically you spend the whole time laughing with new found friends. Then somehow at the end of it. You have five minutes of brand new stand up to perform to four different audiences on the same night.

The added bonus of this night for the upcoming comic is that you get to work with a professional comedian. You go around all the pubs in groups of three or four with your professional comedian. In each of the venues you all do your five minutes and then the pro headlines your little show. So not only do you get to do your first four gigs in one night. You get to see a seasoned performer handle four separate audiences at close quarters.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

The first time I did it. I had completed the course. And did my debut stand up performance going around with the great Tony Law. When I did it the second time round. It was a selection of comics from all the past classes. I was delighted to be able to represent my year. I Had so much fun both times, I did it. I would honestly recommend anyone to do it. Just for the amazing experience of it all.

Some of the comedians who have attended a Logan Murray course at the start of their career include Josh Widdicombe, Rhod Gilbert and Greg Davies. To mention but a few. In fact quite a few of the Roving Comedy alumni have gone on to win awards and perform their own show’s in Edinburgh.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

I am looking forward to seeing this year’s Roving Comedy “Trainees” in action. It is always a great night. And once again I hope to catch up with one of the stalwart professional comedians of this night. The marvellous Silky. And hopefully the legend that is Logan Murray to. This event is sold out.

But if you want to check out the other gigs on at the festival. Click on the link. https://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have once again been to Royal Ascot this year. It is always a fun and interesting event.

And a very good excuse to put a nice suit on. I will tell you all about my two visits next time we speak.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

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

Man of La Fun-Cha

Spring has well and truly sprung. And we now find ourselves in May. Which means we have just enjoyed another Bank Holiday Weekend. I trust you had an enjoyable one, making the most of the extra free Monday. I returned to normality with a bit of a sharp jolt. As I had my annual dental check up on the Tuesday. I have always got my teeth checked regularly. How people can leave it five years or more. I just do not know. That would terrify me.

Anyway this most recent visit resulted in me requiring my first two fillings in years. Which the Dentist said she could do there and then. I would like to point out though that one of them was only a tiny hole in one of my Wisdom teeth. And the other was some remedial work on a chip in my front tooth. That I acquired in the school playground. When I was tripped up one lunchtime. In my own school days not last week or anything.

I had to have an injection for one of them. It had been so long, I must admit I forgot how much that numbed your mouth up. For somebody who likes to talk and eat a lot. It was pretty limiting for a good couple of hours afterwards. But I must say the Dentist did a great job. I got a good boy sticker and have not got to go back for another year. It was probably all the chocolate at Easter. That pushed the teeth over the edge.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

When they were first released I booked tickets to see a new revival version in the West End of Man of La Mancha. Mainly because I like seeing shows I have not seen before. And because it was starring Kelsey Grammer. Who is just such an amazing actor. He of course played the legendary Dr Frazier Crane in Frazier. And before that in Cheers. It was not a play I was familiar with and it had not been on in London for years, prior to this production.

As I had secured the tickets months ago. It was actually quite a nice surprise when this event came up in my diary recently. This brand new version of the musical is on at the London Coliseum Theatre. I had no idea what the story was about or even the concept behind it. I never like to know when I see something for the first time. I like to see it completely fresh. And try to work things out for myself. As I sit there and watch it.

Man of La Mancha

At the theatre before the show started. I discovered two huge plus points for me. The cast also included Nicholas Lyndhurst. Which as a massive Only Fools and Horses fan. Meant I was very excited to see him in the flesh. Also Cassidy Janson is in it. She played Carole King in the musical about her life “Beautiful”. She was stunning in that and has an amazing voice. This all added to the fun and intrigue of seeing the play.

It is a very deep and meaningful play. It is basically set in a prison, yet it requires a leap of imagination to absorb yourself in the story. And what is actually happening. It looks at the difference between reality and perceived reality. At how we act, behave and how the decisions we make can affect others. The whole thing holds a mirror up to life and the way people deal with and create situations.

Man of La Mancha

It was written in the mid nineteen sixties. But all the main points and nuances still apply in today’s world and society. The stand out song in the show is “The Impossible Dream” which the show’s star Kelsey Grammer sings fantastically. He was excellent in the main role. In my opinion. Great to see him on stage.

And I might be biased but Nicholas Lyndhurst was amazing. There were some comedic moments in it. And needless to say his timing and delivery was perfect. Always getting the big laughs. The rest of the cast and the full thirty-five piece orchestra made it a memorable evening out.

