Tag Archives: St Patricks Day

Ooh La La

Hi there, how are you? Another two weeks have passed by in a flash. And I think it is fair to say that once again I managed to keep myself fairly busy. St Patrick’s Day this year fell on a Sunday. Not only have I been to Dublin four times. But my Granddad was born in Ireland and I have an Irish surname. Which as far as I am concerned means that I am fully qualified to celebrate this special day. And join in with all the fun.

My preferred choice to spend at least some of every March 17th is at my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connors. As you may have deducted from its name. It is an Irish Pub. Therefore you will not be surprised to learn that it gets very busy on the Patron Saint’s Day. I managed to get there around one in the afternoon. Much later than that and the queue to get in goes right around the block. You can’t buy experience!

St Patrick’s Day

I have said this before many times. But personally I believe they do serve the best pint of Guinness in London. I had to have six of them just to make sure that this assumption was totally correct. I am very thorough when I am carrying out consumer tests. They have great music on the whole time. The place is packed and the atmosphere is fantastic. Everyone is so friendly and just up for a good time. Certain songs suddenly get the whole pub singing along together.

The best bit for me is that they always have a traditional Irish Band in there playing during the evening. Including a Banjo, a Fiddle and a female singer with red hair. I mean how much more authentic could it be. They do all the classics. Which again sees the whole venue join together to sing them. It is always a brilliant day out. I already plan to do the same thing for St Patrick’s Day next year. You cannot beat it.

St Patrick’s Day

The day before the celebration day of my surname. I was at a dinner at my mates house. To celebrate his birthday. He is from Wales and a rugby fan. It was on the final Saturday of the Six Nations. Therefore I got to his place in time to watch the game with him and his girlfriend. Who is also Welsh. Needless to say they were both delighted with the result. And the Six Nations win.

Even though it was his birthday. My friend was cooking the meal. It was his choice. He enjoys cooking and is really good at it. He made an amazing Beef Stew with triple roasted potatoes and a selection of steamed vegetables. It tasted brilliant. I even went back for seconds. I found out later that it included some Old Speckled Hen. Which may or may not explain, why I liked it so much.

He had a small group of his friends there. We just spent the evening chatting and having a few drinks. It was very civilised. As always tends to happen. I found out some of them shared mutual friends with me. It really is a small world. And I am actually starting to think that everyone does know everyone. It was a lovely day with decent food and quality conversation.

A few Tuesday’s ago I took my very first trip to Paris. I have decided that I want to do some more travelling. And visit more places across Europe and the World. A couple of years ago. I went to Barcelona. Which I really enjoyed. The French adventure came about when I was told of a good offer from Eurostar. They had a bit of a sale on. So I manged to get a reasonable price on a return trip to the Capital of France.

It was the first time that I had used the service. It did feel a little bit weird going through customs and security at a train station. Then you end up in the waiting room. Which is a cross between a train waiting room and an airport lounge. It is also a bit like flying. In that they ask that you are there at least an hour before the departure time. You have your own designated seat. Which to be fair are, I thought, pretty comfortable.

The journey down to the English coast seems to go quite quickly. And what I did not realise is you are only in the actual tunnel that goes under The Chanel for about thirty minutes. The longest bit is the ride through France to Paris. One of the first things I noticed, as we approached the station was that they had Double Decker trains.
That nearly blew my mind. You arrive at Paris Gare Du Nord Station.

My next mission was to work out their Metro system. To get to my hotel. I had already checked out what stations I needed to aim for. But I was struggling to find where the entrance to the right lines were at the station. I then found a planner app on my phone. Which gave me idiot proof instructions. How did we manage to do anything before mobiles? I found the hotel, which was opposite the place that I was going to that evening.

Paris

I checked into the hotel. Then went for a little walk. I know this is so cliched. But I was surprised how many people were sitting outside Cafe’s drinking red wine and smoking. Plus there were lots of folks walking around carrying Baguettes. I had to visit a cafe. I could not see any tea on the menu. So I played it safe. And I ordered a water with a hot chocolate. It was really relaxing in there. It felt good.

I then went on the hunt for food. I found the most traditional looking French restaurant that I could. I am very much for embracing culture and trying new things. I had a glass of red wine of course. But for my starter I decided to experience Snails. I must say they were very nice. Not at all chewy, as I feared. I could not say what they tasted like but they did come in lots of garlic butter. I would be perfectly happy to eat them again.

For my main I played it safe with Duck and Potatoes. Which did of course come with two massive clothes of garlic in it. And I may also have had a second glass of the Bordeaux. I then had to hop back to the hotel. To get showered and in to my suit. Ready for the evening entertainment. I am a huge fan of live performances and big shows. Therefore with only one night to spend in Paris. Where else could I go other than the world famous Moulin Rouge.

