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Billy King

The Best Of Billy: 10+ years

To celebrate, if that is the right word [Of course it is – Billy] [Don’t be so Suir – Ed] over 10 years of Billy King’s Colms in Nonviolent News, we asked Máireád and Mark to pick out their ‘top ten’ favourites to date, Máireád choosing from the earlier columns and Mark the later. The Billy King ‘Rites Again’ column began with issue No.84 in November 2000. The link for the issue is given at the end of each. Happy reading or reminiscing, and of course there’s a load more where these came from.......


No.101 July 2002
Really enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek review of the flags, alas something which remains a live topic. It was a theme that I thought was visible through a lot of the blog posts, this connection, the refusal to shift an inch on ‘god given’ rights to wave flags and invade and plant flags...this piece was good to go back to again after reading some of the other posts. While war and other violent conflict, and its insisters, is of an utmost serious nature, placed within this context the folly of warring over identity and flags is put in context. and click on issue 101

No.107 March 2003
Liked this one primarily for the piece on middle-age men. Having also had the “get a job” shouts thrown at me and those around me. As if, as you say, those of us marching really were doing it because we really had nothing else to do, as if demonstrating against an illegal war was the last resort of the feckless and jobless. Also, as before I found it interesting to read a report on the Bloody Sunday enquiry before it had reached fruition. To tie both of these pieces together – I remember hearing someone from Derry at the time commenting on the expense of the tribunal, while agreeing that the expenses of the lawyers was exorbitant that he noted a distinct absence of shock and disgust from similar groups at the money being thrown at arms being used in Iraq at the same time. and click on issue 107

No.114 November 2003
I liked this one because, whether or not intentionally, each piece deals with mythology. The first of course deals with the ever, alas, relevant mythology that dogs conflicts from Northern Ireland to Israel and Palestine. The insistency on ancient myths and symbols somehow providing a truth that must not be questioned. My brother was just yesterday telling me about a piece from an Eddie Izzard sketch where he images the British Empire spreading with the rationality that “we can take your land! –why?- because we have a flag!!!!” And then of course the mythologies of war, of the heroes, the fallen and the glorious sacrifice “dying will bring us into glory” as the song goes. And finally, the myths of the Georges…in spite of all of Best’s behaviour he is now eulogised and an airport carries his name. Bush will long be remembered for his bumbling ‘Bushisms’ and in a way this is now a new myth that shadows the destructiveness of his presidency beneath a joke.

No.125 December 2004
This one stuck out for me because of the frightening statistics regarding Domestic Violence, which urged me to google to find out where we stand nowadays. If is anything to go by, things are not much better. The piece on Bertie’s socialism was also bitterly sweet. Sweet in that it hits the nail on the head, bitter in the taste that he has left in our collective mouths with his mealy mouthed “socialism”…would that he had been handed a bunch of Orange Mock as he left office.

No.130 June 2005
I always enjoy seeing marketing translated, I would like this kind of thing to appear every now and again just to remind me to stop falling for shampoo adverts and then feeling bitterly disappointed when I am not transformed into a goddess. Maybe I’m the only one so gullible. I also thought this linked nicely then with the election leaflets…manifestos and promises that should also come with a translation regarding what they really mean and intend to deliver.


No. 140: June 2006
Reminded me of visiting Brian with the kids at his fantastic camp in Westminster Square in 2007 and the noise of traffic going around there...also of the tributes recently on his death.
”No haw haw with the law for Brian Haw”

No. 146: February 2007
Had to include this one about our memorable excursion to Faslane... (Man up Billy! Camping on freezing tarmac ain't that bad...)
“Coming round the bend at Faslane”

No. 165 Dec 2008
Interesting analysis on how Belfast's dailies covered this contentious event.
“Having an RIR old time”

No. 181: July 2010
Important issue and assumption that INNATE is addressing here.
“Masking masculinity”

No. 185 Dec 2010
Nice piece on US Embassy's view of Ploughshares nonviolent action and the use of Shannon Airport by the US military.
“Wicked leaks on Shannon”

Who is Billy King?
A long, long time ago, in a more innocent age (just talking about myself you understand), there were magazines called 'Dawn' and 'Dawn Train' and I had a back page column in these. Now the Headitor has asked me to come out from under the carpet to write a Cyberspace Column 'something people won't be able to put down' (I hope you're not carrying your monitor around with you).

Watch this. Cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman pass by (because there'll almost certainly be very little about horses even if someone with a similar name is found astride them on gable ends around certain parts of Norn Iron).

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