Hello, Happy Easter for last weekend. Are you still wading your way through a mass of chocolate? Or did you just have a massive binge on it last Sunday. I think Easter Sunday is the only day of the year that you can just about justify having chocolate for breakfast. I hope you had a lovely long Bank Holiday, enjoyed the weather and got to catch up with the family.
I actually had a pretty quiet Easter, much like Jesus did really, to be fair. He did not really do much after the Thursday evening. I did go to a family barbecue on Easter Sunday. Which was very enjoyable. And pretty civilised for this sort of affair. It was my first Al Fresco dining of the year. Well in England. In the Caribbean in January I was eating outside pretty much all of the time.
I am still delighted by the fact that my parents still insist on buying me an Easter Egg. Every year I say I am fine. And that they do not need to get me one. Yet every year I am so happy and pleased that they do. It always gets eaten within a day or two. Well my theory is if I leave any chocolate lying around the house. It will only get eaten. So I might as well eat it as soon as possible.
I recently paid my second visit to one of London’s premier comedy pubs. The Bill Murray in Islington. It is part of the Angel Comedy Club. Along with the Camden Head. Which is just down the road. Between them they put on lots of great gigs. Pretty much every night of the week.
A lot of well known comics use it to do work in progress and warm up shows. Where they are trying out new material. As a comedy fan who does some stand up. I do find these shows fascinating. As I like to see their thought process. How they structure the joke. And if I can work out the writing game that they may have used to come up with it.
But mostly I like going to these things, as they are in small rooms and are very funny events. Previously I saw Eddie Izzard there. This trip was to see Russel Howard do some new stuff in preparation for a big arena tour. He is doing later in the year. I have seen him a few times before. Doing a full show in Yeovil and a warm up one at The Phoenix in London. I have been a fan of his for years. I really like his topical television shows to.
He had a warm up act with him Steve Hall. Who also writes a lot of his TV shows with him. Steve was also doing new material ready for his Edinburgh Fringe Show in August. From what I saw and heard it will be worth catching if you are up in the Scottish capital during the festival. He then introduced Russell to the stage.
I am not sure if it was something he was trying out for this gig only or if the new show’s content and set up will require it. But it was a little more abrasive and even angrier Russell, in places. Than I had seen previously. Still very funny and clever with his jokes and delivery. It was quite an early gig with people having come straight from work. So maybe as a whole audience we were not possibly as receptive as he was hoping.
It could even have been a challenge from Steve Hall to play the gig that way. Just for a bit of fun. I really enjoyed it and thought he was fantastic. But as I have said earlier it was a different vibe to what I was expecting. Part of the structure is that he is getting older and grumpier, so he may be tapping in to that to set the tone for some of the subjects he is addressing.
Either way by the time this hits those big arenas. I have no doubt it will be a fully formed hilarious show. If you are a fan of comedy. It is worth keeping an eye on the Angel Comedy Club. As they do have some cracking gigs on there.
For the first time this year. I went to see the final of The Musical Comedy Awards. The reason I went was that somebody I knew was in it. And I went along to support them. That man was the brilliant Paul “Silky” White. I first met him when I made my Stand Up debut at the wonderful Tringe Roving Comedy Night. I ended up giving him a lift back to his hotel. He is a lovely bloke and an extremely funny guy.
I have seen him perform several times since. I made sure I went and caught his Edinburgh show. When I was up there last year. He is a comic that does jokes. But he also plays the guitar and does some musical comedy. Hence why he was appearing at this event. After quite rightly storming through the heats to the final.
It was held at The Bloomsbury Theatre. Which is actually a lovely venue. It was the first time I had been. I was very impressed with the place. Randomly as I was on my way there I bumped into Silky, so got to wish him the best of the luck for his performance. Which was a nice bonus. It was great to see him, albeit very briefly.
When I got inside I met up with the man behind the Tringe Festival Ben Moorhouse at the bar. He was also there to support Silky. He was telling me that the line up is almost finalised for this year’s event and once again it is top quality. There will be some great acts coming to Tring to perform. Plus watch out for the marketing campaign for it which is going to be brilliant. Nice to see him and have a quick catch up.
I actually had front row seats for the show. I had found out that Silky was on first. So I made sure I got to my seat nice and early. So I was ready to laugh, clap and cheer for him. Previous finalists of this event have included Abandoman and Rachel Parris. The host for the night was Nick Horseman. He came on first. And got the crowd hyped and ready for what was ahead.