Moulin Rouge

The landmark Windmill and those bright neon lights mean that the place stands out. I had bought the ticket online in advance. You walk in. They show you to the cloak room to leave your coat. Then you get taken to your seat. I got very lucky as my seat was right by the stage. I had booked a champagne package. Because I am classy like that. That meant the waiter then delivered half a bottle of bubbly in a ice bucket. For me to enjoy during the show.

I arrived about twenty minutes before the show started. There was a lady from China sitting opposite me. I do not speak any Chinese and she did not speak any English. However she had a translation app on her phone. So we did manage to have a brief conversation. Before it got under way. When we arrived there was already a band with two singers on stage performing. They finished about ten minutes before the main show time.

Moulin Rouge

Then it was time for the actual Moulin Rouge Show. Right from the very start it grabs you. It is a non stop ninety minute extravaganza. The dancers are amazing. All stunning and all ridiculously talented. Some of them also sing. The costumes are sensational. There are lots of different themed sections. Including of course the traditional Can Can routine. Which was one of the things it was famous for from its launch.

The sets are magnificent. The whole thing is such an amazing sight. You cannot take your eyes off it. But there is so much going on. It is sometimes difficult to know where to look. Aside from the dancing. There are also circus acts including a juggler, acrobat, swimmer and a roller skating duo. You just sit there in this amazing venue, sipping Champagne and being blown away by the performers. Oh yeah and it is a topless review show. Which is more of a nod to the venues past than its current.

I am so pleased I went to see it. For me that has to be one of the slickest and best staged shows. That I think I have ever seen. The time flies by. When it ends. They do want you to leave quite quickly. As there is another show straight after. They do three shows a day there. Which in itself is staggering. If you visit Paris in my opinion you need to see this.

Next door to the Moulin Rouge believe it or not there was an Irish bar. I went in there straight after the show for a drink. I tried the 1664 Blanc for the first time ever. It was really nice. So nice in fact that I ended up having a second pint of it. While I watched the duo performing in there. They were singing covers from British and also American artists. They were pretty good to be honest. After I had finished my second pint. I decided to call it a night and headed back over the road to my hotel.

I got up fairly early the next morning to try and get a bit of sight seeing in. Before I had to catch my train home. I literally only had a few hours. I thought I would head straight to the Eiffel Towers. As I figured I had to see that while I was there. To get to it I had to swap Metro Lines. As I was doing this I suddenly spotted an exit for the Arc De Triomphe. So I thought I may as well go and see that. From there I ended up walking down the Champs Elysees. Then I saw the top of the Eiffel Tower, so I thought I would walk to that.

Paris

I will be honest it was a little bit further away than I thought. And therefore it took me longer to get there than I was hoping. I had not had any breakfast at the hotel. So I got two Pain Au Chocolat from a traditional Boulangerie. That I passed on the way there. It was good to say that I had been to it and seen it. But I guess as I had seen so many pictures of it in the past. It just looked so familiar. And did not really astound me too much.

By now time was getting on, so after taking a few quick pictures. I found the nearest Metro Station. And headed to catch my Eurostar train home. Thanks to the strikes by French Customs. It took me a bit longer than I was planning to get back to London. Which was a bit of an inconvenience. As I was heading there to go and see George Ezra at the 02 that night. I had booked a hotel in Canary Wharf. As I did not have time to go home and dump my suitcase.

Paris

Thanks to my travel delays. I just had time to check in to the hotel, get changed and then head off to the gig. I got there about eight in the end. I met my friend in a bar outside and we went straight in to the venue. We had managed to get ourselves into one of the boxes to the side of the stage. We got to our seats as the warm up act was doing her thing. It was Sigrid. Who is possibly best known for her tune “Don’t Kill My Vibe. She was great.

The good thing about watching the show from a box was as well as a great view. There was a waitress who would bring you drinks to your seats. As you watched the gig. I must admit that is something that I could get use to very easily. Between Sigrid and the main attraction. There was about a thirty minute break. Which just gave me time to grab a bite to eat. And then settle down to see George Ezra.

George Ezra

I must say he and his band were fantastic. With those two big albums behind him now. He does have a great selection of songs to play. And he is very conversational between numbers. Often explaining where he was when he wrote them. His mood at the time. And also how the songs themselves actually came about. The set list was cleverly put together with his best know songs spread nicely through out it. His guitar technician had a busy night. As he seemed to change his for each song.

It was a full on performance with predictably Shotgun being saved for the encore. I must say he looked like he was really enjoying it. Which was great to see. He is going to be around for many years to come. I had one quick drink at All Bar One after. Before I returned to my London hotel. It had a lovely Conservatory Bar overlooking the water. Therefore I thought it would be rude not to have a pint and a packet of Cheese and Onion crisps in there. Before going to bed. A busy but great forty-eight hours.

