Tag Archives: Tringe Festival

By Royal Appointments

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

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

Royal Ascot 2019

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

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

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

The Queen

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

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

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

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

Royal Ascot 2019

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

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

Royal Ascot 2019

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

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

Royal Ascot 2019

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

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

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

Royal Ascot 2019

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

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

Royal Ascot 2019

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

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

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

Foot Golf

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

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

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

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

On Your Feet

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

Silky

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

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

Ben Norris

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

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

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

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

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

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

Neil Quigley at Glastonbury
Neil Quigley at Glastonbury

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

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

School of Rock
School of Rock

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

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

Kylie
Kylie

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Spice Up Your Life

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

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

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

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

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

Come From Away

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

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

Ronnie Scott’s

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

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

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

Windsor races

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

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

Spice Girls

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

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

Jess Glynne

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

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

Spice Girls

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

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

Spice Girls

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

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

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

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

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

By Royal Approval

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and lots of fun. Two weeks ago today then I went to my second Royal Ascot. Last year, as I was just dipping my toe in. I went in the Windsor Enclosure. Which was brilliant. But this time I thought I would upgrade slightly and just see what it was like in the Queen Anne Enclosure.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I went there with a good showbiz friend of mine Mike Sterling. We met up at Waterloo on the Saturday morning. After grabbing some water for the journey. We then braved what I suspected would be a packed train to Berkshire. However it was actually not that bad and we managed to get a seat together. Which meant we could catch up and have a nice natter. Which made the travel time fly by.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

We arrived at the racetrack around twelve forty-five. Sensibly we decided to grab some food first. There were plenty of options. But in the end we opted for a chicken wrap. Which I must admit hit the spot and tasted pretty damn nice to. After a stroll round the place. Just to get our bearings. We decided to have a quick drink before the Royals arrived. It is a marathon day not a sprint at Ascot, so we just started off with an half of lager each. You really cannot buy experience.

Then it was time to head off to get a place in the Parade Ring. Ahead of the arrival of the Queen. To get the space I wanted we had to get in there a bit early. But we did find a cracking spot. Right next to the area set aside for people who were in the Royal Enclosure. Before she arrived Mike managed to nip out and get us another beverage to toast her arrival. Which with the crowds growing was quite a feat to be honest.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I am a big fan of the Royal family, so I enjoyed Her Majesty arriving in her carriage pulled by those famous grey horses. And her waving to the crowd. I waved back of course. I like to think that she did see me and acknowledged me. Then once she had shaken hands with the selected elite welcoming party. She headed off to her private box to enjoy the day’s racing. While we made our way to the track to do the same.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I had a little bit of success in the first race. I was as a child and if I am being honest am now still a fan of the television show The Dukes Of Hazard. The famous car in it is called the General Lee. There was a horse in the race called General Hazard.

It was a bit of an outsider. But on the name alone. I backed it each way. It came in third. Which meant I acquired some money back from that one. I only had one other winner during the afternoon. That however really did not spoil my enjoyment of this fantastic event.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

Midway through the afternoon. We took a lunch break in The Band Stand Kitchen restaurant. We sampled the Tex Mex Platter and a Coronation Chicken salad. I have to say it was marvellous. It was all very tasty and the portion size was huge. Which is something you do not always associate with these kind of venues and events. If you know what I mean.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

There is a Band Stand in the Queen Anne Enclosure with a full brass band and a singer. After the day’s racing is over. There is a traditional sing-song around it. Therefore Mike and I grabbed ourselves a glass of Pimms each and headed there to get involved. Lots of people do stay on to enjoy it.

They did play a whole host of old and relatively new top party songs. Basically everybody there joins in. To make it even easier they put all the words up on the big screens. So it is a bit like a giant karaoke. We did every song from the classic Sweet Caroline to We’ll Meet Again and everything in between. It was brilliant fun.

Mike Sterling is a West End performer. Who has starred in The Phantom of The Opera and Les Misarables. So it was amazing to be standing next to him, while he was singing. I was happy to just to sing backing vocals and fill in with some harmony’s. It is all so British with flags waving, champagne being drunk and everyone joining in. I must say I loved it!