It is the first time this show has been performed in the West End for over fifty years. And it is only running for six week. So if you do fancy seeing it. You will need to be quick. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it makes you leave the theatre in a reflective mood.

Man of La Mancha

I have now watched a couple of episodes of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent. They have I think managed to get a better cross section of variety acts. Previously it just seemed to be a succession of dancers and singers. The overall standard may be does seem to be getting a bit better. But that may be due to producers inviting some acts they have seem perform in the past to go come along and audition.

You still get a small scattering of the truly delusional people, who are terrible. But think they are great. There are also quite a few acts that have nowhere to go moving forward. Once you have seen it. That is really it. No surprises are left. And the judges seem to be getting a bit softer. Even the boss Simon Cowell is being less nasty or less honest. Depending on your viewpoint.

BGT London
BGT London

They do also seem to be saying yes to a lot of people. There are only a set amount of spots for the semi-finals. Which means lots of people will be whittled down and then thrown off the show. Despite getting through originally. Which I think is worse and almost crueller than the judges dismissing them at the initial audition. As the saying goes “It is the hope that kills you”

Ant and Dec do not seem to feature as much this time. The chats with contestants before and after seem quite a lot briefer. And the atmosphere around them does not seem the same. Hopefully I am totally wrong. And on the live shows. They will be in unison and as together as ever. I have offered my services as a Judge for next year to Simon Cowell. So now I guess I just sit back and wait. I reckon I could pick an act out that the Royals’ would enjoy at their variety show.

BGT London
BGT London

Well it has not been a great couple of weeks for my team Spurs in the Premier League. Yet we have still managed to all but qualify for the Champions League for next season. Despite conceding our first goal and losing our first ever game at our new stadium to West Ham United.

Then getting beaten away at Bournemouth. After having two men sent off. But we move forward. I will be at our final league game at home against Everton tomorrow. To celebrate what has been an interesting and exciting league season.

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottehham Hotspur

I went to my first ever Champions League Semi-Final against Ajax. They beat us one nil on the night in the first leg. We did not play very well for whatever reason.

But it was a great occasion to be at. We all gave it our best. But it did not work out exactly how we wanted. Yet we still gave ourselves some hope for the second leg. With just a one goal deficit to overturn.

Then in the ninety-fifth minute Dele flicked the ball to Lucas Moura. And he completed his hat-trick. Sending me leaping in to the air screaming like a madman with excitement. And Tottenham through to the Champions League Final in Madrid on 1st June.

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottehham Hotspur

What a second leg it was in the end, away in Amsterdam. Trailing two – nil on the night at half time. Not playing particularly well with not much going our way. But then in the second half. We come back to drawing two all. The players gave their all. And it still looked like we might just miss out.

What a match, what a night and what an amazing achievement for a team. That have only signed one player in the last two years. Been without a home for a year and a half. And who have suffered their fair share of injuries during this campaign. Mauricio Ponchettino really is magic you know. So proud of my club.

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottehham Hotspur

I have been back at the BBC again recently. Leaving one evening. I found myself in a position that Alan Partridge had been in. I ended up in a lift with Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis.

If you saw “This Time” with Alan. You will get this reference. For the record she was lovely. I also ended up working with a TV newsreader and several of the reporters on various productions. As ever, it was all good fun.

Neil Quigley and “friend”

It was my sister’s 40th Birthday this week. As well as putting lots of embarrassing pictures of the both of us on social media. I did also get her a present. My mate Leon and I went and saw the Spice Girls turn on the Oxford Street lights in the late nineties. My sister and I went to the first Spice Girls tour at Wembley Arena. We also went to the re-union tour at the 02 Arena together.

Therefore what else could I get her other than some tickets to see the Spice Girls at Wembley Stadium next month. And yes I got two and will be going with her. What can I say? They do always put on a really good show. Girl Power! Plus I had to complete the trilogy. I am going to her birthday party tonight. Which will be good fun. I think it might involve some dancing.

Neil Quigley

I am slowly trying to travel more and see more of the world and Europe. Next week I am off to spend a few days exploring Rome. It will be the first time that I have been to Italy. I am considering trying to set up an audience with the Pope. I think a nice chat could be good for the both of us. Anyway I will let me know how I got on next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Silky Skills

Hello, Happy Easter for last weekend. Are you still wading your way through a mass of chocolate? Or did you just have a massive binge on it last Sunday. I think Easter Sunday is the only day of the year that you can just about justify having chocolate for breakfast. I hope you had a lovely long Bank Holiday, enjoyed the weather and got to catch up with the family.

