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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Time for a change

After being here at Blogspot for a few years I have made the decision to leave and set up my blog with Wordpress. My blog is now at click the link to go there: Click here to see the new site

I hope to see you all again soon


Friday, 11 January 2013

More Signs

Friday 11 January 2013 – Here we are, the end of another week so I thought I share a couple of signs I spotted around town over the past week. The first was 100_5391inside a window of a public house, and was difficult to photograph. If you look you can just make out that it says, Xmas offer 3 bottels beer 4 £5.00. Now I may be wrong but I’d have expected a publican to be able to spell bottle.

The next is a sign I saw taped to someone’s front door. I like the challenge that it offers any one passing by and wanting to offer religious instruction. Spreading the word of God! Knock on this door! Go on I DARE YOU!!

The next sign for this post was seen in the window of a takeaway in town. This establishment had suffered a broken window back in March 2012 and has since then had a piece of chipboard up where the window once was. – Would that entice you inside to order food?
I passed it the other day and the chipboard was gone and a new window was being fitted and they closed for a few days to repaint outside. A few days later the following sign was displayed.CAM00023
For the shufflers out there, the song playing as I compose this posting is The City by The 1975, who are tipped for big things this year. 184473_10152392452050277_1903220748_n

And finally a wonderful offer from Thomas Cook. Save a fortune on IVF; in fact save all that huffing and puffing needed to create a child, just pop along and for a pound choose the one you like the look of.
Have a good weekend. Baz

Thursday, 10 January 2013

That All Important Opening

Thursday 10 January 2013 – As The Man Who Would Be King, by The Libertines played at a discreet volume, I sat looking at the keys of my laptop and waited for inspiration.

I have hit a block – I wouldn’t call it writers’ block, just a pregnant pause in my work schedule. I had half written the next chapter of ‘52’ when I left it to write a piece I’d been commissioned to write for a magazine. Christmas and New Year also interfered with my plans for the chapter and so it remained forgotten. That was until now, when I know I must continue if I am to reach my self-inflicted deadline of 90,000 words by March 2013.

The problem is I just cannot get back into the rhythm of the piece, I’ve even written a chapter that appears later, in the hope that I’ll be inspired to complete this troublesome piece of prose. Sadly it didn’t help. So I looked back at the opening of the book, and those first few words that need to hook a reader; hoping I’d get that writers’ rush we get when we start a new piece of work. Did it work? – No, all it did was get me thinking about opening sentences of well known books, and if they grabbed me enough to carry on reading.

The first sentence is from Emile Zola’s novel, His Masterpiece. This novel was Image.ashxmentioned in my friend Tim's Blog and I became intrigued to read some of the text. The opening sentence had me straight away and I’m now reading the book.

Claude was passing in front of the Hotel de Ville, and the clock was striking two o'clock in the morning when the storm burst forth.


One of my favourite books; read as a schoolboy is Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. I know it’s an odd book for a man to cite as wutheringone of his favourites, but I’m a bit of a Bronte fan and love the way that Emily, Anne and Charlotte wrote.

I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.


In my opinion, Othello, is one of Shakespeare’s finest plays, and the opening sentence is directed to one of the greatest theatrical villains of all time, Iago. Oh my goodness, how I love how deliciously bad he is. Some may say that, Macbeth is the Bard’s most evil creation, but no. Macbeth is a honourable man, a good man corrupted, a man tortured by his deeds. Whereas Iago is bad through and through, a man who relishes in his 5694118793_fabe5938a8_bnastiness. Othello’s opening is a street in Venice, and the first sentence is uttered to Iago by Roderigo.

Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly, that thou, Iago, who hast had my purse as if the strings were thine.


Published back in 1972, The Rats by James Herbert had a profound effect on me. It was the first of Herbert’s books I’d ever read and it consumed me completely. Dated now, but still a darn good read; it was one of the books that I can say inspired me to write. I tried my hand at the thriller/horror genre as a twenty-something and very quickly discovered I didn’t have the talent for it. I went on to read all of the books written by Herbert, digesting them like a literary glutton. I tried Koontz and King, but found them lacking that something special that Herbert has.

The Rats has a prologue, but I’ve decided to quote the first sentence of chapter one, as it grabs you by the balls: at least it did me as a teenager and the bruising remained.