Silky came on first. He started with a tribute to the comedian Ian Cognito. Who had recently died on stage. While performing at a comedy night in Bicester. He then went into a couple of very funny musical songs. He was getting plenty of laughs. I thought he was, as ever great. It is always tough to go on first in a final. But I thought he did an excellent job.
Then we had The Dragprov Review who tried to improvise a musical. I thought they did alright. But I have been lucky enough to see the Show Stoppers. Who are amazing at doing just that. So for me the bar has been set very high for this type of act. Other performers on the night included Jamie Finn, Huge Davies, Louis Burgess, Matt Hutson, Joe Jacobs and Charlie Patridge.
Apart from Silky, who I know and think is great. The act that I really enjoyed the most were Maris Piper. They are a duo who do topical parody songs of well known records. Their lyrics and subject choices were smart and funny. The punch lines were sometimes obvious but that was mainly down to rhyming. And the famous tunes that they were using being so familiar. They did make me laugh out loud.
The Step Dads came on last. They were very off the wall and quirky. It was all a bit surreal. They were certainly the most different act of the night, in my opinion. My favourite act was Katie Pritchard. She came on as a self proclaimed tour guide. Then performed parody songs explaining some big historical attractions. In a funny, clever and amusing away. Plus she really did put everything in to her performance. She was totally going for it.
While the judging panel made their decisions. We were treated to a performance by the act that had already won the Best Newcomer award Hadfield and Swan. They did a couple of very funny numbers. Again I thought this duo were great and worth keeping an eye out for.
Then the headline act The Brett Domino Trio came on. I have been aware of them for a long time. I have heard them on the radio and seen them on TV. So it was great to witness them live at last. They were brilliant. Everything I expected them to be. Great fun!
After this final performance the winners were announced. In third place were Maris Piper. In second it was the Step Dads and the act that won the title was Katie Pritchard. Who I think on the night did deserve it.
I thought Silky should have been top three. Then again I would think that. A very entertaining night out seeing some funny people doing their thing. I already plan to go again to next years’ finals. Well done to the organisers and everyone who took part.
A very Happy 25th Birthday to Mix 96 for the 15th April. It is my local radio station. And it was an absolute honour to be able to work there in several spells over the years.
I actually ended up doing my work experience from College there for two weeks back during its first twelve months. As a result of that I went along to the station’s first birthday party at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. With all of the presenters. Which was brilliant fun.
It was the Mix 96 presenters who suggested that if I was wanting to get into radio. I should get involved with Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. Which I did spending around seven years there. It was doing this that enabled me to get on to Mix 96. Firstly just assisting on the Sports Show.
Before going on to present that and then host Drive Time, Mid Mornings and the Evening Show over the years. I would have presented my first show there in 1998 and my last show was in 2012. Mind you I had a five year break from the Buckinghamshire airwaves. When I was working in Somerset.
I have some great memories of being there over the years. Including helping to carry Kim Mazelle to and from the stage at a very muddy Fireworks Night. Being involved with the radio “Big Brother” we did called The Big Lock Up. All the County Show outside broadcasts.
Interviewing Victoria Pendleton. And just the laughs that we would have on and off air. It was a time of my life that I am very proud of. You absolutely cannot beat broadcasting on your home town radio station. There is nothing like it.
I hoped it would happen. I knew we could do it. But the way the second leg panned out away against Manchester City was crazy. I have never watched a match like it. I was emotionally drained by the end of it. Shocked and delighted that we had made it through to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League. One minute we were out and then thirty seconds later after VAR stepped in. We were through to face Ajax. Now just two games away from a place in the big final in Madrid.
City got their revenge in the league game the following Saturday. In a one nil win. That I thought we probably just about deserved a draw out of. It means the fight for a top four finish and Champions League qualification for next season is still a bit too close for comfort. But with two out of our final three games at our new home. I think we can do it. And finish the season on a high.
Our situation was also helped by our home win against Brighton on Tuesday. We left it late. The eighty-ninth minute to be precise. The joy and relief around the stadium when Christian Eriksen’s shot hit the back of the next was palpable.
We have now won all four games at the new place and not even conceded a goal yet. Before the game I also had the pleasure of meeting two Spurs Legends in Tony Galvin and Pat Jennings. They were both fantastic.
I have been back at the BBC recently doing some work there. It is always a fun place to be. You never know who you are going to end up working with or who you could randomly bump in to.
I saw the current host of the Radio One Breakfast show Greg James leaving as I was on my way in to the building the other day. One of the people I work with looks just like him, so at first I thought it was him. And I could not work out why he did not acknowledge me. So Greg, sorry for looking at you a bit weird.
Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil