Billy - Act one

Billy, in act one, painting Alec's yacht blue and white. Quotation: "Ye don't like green do ye?" Billy, in act two, painting the grocer's shop green and gold. Quotation: "Green an gold he wants. What can ye dae!"

Billy, Davie’s younger brother and Ian's father, contrasts Davie in many ways and this is his role in the play. Both fathers have influenced the way their sons think. Billy is a practical man, who has always been employed, and encourages Ian to be the same: "Ye need a trade. That's what ma da says. He’s gonnae get me in wi him at the paintin when ah’m auld enough."

Billy is a practical man, who is keen to get the job done. This is demonstrated when he paints Alec's yacht within a few days, whereas Davie never makes the sail, despite being the more skilled and specialised tradesman.

Billy is sympathetic to a point when Davie cannot pay back the money he lent him and questions him about why he is skint, suggesting bevvying and bettin too heavy as contributing factors. Their relationship is good enough for Davie to confide in him about the difficulties he has at work and his illegal gambling debts with the bookie.

Billy is wiser than Davie when it comes to money and has not been drawn into gambling, seeing it as a waste of money and a mug's game. Billy looks for a practical solution, unlike his brother who seems to accept his fate. He tells Davie There must be some way tae get this bookie aff yer back for a start and hints he will deploy a few hard men to resolve the situation. Sadly, this results in Davie taking a beating and losing his job.

Feeling guilty about his involvement, Billy resolves to put in a word for Davie at his work. He is prepared, once again, to seek a practical solution, whereas Davie wallows in self-pity: Scrubbed. Get yer jacket on. Pick up yer cards. On yer way pal! Out the door. Yet, from their memories, it seems that Davie was the active and clever one as Billy recalls them fighting and Davie was too fast for him. Quick on yer feet. … Ma only chance was tae get ye in a bearhug.

Where Billy is not sympathetic, largely due to his lack of understanding, is over Davie’s state of mind. He does not understand that Davie is depressed and still grieving, and thinks he simply has to pull himself together, screw the heid The traditional working man did not show his feelings and Billy represents this stereotype.

He is not interested in the books that Davie has read and prefers football. He is also influenced by sectarianism as he detests anything Catholic and criticises Celtic: Ye don't like green do ye? …It’s maybe no bad in itself, but they Catholics have made it bad. The much more open-minded Davie dismisses this and does not approve of Billy influencing his son with such bigoted rubbish, pointing out It takes a green stem tae haud up an orange lily.

Even the seemingly trivial discussion about a name for Alec's yacht provides Billy with the opportunity to allude to the Protestant victory over the Catholics when he suggests the name No Surrender, in contrast to Alec's Star of the Sea and Davie’s City of Glasgow.

He is seen singing sectarian songs, much to Davie's horror and remarks It’s a Protestant country isn’t it? An Ah’m not ashamed tae show ma colours. Even when they discuss great Rangers’ players from the past and Davie praises the skills of Alan Morton, Billy's reply is A protestant!

His influence is shown to have affected Ian as, when playing ‘Martian’ football, Alec humorously imagines The centre-forward’s got four heids, to which Ian replies Typical fenians. This sectarian response can only have been learned from his father and in this respect Billy is not a positive role-model for his son.