New York City’s explosive and hilarious once-a-month comedy show at Hotel Chantelle has it’s next line up.

On Thursday, November 21 at 7:30pm the people of NYC can prepare themselves for all new performers and guests. This time, Sherrod Smallfrom the acclaimed “Race Wars” podcast and Comedy Central, Nimesh Patel, a writer for SNL and Seth Myers, and Jared Freidfrom the hit “JTrain” podcast will be in attendance.

The Surprise Show, hosted at Hotel Chantelleand The Cutting Room, features some of the best acts in comedy for an unforgettable evening. Each act is hand-picked to provide a curated set to ensure that each performance is new and special. On top of surprise comedy guests, The Surprise Show has many more–you guessed it– surprises up its sleeve.

In past performances, they have featured professional magicians, mentalists, singers, and many more, all while a live sketch artist draws the performance, including the crowd! These performances, coupled with the comedy acts, make The Surprise Show the hottest independant show in New York City that you won’t want to miss.

From the very beginning, it all began with a passion from creators and comedians Sachin Shaan and Anish K. Mitra. They both made it their mission to strive for excellence in comedy all while drawing from diverse backgrounds.

Fore more information regarding The Surprise Show and Hotel Chantelle, head over to their website here.



In the modern day, there appears to be a dichotomy between how we divide our time in the real and virtual world. A quick scan of the internet will often throw up an article bemoaning the lack of face-to-face interaction or how we are losing ourselves to technology as a species.

Although this may be true in some respects, nobody can contest the fact that digital interactions are now integral parts of our lives. With this in mind, does there have to be a conflict of interest between what we do online and our real-life (IRL) activities? And if so, is one necessarily better or more beneficial than the other?

Our Gaming Interactions

Social games such as Farmville throw up many interesting points of discussion. While they may be a great way to spend your free time, the end result is largely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. In contrast, planting an actual herb garden brings with it the same sense of satisfaction as well as something tangible which you can enjoy and share with others.

In terms of games that you can enjoy both online and IRL, poker is a great example of how both mediums have their own advantages. Online poker is now back in the US and as a result, players can enjoy various different welcome bonuses that aren’t afforded to them in brick and mortar casinos. On the other hand, some players would argue that they prefer the social interaction associated with visiting their local establishment and seeing their friends. Either way, either choice could easily be put down to personal preference – although in the case of poker in particular, many say that they enjoy the ability to practice online before hitting the land-based poker rooms.

Transactions and Purchases

In many ways, online payment systems have made our lives much easier when it comes to paying our bills or handling other transactions. Although the older generation still seemingly prefer to do their business in person in a physical setting, most people would agree that it’s preferential to make payments online.

Online shopping, however, is an altogether different animal. Despite the various offers and discounts when shopping online, the inability to try clothes and shoes on still irks, and some shoppers still prefer to do their shopping in a store. However, it’s fair to say that the large majority of people enjoy a combination of the two depending on their circumstances, and the online and IRL shopping worlds can seemingly co-exist (at least for the time being).


The evolving nature of our relationships has changed the way we interact with our friends. Consider Facebook and its handy reminders sent in the form of notifications when someone on your list has a birthday coming up. The modern-day social media user now seems more miffed if you haven’t written on their wall as opposed to the lack of a birthday card or present.

It’s also true that people now enjoy exclusively online relationships with other users and the feelings attached to them are demonstrably as real as IRL friendships. Ultimately, a mixture of both types of friendships is what the large majority of individuals currently enjoy, and this seems like a healthy balance on paper.

An Ever-Changing Landscape

It’s fair to assume that as time moves on, technology will play an increasing part in our lives. Does this also mean that more of our interactions and chores will take place online as opposed to IRL? Not necessarily.

After all, the clambering for face-to-face interaction has led many to abandon their online quests and go back to doing things the traditional way. In the long run, however, the added convenience of completing our daily tasks online will probably too big of a draw for us to simply ignore.






Image Source: Pixabay




The Surprise Show is a unique and diverse take on comedy.

If you’re looking for something with a unique edge and a fresh take on diversity, The Surprise Show is the thing for you. The independent production is held monthly at venues in NYC such as The Cutting Room and Hotel Chantelle, who are known their top performers with the kind of nightlife that invites excitement with drinks and food on offer during the show. 

The Surprise Show is about more than just comedy. Comedians, singers, magicians, and more are all welcome to perform. There’s even a live sketch artist who draws the performers and the audience. Because each performer is hand-picked by the event’s founders, none of the shows are the same and every performance is different than the last.

Hotel Chantelle have exciting November events coming up, and be sure to get tickets sooner rather than later. The Surprise Show tickets always sell out online.

Comedians Sachin Shaan and Anish K. Mitra co-created The Surprise Show to promote diversity, access and excellence to comedy. Time Out even called it ”one of the most diverse regular shows in the city, highlighting performers from all different backgrounds.”

At The Surprise Show, the celebrity guests are called “Drop-Ins” and there’s one for each performance. At October’s Surprise Show, titled “Loloween,” comedian Nikki Glaser took the stage. She’s done everything from radio, TV, and podcasts. She’s a host on her TV series Not Safe with Nikki Glaser that premiered on Comedy Central and she hosts Nikki and Sara Live alongside fellow comedian Sara Schaefer. Both of these shows show off her raw and raunchy takes on.


But Glaser’s credentials don’t stop there. Her Netflix special Nikki Glaser: Bangin’ is a “blistering stand-up special about sex, sobriety and getting over her own insecurities. And she won’t spare you the details,” according to the Netflix description. 




Dr Nyla Raja hosted the star-studded event a few weeks ago…

Clients, family and friends gathered at Castlerock House, Wilmslow Road, Alderley Edge to enjoy a summer garden party hosted by Dr Nyla, with an exclusive performance from Peter Andre.



How Hale’s Luke Backhouse is busy taking his development business to the next ambitious level and proving that old-fashioned family values are alive and well in the North West.

We live in an era of the Rich Kids of Instagram, where the giddy recipients of inherited wealth showboat on social media. On paper, Luke Backhouse should fit right in. In reality, he’s running (pretty damn fast) in the opposite direction.

We meet in his hometown of Liverpool. He’s immaculately dressed (suited and booted) and possessed of an old-school glamour and politeness. At just 29, he heads land development firm Backhouse Group, a position he inherited from his granddad, William Messham. Portfolio value? One billion and counting.

“People assume I’m a spoilt rich kid,” he smiles, “but I like to prove people wrong!”

A not-so-easy ride to the top

Aged 14, having been “politely” asked to leave school (“I didn’t like it and only enjoyed the sports”), Luke begged his granddad to let him join the family business. He assumed he’d be given an easy ride. He was wrong.  

“My granddad wanted me to know the value of money,” explains Luke, “so I didn’t walk straight into the office, I started on the sites as a labourer and worked my way up. I thought being the boss’s grandson (laughs) I’d get preferential treatment… but it was the complete opposite! He taught me how to earn a living; if you were lazy and didn’t work, you didn’t get anything.”

His granddad, a self-made man who came from nothing, is his idol. From smoking cigars and drinking whisky to dressing sharply, it all comes from a desire to emulate him. His own father, Nigel, died when Luke was aged just four and he and his mother moved in with her parents.

“In an ideal world, my dad was next in line to take over the business (his voice breaks off), but we didn’t have that luxury.”

Showstopping projects

By the age of 20, Luke had started to acquire his own sites, prepping them for business or residential purposes and selling them on.

Fast forward to 2019 and he’s CEO; specialising in acquiring land other people have failed to put to best use or tracking down sites with serious potential before they’ve even gone up for sale.

There are a number of exciting new projects currently on the go countrywide, including the proposed Mersey View Gardens in Liverpool, a showstopping set of three towers overlooking the river and housing luxury apartments, restaurants and leisure facilities – all where a timber yard once stood. The application is soon to be submitted to the council.

“About six summers ago, I went and sat on the land, alone,” recalls Luke. “It was peaceful and quiet. I thought ‘it would be a shame to turn this into industrial units, especially with a nature reserve next door’. Some people haven’t been so keen on the idea, but I don’t listen to anyone, I like to think outside the box. If you look at the Hudson River, yes, it’s lined with industrial properties, but it also features some of the most expensive apartments on the planet!”