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

Rather than rush off. We decided to wait for the train traffic to die down a bit. So we went for a few drinks in a couple of pubs in Ascot. On the way to the first one. We bumped in to a former Jockey that Mike knew called Karen Wiltshire. As well as having a successful riding career. She has also done some presenting on various racing programmes. It was fascinating to talk to her and get some of the inside stories and secrets from the world of racing. It was lovely to meet her.

After having a drink at the pub right next to the train station. We decided to catch the train back to London. It was much quieter than on the way there, so we easily found a seat. We randomly got talking to a couple of Italian ladies. Who had been at the races. Mike speaks a little bit of Italian. Plus he is a trained Opera Singer. Who knows a few big Italian songs. He ends up serenading the ladies with a couple of songs in their native tongue.

I was sitting next to him and let me tell you it sounded beautiful. They were loving it. One of them was filming it on her phone, so she could send it to all her friends in Italy.  We had people walking down the train to get closer and enjoy the impromptu performance.

It is a shame neither of us were wearing Top Hats or we could have put them down and made a few quid. To have such a talent must be amazing. He absolutely made the two girls day. It also made the train trip back to London very enjoyable.

Once we were back in Waterloo. We went to a nearby bar to have a nice glass of red wine to toast a successful and fun day. It was such a good occasion that I am already planning next year’s trip. I will again choose the Queen Anne Enclosure. Mainly just for the access to the Parade Ring and the Band Stand singing at the close of the event.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I had a brilliant time at this year’s Tringe Roving Comedy Night. I did the course and performed at it in 2012. Then last year I got to do it again. Which was so much fun. I was watching all the action at The Kings Arms. A venue that I played during my debut year. There were twelve brand new comedians and four professionals. One for each of the four groups, that each perform in four different pubs around the town.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Congratulations to all of the Logan Murray Course Graduates. Who performed on the night. You were all great. You got up there and did you stuff. I hope you enjoyed it and will keep doing it. If you now have the taste for it after this introduction. I would recommend doing the comedy course and this event to anyone. It is lots of fun and you will get a lot out of it. The people behind the Tringe Festival are all ace.

The professional comedians were all brilliant. They included Steve Best, who really does have his own unique style. I enjoyed seeing him for the first time. Rich Wilson, who was another new one on me was also very funny. Then there was the brill Laura Lexx.  Who I had seen before doing the warm up at a recording of Upstart Crow. She is fantastic.

Rich Wilson
Rich Wilson

Finally there was the guy who I once gave a lift home to. The always hilarious Silky. He was quality as ever. It helps the whole night along. When you know that you are never more than three comedians away from a seasoned and polished act. As a new comedian. I was delighted with this. As it made the audience more patient knowing that a comedy treat was on the way very soon.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

I did manage to briefly catch up with Silky after the show. For our annual chat. He is a top bloke. I did also grab a quick word with the very funny Olaf Falafel. Plus I spoke to the man behind the whole brilliant festival Ben Moorhouse.

I am hoping to bump in to all of them and see their full shows. When I am up in Edinburgh at the Festival in August. Sadly though I did not get to see the comedy guru himself Logan Murray. I had to dash off before he arrived at the after show drinks.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The football World Cup is reaching its big finale. I have been trying to watch as many matches as I can. There have been plenty of goals and excitement and that was just the England against Panama game.

Not to mention the high drama of the penalty shoot out against Columbia. With three Spurs players scoring in it. Just saying! Today we face Sweden in the Quarter Finals. Come on England!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My Dad’s cousin lives in Australia and has done for many years. He was in Russia supporting his country at all their group games. He is now visiting England. Which was always the plan. I am not sure if it would have changed if Australia had got through to the knock out rounds. Or he was realistic about their chances. When all of this was booked.

I am hoping to see him today to find out what it was like in Russia. And actually being there at a World Cup supporting your nation. I would love to be able to do that myself one day. Now that the chance of me representing England in one of these tournaments has may be passed. Also I quite fancy a visit to Australia, so I may have a chat to him about that to. It will be really nice to meet up with him.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am very excited about my upcoming holiday. I am going to America to do a bit of a musically inspired tour of the place. Which includes visits to the home of County and Western Nashville, the place where Elvis Presley made his home Memphis and the area where Jazz and Blues exploded New Orleans.

