Tag Archives: podcast

Art of Management

I still have not taken advantage yet of any of the relaxations of the rules. Due to the unique way that it grows I have been cutting my own hair for over a year now. I have no fashion sense so I have not rushed out to the shops to buy any clothes that do not suit me. Plus I still have a pretty impressive supply of wine at home. Add to that the fact that I have not quite got the desire to sit outside fully wrapped up while having a pint of cider. However if you have quite reasonably been out and about more sampling things I hope you have enjoyed it and felt safe.

It is nice to see a lot of my friends now getting their first jabs as well as my parents and older relatives receiving their second injections. I should get my next one in another four weeks, which I am obviously looking forward to. The more protected I am the better as far as I am concerned. As a long time sufferer of Asthma and also someone who needed several pints of blood after a nasty haemorrhage when I was nine I have been happy to rely on medical science to keep me alive. I can confirm that my opinion on its worth has not changed.

I will slowly ease myself back out into the world, seeing friends and going to pubs when I feel the time is right. Everybody can decide to do things again when they want to and at their own speed. As long as we continue to look after ourselves and each other the new roaring twenties are just around the corner. That is going to be some decade of partying. I am branching out a little bit, my girlfriend and I are off to stay in a Shepherd’s Hut in the middle of nowhere next weekend for a slight change of scenery, which we are both looking forward to.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was the Grand National a fortnight ago today. I am usually up in Liverpool for the event and I hope to be back there for it next year. It was a bit weird watching on the television with no fans at Aintree. It always amuses me when they travel over the Melling Road as I have driven up and down that road lots of times, although not on a race day of course. The big race itself did not disappoint. It had as much drama and excitement as always. It is arguably the most challenging course for jumps horses and one of the biggest tests of stamina that the animals involved will probably ever face.

It was won this year by a horse called Minella Times, which is trained in Ireland by Henry De Bromhead. It was ridden to victory by the ace Rachel Blackmore, who in doing so became the first ever female jockey to win the race. She has already established herself as one of the top riders in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Both of them had already had a brilliant Cheltenham Festival, which is the other really big meeting in the jumps racing calendar. I happily had backed her to win so that earned me a few pounds. I also had the fifth placed horse on an each way bet, so it was a decent afternoon for me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The evening then got even better. One of my horses that I have a few small shares in Stage Star was running in the final race of the day at Aintree. Therefore after I had celebrated my Grand National win I settled down to watch this race. Originally Harry Cobden was due to ride him but he got injured after falling in an earlier race and had to go to hospital. Then Bryony Frost was lined up to do it but sadly she also had a fall in the National and ended up in hospital to. In the end Harry Skelton ended up taking the ride. It was a big step up for Stage Star but he had run well in his last race at Ascot just being beaten by his stable mate Knappers Hill.

He started well and was travelling nicely in the middle of the field. It was a big race with twenty runners. With about three furlongs to go his jockey gave him a shake up and he went to the front. At this point I was screaming and shouting getting very excited. As it looked for a few moments like he could win it but he was overtaken once again by Knappers Hill in the final furlong and then passed by a second horse as he ran on to finish third. It was a great run from a horse that we hope has a lot of potential.

He went off at a price of 22/1 and as I had an each way bet on him he did win me a little bit of cash. It was a National Hunt Flat race but the plan is to run him over hurdles in the autumn, which we think will suit him better. That will be after he has had a well deserved break this summer. I am looking forward to a time when I can once again see my horses run in person at the track. The adrenalin rush you get watching them challenge for the lead in a race is brilliant. Not to mention the feeling when they win!

Neil Quigley and Stage Star
Neil Quigley and Stage Star

It is pretty easy to manage my Gluten Free diet at home. It simply means that I have to think about my meal choices a little bit more in advance. Or if I want something particular I have to hunt down the Gluten Free version. I have just found a food company who produce and do home delivery of their own products. Mainly I have used this to expand my snack options like biscuits and bars. Although I have found a new cereal to try, it is the closest to my old favourite one that I have found.

Thanks to my girlfriend I had my first experience of Gluten Free pasta last Saturday in a Lasagne she made. It tasted amazing and I would challenge anyone in a taste test to be able to spot the Gluten was missing, you honestly could not tell. The week before it was a Gluten Free Pizza to try, which again was lovely. She is basically working through the things that when I was first diagnosed with Coeliac Disease I thought I would no longer be able to eat.

Gluten Free Lasagne

After we had finished our food we had another online comedy night to watch. It was hosted by Laura Lex, who I once saw do the warm up for Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow. And perform as one of the headline comics at the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night. She was great and did a top job setting the tone for the show. The first act on was Tez Ilyas who was excellent, really enjoyed his set. Then it was Troy Hawke, who is a character act, which I honestly think some of the audience did not realise. To be fair it did take me a bit of time to get on board with it, but he did make me laugh.

The headline act was somebody who I really like. I have seen him live twice at Glastonbury and then doing some new material at the Old Rope Comedy Night in London. It was the hilarious Ed Byrne. He has such an entertaining way of telling his stories, while doing very unique and individual to him jokes. He knows the craft of comedy inside out and is so comfortable on stage. He even added an extra couple of jokes to his performance as he was not happy about the laugh that his last planned joke received. He told the audience exactly what he was doing and blamed us for it, which I thought was great. Top fella!

Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne

I recently watched Shaun of The Dead for the first time. I appreciate as ever with regards to films I am a bit behind the times with this one as it was released in 2004. It has a great cast and is good fun. It was a bit weird watching a Zombie Apocalypse after the year we have all had. Many aspects of it in a way strangely seemed quite familiar. There are some great quotable lines in it. Plus a lot of good cameo appearances. I will hold my hand up as someone who does not like horror or any blood. As a result there were a few bits that I found too gory and had to look away from the screen for. I am so bad I cannot even watch Casualty. I hate anything injured body or flesh related.

The film starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It was directed by Edgar Wright. Three years after this one the three of them teamed up again for a movie called Hot Fuzz. A lot of it was shot on location in Wells in Somerset. I was working for Ivel fm in Yeovil at the time. After the big London premiere they then decided to have a smaller one in the cinema in Wells. One of the journalists who worked at the station with me got wind of this and managed to get hold of the person who was organising it. He tried to get us tickets to see the film but the cinema there is pretty small, so all they could offer us were two tickets for the after show party in a bar next door.

We went along of course, even though it was a midweek event. I think he drove us there so I had a few beers. The place was packed Nick Frost and Edgar Wright were both there but Simon Pegg was unable to make it. They both gave a short speech. Then the DJ took over. As it happened he was somebody I knew anyway, so I got all the gossip about the film from him. It was a strange night to be honest so we did not stay too late. I have still not seen the whole film. I did once almost get invited to the London Premiere of a Guy Ritchie film but that is a story for another time.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tim Lovejoy formerly of Soccer Am and currently of Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 is doing quite a few podcasts at the moment. One of these is a football one called A-Zidane of Football with a Derby fan mate of his called Blake. I make a brief appearance on the S episode edition talking to them about my team Tottenham. This was prior to the two big pieces of news to come out of the club in the last week. It was fun to do and good to talk to the both of them. If you missed it and fancy having a listen here is a link to the one that I was on. https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/ep-235-a-zidane-of-football-letter-s/id1196671475?i=1000517361706

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Well where do I start with the last two weeks in the life and times of my team Tottenham Hotspur? As I feared we were well beaten by a not even firing on all cylinders themselves Manchester United team. Then we drew away to a similarly lacklustre Everton Side. The game was so bad that both sides deserved to lose. At the end of the match to add injury to insult Harry Kane limped off with what looked like an ankle injury. I did apply to be one of the two thousand fans at Wembley to watch us play Manchester City in the League Cup Final tomorrow but I was not successful in the ballot.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Although with hindsight, what has happened during the last seven days makes that pale into insignificance. First there was that “big” announcement about the so called big six clubs in England wanting to be part of a new European Super League in their eyes replacing their involvement in the Champions League and Europa League. I am ashamed to say Spurs were one of these clubs. This proposed league was fixed with always with the same teams and no promotion or relegation. Therefore completely pointless, it was totally driven by greed and they massively misread why fans support their clubs. It is now not happening thankfully after all the English clubs pulled out after pressure from their fans.

I have not renewed my season ticket yet. This latest money driven elitist stupid failed plan means that I will have some serious thinking to do to decide if I will renew it or not? I was already on the edge with VAR ruining things but this could well be the last straw. I love going to the match and cheering on the team, I want to see them win things. Not play in a pointless midweek European non-competition. That will not be the case now, but even so the way it came about has left a bitter taste in the mouth. Realistically I will probably renew it as I enjoy it and it did take me over forty years to be able to get one.

The day after that story broke Tottenham then decide to sack the manager Jose Mourinho. I was not a fan of his before he joined us and I would say to anyone who would listen before he came that I did not like or enjoy his style of football. And that I did not want him as our boss. I was a huge fan of Mauricio Pochettino and was upset when he was fired. I had grown to accept Mourinho as a man but the way he had the team playing and that fact we were not winning were hard to accept.

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottehham Hotspur

The timing of the dismissal was crazy. It should either have been done a month ago when we were still in touch with the top four or at the end of the season. Doing it the week before a Cup Final in a competition he has a good record in seems mad. It would have been a huge ask against City but he has pulled off some big shocks over the years, so to relieve him of his duties now is very hard to justify. There does not appear to be any one lined up so Ryan Mason and Chris Powell are stepping up from the Under 23’s to take control until the end of the season.

They are both great guys and I am sure they will do a good job but it is not the ideal preparation for a club looking to win their first silver ware since 2008. I will be watching the action from Wembley on my television tomorrow and cheering the team on as always. No one is really expecting us to win but stranger things have happened. Jose did not seem to have a clue what his best side was seventeen months into the job. I hope the two new coaches can make firm decisions a lot quicker and find I hope a more attacking formula. To Dare is to Do! Come on your Spurs!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Amazingly my weekly lockdowns’ Pop Quiz is one year old this Tuesday. I started doing it around a month into the first national lockdown purely as something for people on a Tuesday night to do. Everything was shut and you were not allowed to socialise or visit anybody. It gave me something to work towards and prepare each week. I had a lot of fun putting it together, designing the rounds and writing all the questions. Lots of people were joining in and enjoying the music based fun, which was great.