I actually had a pretty quiet Easter, much like Jesus did really, to be fair. He did not really do much after the Thursday evening. I did go to a family barbecue on Easter Sunday. Which was very enjoyable. And pretty civilised for this sort of affair. It was my first Al Fresco dining of the year. Well in England. In the Caribbean in January I was eating outside pretty much all of the time.

I am still delighted by the fact that my parents still insist on buying me an Easter Egg. Every year I say I am fine. And that they do not need to get me one. Yet every year I am so happy and pleased that they do. It always gets eaten within a day or two. Well my theory is if I leave any chocolate lying around the house. It will only get eaten. So I might as well eat it as soon as possible.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I recently paid my second visit to one of London’s premier comedy pubs. The Bill Murray in Islington. It is part of the Angel Comedy Club. Along with the Camden Head. Which is just down the road. Between them they put on lots of great gigs. Pretty much every night of the week.

A lot of well known comics use it to do work in progress and warm up shows. Where they are trying out new material. As a comedy fan who does some stand up. I do find these shows fascinating. As I like to see their thought process. How they structure the joke. And if I can work out the writing game that they may have used to come up with it.

But mostly I like going to these things, as they are in small rooms and are very funny events. Previously I saw Eddie Izzard there. This trip was to see Russel Howard do some new stuff in preparation for a big arena tour. He is doing later in the year. I have seen him a few times before. Doing a full show in Yeovil and a warm up one at The Phoenix in London. I have been a fan of his for years. I really like his topical television shows to.

Old Rope Comedy
Old Rope Comedy

He had a warm up act with him Steve Hall. Who also writes a lot of his TV shows with him. Steve was also doing new material ready for his Edinburgh Fringe Show in August. From what I saw and heard it will be worth catching if you are up in the Scottish capital during the festival. He then introduced Russell to the stage.

I am not sure if it was something he was trying out for this gig only or if the new show’s content and set up will require it. But it was a little more abrasive and even angrier Russell, in places. Than I had seen previously. Still very funny and clever with his jokes and delivery. It was quite an early gig with people having come straight from work. So maybe as a whole audience we were not possibly as receptive as he was hoping.

It could even have been a challenge from Steve Hall to play the gig that way. Just for a bit of fun. I really enjoyed it and thought he was fantastic. But as I have said earlier it was a different vibe to what I was expecting. Part of the structure is that he is getting older and grumpier, so he may be tapping in to that to set the tone for some of the subjects he is addressing.

Either way by the time this hits those big arenas. I have no doubt it will be a fully formed hilarious show. If you are a fan of comedy. It is worth keeping an eye on the Angel Comedy Club. As they do have some cracking gigs on there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

For the first time this year. I went to see the final of The Musical Comedy Awards. The reason I went was that somebody I knew was in it. And I went along to support them. That man was the brilliant Paul “Silky” White. I first met him when I made my Stand Up debut at the wonderful Tringe Roving Comedy Night. I ended up giving him a lift back to his hotel. He is a lovely bloke and an extremely funny guy.

I have seen him perform several times since. I made sure I went and caught his Edinburgh show. When I was up there last year. He is a comic that does jokes. But he also plays the guitar and does some musical comedy. Hence why he was appearing at this event. After quite rightly storming through the heats to the final.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

It was held at The Bloomsbury Theatre. Which is actually a lovely venue. It was the first time I had been. I was very impressed with the place. Randomly as I was on my way there I bumped into Silky, so got to wish him the best of the luck for his performance. Which was a nice bonus. It was great to see him, albeit very briefly.

When I got inside I met up with the man behind the Tringe Festival Ben Moorhouse at the bar. He was also there to support Silky. He was telling me that the line up is almost finalised for this year’s event and once again it is top quality. There will be some great acts coming to Tring to perform. Plus watch out for the marketing campaign for it which is going to be brilliant. Nice to see him and have a quick catch up.

I actually had front row seats for the show. I had found out that Silky was on first. So I made sure I got to my seat nice and early. So I was ready to laugh, clap and cheer for him. Previous finalists of this event have included Abandoman and Rachel Parris. The host for the night was Nick Horseman. He came on first. And got the crowd hyped and ready for what was ahead.

Bloomsbury Theatre

Silky came on first. He started with a tribute to the comedian Ian Cognito. Who had recently died on stage. While performing at a comedy night in Bicester. He then went into a couple of very funny musical songs. He was getting plenty of laughs. I thought he was, as ever great. It is always tough to go on first in a final. But I thought he did an excellent job.