It is going to be extremely interesting and a lot of fun. It does mean the blog will be taking a little bit of a break. But I will of course tell you all about the trip, when I return.

Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70's #crazydays
Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70’s #crazydays

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Cheers Neil

Fantasy Comedy

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I do spend a lot of time in London. Therefore I am very often on the train to and from the Capital. As I was about to get off one at Marylebone Station a few weeks ago. I randomly bumped in to somebody, who I had not seen for a ages.

On the second ever series of Big Brother. There was a gentlemen from Oxfordshire in the house. He was only in there for a couple of weeks and was voted out fairly early on. But he did still make a bit of an impression with his regular work outs and his tendency to wink at people quite a bit. His name was Stuart Hosking.

I was at the time working at Mix 96. When he came out of the house and the series was over. He ended up getting a Sunday morning show at the radio station. I produced the programme for the first two or three weeks. Which was great fun and a good laugh.

Neil Quigley

I think on show two. We had somebody who had been on Blind Date the night before in for a chat. It was interesting to get the inside track on how it all works from someone who has been through it. We all went for a quick drink afterwards. Which was normal practice for our post programme meeting. Well it was, while I was producing.

I seem to meet up with Stuart at various things over the years. I once went with him to an Industry Magazine Party. And fair play to him he managed to get us in to the VIP section. Which meant we upgraded from free beer to free champagne.

I also went with a mate of mine to a big birthday party. That he threw at a very nice hotel a few years ago. That was a brilliant evening. The entertainment were the Rockoakie Band. Who are amazing. They are a live band. Who then give you the chance to perform songs with them. My friend did a few numbers on the night. As did the Birthday boy himself. Chris Moyles often booked them for his live theatre shows.

Stuart Hosking Sings
Stuart Hosking Sings

It was nice to see him and have a quick chat. As we headed up the platform. He is still keeping nice and busy and up to some fun and interesting things. He is still good friends with a few people in the entertainment business. Personally I think that the first three Big Brothers were the best. Then it started going down hill from there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Frank Skinner has been one of my favourite comedians, since I can remember. I have read both of his books. I have watched from the studio, as he hosted an episode of Room 101. Plus over the years spent hours watching Fantasy Football. And I even watched his sitcom Blue Heaven. The one thing I had not seen him do was stand up comedy live.

Happily I finally managed to put this right a couple of Saturday’s ago. I found out he was doing some work in progress shows at the Soho Theatre in London. I managed to grab myself a ticket. As I have said before it is a nice venue for comedy. He was playing the down stairs room. Which is set up like a lounge bar with tables and chairs. It is a little bit like a cabaret place similar to the London Hippodrome set up.

Soho Theatre
Soho Theatre

Needless to say the gig was a sell out. As I was in the bar beforehand I saw the unmistakable figure of Mr Skinner arrive and make his way down stairs to prepare for his audience. The title for this appearance was “The Man With No Show” Therefore the idea was he would just come out chat to the audience and hopefully find some stuff. That he can then polish into comedy gold. Probably for a big tour.

He is for me one of the funniest and most quick witted comics around. His brain does just seems to process things much quicker than us mere mortals. Bearing in mind he was on stage with no pre-prepared stuff. He was hilarious. I have not laughed that much at a comedy gig for ages. He has such a calm, warm and relaxed way of talking to people. Even when he is having a bit of a go at people. He does it in the right  way and makes it feel inclusive. Like he is still on their side.

I had a brilliant night. It is always pleasing when your hero’s do not let you down. He is doing some more work in progress gigs at the same place in August. I certainly have not ruled out going again to see him. As it will actually still be a completely different show. Frank Skinner is quality.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I started my radio career at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio twenty three years ago. I met some wonderful people there. Many of whom I am still friends with all these years later. Two of the first people I met and worked with back then are now both living in Yorkshire. I started working with them producing their shows before I got my own programme on the station.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio

Last weekend I went up to visit them. I was staying with one of them at their house in Castleford. On the Friday night we stayed in to watch the football. Had an Indian take away and a nice bottle of red wine. While of course having a good chat about the old times and our current lives. A really fun and yet relaxing evening.