The first series lasted until the end of lockdown one. I stopped doing it when we were allowed back out. I honestly thought that was it and I had put it to bed. Then in November the second national lockdown happened, so I brought it back on the same night and in the same time slot as before. It was great to see all the old participants return for the latest version. This one only lasted about five weeks but did also lead to me doing a Christmas Special during the festive period.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I thought that it might be a fitting way to end it but then in January this year lockdown three occurred. Therefore what else could I do but bring it back for a third series. During the last twelve months I think I have written well over one thousand questions. I dressed up as Elvis Presley for the end of series one as I did think that one could be the last ever quiz. In all of the other shows I have worn the same grey jacket. In every one Pinky Punky from Mallet’s Mallet has sat just behind me.

For the anniversary programme I am going to do an hour long special of “Quigger’s Plays Pop” starting at the earlier time of 8pm. As well as having more questions than usual I will bring back a few of the old rounds and may even test people’s memories with some of the same questions I used during the heady days of the first series. It should be a good laugh. As ever as well as the quiz itself I will try and throw in some facts or stories of some of my encounters with people from the world of music. Join me this Tuesday at 8pm for the birthday pop quiz. If you missed it here is the link to last week’s show. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10164939561950591/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley


You can listen to me on Saturday afternoon’s between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Grand Event

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. I have been to Liverpool for my now annual visit to the Aintree Grand National meeting. Which as ever was fantastic.

I arrived on the Thursday night, so I was rested and ready for the main day of madness. Which is Ladies Day on the Friday. Looking very sharp in my lucky suit. I made it to Aintree for around one. It is always such a colourful and spectacular day. You really do see some eye popping and amazing outfits.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

I did not have any winners on the day. But I am still prepared to give the suit another chance at Royal Ascot later in the year. As it gets pretty crazy due to the amount of people there, me and my mates headed in to Liverpool City Centre before the last race. To get ahead of the game. Which worked perfectly, as we managed to walk right in to The Jacaranda, get a drink and find a table instantly.

It is a bar I like. It was one of the first places The Beatles played in their home city. It looks cool and always plays good music, so we stayed in there for quite a while. Then we went on to another bar. Where we had some cocktails and a dance. There was not actually a dance floor there. We just created our own. Well at least we cleared a space for ourselves anyway.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

The day was rounded off how any good day out drinking should be with a burger from a fast food restaurant. Well it was actually a Five Guys one, therefore it was not that fast. But at least you can get your food custom made. I am not saying I may have had a few drinks but I spent far too long trying to throw and catch the free peanuts in my mouth. But I was pretty successful at it to be fair.

On the day of the Grand National itself. We went to a pub to watch all of the afternoons racing from Aintree. Including of course the big race. I won some money on Tiger Roll at Cheltenham. And I was very impressed with how he ran and jumped the fences. Therefore when I got home from there. I instantly put ten pounds on him to win the National at odds of 16-1.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

I did have a couple more each way bets on the race. But they all did nothing. Though that did not matter much when Tiger Roll powered down the final straight and held on at the last to clinch it. It is always nice to pick the winner of this iconic event. It is not easy as mostly it is unpredictable and never goes to plan. I did buy a round of drinks to help celebrate my victory.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

After the horse racing we went straight to a different pub to watch the Tottenham against Manchester City game. Let us just say you can always rely on Spurs to put the dampener on a great weekend. Though they are now the Champions and they deserved to beat us. As is becoming another small tradition now. My National Day ended with a Dominos Pizza. It was not the healthiest weekend I have had for a while. But it was the most fun.

I am already looking forward to returning again for next year. If you have never been to Liverpool, you should. It is a great place with lots of fun and interesting things to see and do. Plus during the National Weekend it is just one big party there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had to go for my first ever MRI Scan the other week. I have had lots of X-rays taken over the years for various things and had some Ultra Sound treatment on one of my knees as a child. But this was my maiden encounter with this particular piece of medical machinery.

I was told not to wear anything with any metal in. As if I did I could just wear my own clothes for it. Instead of those horrible backless hospital gowns. This did mean I had to quickly purchase a new pair of jogging trousers. But I felt that was money well spent to avoid any potentially awkward situations, while I was there.

I was having the MRI scan on my head. You walk in to the room and this contraption looks like it should live in the lair of a Bond villain. The two gentlemen who were doing it were great. They got me in to position. Which as far as I could tell involved putting on a neck brace and sealing my face with a plastic shield. The reason I am unclear on this is that I chose to close my eyes at this point. They then press a button which sends you in to the contraption.

You are allowed to request music to be played while they are doing it. I asked for Radio 2 but either they did not hear me or forgot, as I had no music playing in the end. They did give me a button to press if I wanted to stop it at any time. But all this did was make me view it as like a Bush Tucker Trial on I’m A Celebrity. So there was no way I was ever going to press it. As I was very determined to win all the stars to feed my camp mates. Fortunately it did not fill up with Cockroaches.

I am not going to lie it is not the most pleasant experience in the world. Plus with no music. I could hear every clunk and buzz the machine was making. I am pretty sure at one point it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was bearable and painless but at the same time I was pleased when it was all over. I felt I had achieved something, though.

It was just a precautionary thing. I received the results a week or so later via my doctor. If you do ever have one, do not worry. They are fine but I would make sure the music is working, as that would make it a little more relaxing on reflection.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I spent last weekend with my oldest school friend and his wife. They live in Shropshire now. But came down to Buckinghamshire for a few days. We stayed together in a hotel in Beaconsfield. They arrived on the Friday evening. So we just had a lovely meal and a few drinks in a couple of the pubs round there. Places that I have now been visiting for over twenty years. It is a nice town and I do enjoy spending time there specially with good company.