Henry Guilfoyle was slowly drinking himself to death.


Some openings just don’t grab you, but the books still go on to become a major success. One such book for me is JK Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I found the first sentence uninspiring and bland. I’ve not since been able to connect with any of the books in the series, and remain happily ignorant to the story of this famous boy-wizard.

They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters.


Sex, Lies and Family Ties, is an independently published coming of age novel9780953226078 written by Sarah J Graham. At a reading event in late 2012 I picked up a copy and read it avidly from the moment I’d turned the first page. It’s a dark book, but unlike Wuthering Heights it isn’t brooding.The story contains a despicable man that you can loathe, almost as much as Othello’s Iago. And finally like The Rats, it has moments that make your insides churn. Oh, and a brilliant first sentence.

On the day that Jim finally died, Carol Hopcraft danced a jig in Mrs Hamilton’s hallway.

My final first sentence comes 52 from my own novel in progress. I just hope it grabs readers attention.

The rush of hot air on my leg indicates that Len has silently farted again.

Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Hello in There

Wednesday 09 January 2013 – Last week during a visit to the local supermarket, I was standing at the till watching my shopping slide towards the cashier when an elderly lady popped a single item onto the conveyor belt. Being a gentleman, I of course asked if she wanted to go in front of me as I had several items. She thanked me and promptly popped herself one place further up the queue. As she waited her turn she began to tell me about some new cushions she was hoping to buy in the January sales.

She paid for her item, and as mine were being processed she continued to chat, this time asking if I’d had a nice Christmas. I told her it was agreeable and asked how hers had been. She told me she had spent it alone, since she had no children and her husband had passed away many years ago.


                          Hello World. Barry Lillie 2013

After I’d paid for my shopping I stood outside with the old lady and listened as she told me she spent her days alone inside her house, seeing no one. She only ever had the opportunity to meet other people when she did her shopping. We chatted for a few more minutes; what we talked about wasn’t important. What was important was that for about thirty-minutes I made a difference to someone’s otherwise lonely day.

Maybe we should all make an effort to stop and say hello to the elderly, maybe a friendly face may the only contact they’ll have for several days.

This encounter reminded me of the Bette Midler song, Hello in There.


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Order or OCD?

Tuesday 08 January 2013 – A few months ago, I decided to save space, so I took all of my DVD discs out of their cases and stored them inside folders.


After years of being on shelves in alphabetical order they now reside inside zippered cases with see-through pockets. Of course they are all slipped into their sleeve alphabetically and if there’s more than one disc per show then they’re filed chronologically.

Recently I purchased twelve new DVD’s and so had to then slot them into the correct position, which meant shuffling them all into their new positions. As I currently have nine cases, and each case holds two-hundred discs it became a mammoth job.

First I assembled the new discs into alphabetical order, and saw that the first film was Benvenuti al Nord, meaning I’d have to move approximately 1789 discs just to slot this one into position. The task in itself took forty-five minutes to complete.


Now I know it may sound like a bonkers thing to do and I am aware that I’ll never get those minutes back. But I feel it’s worth it.

1. I am happier knowing that they are all in order.

2. If they were all mixed up, I expect it’d take more minutes in the long run to select a film, as I’d have to go through several cases until I found the one I wanted to view.

I guess some people would call this obsessive compulsive disorder.

I call it order.

Monday, 7 January 2013


Monday 07 January 2013 – I was thinking about graffiti this morning. After breakfast as the Scars played Romance by Mail, I went for a quick stroll. I was hoping some fresh air would re-activate my creative juices dormant since the festivities. At the bottom of the street someone had sprayed a pointless piece of graffiti on a garden wall. It was such a crappy bit of scribble that didn’t warrant a photograph taking, but did make me think about a few weeks ago when I did spot an interesting piece of graffiti.


In Britain people have a different attitude to graffiti than the Italians do. An earlier blog entry of mine mentions this click the link to read it:

I see graffiti as street art. It doesn’t have to be as skilled as the work of Banksy, but should at least be well executed. I know there’s argument for the destruction of 100_2262property and I understand this argument and agree it’s viable, but from the point of view of just looking at graffiti I do think some can be pleasing to the eye. I took a photo in Napoli back in 2009 of a train and every carriage was adorned with artwork. None of the Italian travellers on the platform batted an eyelid, in fact they ignored it. A couple of English tourists sucked their teeth in dismay. This laid back attitude means that no one is rushing around spending money to remove it like the rail networks in the UK would. The Italian’s know it’ll just come back if they do, so don’t waste the energy, they conserve it and apply it to la bella figura.


