Tag Archives: music

Stand Up And Dance

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy and good fun. I did take at least one day away from a theatre or a stadium to go Horse Racing with my dad. We went to Warwick Races for an afternoon of jump racing. It was my first time there. It is a lovely and friendly track with a really nice feel to the place.

I did actually randomly bump in to someone else I knew. While I was there. It was his birthday. He is a massive racing fan. And although he lives in Liverpool. He had travelled down for the day. I did have a few celebratory drinks with him. It would have been rude not to. Mind you that was the only thing that we had to toast all day. Neither of us picked any winners. Fun day out in the fresh air, though, so all good.

Warwick Races
Warwick Races

After I got home from the races. I then made a random last minute decision to go and see Jason Manford at The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. I interviewed him probably about twelve years ago now. He was brilliant, very easy and fun to talk to. I actually spoke to him the day before he was going to be on Jonathan Ross’s chat show for the first time. I hope, I proved a useful warm up for that.

Anyway somehow I had never actually managed to see him perform live. I had been hearing really good things about his current Muddle Class tour. So I decided to go along and take a look. He had a warm up act on called The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue. I was aware of this duo but had not seen them before. They were brilliant. Their whole act is set to music and is very clever and very funny. They did their thing. Then there was a short interval before Jason came on.

The main show was fantastic. I like his style. How chilled and relaxed he generally is with the audience. That said though, he will deal with any hecklers in a robust way, if required. His first job was as a glass collector at a comedy club. When he was only sixteen. Therefore he is very experienced. And has seen it all before. It is a very relatable subject for most of the audience. Well it was for me certainly. I am pretty sure that I am Muddle Class.

It is a very funny show. Mostly story telling from things that he has come across in his life. Focusing on relationships with family, friends and the people that we all randomly encounter in life. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can see why it has been getting such great reviews. I also think Jason Manford is a top bloke, nice fella.  Who does not like to spend an evening laughing?

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which is why I was delighted that I managed to get a ticket for the Absolute Radio Comedy Night in aid of Stand Up To Cancer. Which was at the London Palladium. It was a couple of Sundays ago. That theatre has so much history and nostalgia. I love going there. And as referenced by the performers. The ashes of Sir Bruce Forsyth are now interned in the building.

The charity event was hosted by possibly my favourite comedian Frank Skinner. He was brilliant. As he always is. He came out first and did about fifteen minutes. Before he introduced the opening act Chris Ramsey. I had seen him once before about six years ago at the Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury. That was right before his sitcom was  launched. After which he became a more regular face on television.

Absolute Radio Comedy Night
Absolute Radio Comedy Night

Both the times, I have seen him now, he has been excellent. And very funny. As comedians get older, like us all, our life experiences change. Therefore their material alters to fit in more with what is happening in their life. That is particularly noticeable when you have a long gap in seeing a comics live show. A quality set from the cheeky Geordie. Who always makes me feel like I want to be his friend. When I watch him live.

After a bit more from Frank Skinner. Next up it was Nish Kumar. I have seen him record an episode of Newsjack and also at the Old Rope Comedy in London previously. He was as with every time I have seen him, very good.  Clever with topical gags. These sort of gigs, they only do a small part of what would be an hour or so show. Nish’s set was quite ranty at the start. Which I liked and was fine with because it was funny. I fear a few people were missing the joke. And possibly oblivious to the fact that he was doing it a bit for effect.

The next comic on was Glenn Moore. He is part of the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show team. But is an established comedian in his own right. After previously working as a newsreader in commercial radio. He was really good on the night. He does have his own unique style to telling his jokes. I expect to see and hear more from him over the next few years. I do not just mean on the radio reading the sports news.

Closing the first half was the brilliant Rob Beckett. I have been a fan of his for a while. But this was my first chance to get a look at him in the flesh. And he did not disappoint. Really amusing and yet again someone who just feels like a mate telling you a few stories. Which I like in my comedians. He is getting ready for a new tour. Which on this evidence is going to be fantastic.

Absolute Radio Comedy Night
Absolute Radio Comedy Night

We then had a short interval. Before Frank Skinner came back on and got things moving again. By bringing on Matt Forde. Who I really like.  I saw him do a small warm up gig in Berkhampsted once. And I did enjoy his latest full show at the Edinburgh Festival this year. He is best described as a Political comedian. Which means there is lots of material around for him. But because everything keeps changing all the time at the moment. He is constantly re-writing his show.

He was hilarious on the night. What I liked as well. Is that you could tell he was loving it. Having the chance to play to a full house at the London Palladium. Who would not want that opportunity. His jokes were right on the money. And his impressions of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are scarily good. It is like they are the in the room. The only worrying thing is that his Trump says more sensible things that the actual one.

Then it was Jo Caulfield’s turn to take to the stage. She was totally amazing. It was such a wonderfully funny set. I think she had me laughing more regularly than any of the other acts on the night. I would now like to see her full show. Therefore I will be keeping an eye out for when she is next playing in London. Top quality stuff.

The penultimate act was actually the first show I saw when I got to the Edinburgh Festival this year. It was Gary Delaney. He is the master of the one liner. He is just a huge gag machine. There are no stories or anecdotes. Just quick fire jokes. He is great. Clever to, because sometimes the shortest jokes are the toughest to write. I enjoyed his set immensely. There are always a few groaners in there. But I do like the odd one of those.