When we got up on the Saturday. Despite having been going out in the place for years. I had never stayed there before, so I had no idea where to grab some breakfast. Luckily in easy walking distance from the hotel. We stumbled across an old style Tea Room. Which did a tasty one. It worked out well and set us up nicely for the day ahead.

Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

The main reason they were down was that we were all going to see Kinky Boots in the West End. I had seen it before but it is one of his wife’s favourite films, so she wanted to see the musical. And it is so good I was more than happy to see it gain. We made a full day of it in London first, though. With me acting as a kind of expert tour guide.

I took them for a coffee outside the BBC for starters. We spotted Ricky Wilson heading in to Radio 2, as he was covering Zoe Ball’s Show that day. Then I took them both for a pint of Guinness in my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connor’s. It was a nice day weather wise and the sun was out. Therefore next up it was a stroll and a cup of tea along the South Bank.

London South Bank
London South Bank

As with any good Theatre trip. We then went for a lovely pre-show meal. Nothing to fancy just a Bella Italia. But I have to say the food and especially the pudding was fantastic. It was Marathon weekend, so the place was full of runners loading up on pasta. Once dinner was over. It was time to head across the road for the main event.

Kinky Boots is on at the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand. We had some great seats in the third row. I did have my usual theatre red wine. And I can tell you that the Rioja there is acceptable. The show itself was again brilliant. It is so fast paced, colourful and extremely entertaining.

The whole cast are great but I must say I think Verity Rushworth is brilliant as Lauren. She really gets so much extra comedy out of her character. It is the musical that contains the most ordinary and then the most ridiculous stage outfits. Depending on what part you are playing. It is a great fun show and we all had an amazing night seeing it.

Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

Tottenham Hotspur have now lost their last eight FA Cup Semi Finals in a row. Which is not a pleasing statistic. I really thought we stood a chance this year against Manchester United at Wembley. I thought it could finally be our year. It would have been a fitting way to end our one off season at the home of English football by winning some silverware there. Well in my opinion anyway.

But alas that was not to be. As we were beaten by Jose Mourinho’s men after taking an early lead in the game. It is possibly even more disappointing this year, I think. We are playing really well currently and have been pretty consistent in the League over the last three years. However we really do need to win some silverware soon, so that we have something to show for it and something to celebrate.

That said now is not the time to panic. The manager and the players are doing a great job. And you cannot win them all. Although I would have loved to have seen my team lift the cup this season. But I have seen them do that before. If this group could actually win a league title. That would actually be something I had not witnessed before and it would be amazing. To dare is to do, on-wards and up-wards.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

While I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil. I ended up featuring in a ITV West Country documentary presented by the great John Nettles. In this Podcast hear what happened when he came in to my studio and what happened when he interviewed me. Click on the link and hear it all via I-tunes. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-show-podcast-ep12/id1236437663?i=1000409103344&mt=2

Neil Quigley meets John Nettles

As I was arriving at work the other day Bill Gates walked past me. You really do never know who you might see or bump in to. It can often be the most random and unexpected people. I am always a bit concerned about being cornered and then interrogated in a lift by Andrew Marr or Emily Maitlis. That is the beauty and the lottery of using the work lifts. You never know who you might be standing next to.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Copy That

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy as ever and lots of fun. I managed to get myself along to a television recording at the newly re-opened studios at Television Centre recently.

The building was sold by the BBC. A lot of the old building has been turned in to really expensive flats, as well as shops and restaurants. However two of the original studios have now been brought back in to operation. Therefore once again some shows are starting to be made there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which personally I think is fantastic. It is a shame that it is no longer how it originally was. As so many great and very popular shows were produced there over the years. Not least the iconic children’s show Blue Peter. Which was probably the first, what you might call real TV programme, that I watched. The front of the place has been changed a bit. However it does still have a ring of familiarity about it. But it  does not look as iconic, as it once did.

It was a brand new ITV show that I was there to see being filmed. It is the idea of Jon Naismith. The man behind such radio comedy shows as The Unbelievable Truth and Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. He claimed he came up with the idea. When he worked with Rory Bremner on the radio several years ago. He was just waiting for the right opportunity and ITV have given him it. To produce it and make it for them.

It is called the Imitation Game. I watched the last one of the six episodes that are being made. It is hosted by the brilliant Alexander Armstrong. It also features, as the team captains the truly amazing impressionists Rory Bremner and Debra Stephenson. Each week they are joined by some other top mimics. At the show I was at, they were the top quality Jon Culshaw and the brilliant young American Christina Bianco.

During the show they play a whole host of fun and sometimes silly games. Which of course all involve impressions of lots of different famous folk. Therefore giving the impressionists the chance to prove just how good they are. All four of them on the night were amazing. Some of the voices were indistinguishable from the actual people. For example Jon Culshaw’s Ricky Gervias and Christina Bianco’s Jennifer Aniston were both perfect.

It was a very funny evening, Everyone was on top form. Rory was magnificent. Not just when the cameras were rolling. But he was wonderful during breaks with extra impressions and stories to keep the audience entertained and amused. While certain things were set up. They also have a live house band to because there are a couple of music based rounds.