This leads us onto another of Luke’s great passions – New York City. He adores the place; its architecture, friendly vibe and the 24-hour culture that suits his ‘can’t bear to be anything but busy’ nature. It reminds him of his hometown, so much so, in September, he opens his first restaurant and bar on Fifth Avenue – named, quite beautifully, after he and his partner Ashley’s six-month-old daughter, Saskia.

The impact of fatherhood

Rather than turning his life upside down, fatherhood has had the opposite effect:

“A smile from her can make me forget a stressful day. I had OCD pretty badly and needed to have everything straight and in order. Now? There are toys all over the place, but I don’t care anymore! She’s an angel and it helps that she has the best mum I could have wished for.”

Luke and Bowdon-born Ashley have lived in Hale for 18 months now. Do they think Saskia will take over the family business?

“If it makes her happy, then we’re happy! I think it’s a tired stereotype that you need a boy to take over; I’ve seen lots of women do a better job than their brothers at taking over firms!

“I’m not saying I won’t spoil her, but I want to ensure she’s never in the position to rely on somebody. I don’t want someone to try impress her with a big car, I want her to have worked to buy herself one!”

He evidently adores strong women, speaking fondly of his mum, Lauretta, and “the real head of the family”, his grandma, Rhona (“if she speaks, we listen!”).

Just taking off

The company, whose main office is based in Widnes, is going from strength to strength.

“As I see it,” says Luke, “my granddad built the plane for me to fly and it’s now just taking off.

“I want to keep acquiring sites across the country, keep expanding. We are always on the lookout for the next big thing. We are debt-free and self-funded, so those who work with us won’t have to wait on us getting approval from a bank. I’ve been known to see land with potential and buy it the same day.”

There are also plans afoot to launch a rugby league club in Liverpool with Marwan Koukash (former owner of the Salford Red Devils) and Andrew Mikhail of the Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group.

His granddad must be proud? He laughs:

“I hope so… he tells me now and then, but I don’t think he wants to give me a big head!”

And with that, he’s off to the local boxing club to train. He used to compete when he was younger, now he just boxes to stay fit and funds local fighters.

“I get my business mentality from boxing,” he says. “Be fearless. Never back down.”

And who introduced him to the sport?

His face lights up, “My granddad.”



The UK is seeing the rise of a new kind of home owner, including flexible workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs and those on parental leave.

But despite being ready to take their first step onto the property market, this new normal home owner is being let down by the mortgage market, according to a new report out today by Online Mortgage Advisor of 2,000 consumers in this position.

Nearly one in ten (9%) couldn’t find a mortgage at all. This rose to 16% of freelancers, 20% of those on maternity or paternity leave and 28% of people on zero hours contracts, even though the majority have a good credit history.

One in ten have missed out on the house they wanted as a result of lenders’ criteria. Overall, 38% of new normal homeowners have considered delaying their home purchase until their circumstances change. The average delay is 2.1 years, although 13% have considered waiting for over five years.

“New normal homeowners don’t fit the mould of traditional mortgage lenders. For example, freelancers often earn the same, or more, than full-time employees, but their income can vary from month to month – and mortgage lenders often want two or three years of accounts. Circumstances that were unusual for first time buyers 30 years ago are now much more common. But many lenders haven’t kept pace with the rise of new normal homeowners, offering harsher lending criteria or just turning them down – with very real, personal consequences.” – Pete Mugleston, Managing Director at Online Mortgage Advisor

A third (34%) of new normal home owners feel at a disadvantage compared to “traditional” first time buyers and nearly half (43%) feel that lenders don’t reflect contemporary society. A quarter (25%) conclude that mortgage brokers simply aren’t equipped to deal with people in their circumstances. 

Importantly, the majority of these buyers are unaware of the specialist support tailored to their circumstances. Only one in ten (12%) have spoken to a specialist mortgage broker, while over three quarters (78%) are unaware that these specialist brokers exist at all.

The average new normal home owner plans to spend or has spent £174,377 on their first home. By failing to serve their needs, the housing market could be missing a significant opportunity, especially during the current period of low growth. 

“It’s vital that prospective home owners are able to turn to the specialist mortgage providers that understand their circumstances and can share the advice that will set them up for the future. With more choice, new normal home buyers can join the property market, and not only get the house of their dreams but give the UK housing market a much-needed boost in the process. It’s time for the mortgage market to catch up with the new normal home owner.” – Pete Mugleston

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