During the day on the Saturday we went and had a look around an Armed Forces Day event. That was taking place at Pontefract race course. My mate was in the RAF, so has an interest in this venture of course. It was basically like a classic County Show with charity stalls, arena displays and a wide selection of various refreshments.

They had a stall there for the Vulcan plane. As they are trying to build a special hanger for it in Doncaster. Which will include a coffee shop viewing area. So visitors can see the plane sat there in all its glory. While enjoying a drink and a piece of cake. It was nice to visit a race track and leave without losing any money for a change.

We then headed to Sheffield, so we could all catch up with my other friend and his wife. We went to his house and sat in his garden for a bit. Before heading in to town for a really nice meal and a couple of drinks. I have been out in Sheffield a few times over the years. I also went through a spell of spending some time just down the road in Worksop. Therefore I do know the area a little.

My mate had booked us a table at The Botanist. The table they gave us was right in the middle of the restaurant. Kind of in a sort of glass band stand. It was really not a place to be if you prefer keeping a low profile. Luckily none of us there fell in to that category. The selection of drinks there was fantastic. I chose to sample a few of the German beers they had on offer. The food there was really good to.

I had a homemade scotch egg for starters. Their famous hanging chicken garlic kebab with sweet potato fries for my main. Then for dessert I had the sticky toffee pudding. It was a really enjoyable meal. The company was fantastic. It was a wonderful night talking and catching up. While winding each other up and chatting about the glory days. When we regularly used to all go out and do discos together. Fun times!

Yorkshire
Yorkshire

I travelled home on the Sunday after first enjoying a massive brunch with my friend and his wife. The perfect end to a lovely weekend. I decided to treat myself to first class train travel on the way back. It was only about ten pounds more than the standard ticket. It meant that I got a comfier seat. Plus free tea, biscuits and water during the trip. Worth every penny as far as I am concerned. I could get used to it.

World Cup
World Cup

The World Cup in Russia is very much up and running. I am trying to watch as many matches as I can. I did of course make sure that I saw the England against Tunisia game. I was delighted for Captain Harry Kane and the whole team. The first game of any tournament is very tough. We are on the whole a young and inexperienced side. It was not a classic. We left it late but most importantly we got the three points.

Harry Kane will score goals in this tournament, He loves scoring and is very driven. I would not rule him out being there or thereabouts for the Golden Boot. If we can get the win against Panama tomorrow then we will be through to the knock out rounds. At that point really anything can happen. Good and bad. You just never know. Looking forward to getting behind the team and supporting the country. Come on England!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Obviously working at Broadcasting House in London. I do often see some recognisable faces around. Recently I found myself in the lift with new Radio One Presenter Maya Jama. Who as well as being an excellent broadcaster. Just happens to be going out with a certain gentlemen known as Stormzy. I saw the lovely Reverend Richard Coles. Who was dressed in his dog collar. And as you would expect he was just chatting to everyone and being generally lovely.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

Tomorrow night I am off out in Tring to enjoy The Roving Comedy Night. I have performed at this event myself twice over the years now. But I am looking forward to seeing this year’s trainees do their stuff. And make their stand up debuts. I remember the nerves I felt before I did my first one. And the feeling of pure joy and exhilaration at the end of the night. I was walking on air for the next week or so.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I will be there laughing, clapping and cheering on all the first timers. As well as enjoying all the professional comedians accompanying them. It will be great to catch up with a few people. I know and have met through this wonderful event. Especially the comedy guru and my teacher himself Logan Murray. It will be my annual catch up with them. Although I am hoping that I might see some of them, when I go to Edinburgh for the festival in August.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

The Roving Comedy Night signals the start of three weeks of gigs during the Tringe Festival. With lots of top comedians coming to Tring to do warm up shows for Edinburgh. I am going to see Marcus Brigstocke a week Sunday at the Court Theatre. If you like your comedy and are local it is well worth a look. Here is a link to their website http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am really looking forward to going to Royal Ascot today. I went for the first time last year. And I enjoyed it so much. That I have decided to make it an annual event. I will be in the Queen Ann Enclosure. Which means I will get to have a sing-song at the famous band stand after the day’s racing has finished.