It will be on ITV later on in the year. If you fancy some silly fun with top quality impressions. I would urge you to keep an eye out for it. It is definitely worth a watch in my opinion. Even Alexander throws in a few of the voices he can do in one of the rounds. It is astonishing how many different voices four people can actually do. And how diverse and different they are.

Television Centre
Television Centre

The year before last I took my Mum on a sight seeing tour of London. She was really taken with St Paul’s Cathedral. Which we just looked at from the outside. She decided that she really wanted to see inside it and have a good look round it. Last Christmas I said I would take her on a tour of the place. As one of her presents.

It took us a while to find a suitable day that we were both free on. But finally last week we managed to achieve that. I had purchased tickets in advance. Once you have got them for entry, they do also allow you to book yourself on one of the tours, when you get there for no charge.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

We arrived there about half past eleven. Mainly so I could enjoy an off peak and relatively quiet train journey for a change. The fact that we had pre-paid tickets meant that we could go straight in via the fast track queue. We managed to book on to a tour starting at one. Which gave us an hour to investigate what was up the stairs, as the tour does not go up there.

There are three galleries that go up into the Dome of the building. The first of which is the Whispering Gallery. Which is around a two hundred and twenty step climb. From there you do get a stunning view of the painted dome roof. And a great birds eye view of the ground floor of the iconic church. It is called the Whispering Gallery, as you can stage whisper into the wall and somebody listening to the wall across the room from you, should be able to clearly hear it.

There are two more galleries that we did not visit on this occasion. They are both outside and involve quite small staircases. They do apparently give you great views of London. I will take a look at them when I go back in the Summer. As once you buy one ticket to visit St Paul’s it becomes an annual pass. That you can use to visit as many times as you like.

We then just had time for a cup of tea and some cake before our tour. There were about twenty of us in the group. We were all given headsets and the tour guide Fiona was wearing a mic, so we could clearly hear what she was saying. Above the basic noise of the place. Which worked very nicely and meant that she did not have to shout.

I found the tour fascinating, from what happened to the original, how long it took for the replacement to be built, to how much restoration has been required over the years. You forget how much history the place is steeped in. I mean just for starters, the actual architect behind the amazing place is buried there with his own shrine. As are both the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson. Three huge historical figures all laid to rest in the same place.

You can really feel the association with the military in the place. And some regiments even have their own dedicated areas. I had no idea the poet John Donne was the first Dean of the original St Paul’s. The man behind “No man is an Island” and “For whom the bell tolls. He was also buried there and has a memorial there.

The building is beautiful on the outside and the inside. It does have a really British feel to it. The paintings, sculptures and the statues are spectacular. I spent so long just staring up into the dome to admire the paintings and artwork. It is a Church and there is a prayer on the hour. Which means that every sixty minutes there are a couple of minutes of quiet contemplation to be enjoyed. We were there for nearly four hours and probably needed another two or so at least to properly see and read everything that was on show.

Going to St Paul’s and doing the tour reminded me of so much UK history that I had kind of forgotten. It triggered memories of the things I learnt when I was doing my History GCSE. There really have been some fascinating and amazing people who have lived before us. It turns out that Wellington was relatively low key and reserved in his outlook, while Nelson was flamboyant and loved the attention. I will let you decide which of them I am more like.

London
London

Afterwards we went for a nice meal to top off the day properly. An excellent steak with a glass of red wine and cheesecake for desert. We ate in Bills on Baker Street. It was my first time in there. I would certainly not rule out a return visit at some stage. We had a lovely  day. It was nice to be able to take my mum to do something she really wanted to do.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

As a Tottenham Hotspur fan I am still smiling from us finally beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for the first time in twenty eight years. I am not saying it had been a long time coming. But before Dele Alli it was Gary Lineker who scored our last winner there.

The other great thing about it was that it really put us in a strong position to finish in the  top four and clinch Champions League football for next season. Which is so important to keep players and to start off at that level in the new stadium.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Well done to Declan Donnelly for presenting Saturday Night Take Away solo. He is a total professional and great at his job. As he has proved countless times over the years. But it must have been a bit tough not having his mate there for the first time ever. He just about held it together during the first link. Then after that he was flying. He did a fantastic job.

Although in music this is a pretty common occurrence. Somebody leaves a group or a duo and goes it alone. And often they have an equally. if not more successful career. It does feel odd when you first see them but you quickly get used to. If they are good enough. I do know this was an enforced move. Hopefully Ant will recover from his issues and return soon. But if not I am pretty confident Dec will still find plenty of work on his own.

BGT London
BGT London

In case you were wondering. Here is an update on the Nike Trainers that I ordered from Amazon. They have now sent me two of them in the same size. Which is a huge improvement on their first effort. I am now wearing them with the dark red body warmer and travelling around on a skateboard while hanging on to the back of cars. (If you do not get this reference, I suggest you read the previous entry).

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Just a quick reminder that I do a weekly podcast. Which is basically a radio show on the internet with no music featuring stories and old interviews from my twenty years working in radio. It is available on I-tunes, so why not subscribe to it? Then you will get every new episode automatically downloaded to your device. I would also like to point out that it is free. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/neil-quigley-podcasts/id1236437663?mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I am up in Liverpool this weekend for my annual pilgrimage to the Aintree Grand National Weekend. Which is always a lot of fun. I will tell you all about it of course the next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Racing Ahead

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy and lots of fun. I went out for a few drinks in Camden recently. I do not go out there very often but when I do I always enjoy it. It has such a different and interesting vibe to it. Plus there are lots of great pubs to visit. It is an area where you really do see all sorts of people in every outfit you can imagine and yet nobody there looks out of place.