George Ezra

My Dad and I went to the England versus Czech Republic game at Wembley. It was brilliant to see us get a five-nil home win. And it is always nice seeing Harry Kane score. I think it is quite an exciting time for the national team. With so many young talented players starting to emerge. Raheem Sterling was top quality. He deserved the man of the match plaudits for his hat-trick. It was a quality night out at the match. Spending some time with a family member. Which may also have involved a few drinks after the game.

England continued their great start to Euro 2020 Qualifying with a five-one win away at Montenegro last Monday. In a game which saw a couple more youngsters get their first starts for the country. If you do not know this already some of the group matches, the Semi-finals and the final of Euro 2020. Are due to be played at Wembley. Which might make those championships even more interesting and exciting hopefully.

England

Last Saturday Tottenham Hotspur held the first test event at the new stadium. It was an under eighteen game against Southampton. We were originally meant to play our first game there in September. But building works. It is fair to say over ran some what. However I was excited to be able to finally see it for myself. And sit in my own season ticket seat at last. I must confess as I did not want to see it as a building site. I had not been there since the old White Hart Lane was knocked down.

The old stadium was a little bit hidden from the road. But as you exit White Hart Lane Station. You can clearly see the new stadium right in front of you. It looks to me like a giant space ship. It is kind of grey and silver. It does look spectacular. The closer you get to it the more impressive it appears. I got a good look around it. As my entrance is the opposite side from the main road. You head up some outside steps to get in. This is the point where your ticket is swiped and you go through security.

Tottenham Hotspur

Once you are inside the stadium you are free to walk around where you like. There are plenty of different bars and food outlets dotted about. It is a very well designed venue.

Amongst many other unique features . It has its own Beavertown Brewery onsite. Luckily for me I am a fan of their Neck Oil beer. Which is available from all the bars. I had a drink, some food and then a bit of a look round. Just to get my bearings. As it is a place I will be spending a lot of time at.

Tottenham Hotspur

I then went outside to find my seat. And check out the view from it. I have no complaints. I am already looking forward to watching many games from it. The game itself was pretty decent. It was good to see young first team player Oliver Skipp out there with the other young players from the club. Well done to J’Neil Bennett for scoring the first goal at the new place. A decent strike to. Our Academy side ran out three-one winners. An excellent start to proceedings there.

After the game I went back inside to have another drink. The bars there are going to stay open for two hours after the games. Which I think is a great idea. They also have either live music or DJ’s playing. This makes for a bit of a party atmosphere. I am looking forward to going to the next test event today. Where a Spurs Legends team will take on the legends of Inter Milan. And Gazza is playing. I cannot wait.

Tottenham Hotspur

It is always a joy to visit TV Centre. I was there last week to see an episode of QI being filmed. I was impressed that while the audience were coming in. That on the big screens in the studio. They had lots of ace QI facts. It was fascinating and passed the time brilliantly. The host of the show Sandi Toksvig comes out first. We play a fun quiz to find the most intelligent member of the audience. You will not be to surprised to hear. That it was not me.

Alongside Sandi and of course Alan Davies for this episode were Jason Manford and Sarah Millican. Plus a South African stand up who I must confess I was not aware of Loyiso Gola. Somehow we have now reached series Q. It was hilarious, as always. I will be honest a lot of the funniest and best bits will never make the finished programme. As they are often too rude.

It was a fun afternoon. Everybody was on top form. It is such a lovely and relaxed show. The two hours flew by. When the series is on later in the year. Do remember to keep an eye out for my face on your screens. Sandi Toksvig does a fantastic job. Seeing her always reminds me of being a child. As I was a big fan of Number 73.

Television Centre
Television Centre

I was settling down to watch an episode of The Simpsons on Channel 4 recently. When as the announcer was introducing the programme I almost fell off my seat. He said “And now it is time for the Quigley’s, sorry I mean the Simpsons” I never expected that. But at the same time was weirdly pleased to be mistaken for that family. If you do not believe me. Have a listen to the video link below. https://www.facebook.com/neil.quigley/videos/10161418846550591/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Star Man

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. If you remember the last time we spoke it was March 17th or to give it its other name St Patrick’s Day. I have an Irish Surname, my Granddad was born there and I am always up for a fun day out. Therefore I do try to celebrate this day in some way every year.

There was a bit of a spanner in the works for this year’s plan. My intention would normally be to go straight to Waxy O’Connor’s off Leicester Square in London nice and early to get a place and get in before the queues. However my football team Tottenham were in action in the FA Cup Quarter Finals against Swansea. Kicking off at a quarter past midday.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Irish Pub were not showing the football and there was no way I was going to miss the game. Luckily the fantastic Comedy Pub just down the road were showing it. Fair play to them they put the game on a big screen on their third floor. The room was full of Spurs fans, so it was a great place to watch it. With quite a good atmosphere for a pub game.