There’s another piece of street art that I drive past regularly. One day I must make the effort to stop the car and get a photograph to share here.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Hanging around bras… Yes, that’s right, it’s not a typo.

04 January 2013 - How predictable am I? I got up and decided it was time to change the desktop image on my laptop, so I changed it from a picture of the Italian sex-god Tiziano Ferro to a picture of the Italian sex-god Tiziano Ferro. (Who’d believe I’m no longer in school, and I’m bloody 51?)


Before Christmas, on a shopping trip I found myself waiting for ‘me Dutch’ as he paid at the till of a well-known high street, budget clothing emporium. As he queued I discovered I was standing in the bra section. Now the sum total of my brassier experience has been fumbling as a teen with B*****t F****’s* fastening at a youth club disco and wearing an oversized one during pantomime at various venues up and down the UK.                                      * name disguised to protect the innocent.

So I’m standing surrounded by ladies intimate apparel and began to peruse what was on display. There were lacy bras complete with gel side fillets to emphasise the cleavage; giving less endowed girls that Holly Willoughbooby look I guess. There was a selection of bras that came with under-cup gel to lift the bosom and even some with gel-cups to give the illusion of a bigger breast. At £4.99, much cheaper than surgery.

It was only when I’d spent several minutes moving from rack to rack, (no pun intended) that I noticed the sales assistant watching me. I nodded and smiled just CAM00018as ‘me Dutch’ exited the payment line and as I walked away she gave me a look that told me she didn’t think I was a pervert.

It was that knowing look of someone convinced that I was a cross-dresser.

If I was a transvestite I think I’d call myself Olivia and I’d wear brassieres like this padded purple one.

I’m always willing to make an impact.


Have a good weekend – see you all on Monday

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Prince, Public Toilets and other Peoples’ Children

03 January 2013 – I know the title of today’s instalment sounds like I’ve been up to some nefarious activity but it’s the easiest way to explain recent events at Freeport at Talke.

During a pre-Christmas shopping trip I was mooching through the shopping mall when the call of nature struck me. The public lavatories are situated upstairs so I stepped onto the escalator and was travelling upwards when I noticed a small boy beside me holding the hem of my jacket. I looked around to see his mother at the bottom looking up with smiling encouragement for her son. We reached the top and he released his grip on my jacket and calmly walked over to a man, who I presumed to be his father. No nod of recognition came from the man as he took the boys hand and led him into the cafe.

Either I have a trusting demeanour or these were parents without the cotton-wool 427px-Prince_Albert-1842mentality of child-raising.

I followed another father and son into the public convenience, and they secured themselves behind a cubicle door; pity it didn’t hold the boys conversation inside. At first myself and the other patrons heard – “Are you having a wee too, daddy?”  This was followed by “Daddy, why do you have a big earring in your willy?” Needless to say, there were a few of us taking longer to wash our hands at the basins, eager to catch a glimpse of the father that we now knew had a Prince Albert nestling inside his Y fronts.

A few minutes later I’m sat in the café enjoying a cuppa when at the table next to ours a small girl, aged around three or four turns to her mother and says, “I need toilet.” Her mother takes her by the hand and leads her a few paces from the table, points in the direction of the public facilities, approximately seventy-five yards away around a slight bend in the corridor and lets the child wander off on her own while she sits back down to continue drinking her coffee and munching on a cupcake.

I wasn’t the only person there that looked suitably shocked.