Closing the show it was Jon Richardson. I like him and think he is really funny. He did an excellent job finishing off the night. With as always, some wonderful stories and observations. It was a lovely evening spent laughing in a beautiful theatre. While raising money for a marvellous cause. What is not to like? Great fun from start to finish.

Absolute Radio Comedy Night
Absolute Radio Comedy Night

The night after that I found myself in another historic London theatre. I was at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. It is such a nice experience there. It is beautifully designed.

The spiral staircases look stunning. Plus there is lots of space. Which is something that cannot be said for all theatres. I was there for the sensational 42nd Street. Which was a show that somehow I had not managed to catch before. I mean, it has only been around since the early eighties.

This version starred the exquisite Bonnie Langford. She was brilliant. As were the whole cast. It is such an all singing and all dancing show. The dance routines are truly a thing of wonder. It is a proper old school big production musical extravaganza.

The story line itself is pretty straight forward and basic. But that does not matter at all. It is more than super seeded by the energy, the colour and the whole spectacle of that many performers dancing around the stage. It of course does contain some classic and well known songs as well.

I am so glad I have now seen it. The choreography for those big group dance numbers was insane. Plus I do admire tap dancing greatly. It looks and sounds amazing. When done properly.

It has several sub plot stories running through it. But I think the main message is to dream big, work hard and be nice to people. Which seems like quite a good motto to have towards life in general to me. Another top night out at the theatre. And finally for the record the Rioja there was very nice.

42nd Street
42nd Street

I was probably one of the last people in the country to see it. But I have made for me what is a rare trip to the cinema to see The Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” I believed that I loosely knew the story of the band and its legendary front man Freddie Mercury. However having seen the film. I now realise that there was quite a bit that I was not aware of.

I thought the casting was perfect. All the main characters looked and as far as I could tell acted exactly like the people there were being. I also liked how the story was told in an intelligent and sympathetic way. An insight was given into what was happening with the viewer left to make the leap and fill in the gaps in their own head. Without it being graphically explained to us.

I felt it showed that like a lot of outstanding performers. He clearly had some issues with being at ease with himself and who he really was. Not helped by some of the people he trusted and invested in. But he was the ultimate showman. If not a little troubled at times during his career.

While watching I developed a new appreciation for John Deakin. He may be my new favourite member of Queen. Even if at one point when having a pop at Roger Taylor, Freddie uses the line “If you were anymore boring you would be Deakin”.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I liked how they pitched it and told the story. You could tell the band, despite their differences clearly all cared for each other. All in all, it just worked out for them.

Add in of course that sensational sound track. Queen did produce a plethora of top quality songs over the years. And they sounded good on the cinema surround sound. Finally I must of course mention the way they recreated the Live Aid scenes. That was all very clever. Looked and sounded excellent. And felt very real. I am glad I went to see it in the end.

School of Rock
School of Rock

Over the last two weeks I have experienced the classic highs and lows of being a football fan. Tottenham beat Chelsea three-one at Wembley. We played brilliantly from the start and honestly could of had six or seven.

A few days later we managed to nick a one nil home win against Inter Milan. To just about keep our hopes alive of going through to the knock out stages of the Champions League. At that point everything was looking rosy. We were all smiling. Confidence was high!

Then last Sunday we were fairly beaten by the better team on the day in the North London Derby against Arsenal. Which is never a game you want to lose. But specially when it means your biggest enemies leapfrog above you in the league. So that was a little bit disappointing to, say the least.

It was frustrating as we played so differently to how we performed only the week before. Then just a few days later we beat Southampton. Climb back up to third in the Premier League ahead of the Gunners. And all is good again. You have got to love football.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

It is my birthday on Monday. Which of course I am very much looking forward to.

I think I am just going to have a quiet day at home and catch up with my family. But these things are always subject to change, so we will see what happens.

General Lee
General Lee

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

Rock and Roll Lessons

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun stuff going on. I have once again spent quite a bit of time at Wembley Stadium. But this time I was not watching Tottenham Hotspur. A friend of mine invited me along to the two recent England friendly internationals. I got to see England face Germany.

Which is always a decent fixture. And one which I have good and bad memories of from over the years. The big disappointment of losing that game in Italy in 1990 on penalties. Then there was the delight and amazement of the five-one win in Munich. When Michael Owen got a great hat-trick and even Emile Heskey got one. That was a great night. Not least because a week or so after it I was at Oktoberfest in Munich for the first time and it gave us the football bragging rights at the time.

England V Brazil
England V Brazil

The most recent game between these two world giants was exciting but goalless. It was end to end stuff but with few clear cut chances. We got to see a lot of young England players making their debuts. Plus we had brilliant seats. As we were sat in the Bobby Moore seats. They are the comfiest seats in the stadium and the view from them is ace. I like to watch games from a position around the half way line, personally.

It was nice to see a Spurs player, Eric Dier captain the team. It was an enjoyable evening catching up with a few people I had not seen for a while. It is always good to get behind the national team, I think. There was a decent sized crowd there. It was good fun and nice to clock up another cap as an England supporter.

I was back at Wembley a few days later sat in exactly the same seat to see England take on the might of Brazil. It is always a colourful occasion when they are in town. Those iconic yellow shirts and blue shorts are unmistakable. It is amazing that generation after generation they just seem to produce exceptionally talented footballers. Who are just so skillful and always great on the ball.

It was good to see Neymar in action and close up. Although this game also finished goalless, you could see in glimpses why he is the most expensive player on the planet. The England back four did very well against him. I will be honest it was not as exciting as the German game but it was still a good night at the home of football. If you cannot enjoy yourself when the Brazilian Samba band are playing. There is something wrong with you.

England v Germany
England v Germany

The England manager Gareth Southgate is being quite positive about the fact that we were not beaten by two of the best teams in the world. How much you can really base future performances on these kind of friendlies, I am not sure. World Cup Final games come with much more pressure and there is a long way to go till the summer. But I am happy to follow his lead. There is no point even turning up if you do not believe you can win it, so why not.

With a bit of luck who knows. And if not remember the final of the 2020 European Finals is being played at Wembley Stadium, so that is a great incentive for that tournament. I will hopefully get to at least one of the World Cup warm up games in the new year. Before we send the squad off to do battle on our behalf in Russia.

England
England

I went to a great music gig a couple of Monday’s ago at Bush Hall in Shepherds Bush. A lovely little venue that has hosted quite a few big acts on their way up the ladder. In the toilets they have old gig posters plastered all over the walls. While I was in there I spotted Lily Allen, Adele, Amy Winehouse and Florence and the Machine to mention just a few. It is a very cool, classic and old fashioned building with a bit of a school hall feel to it. Which I actually think adds to its charm.

I was there to see a new American group called Cactus Blossoms. When we arrived at the venue me and my friend spotted a gentleman at the side of the room who looked scarily like the leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn. I do not think it was him but my mate thought it might be the lookalike they use on the Last Leg. Whoever it was they were just casually dressed and blending in to the background.

Cactus Blossoms
Cactus Blossoms

The support act was an Irish guitar playing singer/songwriter called Louis Brennan. He was very good, played well and had a good voice. His songs are quite mellow and a bit bluesy. But one thing I will say the songs and the lyrics are very specific to him and his life. Which for me will not give them universal appeal, as I would suspect it would be difficult to relate to them. But I am happy to be proved wrong on this, if he does suddenly become a huge success.

Before doing one of the songs he did actually reference Jeremy Corbyn. I will confess at this point I did glance at our suspected look-a-like to see if there was any reaction from him. If only just to acknowledge that he himself was aware of his resemblance to the man in question. But alas nothing.

The main reason we were there the Cactus Blossoms were brilliant. They are a guitar led band with two lead singers who also play guitar. If that reminds you of any famous American groups from yesteryear. Then it should, as they are called the modern day Everly Brothers. A title that is well deserved when you hear them sing the harmonies to their songs. It really does sound amazing.

This is not meant to sound patronising or derogatory but they could easily be the greatest Everly Brothers tribute band ever. That is meant as a compliment. I would love to hear them do their classic songs. Their own songs are good but possibly not good enough for what their musical talents and their voices really deserve. They are really likeable people. It was a nice gig, very enjoyable. They are a band you should check out if you get the chance.

Cactus Blossoms
Cactus Blossoms

I went to see the brilliant School of Rock at the New London Theatre last Monday. It has been a show that I had been meaning to see for a while. As I had heard nothing but good things about it. Unusually for me I had actually seen the film starring Jack Black when it came out. Which bearing in mind I watch an average of two films a year that is quite a coincidence.

This version is based on the film. It is produced by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Who wrote the music for it. Proving that he can write some decent rock style songs. But on reflection I guess there was evidence of that from his first ever show Joseph. There is an announcement from the good Lord himself just before the show starts basically confirming that all the children are playing their own instruments during the performance.

School of Rock
School of Rock

From my memory it is fairly true to the film and the story line and situations are similar. As you would of course expect. It is a clever and uplifting experience highlighting the importance of emotional development and family life versus the need to be educated and learn as much as you can.

It is a classic when two worlds collide and both help each other out kind of scenario. Firstly the adult cast are great, they all do a top quality job and as you would expect from a West End musical the singing and dancing is as ever sensational. They really drive the show forward.

School of Rock
School of Rock

The stars of the show of course are the children. They were all amazing and so talented. The acting, singing and dancing was spot on. Then you come to the members of the cast who actually make up the band.

Those kids are super talented. The girl on the drums is just amazing, the bass playing girl is perfect, the lad on the keyboards was so good he could give Vince Clarke a run for his money. Then there is the boy who plays lead guitar. He is ridiculously good. I would guess they are all somewhere between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

School of Rock
School of Rock

Like all West End Musicals there is a band. Who you can see above the stage to the right. As sometimes there are songs when the kids do not have instruments. But I really cannot stress how good these kids are. They are so good that despite the announcement at the start you do wonder are they really playing. Then when they perform at the end the Orchestra are all standing up watching the kids play and clapping along.

They are all amazing. It is such a good fun show and well worth seeing. It could actually be launching the careers of several up and coming rock stars in real life for all we know. Another nice touch is that during the encore they say you can at this point take some photos as long as you tag the show in on social media. Which sounds like a fair deal to me. Brilliant fun and another triumph for the king of musicals Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber.

School of Rock
School of Rock

I was lucky enough to be able to go and see Harry Hill do a work in progress gig at the Soho Theatre in London. It is a great comedy venue with a really nice bar there to use before and after you watch the show you are there to see. It is the sort of place where a lot of comics catch up with each other in the bar or watch their peers new shows. So it is a good place to potentially bump in to your favourites.

Harry Hill was brilliant. He is well known of course for hosting television shows but he is a great live performer and joke teller. He does a lot of clever one liners and as you would expect there is plenty of silliness throughout it all. It was a top night seeing a great comedian in a small room trying out some great new material. I expect him to do a full tour on the back on these gigs probably in the second half of next year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here is back on television for this year. I always say it, Ant and Dec for me are the best TV presenters we currently have. So great to see them back together where they belong. They dealt nicely with Ant’s enforced summer break. That is why we like them because as an audience we are always in on the joke.

