Apr 18 2012 EXCLUSIVE By Joe McGuire
Des Dillon Image 2
PLAYWRIGHT Des Dillon says that if Rangers goes bust it would leave his most famous play as “the only Old Firm game in town”.
But this silver lining is little comfort to the life-long Celtic fan, who long ago realised that though divided, both sets of fans need each other.
It’s a sentiment borne out in his popular work, Singin’ I’m No A Billy He’s A Tim, the play that sees the ridiculousness of Glasgow’s bigotry exposed.
And the show, which is getting its latest outing at the Pavilion next week, will deal with the Ibrox club’s dire financial situation, as Dillon constantly changes the script to reflect the current season.
He said: “It’s all the banter ‘I’d rather be insolvent than a Tim’ and ‘What’s that over Ibrox? Coming soon, ASDA!’
“But as I realised years ago it’s all daft, both sides need each other, not just for the football but culturally as well.”
Growing up in a predominantly Catholic area of Coatbridge in the sixties, the sectarian divide was a fact of life for Dillon, as he recounts: “My first brush with bigotry was in 1976, when I wandered into Bridgeton.
“When I saw all the red, white and blue bunting I got an instant rush of fear.
“My mum had given me a wee sacred heart medal to wear in my jacket to keep me safe, this big guy seen it and grabbed me and pushed me up against a wall."
Not all his encounters with sectarianism were bad though.
Dillon said: “The year after that I was at a bus stop, having bought a seven foot Snoopy for my girlfriend.
“I stole a chip of a group of guys, who surrounded me and I could just tell they were going to batter me.
“They asked where I was from, I said Coatbridge, they asked if I was a Mick, I didn’t even know what a Mick was back then, so they asked are you a Catholic, so I said yes.
“They then escorted me to my bus, made sure I got on ok and waved me off.
“I waved back with my giant Snoopy.
“I was saved by sectarianism that night, they thought ‘He’s a Tim, let’s make sure he gets on his bus allright.”
But for Des Singin’ I’m No A Billy He’s A Tim isn’t a show that’s out to make a statement, but one whose purpose is to entertain.
He said: “I want people to come out and say ‘oh I loved that, that bit was great, that bit was great, let’s go get a kebab.
“If it changes people’s attitudes then so much the better.”
The play runs at the Pavilion from April 25 until May 5.