I will tell you all about it next time we speak. I will be wearing my lucky suit, so I am hopeful of picking up a few winners. I may also sip a few glasses of champagne. It is a brilliant event. Plus as a bit of a Royalist I am hoping once again to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

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

Catching Up

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I met up with a very good friend for drinks in London recently.  We worked out that it was actually the first time we had seen each other this year. We speak regularly on the phone. But this was the first face to face catch up for a while.

Life is so busy and hectic these days, especially if you are married with young children. The balancing act to look after them. While still trying to spend some good quality time with the other half. Tends to mean it is not always that easy to organise a night out, that often.  Well, so all my married friends tell me anyway. And I believe them.

But even without any children. I am pretty hard to book for a night out. As I like to keep myself nice and busy, so I generally fill any spare time or any free weekends up with things to do. Usually months in advance. I always tell people to book early to avoid disappointment. Although I reckon my mates think I am joking.

Anyway these are the reasons that we have basically waited around four months in to the year to see each other. But this gap does not matter with close friends. You always have lots to talk about and as you know all about each others lives. The conversation flows freely and it is like you only saw them yesterday anyway.

South Bank London
South Bank London

We went for a few drinks along the South Bank. Which was cool. There are some decent bars and pubs around that area. We were joined by his younger brother. Who, as it happens was the person who designed and built my first ever website. When he was still at University. And if my memory serves me right, I paid him in beer for his services on that project.

To give you some idea of how long me and my mate have been friends. I think his brother was around eight years old. When I first met him. It was a brilliant evening relaxing and chatting with the both of them.

London Night
London Night

Last weekend I met up with a friend who I used to work with at Ivel Fm in Somerset. He is working for a radio station in Cornwall. Where he now lives. Him and his mate, who I also know came up and met me in Windsor. We had booked a hotel for the night, so we got together there late Saturday afternoon.

I am always ridiculously early for everything. I got to the hotel about an hour or so before they were due to arrive. As it was a nice sunny day. I did the only thing that you should do in that situation. I got myself a pint of shandy and sat out in the beer garden to wait for them. It was pretty good timing in the end.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As they arrived just after I had finished my first drink. They instantly joined me for a few more drinks outside in the sun. Well you have got to make the most of the weather, while you can in this country. Plus you have to re-hydrate after a long drive.

Once we had finished these, we got ourselves ready to head out in Windsor for the evening. With the big Royal Wedding taking place there in just a couple of weeks at this point. There was Union Jack bunting up across lots of the streets. Plus in various shop windows I spotted cardboard cut outs of the Queen, Prince William, Prince Harry and of course Meghan Markle.

First we headed to a well known pub chain who have a venue right opposite Windsor Castle. This particular company are known for food and drink deals. It turns out that they have added a new one.  You can get a Pizza and an alcoholic drink together in that bar for nine pounds. And for the record the Pepperoni Pizza I had in there was really nice. As was the American Shipyard Pale Ale I had with it.

"Gloriana" looking very regal at Henley Regatta
“Gloriana” looking very regal at Henley Regatta

From there we headed over the Thames to Eaton. Where we found a pub with a nice beer garden to enjoy the last of the day’s sun. While sampling a beer from the local Windsor and Eaton Brewery. Which was very pleasant and I must say unusually sweet for an ale.

As it happened the night was basically me taking them to all the old bars in the area. That I used to visit when I went out there in my twenties. Therefore next we stopped off in Browns for a drink. That place has not changed at all. It was exactly how I remembered it.

We ended up, as most nights out in Windsor in the past did. At one of the bars under the Arches. There did seem to be less bars there than I remembered. But old classics like Vanilla and The Scotch Bar where still there. We went in to the Fuzzy Bear.

Well I thought it was about time that I let my guests choose at least one place to go in to. It was fun in there, good atmosphere and some decent music. As all the bars in that area are built under arches. They are all really long and thin. Not like most normal bars. But once you have been in one for a while, you do kind of get used to it.

It was another entertaining night. I do like Windsor for a night out. There are some nice places to go and it is a pretty friendly town. It was nostalgic to talk about the old times at Ivel fm. And just have a general catch up on life and each others world’s. The weekend was of course rounded off with the obligatory full English Breakfast on the Sunday morning. I think next time I will head down to Cornwall to see him. Any excuse to visit the place and enjoy the coast down there.