I ended the night in a pub that I always visit, when I am there. Which is the Hawley Arms. It simply is just a cool place to hang out with a great energy and atmosphere to it. It was famously Amy Winehouse’s local. There are lots of memories of her dotted around. It is also the place where Pete Doherty once held a press conference in the beer garden. They both used to drink there regularly. But it was a popular haunt with celebrities and music stars long before them. Liam Gallagher, David Bowie and Boy George were once fairly frequent visitors to the place. Having a drink there does make you feel a little bit like a pop star.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I made another one of my fairly regular visits to the excellent Old Rope comedy night in London last Monday. It is a new material night for top comedians at the Phoenix Pub just off Regent Street. The night is hosted by the wonderful Tiff Stevenson. She is helped by her dad and mum. Who work on the door and look after all the other acts. It was another great line up. The place was sold out with an audience of comedy lovers. Which does make for a lovely atmosphere for the comedians.

On the bill performing their new stuff were Eleanor Tiernan, Andy Zaltzman, Phil Wang, Tony Law, Tania Edwards and Simon Brodkin. They were all brilliant. It is all very honest. In that they will sometimes make reference to if a new bit has worked or not or even admit if something needs more work. As an audience member it does make you feel that you are part of the process of shaping their new shows. I also find that owing to the fact I have attended a comedy course with Logan Murray and because I am in the process of reading his book. I can spot some of the writing exercises, that they have been doing to create the new material. There is a process and science to comedy.

The headliner was the brilliant James Acaster. He did forty minutes of his latest show. Which is already hilarious and will probably be even better by the time he tours it. He really is on fire at the moment. It was another fun night. If you are free in London on a Monday night. Then go to the Old Rope. You really cannot go wrong.

Old Rope Comedy
Old Rope Comedy

While we are talking about comedy. Very sad news this week with the death of the great Ken Dodd. He died at the age of ninety in the same house he was born in and lived in all his life. And what a life it was. One of the best comedians this country has ever produced. Sharp, clever, funny, silly with a love of comedy and making people laugh. I do regret the fact that I never got to see him perform live. I bought my parents tickets to see him as a present once. His live shows were famed for over running. If he and the audience were having a good time (as they always were). He would just keep on going. It always got to the stage where people were in danger of missing last trains or trying to re-book taxi’s for later.

It was a running joke at every venue that the theatre staff would leave him the keys and he would lock up when he was finished. This was the case when my parents saw him. The show started at 7.30pm and the interval did not happen until 10pm. He eventually and probably reluctantly finished just after midnight. You could never say that you did not get value for money at a Ken Dodd gig. He rightly has a statue at Liverpool Lime Street Station. With him depicted holding one of his famous tickling sticks. It is a very welcoming sight when you arrive in to the city. RIP Doddy. Thanks for the laughs.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My team Tottenham Hotspur have been knocked out of the Champions League. After a two all draw away at Juventus in the first leg. We were beating them one-nil at home in the second leg at Wembley Stadium. I was at the game. The atmosphere, as you would expect for such a big game was fantastic. We played brilliantly in the first half and were deservedly one up. All was looking good with the world. Then as soon as the Italian team got their first goal. It really seemed to jolt our players. They looked a bit shell shocked. Which seemed to lead to a lack of concentration. Which in turn lead to the second goal.

We gave it a good go and were unlucky when Harry Kane’s header hit the post in the dying minutes. If that had gone in it would have at least taken us to extra time. But alas it was not to be. The whole competition was fun. But as a team you can’t buy experience. Going out like this after doing so well, will hopefully help us to progress further next season.

Finishing in the top four has now become even more important for Spurs with the European adventure coming to an end. It would be disappointing to not be playing in the Champions League in the first season at our great new stadium. I was at Wembley to see us beat Huddersfield. Which was another important three points at home. It was also pleasing to see us bounce back from the European failure with a good away win on the south coast against Bournemouth.

The downside of that was Harry Kane going off with an ankle injury. Obviously any team would miss his goals and a player of his quality. But oddly our record when he has not played is not that bad. And personally I feel the team as a whole misses Christian Eriksen more. When he is out. That said I hope Harry is back and playing soon. And that we have a great end to the season.

Spurs v Juventus
Spurs v Juventus

Congratulations to Ant & Dec who recently celebrated the one hundredth episode of Saturday Night Takeaway. Which is still the best Saturday night entertainment show in my opinion. The centenary show featured lots of old clips from the show. It was fascinating how young the two Geordie presenters looked when it first started. They work so well together. It still regularly delivers new fun items and classic old favourites.

When a programme has been going for such a long time. It is so hard to keep the quality up. It is tough finding new ideas because they have basically done everything that can possibly be done. Which is always a problem for long running shows. However when you have those two fronting it. They can make anything entertaining. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

BGT London
BGT London

Just a quick reminder that I do a weekly podcast. Which is basically a radio show on the internet with no music featuring stories and old interviews from my twenty years working in radio. It is available on I-tunes, so why not subscribe to it? Then you will get every new episode automatically downloaded to your device. I would also like to point out that it is free. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-podcast-ep7/id1236437663?i=1000406202689&mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Thanks to my mate Dan Smith for giving me my first experience of the Cheltenham Festival last Wednesday. I am a big horse racing fan and have previously been to Royal Ascot and The Grand National meeting at Aintree. But never before had I been to the considered home of National Hunt racing. It had been on my to do list for a few years now. Therefore I was very happy to put that right on Ladies Day this year. As it is set in such a beautiful part of the country. The train journey itself gives you the chance to enjoy the wonderful countryside, as you head there with tens of thousands of fellow race goers.