I am looking forward to seeing how Shappi Khorsandi gets on in the show. I interviewed her a few years ago and she was lovely. I know we are only in the very early stages of this series but I would like her to win it. Here is a bit of the conversation I had with her around five years ago.
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/shappi-khorsandi-interview/id1236437663?i=1000394847020&mt=2

Neil Quigley

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

Music Be The Food of Life

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been busy with lots of fun things going on. I had dinner at a very good mate of mine’s house recently. This guy was actually my very first landlord. As I moved in as his lodger. In the very first house he bought. I was good friends with him before this arrangement. That was not how we met, by the way.

As it happened, he actually received the keys for the place. Just before he went away on holiday with his then girlfriend. So I moved in and started living there. Two weeks before he finally got to move into his own place. He had already selected which bedroom was his, mind you. I decision which I respected.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Anyway I had not seen him for a while. So he invited me round to see him, his wife and their children. For a general catch up and some food. It was a lovely evening. Just having a few drinks. Enjoying the sunny weather in his garden. Chatting and laughing like friends who have known each other for a long time do. Then after they had put the children to bed, we ate. I thought it was genius what they did for the meal. It was certainly something that I had never done before.

They had one of these special cooking stones. Which you heat up in the oven at a very high temperature for an hour. So it absorbs the heat. Then when it is at the correct temperature. You carefully bring it out and put it on its own special stand. Which has two little gas burners under it. So it maintains some of its heat. Laid out on the table were small bits of steak, escalopes, chorizo slices, halloumi and some tuna.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which you then just cook up yourself using the aforementioned stone. Which is placed right in the middle of the table. So everybody can reach it. You can then cook everything to your own taste. Exactly how you like it. Have the combination of food that you fancy. It is so sociable as well.  As there are natural pauses when you are cooking on the stone. There is lots of time for good quality conversations. During what is a leisurely and enjoyable dining experience.

It was the first time I had tried it. And I would definitely do it again. It was a fantastic evening. I must say that I was very impressed with my own stone cooking skills. As the food tasted great. Compliments to the chef.

A few Sunday’s ago now I headed over to a pub in Surrey. To help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of one of my Dad’s cousin’s and his partner. They are a very musical couple. And they are really in to the folk music scene. So as part of the afternoon. They organised for some friends of theirs to come and play live in the beer garden. They set up a little acoustic stage in one corner. And the acts took turns to get up there and play a few songs.

Live Music
Live Music

They were all great. Martin and Sara, the hosts of the party also play guitars and perform to. So they got up on the stage and did a few numbers. That was the first time I had seen them play.

Now I appreciate I am family. So I might be slightly biased. But I thought they were absolutely incredible. The guitar playing and the vocals were spot on. So it was an afternoon of great music performed by really friendly and nice people. Who could want more?

Live Music
Live Music

I was not driving. So I thought I would treat myself to a couple of drinks. I was delighted to find that the pub did a particular lager. That you rarely see nowadays. The German beer Lowenbrau was on tap. It has been years since I have seen it any where. But I love the taste of it and it brings back lots of great memories for me. I have been lucky enough to go to Oktoberfest in Munich twice. It is a fantastic event. Bigger than you can imagine. With over fifteen Bierkellers. Each of which can hold around four thousand people.

The camp site I stayed at both times I went actually had Lowenbrau available in their on site drink dispensers. Plus my favourite Bierkeller was the Lowenbrau tent. I had a great time in there. Having a few steins and dancing on the tables. While singing along at the top of my voice to the Oompah band. If you ever get the chance I would recommend you go along and experience it for yourself. The atmosphere there is just brilliant. Great fun!

So I think what I am saying is. Basically I enjoyed finding the drink in the pub. And I enjoyed drinking it sitting out in the sun. While watching some great live music. A lovely Sunday afternoon, whichever way you look at it. Thanks to Martin and Sara for the invitation. I look forward to seeing you perform again in the future.

Live Music
Live Music

I had a great evening at the Savoy Theatre in London seeing Funny Girl. Unfortunately I did not see Sheridan Smith perform in the lead role. As I was hoping to previously. So I saw the show but not her.

Not her fault, mine completely. I did not realise that she does not do the Monday performance. So she was never actually due to be there. That was a bit of a shame. Only because I really wanted to see her perform live. As I am a big fan.

Funny Girl
Funny Girl

The show though was fantastic. Natasha J Barnes was sensational in the lead role of Fanny Brice. The part played by Barbara Streisand, no less. In the film version from the sixties. She was excellent, the accent, the comedy and her singing voice were all exceptional. She was really good and thoroughly deserved the ovation that she received at the end.

Also in the cast and playing the leading man Nick Arnstein brilliantly is the charismatic Darius Campbell. Now we all remember the first time we saw him on television on Pop Stars doing his own unique version of Britney Spears’s “Baby One More Time”. Since then he has gone through several style changes. Had a few big hits as a solo singer And now has reinvented himself as a decent West End performer.

He was great in this role, totally assured and in command of everything. Top marks to the whole cast. It was another really enjoyable musical outing. And you never know. I still might go and see it again. To see if I can catch Sheridan Smith in it before the run ends.

Funny Girl
Funny Girl

For a very long time my mum has wanted to go on a river boat cruise down the Thames in London. The other Thursday I finally managed to make this wish a reality for her. I organised for us to go on an Afternoon Tea Cruise with Bateaux London.

They are a tour company who operate from the pier at the Embankment. We had to arrive fifteen minutes before our designated boarding time and wait in a lounge area. For the Captain of the ship to give us the green light to go on board.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

Once on the boat we were then shown to our table by one of the staff members. I had booked us a window seat. So we could make sure that we got to take in all the sights as we sailed past. Then next an extra little surprise arrived. I had ordered us both a glass of champagne on arrival.

Well I figured if it is worth doing, it is worth doing properly. It set the afternoon off lovely. It felt great sipping on the champers as the boat set off on its journey. It is the closest I will ever get to feeling like Richard Branson.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

There was also an on board pianist. Who played all through out the cruise. That gave the whole thing a little bit of class. And made for a very enjoyable atmosphere for the journey and the sight seeing. We were on a boat called the Harmony.

We set off down the Thames to take a look at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament first of all. We then turned round there and headed back up the river. Heading past the South Bank and a few places I know well like the ITV Studios.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

We then passed by HMS Belfast. Which is a very impressive sight. Got a great view of the Shard and the London skyline in general. Then we caught a glimpse of the wonderful Globe Theatre. Which by the way is well worth a visit if you get the chance. I have been on the tour there. But I really want to go and see a Shakespeare play performed there at some point.

Now as a massive Tea fan. An Afternoon Tea cruise is of course perfect for me. So I have already enjoyed a few cups of the best drink in the world. When they bring the food part of the experience out.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

Firstly the sandwiches. Which were a selection of Ham & Mustard, Cheese & Cucumber and Salmon & Cream Cheese. They all tasted great. And were cut perfectly with no crusts. Then we got a huge Scone each. With plenty of clotted cream and jam to go with it.

I had not had one for such a long time. I had forgotten just how amazing they taste. Then to top it all off we had a great selection of mini cakes. All of which were then washed down with yet more cups of tea.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

All this is happening while we are heading up to Canary Wharf. And then turning around again there to head back past land marks such as the Tower of London and the Gherkin. Plus we passed underneath Tower Bridge and London Bridge for the second time. As we made our way back to the pier. That was our starting point.

It was a really enjoyable hour and an half. All the staff were lovely and helpful. The food and beverages were fantastic. It all just worked so well. With the piano music as a nice back drop the our great capital city. It was a brilliantly relaxing afternoon. Just a nice way to see London.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

So Celebrity Big Brother has returned to Channel 5 for the second time this year. I have to confess I did watch the launch show. To see who was going in to the house. And to see if I had actually heard of any of them. Most of them I had no idea who they were. But I can’t say I warmed to any of them. From what they were saying about themselves. The only ones that I recognised were Ricky Norwood, James Whale, Samantha Fox and Christopher Biggins.

I met Christopher Biggins when he came in for an interview on my radio show. When I was working at Ivel Fm in Yeovil. He was on a tour promoting his autobiography. It was not long after that he had been crowned king of the jungle and won his series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He was a nice bloke.  Easy to chat to and happy to answer any question on any subject you liked. With plenty of humour thrown in for good measure.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

He gave me a signed copy of his book. Which is a fascinating read. He has had a very wide and interesting career. He has been in so many huge shows and pretty much worked with everyone in the business at some point or another.

So I have to confess I am very surprised at what happened to him in the house. Which led to his early departure from the show.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am very much looking forward to going up to Liverpoool next weekend. To see my mate Jeff Nolan. And also to see Tottenham Hotspur’s first game of this season at Goodison Park against Everton. We had a great go at it last time.

So I am full of hope of optimism for the the year ahead. Be good to see the team in action. And it is always a great stadium and great place to visit.

Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan

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

Task in Hand

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy as ever, with lots of fun things going on. Well for starters the episode of Task Master. That I went to watch being filmed was shown on Dave. It was the one that included them making their own videos for nursery rhymes. Which were mostly terrifying, I thought.

Now the eagle eyed amongst you. May have caught a quick glimpse of me on a couple of occasions. As they were going in to and out of the tasks on the big screen. It was a great evening. And the finished show was equally very funny.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

The latest episode of Task Master. Which was on last Tuesday night featured the Mayor of Chesham in one of the task’s. Alex Horne who actually came up with the idea for the show and co-presents it with Greg Davies, lives near there.

So I guess he must of thought it would be nice to get the town and county on the show. And put Buckinghamshire on the map. So the task they devised was simply to entertain the Mayor Peter Hudson in his chambers.

It was interesting to see the different ways that the contestants on the show went about this. My favourite was Joe Wilkinson. Who simply went to the local shop and came back with forty-two Calypso Ice Lolly’s and six cans of strong lager. To give to the Mayor.

Although a special mention deserves to go to Richard Osman. Who wrote a special poem about the Mayor and town. Which he read to him while juggling. Personally I think this performance should mean that they make him the next Poet Laureate for Buckinghamshire.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was talking about the show on Twitter, while I was watching it. And this led to a very quick online conversation with the man of the moment himself. None other than the Mayor of Chesham, Councillor Peter Hudson. Basically he said he had a lovely time recording it. And that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

He also said that each comedian actually spent thirty minutes with him doing their bits. He said they were all great people. I thought he was brilliant on it. And did an excellent job. I am very jealous that he got to spend half an hour with all those people, specially Kathryn Ryan.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I did watch a little bit of the Glastonbury Festival coverage on the BBC. I have been to it a couple of times myself. Once for the whole weekend. Which was an amazing experience. And the second time I just went for the Sunday afternoon.