Windsor Night
Windsor Night

It is Tottenham’s final league game of the season at Wembley tomorrow. I have recently been to two home games in fairly quick succession. I was there to see us beat Watford on the Monday Night football the other week. The performance was not great but we won and should have scored more goals. It was also nice to go to a game now that the weather is a little warmer. That does make it a bit more enjoyable in the stands.

Spurs v Watford
Spurs v Watford

This week I was back at Wembley once again to watch Spurs play Newcastle United. After our defeat away at West Brom in the last game. A win was desperately needed to secure a top four finish and the crucial Champions League football for next season. Happily a win was achieved, albeit by just the one goal in an otherwise fairly ordinary game. The one moment of magic was provided by none other than Harry Kane.

Spurs v Newcastle
Spurs v Newcastle

On the same night Chelsea were held to a draw by Huddersfield. Which means they are now four points behind us with one game to go. Therefore we have now already qualified for the Champions League for the third successive year. It also will make us the highest placed London club for the first time since the nineties.

If we beat Leicester we will finish in third place.  Which would be a wonderful achievement for a team who have technically had to play a whole season of away games. I am looking forward to the deserved celebrations after the game tomorrow.

Spurs v Real Madrid
Spurs v Real Madrid

The annual comedy event that is the Tringe Festival is back next month. It is the event at which I made my stand up comedy debut nearly six years ago now. It is also where I performed again last year at the always brilliant Roving Comedy Night.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

In fact that event kicks off this year’s proceedings. I have already booked my ticket to check out the new batch of Logan Murray students. See some professional comics. Who I have not seen live before. And catch up with some old friends. It is taking place on Sunday 24th June. It is always a fun and enjoyable evening.

I had a fantastic time gigging at it last year. The audiences are lovely, the venues are good and it is all excellently organised. But most of all it is just great fun to be involved with. Part of me will miss not being on stage this year. But watching will mean I will hopefully be a little bit less nervous than I was before it began last year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Roving Comedy Night kicks off three weeks worth of gigs in the Tring area. Lots of them are comedians previewing and honing their new shows. Which they will be doing at the Edinburgh Festival. Later on in the summer. It always manages to attract a star studded line up. With some hilarious comedians once again lined up to appear there.

Here are just some of the names you can see at the Tringe this year. They include Rhod Gilbert, James Acaster, Nina Conti, Mark Watson and Marcus Brigstocke to mention but a few. Most of the gigs are at the wonderful Court Theatre in Tring. For more details on this just follow the link. But I will warn you, tickets for this do get snapped up quickly http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I watched the improvised special of Car Share on Bank Holiday Monday. We already know that Peter Kay is a comedy genius both at stand up. And at writing and performing in funny television shows. This episode was basically edited together from lots of the footage of him and Sian Gibson going off piste and randomly chatting  on set during the filming of the last series.

A lot of it was so good they figured they could make a whole special episode from it. And they were totally right. The conversation is so relaxed and genuine between them. They just bounce off each other expertly.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

While still seemingly taking great pleasure and joy in trying to trip the other one up. Or send the discussion in a surprising and totally different direction. There was one bit in it, which I loved. It was where they both genuinely made each other laugh out loud a lot. Natural, spontaneous giggling is one of the best feelings in the world.

It is a really clever show. The way they take the rise out of local commercial radio is brilliant. I like to believe it is done with love and respect for the medium. Having worked in it. I should be offended, of course. But a lot of it is pointing out exaggerated examples of things that have more than likely happened on air. Plus I know he is a fan of radio in general, so I am sure it is all a bit tongue in cheek.

Neil Quigley

The other brilliant thing is all the extra visual jokes and gags that go into the external shots of the car. And the views of the streets they show. Including some comically named shops and businesses. A dog doing its business by a phone box. In quite graphic detail. Featured in the latest one,

Just lots of odd to see on TV, yet normal things you would more than likely see if you were driving around a town. Many of course with an extra comic element or two added to them. I reckon you could watch it several times and possibly spot something new every time. Funny and clever, which sums up the man who makes it.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley in Car

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