As the child returned  safe and sound; although can we be sure she washed her hands? I switched on my iPod and left as Nina Simone sang Strange Fruit. As I descended the escalator I thought to myself, strange parenting.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


02 January 2013 - I was shopping the other day in that well-know supermarket that has four letters in its name, an ‘A’ at both ends that makes it sound similar to a Swedish pop group. I loaded what I wanted onto the conveyor and the girl behind the till scanned and smiled as I packed away. I began to pay with my card and she asked me the question that always comes before you’re requested to put in your pin number, “Would you like any cash-back?” Usually I say no, as I only draw cash as and when I need it, but today was different. I was planning to pop into the local market, where it’s all cash transactions. I asked if I could just have five pounds. At first the girl behind the till looked shocked, as if I’d asked if I could have a night of kinky sex with her grandfather, then she raised her eyebrows and said, “Five pounds, oh no, we can only let you have ten.”
“But I don’t want ten,” I replied.
“Well you can’t have any cash-back then.”
“Why not?”
“Because at A_ _A we only allow a ten pounds minimum.”
“I don’t know, I guess it’s like cash machines, we can’t do less than a tenner.”
“Never mind,” I said, left the store and stopped at my banks’ ATM and withdrew a crisp five-pound note, popped the ear-buds into my ear and as Cher belted out, Love is a Lonely Place without U I nipped into the market and purchased some black pudding.
Regular readers of my blog will know how I like to find unusual signs and those with spelling mistakes, and so imagine my surprise when I found this one for you all to enjoy. Here’s the first bad sign of 2013:
I quite like the newly created word, ‘lastwash2pm’ and the spelling of ‘normal’ with a double ‘L’, but my favourite is the uppercase ‘S’ at the end of days and shouldn’t New Year be capitalised with an apostrophe before the S?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Car-Park Etiquette

01 January 2013 – So here it is, 2013. How we’ve waited for you with eager anticipation and hope. Hope that you’ll bring better weather than your predecessor, maybe a fiscal miracle to bring an end to the recession and hopefully a dignified retreat from the public eye by Robbie Williams.

As my blog is all about my life and the music that shuffles on my iPod as I go about my days, it’s only fair to let you know what the first tune of 2013 is, as it shuffles randomly to the fore. I’m Still Waiting by the fabulous, if short lived, River City People.

I’m Still Waiting. River City People

Sadly I have to say my first blog of the year is an opinion piece, a letting off of steam some may say. A rant. It concerns the use of car-parks, which tends to be one of the everyday situations that will be guaranteed to tip me over the edge.

We are all sensible enough to know that it’s wrong to park in a bay reserved for disabled drivers if we are not entitled to do so. But, I have to admit to having a problem with mother and child spaces. I understand that people with children need ample room to accommodate the buggy and other child related detritus, but why do these spaces have to situated in premium areas of the car-park? You’ve only bred not lost a limb. Another bone of contention regarding these spaces is the amount of people who think because they have a wide expanse of tarmac either side of their vehicle they are justified in leaving the shopping trolley there and driving off. Don’t get me started on people who are too lazy to return their trolley to its bay.

Another activity that gets my blood boiling is impatient drivers. Yesterday I was ready to reverse out of my parking space when I noticed the man in his car to my left also begin to reverse out of his. I waited for him to leave, checked no one was behind me and began to reverse. Suddenly out of no where came a woman in a car causing me to brake as she’d decided not to wait for me to leave, and skidded around me into the recently vacated space to my left. Imagine my surprise when she got out of her car and just shrugged, as if to say “oh well, no harm done.” Had I not been in a better mood I’d have been tempted to give her a few choice words.

As I exited the car-park, which has two lanes; one for people turning right and another for people turning left, I was sat in the right hand lane. I am about to reach the junction when the car to my left suddenly without warning decided to change lanes. I beeped my horn, only to have the woman in front: the woman who didn’t have the dexterous ability to use an indicator, lift her hand up and give me the middle finger salute.

Whilst I’m on about car-parking, I have to admit to hating those people who cannot park in the centre of two lines, those that either straddle the line, or park so close to it that when you arrive back at your car, the only way to get back inside is via the sun-roof or to tunnel in from below.

84804-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Shiny-Pink-Euro-App-Button-With-A-Chrome-RimFinally, you know my feelings about mother and baby spaces, but I believe there’s a section of the car-park that needs to be set aside for the LGBT community, let’s call it ‘gay bay’. It doesn’t have to be pink or rainbow coloured, just a privileged spot for the people who are free from the expense of bringing up children, paying school fees and pre-school childcare. As it must make sense to allocate specialised parking to the portion of the shopping community with the largest proportion of disposable income. Tongue firmly in cheek.

Rant over – just in time as Antony and the Johnsons start to play Everglade.