It is as you would expect for an event that has been running for so long very well organised. They run shuttle buses from the station to the course for five pounds return. They pick you up outside the station and drop you right by the entrance. We were in the Club Enclosure. Which gives you a great view of the finishing line from the stands. It also offers you the chance to enjoy some nice bars. The whole course is so well designed that you can see the entire course sprawling out in front of you. All framed with the Cotswold Hills behind it. It really is a perfect setting.

Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham Festival

As it is a race meeting that does pit the best British Trainers against their Irish counterparts .While taking place during St Patrick’s Day, week. I thought it would be rude not to have a few pints of Guinness, while I was there. The day’s racing itself was top quality. With some brilliant high class contests. You really cannot beat seeing the end of the races as the horses jump the last and fly up that big hill to the finish line. Especially if your horse is in contention still or ideally winning. It is perfectly acceptable to scream and shout at the top of your voice to cheer you selection home.

I bought a brand new suit for the occasion. And if I do say so myself, I was looking fairly Dapper. I had a brilliant day battling the on course bookies. I had a winner in the second race. Another winner in the fourth race. Then came the final race of the day. I was looking for an outsider to put an each way bet on. I recognised a horse that was called Relegate. I remember seeing it win somewhere before. I liked the fact it was being ridden by Katie Walsh. She is a great jockey. Who has had a lot of success over the jumps in Ireland. It had odds of 33-1 for it to win. I just fancied it, so I put a ten pounds each way bet on it.

I then returned to the grandstand to watch the race. With two fences to go my horse was right at the back of the field. Then after it had jumped the last it suddenly flew in to action and caught the horse that was leading right in front of me on the home straight. I had to double check it was my horse. As it had just come from nowhere. You can imagine my joy and excitement as it won. I netted three hundred and eighty pounds. Which was a great way to round off my first Cheltenham Festival. I also got to see the force of nature that is Altior storm to victory. I will definitely be returning there next year. I cannot wait. It really is a fantastic day out. If you are a fan of horse racing, it is something you must go and experience.

Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham Festival

Today is St Patrick’s Day. My Granddad was born in Ireland and I do have an Irish surname. Which I think gives me the right to go out today and enjoy a couple of pints of Guinness. I will be heading as always to my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connor’s. Which I also believe serves the best pint of Guinness in the capital.

It is always a great place to celebrate. They have live Irish music. The day will be improved further this year by the fact that Ireland play England in the Rugby Six Nations. Which will ramp up the atmosphere even further. I will let you know how it was next time we speak.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

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

Live From The BBC

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been nice and busy with loads of fun things going on. A couple of Sunday’s ago I spent a brilliant afternoon seeing a stand up comedy television show being filmed in the BBC Radio Theatre. It does sound slightly bizarre that but it is actually a nice venue for comedy.

The show features new and up coming acts. Who have been scouted up at the Edinburgh Festival by producers. And who then get invited to perform that latest show for the cameras. Which is fantastic for them, as unless you are a McIntyre, Kay, Manford, Murray or Carr you will probably not be releasing a comedy special on DVD or Netflix, so it means they get a quality recording of that show to keep and enjoy for ever.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I saw two comedians perform their full Edinburgh Shows. As it was a TV show they had the brilliant Mark Olver as the Warm Up man. I have seen him a few times and he is always fantastic. Great at his job. While being very funny and inclusive. The first act was Chris Washington. Who I actually saw arrive at reception with his lunch in a well known supermarket’s carrier bag. He is clearly still very grounded and enjoys keeping it real. He was nominated in the Best New Comer category at the famous Scottish Arts Festival for his show Dream Big (Within Reason). Which he performed for us in full.

The show was excellent. Really funny and well performed. Like all good shows it was personal and very much about him and his life. Telling the story of how he ended up at the Edinburgh Festival and as a result of that. Then doing the show for us at the BBC. I would happily see him again. He is very likeable and entertaining. I would definitely go and watch another one of his full length shows. There are no real new ideas in comedy. You just need to say funny things to make people laugh. And that is exactly what he did. It was a pleasure to witness what I think might be his first full length television appearance.

The next comedian on the bill was somebody I had heard of but again had not seen perform live before. It was the wonderful Suzi Ruffel. She was amazing. Right from the start of her hilarious Fringe Show Keeping It Classy. I felt I was watching a tour de force of a performance. She was so at ease but at the same time alive. It was impossible to keep your eyes off her. Telling jokes is one thing but commanding the whole of the room is a whole other talent. I personally felt that, coming through in her act from the second she walked on stage.

Crucially of course as ever with any form of comedy. Her show was very funny and very clever playing with stereotypes from her world and the world in general. It is almost a voyage of personal discovery. She takes us on. She is very honest and open about her life. It features her doing regular impressions of her parents. Which I guess could not have been that easy for her, as her mum was sat in the audience.