I did still get in to the spirit of the day by having a couple of pints of Guinness during the match. It all went perfectly for my team. We won quite convincingly. Much to the annoyance of the one Swansea fan in the room. Who left about twenty minutes before the end of the game. The afternoon had started very well with Spurs making it through to the FA Cup Semi-finals.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Then the plan did go a little pair shaped, as I feared it might. It was the final of the Rugby Six Nations that weekend. On St Patrick’s Day afternoon England were playing Ireland. That game started fifteen minutes after the Spurs game ended. It was also a Saturday, so more people could get to the pub earlier. Therefore when I tried to get in to Waxy O’Connor’s after the football. There was a queue round the block.

I am not one for queuing at the best of times but especially not when it is freezing and snowing. So I then decided to head to All Bar One in Leicester Square for a drink. I concluded there was little point trying to get into my favourite bar. Until at least after the rugby. Next then, mainly so I did not have to walk to far. I went and had a drink in the Hampshire Hotel Bar. It is a bit up market, so there was no Guinness on offer and I had to have a red wine.

Finally I wandered around to Waxy O’Connor’s and managed to get in and have a couple of pints of in my opinion the best Guinness in the capital. They had live Irish music. It was absolutely rammed, as usual. The atmosphere was great and it was lots of fun. I am already planning next year’s St Patrick’s Day. When hopefully I will be able to get straight in to Waxy’s and spend a bit longer in there. Football matches willing of course.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

I attended the unveiling of the world’s first David Bowie Statue in Aylesbury. The reason he is being remembered in this way in the Buckinghamshire town. Is because he made his first ever appearance as Ziggy Stardust there. He appeared at the very popular, iconic and now legendary Friars Music Club. The driving force behind the art work was the man who run the club David Stopps. He set up a kick starter campaign to raise the one hundred thousand pounds needed to fund the project.

It was designed and sculptured by renowned artist Andrew Sinclair. It took him around a year to complete. It is a very detailed piece of work featuring Bowie depicted at various different stages of his life and career. He was there on the day and talked us through every bit of his masterpiece explaining the ideas and reasoning behind certain parts. Which was interesting to hear from his point of view being its creator.

David Bowie Statue
David Bowie Statue

Also on stage and speaking at the event were some other famous local musicians including Howard Jones and a couple of members of the Aylesbury band Marillion. Plus the town’s MP David Liddington. He is someone I have known and interviewed several times over the years. It was nice to catch up with him for a bit after he had finished addressing the crowd. It was all nicely done with a stage set up in the Market Square showing David Bowie videos mixed in with some live performances from local bands.

It is certainly an eye catching thing. And is a fitting way to mark a man of his stature. Although you could argue his ties with the town are slightly tenuous. I have met the man behind it David Stopps a few times over the years. He is fiercely passionate about his music and has worked in the industry all over the world with some very big names for over forty years, so he knows his stuff.

His first real venture, which was the Friars Music Club, as well as bringing David Bowie to Aylesbury. Also saw Genesis, The Police, Lou Reed, Roxy Music and Gary Numan play in the town, After quite a break he bought it back in 2009. Therefore he is still putting on music concerts in Aylesbury on a pretty regular basis, Which I think is great.

David Bowie Statue
David Bowie Statue

I went and saw the force of nature that is Danny Baker doing his final Cradle to the Stage one man show at the Shepherds Bush Empire. I was in good company as Jonathan Ross and Kate Robbins were both there to enjoy it to. I remember watching him on the Six O’clock show as a kid. I loved the original TFI Friday programmes. That he made with Chris Evans. And I have read his first two books and liked his autobiographical TV comedy Cradle to The Grave.

I have also for years admired his work on the radio. I have been lucky enough to see him around at the BBC a few times recently. The next logical step was to see this show. Which is basically him telling many stories about his life and work in show business. We have always known the man can talk. But despite it being a near on three hour performance. I felt he only got to touch on a small selection of his anecdotes from his crazy life.

Danny Baker
Danny Baker

Literally as he finished one story, it reminded him of another which then led to another. He had to keep censoring himself to move on and actually get on with the show or we could all still be there now. For a man who admits he has been lucky and is a bit of a chancer. He has met everyone you could possibly imagine from the world of entertainment over the last forty years. And has a story to tell about all of them.

It was a funny, entertaining, interesting and amusing evening. I must confess he has a better singing voice than I was expecting. He is of course super talented. You do not achieve the success he has had or be involved with the shows that he has been over the years without it. You can see why so many celebrities over the years have ended up hanging out with him. He would be great company in a proper old fashioned pub. Where you could just drink beer and chat. Well you could chat, if you could get a word in edge ways. Which may be the only issue.

He is going on a brand new tour soon called Big Time Charlie. In which he will talk more about his early days at the NME. Where among other things he was in Led Zeppelin for thirty five minutes, he went shoe shopping with Debbie Harry and hung out with Michael Jackson for a few days. As you do. I am looking forward to seeing that show. Hopefully later in the year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have often said on here what a big fan I am of the work of Ant and Dec. Who I do think are brilliant presenters. That opinion has not altered. However I have lost a lot of respect and appreciation for Ant after his arrest for drink driving. I am aware that he is facing several personal problems. Which he needs to deal with. I hope he gets the care and support he needs to overcome them. But stepping behind the wheel when over the legal limit is unacceptable.

On a lighter note congratulations to the other half of the duo Dec. Who has announced he and his wife are to become parents for the first time. News I guess, he would have liked to have revealed at a more stable time for his career. But life rarely works like that. It will be interesting to see how it works and how it feels with him hosting Take Away by himself. He is a great presenter. He will do a top job.  But seeing his mate not stood next to him will completely change the dynamics of  the whole thing.

BGT London
BGT London

A friend of mine, who is a fantastic singer and performer has a new song coming out. It is set to be a big tune in the clubs across Europe this summer. Her name is Nickita. The song is called Body Whine. Keep an ear out for it. Also she is often out gigging, so if you get the chance go along and see one of her shows.

Nickita
Nickita

I had a great day out at Wincanton Races with my former boss Steve Carpenter in the week. I used to go there quite often when I worked at Ivel fm. But this is the first time I had been there for years. I went there and back in a day on the train. The race course run a free shuttle bus from and to the train station in Templecombe.

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

There was a nice surprise in the parade ring when I arrived. The winner of this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup Native River was in there. He was trained by one of the local trainers to Wincanton Colin Tizzard. I also saw another local top trainer in Paul Nicholls within seconds of arriving.

Native River
Native River

It was a good day. I had a couple of small winners. Then in the final race I backed a horse at 33-1. Which came in second but being an all or nothing kind of guy. I had not done it each way. It was great to catch up with Steve and remember some of the classic moments from my time is Somerset.

The shuttle bus picked up more or less straight after the last race and got us back to the train station for six. The train back to London was not due till quarter to seven. Not a problem, we will just have a quick drink in the local pub, we thought.

However it turns out there is nothing in Templecombe, no pub, no fish and chip shop. There is just one shop in the whole place. Much to our amazement. I think it is the first train station I have ever been to that has not got a pub near by.

Neil Quigley

I had a first this week. An issue with a product I ordered from Amazon.  I have been looking around for a new pair of going out trainers for a while. I finally saw these Nike ones that I liked. I think mainly because they reminded me and the ones that Michael J Fox wears in Back To The Future.

Anyway I ordered them and about five days later they arrived. I opened the box and instantly liked the look of them. I excitedly took out the right one and tried in on. It fitted perfectly and felt instantly comfortable. Which is unusual for new footwear.

I then took out the left one to try that on and found myself struggling to get my foot in to it. I scrunched my foot in to it but it felt so tight I started to lose feeling in it. At this point I am thinking may be my feet are slightly different sizes. And I had just somehow never noticed. But then I take them both off to discover the right trainer is UK size 7 my shoe size and the left one is UK Size 6.

They had sent be the right trainers in different sizes. I have had to send them back. I now have to wait two weeks for the replacement. Which I have to admit is really annoying. As I was looking forward to wearing them. And now I currently have nothing to wear with the red body warmer I got to go with them.

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

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

Thoroughly Modern Me

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with some fun stuff going on. Now as I have mentioned before I am a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing. One of my current favourite dancer’s on the show is the brilliant Joanne Clifton. So when I discovered she was going to be starring in the new touring version of Thoroughly Modern Millie. And that it was coming to one of my local theatre’s. I decided that I had to get along to see it.

Therefore a couple of Tuesday’s ago I did just that at The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. I have to confess that although I am a huge fan of musicals, it was not one that I had seen before. I did not even know what the story was about, which actually made a nice change. Seeing something that was completely new to me. I was genuinely surprised and absorbed by the plot.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Happily and conveniently for the show’s title I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. The whole cast were fantastic. The songs were great. It featured a live Orchestra, which always enhances any performance, I think. It is quite a high energy, fast moving show with a relatively small cast, so some of the actors have to play a couple of different parts. It is fair to say that everyone is working hard while on and also off stage. As ever, like with most musicals it has a story line that looks at perceptions, decisions and morals with an element of good versus evil. But there are a few clever twists in it, which I really liked.

Now we come on to the main reason I went in the first place. The gorgeous Joanne Clifton, who shines in the lead role and carries the whole show so effortlessly. She really has not taken the easy option here for her first big production. As this part requires her to do an American accent. Which she does perfectly. She seems to have an aura around her, which attracts your attention and means you cannot take your eyes off her. Which I believe demonstrates star quality.