Then we had The Dragprov Review who tried to improvise a musical. I thought they did alright. But I have been lucky enough to see the Show Stoppers. Who are amazing at doing just that. So for me the bar has been set very high for this type of act. Other performers on the night included Jamie Finn, Huge Davies, Louis Burgess, Matt Hutson, Joe Jacobs and Charlie Patridge.

Apart from Silky, who I know and think is great. The act that I really enjoyed the most were Maris Piper. They are a duo who do topical parody songs of well known records. Their lyrics and subject choices were smart and funny. The punch lines were sometimes obvious but that was mainly down to rhyming. And the famous tunes that they were using being so familiar. They did make me laugh out loud.

The Step Dads came on last. They were very off the wall and quirky. It was all a bit surreal. They were certainly the most different act of the night, in my opinion. My favourite act was Katie Pritchard. She came on as a self proclaimed tour guide. Then performed parody songs explaining some big historical attractions. In a funny, clever and amusing away. Plus she really did put everything in to her performance. She was totally going for it.

While the judging panel made their decisions. We were treated to a performance by the act that had already won the Best Newcomer award Hadfield and Swan. They did a couple of very funny numbers. Again I thought this duo were great and worth keeping an eye out for.

Then the headline act The Brett Domino Trio came on. I have been aware of them for a long time. I have heard them on the radio and seen them on TV. So it was great to witness them live at last. They were brilliant. Everything I expected them to be. Great fun!

After this final performance the winners were announced. In third place were Maris Piper. In second it was the Step Dads and the act that won the title was Katie Pritchard. Who I think on the night did deserve it.

I thought Silky should have been top three. Then again I would think that. A very entertaining night out seeing some funny people doing their thing. I already plan to go again to next years’ finals. Well done to the organisers and everyone who took part.

Neil Quigley doing Stand Up
Neil Quigley doing Stand Up

A very Happy 25th Birthday to Mix 96 for the 15th April. It is my local radio station. And it was an absolute honour to be able to work there in several spells over the years.

I actually ended up doing my work experience from College there for two weeks back during its first twelve months. As a result of that I went along to the station’s first birthday party at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. With all of the presenters. Which was brilliant fun.

Neil Quigley

It was the Mix 96 presenters who suggested that if I was wanting to get into radio. I should get involved with Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. Which I did spending around seven years there. It was doing this that enabled me to get on to Mix 96. Firstly just assisting on the Sports Show.

Before going on to present that and then host Drive Time, Mid Mornings and the Evening Show over the years. I would have presented my first show there in 1998 and my last show was in 2012. Mind you I had a five year break from the Buckinghamshire airwaves. When I was working in Somerset.

Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley
Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley

I have some great memories of being there over the years. Including helping to carry Kim Mazelle to and from the stage at a very muddy Fireworks Night. Being involved with the radio “Big Brother” we did called The Big Lock Up. All the County Show outside broadcasts.

Interviewing Victoria Pendleton. And just the laughs that we would have on and off air. It was a time of my life that I am very proud of. You absolutely cannot beat broadcasting on your home town radio station. There is nothing like it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I hoped it would happen. I knew we could do it. But the way the second leg panned out away against Manchester City was crazy. I have never watched a match like it. I was emotionally drained by the end of it. Shocked and delighted that we had made it through to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League. One minute we were out and then thirty seconds later after VAR stepped in. We were through to face Ajax. Now just two games away from a place in the big final in Madrid.

City got their revenge in the league game the following Saturday. In a one nil win. That I thought we probably just about deserved a draw out of. It means the fight for a top four finish and Champions League qualification for next season is still a bit too close for comfort. But with two out of our final three games at our new home. I think we can do it. And finish the season on a high.

Our situation was also helped by our home win against Brighton on Tuesday. We left it late. The eighty-ninth minute to be precise. The joy and relief around the stadium when Christian Eriksen’s shot hit the back of the next was palpable.

We have now won all four games at the new place and not even conceded a goal yet. Before the game I also had the pleasure of meeting two Spurs Legends in Tony Galvin and Pat Jennings. They were both fantastic.

Neil Quigley and Pat Jennings

I have been back at the BBC recently doing some work there. It is always a fun place to be. You never know who you are going to end up working with or who you could randomly bump in to.

I saw the current host of the Radio One Breakfast show Greg James leaving as I was on my way in to the building the other day. One of the people I work with looks just like him, so at first I thought it was him. And I could not work out why he did not acknowledge me. So Greg, sorry for looking at you a bit weird.

BBC
BBC

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