She has supported Alan Carr and Josh Widdicombe on tour. And there is a bit of a buzz around her. Which having seen her do her stuff. I do understand. She is also individual enough in her material and self to carve her own niche in the comedy world. If you get the chance to see either of these two perform live. I would recommend you do so. It was a very funny afternoon spent laughing in an iconic venue.

On the way to BBC New Broadcasting House
On the way to BBC New Broadcasting House

I spent another night out enjoying a show in the West End. This time at The Harold Pinter Theatre to see the Harold Pinter play The Birthday Party. Which surely must be the perfect place to witness such a thing. The cast for this production was amazing. It featured Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan, Zoe Wanamaker, Peter Wight, Tom Vaughan – Taylor and Pearl Mackie.

I had only seen one Pinter play previously. Which was an amateur production that my mate starred in. The night I saw he managed to ad-lib a line from Alan Partridge in to it accidentally. Nothing like that happened during this one. Although of course the man who played the famous Dan in Partridge Stephen Mangan was in it.

The play itself was good. With an all star cast like that, it was performed perfectly. The staging and the effects were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although I do have to make a confession. If I am honest I cannot say that I totally understood the plot or indeed the ending of the story. I did not really get it. I wonder if that is Pinter’s intention to leave it up to the individual what to make out of what they have just witnessed. Either that or I really missed something from the story line. The ending did confuse me some what.

However I absolutely loved the play. It had me engrossed from the start to the finish. I really wanted to see it. As I had heard it was good, which it was. Plus how often can you witness that many great actors playing alongside each other. If you would like a wine review for this theatre. I can confirm they serve a very nice Rioja there at normal theatre prices of course.

I met one of my cousin’s in London recently for a few drinks. We ended up in The Porter House just off Covent Garden. I had walked past it a few times over the years but I had never actually been in. I did not realise that it was as big as it was, spread across a couple of floors or that they had live music in there. We arrived at the bar just as the band were sound checking. You should of course never judge a book by its cover. But seeing them set up on what looked like the world’s smallest stage, right behind the bar did not initially fill me with confidence that they would be any good.

I should of course had a lot more faith. I mean I guess it is unlikely you would get a gig in a big pub in Central London, unless you were any good. Not only did they sound great together musically. They did a nice and varied selection of well known songs from all sorts of genres and bands. Vocally they were pretty good to. I was impressed and enjoying watching them play. When they shot up even higher in my estimation by for comedy effect changing some of the words to some well known songs to in my opinion at least, make them even more amusing. A fun night out with good music and good company.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur have made it through to the FA Cup Quarter Finals after beating Rochdale 6-1 in a replay at a cold and snow filled Wembley Stadium. The FA has been trialling the VAR system in a few games in this seasons competition. They did so in this game and it was an absolute farce. There was a goal for Spurs disallowed after it had initially been given and all the players returned to the centre circle after five minutes had past. The home side then got awarded a penalty seemingly from out of nowhere. It was scored but then a minute later disallowed. And the taker booked.

None of the fans at the game had any idea what was going on. It was not obvious what they were reviewing or even what the decisions were made for. They could not even cheer the penalty as nobody knew it was going to be given. It just meant during the first half that the players and the fans for a total amount of nine minutes were just stood around in freezing conditions looking confused and asking each other what was going on.

This cannot be the future of the game. It just disrupts the rhythm of the game and leaves the fans in the ground confused about what they have actually paid to watch. I did not think it actually helped with anything. I think that goal line technology is an improvement. But VAR a big no for me in its current state. It is endanger of destroying the game I love.

That all said I am delighted Tottenham are still in the competition. I would so love us to win that trophy. It was great to see Llorente get a hat-trick and Walker-Peters get his first goal for the club. It very much keeps the season alive. I will be going to the next league game today at home against Huddersfield. It is another must win game as we must keep the pressure on the top four. As we really need to start out first season at the new stadium with Champions League football. And a top four finish will do that just in case we do not win the trophy this year. We have a huge game against Juventus at Wembley on Wednesday. Which I am very excited about going along to. It could be a big month for the club.

Spurs v Real Madrid
Spurs v Real Madrid

Just a quick reminder that I do have a new podcast out for this year. It is basically a radio show on the internet with no music. It features stories from the past, opinions from the current and bits of some of the many interviews I have done during my twenty years working in radio.

In the latest episode, find out which group once opened a bottle of beer for me. Plus what happened when a mate tried to turn the tables on an interview I was doing with the wonderful Sarah Parish by feeding her questions to ask me. Here is a link to the latest episode on I-Tunes. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-podcast-ep5/id1236437663?i=1000403988707&mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I am currently reading the excellent book from comedy Guru Logan Murray “Get Started In Stand Up Comedy”. Which is brilliant and helping me write some new material that I hope to perform later in the year. It is full of great practical advice, as well as lots of fun and creative games to play. To help with ideas, jokes and routines.

I have the added benefit of having already completed one of his courses and having performed under his guidance. Which was such a fun and rewarding experience. And one I would recommend to anyone.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The BBC Radio 4 Extra comedy programme that anybody can write for is currently back for its latest series. It is hosted by the wonderful Angela Barnes. It is a topical news show with plenty of satire. It is recorded every week at the Radio Theatre in front of an audience.

Therefore if you do get a joke on to the show, you know the laughter is real and genuine. I am once again throwing a few one liners their way looking to sneak a few in once again. It is called Newsjack and it is on every Thursday night at 10.30pm.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

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