It really is a stunning performance. She has a great voice and really belts out those big numbers. Her acting is believable. And there is of course no need to question her dancing, she is a world champion in that arena.

She is definitely going to go on to star in more musicals. And I would be amazed not to see her in the West End sometime soon. Right at the end, as the curtain was falling, after the play had finished. She and one of the other actors gave us a little bit of a classic jive to enjoy, which was ace. She was giving it her all right to the very last second. She seemed to be loving it and I must admit I loved watching it to.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I also spent another night in High Wycombe recently checking out a new shop that has opened there. It is called the Brewery Shop. And it does what it says on the tin. It is a shop serving a huge selection of different beers from lots of various independent and local brewery’s.

It does also have a decent bar area with a huge selection of different guest craft ales on tap. So you can sit in there and try lots of different drinks. It seemed nice and friendly in there. Plus the selection of drinks they had was impressive. I tried a couple of them while I was there. I would imagine that I will be going back there again to sample some more of them at some point.

Beer
Beer

Saturday Night Take Away is back on television for another series. And once again I am really enjoying it. It is one of the maddest show’s of the year. With the two Geordie geniuses acting as ring masters to the huge Circus. I have said this before but they have cleverly taken all the best bits from every Saturday night entertainment programme that there has ever been. Put them all together and adapted them to their own unique style.

I went and watched a show live in the studio last year and that was brilliant. The atmosphere in that studio is electric. It is just like one big giant party. The ninety minutes go so quickly. It is fun seeing them get things ready and set things up  during the advert breaks. It is just plain old fashioned silly fun and very entertaining.

Saturday Night Takeaway
Saturday Night Takeaway

The two of them are in their element and are given a bit of freedom to ad-lib and create magic moments in this inclusive and live environment. Now while they are not comedians, the relationship and comedy timing that exists between them does at least slightly remind me of Morecambe and Wise. They certainly have that connection together and the ability to make the audience feel we are all in on the joke with them.

I like the new weekly serials that they have added over the last two years. They are both ridiculous and hilarious, full of silly and amusing jokes. And feature some great cameos with the lads very happy to send themselves up in them. Plus the end of the show show is of course always a winner. And in many ways the idea behind that, seems like another nod to the two comedy legends I mentioned earlier. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the series. It is simply fun, which is what the world needs more of in my opinion.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Nightly Show has now started on ITV1. I went to see the pilot version of it. At that time I felt it still needed a bit of work to get it right. And three weeks in I have to say I still think it does. It is the type of programme that the United Kingdom has been missing. They have been doing this kind of show very well in America for a very long time. Now I do really want it to work and for it to become a regular thing. But having watched a couple of episodes over the first few weeks. I think it is trying a bit too hard, it all seems a little too forced and they are trying to pack too much in, making it quite a difficult and awkward watch for me personally.

Although I appreciate it is not easy writing funny and topical material to order, every single night. But for me the opening monologue’s do need to be better. To set the tone, get the audience on side and give it that sense of the day. To make it unique and up to the minute. If you want to do a nightly topical show, it does need to be just that. Some of the guest choices have been a bit odd to. And I am not totally convinced the quick games with members of the public really add anything to it either.

I saw via social media that Danny Baker has offered his services to mould this show and build it up. Now love him or hate him. He has got form with this sort of thing from his past TV work. Which suggests he could may be give it the kick start that it needs. I do really want it to work and for it to be good. I hope they can tweak it and find the right vibe for it. That said the viewing figures for it are pretty good for a new show at that time, but I genuinely think it can be better.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Friday night I went with my dad to the Official Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Association Dinner at Adams Park. The home of the football team it assists. Both he and my mum are season ticket holders at the club. And members of the aforementioned organisation, as am I. It was a very pleasant evening including an enjoyable three course meal. That featured the best chocolate mousse dessert I have had for a while.

Since it was formed over twenty five years ago. It has donated over seventy-five thousand pounds to the club. It was good to see the manager Gareth Ainsworth there supporting the event. They auctioned off Myles Weston’s shirt from the FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur, which was signed by the whole squad. Plus there was a raffle in which I won a bottle of red wine, which topped off a very enjoyable evening, very nicely.

Wycombe V Barnet
Wycombe V Barnet

Talking of the mighty Tottenham Hotspur our season has been going through another quite decent spell. Well if you completely ignore crashing out of the Europa League that is. Certainly in the Premier League, things have been looking good with wins and good performances becoming the norm.

Still cannot see us getting past Cheslea though, I think they have the title sewn up already. The most exciting thing for me though is reaching the FA Cup Semi-Final. It has been far too long since we have been in one. Although we do now have to get past Chelsea in that to get to the final.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My only ever trip to Old Trafford was to see us lose to Newcastle in a FA Cup Semi-final, several years ago now. I have always loved the competition and it has been to long since we have had a shot at the final of it. When you consider that we have not won it since 1991 and that was the last time that we were even in the final.

We must be due another appearance, I hope. If for no other reason than Chas N Dave can release a new Spurs song for the occasion. I can’t wait for the Semi-final it is going to be huge. And if we get to the final I will have to try and get a ticket for that somehow. Come on you Spurs.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Yesterday it was the seventeenth of March and therefore of course St Patrick’s Day. I do have a surname of Irish origin. My Granddad was born there. Plus I have been over to Dublin four times. So as far as I am concerned that qualifies me to be able to spend this very special day in a pub, having a few drinks. This year was no different. I went to my favourite pub in London.

Which just so happens to be an Irish Bar called Waxy O’Connor’s. Where I enjoyed a few pints of Guinness. The atmosphere in there is always top quality. To add to the flavour of the occasion they have music playing all day plus a traditional Irish Trio performing live a few times during the day to.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

Last year I won a competition on social media for my photos of the event. That prize pack included T-shirts from the place, which I really like. I was tempted to wear one of them this year but then I realised that I would look like the staff and end up having to serve people pints or tell them where the toilets were all day.

It was brilliant fun as ever and made even more entertaining by the fact they showed the Cheltenham Gold Cup live on the big screen. For a second during the race it almost felt like I was there. I always enjoy this day, every year.  It was lots of fun celebrating with a great group of people.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

I am looking forward to next weekend visiting and exploring somewhere that I have never been before. For my fortieth birthday some friends of mine got together and got me a travel voucher as a present. So I have used that to enjoy a weekend away in Barcelona.

I have never been to main land Spain before, so I am very excited. I have heard great things about the place from friends who have been before. I will tell you all about it and let you know what I got up to next time we speak.

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.

Irish Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been by my standards fairly quiet really. Which has actually been quite nice. A bit of calm before the storm, as the next month or so is going to be nice and busy for me. Although short listed to be a contestant on a big new ITV show I did not in the end get chance to go on it and play the game.

The first series of it was filmed up in Manchester last week. It is a fun quiz called Alphabetical. Which is hosted by the excellent Jeff Stelling. It is really just an old school style general knowledge quiz with a couple of nice little twists to make it more original. Watch out for it on your television screens later this year. It is definitely worth a watch. It was lots of fun to play at the audition.

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

A while ago now I did some recording sessions for a project a very good friend of mine Andy Holmes was working on. He has written a series of short radio plays. Which have now been produced starring an all star cast, including me. He is starting to release them on a weekly basis.

So far the first two episodes have been made available. I am personally involved in two of them. Playing a futuristic tour guide in one of the stories and then popping up and making a quick cameo guest appearance as a Radio Presenter in another of them.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was good fun going in to the studio to record my bits for these productions. I have worked with Andy Holmes on several things over the years and we always have a good time working together. It was a little different for me getting to play characters and doing a little bit of acting.

I am of course just more used to being myself on the radio. The great thing about radio plays of course is you do not need to learn the script as you can just read your lines during the recording itself.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The first one featuring me was released last weekend. The series is called The Andy Holmes Angle and the episode I appear in, which is episode two. Is called “The Empty Space”. That is the one where I play the Tour Guide in a galactic fantasy trip set in the future. A snapshot of what holidays could be like in the feature and in many ways a suggestion that the human race learns very little from past experiences.

As I said it was great fun to record and do listen out for an uncanny Ruth Madoc impersonation from me about half way through it. So here is a link to the play, for you to enjoy at your own convenience. Just simply click on it to hear it. The Empty Space

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still suffering from nose bleeds due to my team Tottenham Hostpur still being up in second place in the English Premier League. This is the first time ever in my life that I have felt that just may be we could actually have a slight chance of winning the league. It is an odd and strange feeling that I am totally not used to at all. But that said long may it continue, please.

It was a bit of a shame going out of the Europa Cup to Borussia Dortmund. But the main prize of winning that is a place in the Champions League. Which hopefully we should achieve from our final league position. It is going to be an exciting run in with lots of twists and turns still to come, I’m sure. I just plan to enjoy every minute of, whatever happens in the end. Come on you Spurs.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am looking forward to going up to Liverpool for the Grand National Meeting next month. However this week it was the other big event in the jump horse racing season the Cheltenham Festival. Unfortunately I did not manage to make it along to the famous race course this time around. Although lots of my mates and even my parents enjoyed a day’s racing there this year.

I watched as many of the races as I could on television. It really is a great spectacle. It is retired former champion jockey AP McCoy’s favourite meeting. This year was the first year he had not had a ride there for twenty years. He was there still though working for Channel 4 and I found his comments and insight into the whole thing fascinating personally.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was an exciting week’s racing and you really get to see how close nit the racing community are. They are very competitive but at the same time very supportive of each other and do seem genuinely happy when others are successful. They really do love and take great care of those horses. There were also bumper record crowds there to witness lots of great races.

I thought the television coverage was brilliant and because they are all known people within horse racing, presenting it. They get access to and so get to speak to everybody. And because they know them all personally you get some really nice and intimate interviews with the jockey’s, trainers and owners alike.

Windsor Races Winning
Windsor Races Winning

The festival this year also saw a debut appearance from the Olympic Gold Medal cyclist Victoria Pendleton. She has retired from professional cycling and has dedicated the last twelve months to horse riding. With the big aim of being certified to ride in one of the biggest racing occasions in the world. She has been taught by the best and worked with some great trainers and top jockeys along the way.

She rode a Paul Nichols trained horse “Pacha Du Polder” in the prestigious Foxhunter Chase on the famous Gold Cup Day of the championships. Over the Gold Cup course itself. So from having never ridden a horse before to going over the jumps at one of the most testing race courses in the whole world inside twelve months is quite an achievement.

Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan

I was lucky enough to meet and interview Victoria Pendleton a few years ago at a cycle event she was an ambassador for at Whipsnade Zoo. She was I have to say absolutely lovely and clearly very passionate about her sport and keen that as many people as possible should get involved with it. To enjoy the obvious health benefits and at least some of the satisfaction that she got from training and competing at the high level that she did.

She clearly had great drive and dedication. So I was not surprised that she managed to fulfil her horse racing dreams. She is a great person and I wish her all the best with her next project, whatever that may be. This lady can probably just do anything she sets her mind to, to be honest.

Neil Quigley with Olympic Gold Medal Cyclist Victoria Pendleton
Neil Quigley with Olympic Gold Medal Cyclist Victoria Pendleton

Last Thursday it was of course St Patrick’s Day. Now as someone with some Irish roots (my Granddad was born in Southern Ireland) and a name like Quigley. I always like to celebrate this special occasion. In my opinion the best place to do this is at my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connors. So I was in there during the afternoon enjoying a few pints of Guinness and listening to some brilliant live music. The atmosphere inside the place was as ever brilliant and perfect for the day.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

I got in there just after midday and they had a band called Walking on Cars booked to play a short thirty minute set from around one thirty. They were brilliant and are definitely a name worth looking out for in the future. I spotted Chris Moyles’s producer the very lovely Pippa Taylor in there enjoying the music to. And the friend that I was meeting there Kayleigh Gill had an even better celebrity spot. As she saw Suggs from Madness having dinner in a restaurant on her way to the pub.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

The staff and customers in there are always so nice and friendly. It really is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon. The decoration and styling of the place is also amazing.  Some parts have a church feel to it, some parts are like an old fashioned country pub. And who does not like a pub that is right in the middle of Central London and has a tree running right down the middle of it. You are in the heart of the city but once you head down the stairs and in to the lower bar. You feel like you are miles away from anywhere.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

The music was great and perfect for the occasion all afternoon. Then from six they had yet more live music for the evening with a traditional Irish Trio featuring of course a fiddle player. They played a host of classic Irish Songs. Which had the whole place singing along to them. It was quite a sight with the bar full of people wearing Guinness hats and waving Irish flags. It was another brilliant St Patrick’s Day celebrated in my favourite pub in London.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

The latest series of Newsjack has come to an end. The topical news comedy show will return to BBC Radio 4 Extra for another run later in the year. It was as ever brilliant fun writing jokes for the show once again. It is produced and performed by a very talented team. Plus it is a great stepping stone for new comedy writers to cut their teeth and progress their careers. A lot of people credited on the show have gone on to write and produce on a more regular basis for the broadcaster. So to be just a small part of that is a lovely feeling.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Newsjack is recorded in the Radio Theatre, which is part of the BBC Broadcasting House building in Central London. They record lots of top comedy radio shows there and that is where Radio 2 also do a lot of their music specials from. So if you hear that a band or singer is playing a small gig for the radio station. That would normally be coming from the theatre.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

I was there though at the end of last year to watch a television show being filmed. It was called Live at the BBC. It is a new comedy show showcasing new and upcoming acts many of whom were spotted at the latest Edinburgh Festival. They are on line on BBC Three plus they have started showing some of them on BBC Two as well. They are well worth a look. I saw both James Acaster and Felicity Ward do their full latest stand up shows during the recording and they were both very funny. So do keep an eye out for it.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I do have a few exciting things coming up over the next month of so. I am going to see a recording of the television show Safe Word in London in the next couple of weeks. I will also be at one of the new Tonight Live at The Palladium shows. That is always a great theatre to visit and I do really like a bit of variety, so that will be fun. And next month I will be attending the Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham. Which I am sure will be very interesting and a good laugh.

London Palladium
London Palladium

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