Both times I had a back stage pass. So it was good for celebrity spotting and getting around the site easier. I am not a great fan of camping. But I would really like to go to the Festival again in the future. That is the only place. That could possibly get me back in a tent.

Neil Quigley at Glastonbury
Neil Quigley at Glastonbury

Although the camping there was not massive fun. The great acts, good times and memories created out weighed all of that. That is the part that makes me want to get involved with it again. It is crazy how a dairy farm in Pilton is totally transformed in to a temporary home. For one hundred and eighty thousand people and the who’s who of the music industry. But anyway I wasn’t there this year but I did watch a few of the performances on television.

The first one I caught was Madness on the Saturday afternoon. They were performing at an American Football game. That I was working at last year at Wembley Stadium. So I got to hear them sound checking with just a small handful of people. Which was brilliant. They sounded great. And they really do have that unique sound. So you instantly know it is them.

I thought they did a great job at Glastonbury. Suggs was in his element messing about on stage in front of that many people. And as any band should at a Festival. They banged out all the big hits. Top work from a top band. A couple of year’s ago and went and saw Suggs’s one man show at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. That was also a really funny and very entertaining night.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The next performance I saw was from the Saturday night headliner Adele. I know many people felt that she was an odd choice to close the first day of the weekend. But she is an exceptionally talented and very popular singer. Who has won many many awards. She is renowned for putting on great live shows. She is a massive Glastonbury fan. Who has been going there since she was a young girl.

And lastly she is a Tottenham Hotspur fan. All of those things meant that she was an obvious and excellent choice for this slot. As far as I am concerned.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I thought that she was absolutely brilliant. For starters that singing voice of her’s is just sensational. She has a real presence, warmth, and connection with the audience. When she is on stage. Plus that back catalogue of songs. That she already has, is phenomenal. She is seemingly so down to earth to.

Her interaction with the crowd is just so relaxed. Not least her language. I think it is fair to say she swears a bit. In fact I think she may swear more on stage. Than any other artist I have ever seen. She got several people up from the crowd to have photos taken with her. She went down and chatted to the fans in between songs. She was so chilled and very happy to pose for photographs and selfies!

What I think I am saying is that I might be a little bit in love with her. I bet she is great fun on a night out. Not to mention a bit useful to have around for some Karaoke. The way she talks to the audience and then launches in to great songs.

She is a bit like a one women modern day version of the Rat Pack. I thought it was brilliant how she ended her performance. By finishing her last song, saying “see you later” as she picked up the pint of cider she was drinking and slowly headed of stage. Genius. Great gig by a super talented and lovely person.

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

It has become a tradition to have a “legends” act on the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday Afternoon. The two times that I was there. This slot was filled by Shirley Bassey and Neil Diamond. Shirley came on stage in an evening gown and diamond covered wellingtons and belted out all her biggest hits.

And the American came on in normal stage attire and played all his biggest songs. As you can imagine “Sweet Caroline” was quite the sing-a-long that day. This year it was Jeff Lynne’s ELO who were playing. He is another cool cat who is pretty chilled and relaxed on stage between the songs it is fair to say.

As you would expect from a man of his calibre. There was nothing missing from his set at all. All the big hits brilliantly delivered. I think my favourite bit was when he played Mr Blue Sky. The whole of Glastonbury was singing and dancing along in the pouring rain. Which kind of sums up the festival for me. It is all about forgetting what is happening around you and just losing yourself in the music and in the moment. Then the last thing I saw was Coldplay, closing the whole thing.

Neil Quigley with The Beatles
Neil Quigley

I thought they put on a fantastic show. And you could tell that they were in the middle of a big stadium tour. By how slick and good their performance was. It sounded and looked great watching at home on the television. I like the way they got their kids on stage for one of the songs. Nice to share the amazing experience of playing to such a big crowd with the family. And it will certainly give them all something to remember.

The interaction with the organiser Michael Eavis was something different. Plus as I was watching I was saying that unusually there were not any real surprise guests this time. When they suddenly brought out Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees. To do a few songs with them.

And then just when you thought things could not get any weirder. They decide to bring out Michael Eavis to sing My Way. I have not seen any official announcement. But when that happened I was thinking that was his sign off from being the man in charge. And that the baton would now very much be passed to his daughter Emily. She has been getting more and more involved with things every year. So that would make sense. I enjoyed my little slice of Glastonbury. And who knows I may even find myself up to my knees in mud. While enjoying live music in a field in Somerset for the festival next year.

Neil Quigley at Hard Rock Calling
Neil Quigley at Hard Rock Calling

The less said about England’s exit from the Euro 2016 Football Championships the better I think. Let me just say that the performance against Iceland was disappointing, to say the least. Unfortunately none of the players involved in that game came out with any credit. We got what we deserved from the game.

Sad to see Roy Hodgson depart as England Manager. I have met him and I do really like him. But I think he has taken the team as far as he can. Trouble is there is no obvious replacement. But on wards and up wards. Let us look to the future and not to the past.

England
England

Well done to Wales for making it to the Semi-finals of their first tournament since nineteen fifty-eight. After England went out everyone was trying to find something that made them Welsh, so they still had a team to support.

The best I could do is the fact that I once spent a week on a caravan holiday in Tenby with my cousin. Which I believe qualified me to be Welsh for ninety minutes. To support them against Portugal. Sadly it did not happen for them on the night. But they can all be proud of what they achieved. Together we are stronger is possibly a mantra, we could all use currently.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Sunday it was the final day of this year’s Henley Royal Regatta. I have worked at a couple and had a great time there last year. So I went along to catch up with my mate and former Regatta Radio colleague George Thomas.

After stopping off at a well known supermarket to get some food we then headed down to the Thames to catch some of the action. Last year I watched some of the racing from the river. This year we found a nice spot on the river bank to eat our food and watch the competitors go by.

Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Royal Regatta

While we were there I got to witness the great Mahe Drysdale the current Olympic Champion fly past me. We then had a walk to the start of the course to have a look round. And while I was there. As I am always one to support local business’s. I did treat myself to a nice pint of beer from the Rebellion Brewery.  Who are based in Marlow. It is fair to say I am a big fan of their work. I had a lovely afternoon.

There is something so very English about the Regatta. The atmosphere is great. It is all good fun. And I am already planning to go there for a bit longer next time.

Henley Regatta Mahe Drysdale
Henley Regatta Mahe Drysdale

Last night I went to the ITV London Studios on the South Bank to see an episode of Mr & Mrs being recorded. It is always great seeing the master Mr Phillip Schofield in action in a studio. He is just so good and so consistent. Despite the madness going on around him. He rarely makes any mistakes or has to do anything again. One take wonder. He is a legend. Although he did get the giggles at one point.

The couples on the show were, Emmerdale’s Adam Thomas and his wife Claire. From Strictly Come Dancing Kevin and Karen Clifton. Dad’s Army and Eastenders star Ian Lavender and his wife Michelle. It was a fun night. All the pairs were very entertaining. And all revealed way too much about their  personal and home lives.

ITV Studios London
ITV Studios London

My favourite couple were Kevin and Karen. as I am a big fan of the show they appear on. They do seem perfectly suited. They are both a little bit crazy. But in a fun and a safe way.

Some of the expressions Karen pulled were amazing. Not sure when the series will be shown. But I suspect it will be some time in September. Keep an eye out for it. It is well worth a watch.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Flash Bang Wallop

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been quite busy with a few fun things going on. Last time we spoke. I was telling you about the brilliant St Patrick’s Day I spent in Waxy O’Connor’s in London. Well it actually got even better a few days later.

On the day I was putting a few photos up of me enjoying myself at the pub on my Twitter page and of course was tagging the venue in to. So I was both surprised and delighted to receive a tweet from my favourite Irish drinking establishment in the Capital. Telling me that I had won a special goody bag in their St Patrick’s Day competition.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

I will be totally honest with you. I had no idea I had actually entered a competition or that they were even running one. It was only when I looked back through their Twitter. That I discovered they were encouraging people to send them pictures of the day. For the chance to grab a prize pack. They were really nice people to deal with. They are a really great team in there. It was agreed that I would go in and collect my prize from them the Saturday after the big day itself.

It was not until I walked in to the place at the arranged time. That I realised Ireland were playing Scotland in the Six Nations Rugby. So needless to say it was totally packed. I treated myself to a Guinness and made my way to the main bar to speak to Caitlin and Sean, the management team. When I found them. They were fantastic. Despite the bar being absolutely heaving with people. They still went and got the goods and gave them to me straight away. Firstly of course pausing for a quick photograph to mark this great moment.

Waxy O'Connor's
Waxy O’Connor’s

The goody bag contained a bottle of Jameson Whiskey with some branded metal measures and tumblers. A Guinness hat, and some comedy shamrock green sun glasses. Plus my favourite part. Two of the Waxy O’Connor rugby shirts that the staff wear. One in black and the other in green. Now I have secretly wanted one of these for years.

And I now own a couple of them. It is great to have some cool mementos from my favourite London Pub. I am thinking of may be wearing one of the shirts next time I go there. Then just quickly hopping behind their bar. Pretending that I am a member of staff and pouring myself a nice pint of the black stuff.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have since found out that Shane Lynch from Boyzone was also in there on the day to. I did not see him on St Patrick’s Day but I have met him before. Many years ago I helped host a live music event in Great Missenden with Richard Carr. I think that may have been the one and only time we worked together on stage as a double act. It was after Shane had left Boyzone the first time round. He was performing with a band called Redhill. I got to meet him and have a quick chat with him just before the gig. He was lovely, friendly and very relaxed.

The only other things I remember about this event are. It was staged managed by the same man who had been doing that same job for Steps last tour. And the other presenter working with us was from the ITV Children’s show Diggit. All I can remember is that she was female but I can’t remember her name. It was a good fun evening though. To be fair any time when I have a microphone in my hand and I am on a stage. That is always good evening.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The other weekend my former boss from when I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil, Steve Carpenter. Was up from deepest darkest Somerset to do a DJ set at a very high class event at the Hilton Park Lane in London. So I went along there to see him for a nice chat and a bit of a catch up. Before he was required to entertain the invited guests. It was all very showbiz, as you would imagine. First we grabbed a nice cup of tea in the performers green room area with the band and dancers. Who were also on the bill.

There were plenty of feathers and sparkle around backstage, mostly supplied by the dancers. We then nipped down to the Traders Bar at the hotel for a quick drink before showtime. It was brilliant to see him. It was nice to reminisce about old times and talk about the future and upcoming plans. I did have lots of fun and memorable moments, while I was working in the West Country. Then he headed off to do his thing behind the decks and I headed off home.

Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil
Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil

While I was there before the guests arrived I managed to have a quick look in the room and hear the sound check. It all sounded and looked great. He has performed all other the world and is a class act.

I remember once Steve and I headlined a big gig in a field in Yeovil. After a fun disco concert night with live performances from Odyssey, The Real Thing and Gwen Dickey. Not a bad little show line up to close in front of thousands of people. Another brilliant night, just messing about and having fun on stage!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I mentioned previously about my friend’s series of Radio Plays called The Andy Holmes Angle. There are six in total and I feature in two of them. The first of which was released a few weeks ago. And the second one this week. I have quite a big part in the previous story. But in this latest one I have a little cameo role. Playing a radio presenter, ironically. So therefore hopefully not testing my acting ability too much.

The latest episode is called “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Which weirdly and I promise you this is totally true. Used to be my mobile phone ring tone for many years. If you would like to listen to it and see if you can spot my very brief appearance as a guest star. Here is the link to it. Just click on it to play it. Video Killed The Radio Star

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am not going to lie I am still very excited about the end of the football season. I can’t see Leicester City slipping up currently. They look like they have just forgotten how to lose. But with Tottenham Hotspur in second anything could still happen. So I might still see my team win the league for the first time in my lifetime. Which would be pretty cool, to say the least.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was also nice to see the Spurs players helping England to beat Germany in Berlin. I know it was only a friendly, still a win is a win. And personally I enjoyed seeing my team’s stars shining for the National team.

I am even starting to dream of potential Euro 2016 success. What is that famous quote about the England Team? Oh yes that is it. “It is the hope that kills you”. Then we went and lost to Holland at Wembley a few days later of course. So point proven there. I guess!

England
England

I had a nice and relaxing Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. I just watched the England game on television on the Saturday. Then I had a nice family roast dinner with my parents on the Sunday. Here is the really impressive bit then. I only had one Easter Egg. It was an Orange Matchmaker one and I have to say it tasted amazing. I even managed to avoid having any hot cross buns to.

As Easter breaks go it was a relatively healthy one for a change. It was an hour shorter this year. As the clocks went forward in the early hours of last Sunday morning. I hope you remembered and were not late for any appointments or for work as a result of these changes. The best thing about being tired due to a lack of sleep from the lost hour. Is that it does mean the evening’s will be staying lighter later. Which is always a bonus I think. More day to work with.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So today it is the last in the current series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. When they will be doing the whole show live from a cruise ship in Barcelona full of competition winners. I mean what can possibly go wrong.

I think it has once again been a great run. As the programme is so popular and entertaining. It is getting harder for them to come up with new fun stuff that has not already been done before. And like all productions of course some things work better than others.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

But it never fails to make me laugh out loud. With the two Geordie’s the perfect ringmasters at the centre of the circus. I really enjoyed being there in the audience for show three. It was interesting to see behind the scenes. Seeing what it is like in the studio. As opposed to what you see when you are sat at home watching.

The atmosphere there is brilliant. The audience are kind of the heartbeat of the show. That the two presenters and the guests all feed off. And the eagle eyed people amongst you will also know that it did give me a little bit of Saturday night prime time screen time. Including a few shots of me dancing to Little Mix’s Black Magic.

Saturday Night Takeaway
Saturday Night Takeaway

Next week sees the return of Britain’s Got Talent to Saturday night’s for the auditions stage. Which does mean we will still get our weekend fix of Ant & Dec. I went and saw one of the London recordings.

Brace yourself then for the normal selection of terrible acts and amazing performers. Plus those random and unbelievable moments when the judges put someone through seemingly just for a laugh. Or possibly because they can see something that I am pretty sure that the rest of the country will not be able to see.

BGT London
BGT London

It is good fun entertainment. So just remember none of the performers are there against their will. Some of them will already know they are awful but are doing it for a laugh or just to get on television.

Stick with it and remember normally for the final they will find at least five really good acts. That all said, I think I did see at least two or three acts at my audition alone. That I would expect to see in the last show. And who could actually win it.

BGT London
BGT London

Tomorrow I am going to the NEC in Birmingham for the Gadget Show Live. I have never been before, so I do not really fully know what to expect. I imagine that there will be lots of stands with some amazing new bits of as yet unreleased top technology on. Hopefully that I can test and try out for myself. I have never been someone who is at the forefront of new gadgets and technology.

I even resisted getting a mobile phone for ages at first. And I was one of the last of my mates to get one. I do not own a tablet of any kind. And I would rather read old school paper books than use a new electrical device for them. But who knows I could well find a new passion for flash new tools after a couple of hours wandering around, trying the goods and talking to the makers. I will let you know how it was and what life changing items I purchased while I was there. In the next instalment on here.

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

I am very excited to be heading up to Liverpool next weekend. For the Aintree Grand National Horse Racing meeting. This will be the third time that I have been there for the event. It is brilliant, the atmosphere is top quality and everyone dresses up and makes a real effort. So needless to say my best suit has already been dry cleaned and is ready for action.

Our big day at the races tends to be Ladies Day. Which is on the Friday. This is the day I will actually be at Aintree. It is a quality day from the start to the finish. And it is fair to say the whole of Liverpool is rocking once the days racing is over.

My mate lives near the course. And when I see him during non Grand National times. We always have a drive down the famous Melling Road. The one that the famous National course crosses over. It will be a lively and exciting three days. That is for sure. Last year I had the National winner in a sweepstake. I am hoping to repeat this feat once again this time round. Fingers crossed.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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