Blood and Thunder…

As a long time reader of Slugger, the old chestnut of ‘big bad bands’ (over 660 in Northern Ireland alone) has had a regular airing. What is blatantly obvious however is that broadly speaking, Irish Nationalism simply doesnt understand or comprehend what bands are about. Put simply, marching and parading is an alien concept to Catholic Ireland and as such Irish Nationalists just ‘cant get their head around it’. Its overtly simplified into a practise thats sole purpose is to annoy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The following is a short essay i did a few years ago for a degree that attempts to give an insight into ‘Blood and Thunder’ marching bands…

The Northern Ireland ‘Blood and Thunder’ Flute Band

In 1985 the current Pope, the then Cardinal Ratzinger, delivered a lecture entitled ‘Liturgy and church music’ in which he described agitational music as a type of music which ‘animates men for various collective goals’. Originating in Northern Ireland and perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of Irish Protestant/ Unionist/ Loyalist culture, few types of music would fit the definition as well as the Blood and Thunder genre of marching music.

Regarded by some, primarily the Nationalist/ Republican community, as being a sectarian Ulster Loyalist male youth sub-culture whose sole purpose and motivation is to intimidate (Unknown, 2005) Roman- Catholic communities, some even go  as far as calling these bands ‘conveyers of hatred’ (Mitchell, 2002). However to the people who are members of these bands and to the communities they are based in they are viewed very much differently. To these groups and individuals the bands have important social, cultural, and to a lesser extent, political significance (Witherow 2006).

The term ‘Blood and Thunder’ itself refers to a style of Marching band, essentially consisting of side-drums, flutes, and ‘big drum’ (bass drum), such as can be seen in many countries throughout the world. However the primary difference is that ‘Blood and Thunder’ flute bands combine the common elements of marching bands such as musical prowess, colourful uniforms and military style discipline, with what some describe as ‘swagger’ (Mitchell 2002), intense energy and most importantly an incredibly loud drum based rhythm (Bell 1990; Witherow 2006). Loud volume of playing is a prerequisite of being a ‘Blood and Thunder’ Band (Bell 1990).

The origins of these bands are relatively simple to determine, principally given their unambiguous relationship to Irelands well documented Protestant/ Unionist/ Loyalist parading history, and secondly given their emergence during a period of immense political/ social turbulence in Northern Ireland and the direct connections with that (Bell 1990; Witherow 2006).

Cited as beginning for the most part from the formation of the Orange Order (Fraser, 2000), the Orders first 12th of July parades taking place in 1796 (Jarman, 1997), the Irish Unionist parading tradition was initially musically accompanied on its parades in the form of fife and drums, however by the late 19th Century bands had became a common feature (Fraser, 2000). It is important to note that, as stated on online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, marching bands evolved directly from Military bands, and therefore the Irish Protestant community’s particularly strong Military lineage would have seen the development as an almost natural inevitability.

The Protestant parading tradition had by the mid 20th Century became an important tradition and expression of identity within large swathes of that community, and was a central component of it when the 1960’s saw renewed political and sectarian tensions within Northern Ireland. The I.R.A. terrorist campaign re-launched in 1969 was a catalyst for increasing feelings of political uncertainty within Unionism and a general belief among Unionists that its national and cultural identity was under threat (Witherow, 2006).

Youths/ teenagers (widely regarded as the most militant group within society) within that community during this period were searching for a way to express their anger at the IRA and reaffirm their identity (Witherow 2006), and with the Loyal Orders commonly acknowledged as the main way that the Protestant working class expressed political dissatisfaction (Jarman, 1997) that particular direction was the obvious avenue for these individuals to gravitate to express that emotion.

Perhaps by virtue that it was quicker and easier to become a member of a band than join the Order directly, marching bands (specifically flute bands as they were most common, flutes were the cheapest of all marching band instruments and the flute would have been perceived, largely incorrectly, as the easiest instrument to learn (Witherow 2006)), became the beneficiaries of these many young men and with their membership came several features common to any youth based culture. Increased volume, brashness, vibrancy, commitment and colour came to many bands, which combined with the eagerness to ‘parade’ immediately to prove/ demonstrate their strong feelings, became manifest in the birth of a new style of playing. The thundering drums, shrill (sometimes described as shrieking) flutes, and the fact that blood was a common sight on bass drums because they were being beaten with such vigour saw this style of marching music being given the name Blood and Thunder (Bell, 1990; Witherow 2006).

Many existing bands began to change towards this style as their membership changed and many more new bands mimicking this new ‘craze’ sprung up in strong Loyalist areas, both urban and rural, assuming monikers that many Orange Lodges used but in the current context took new meaning such as ‘Defenders’, ‘Sons of Ulster’ and ‘True Blues’.

While the initial reasons for the emergence and popularity of these types of bands was on the surface solely politically motivated, the nature of how the tradition has developed has proved that it was also filling a strong social function for those involved. From their inception bands united young men from the same religious and cultural background, mostly between the ages of 16 and 26, and gave them a conduit for social activities, and they continue to do so today.

To illustrate this it should be noted that today some bands practise twice a week throughout the year and during the ‘marching season’, between April and September, may take part in parades every week. Throughout the year a band could meet on as many as 150 occasions.

From the genres inception it was predominantly a working class based movement, especially within an urban setting (Bell 1990), but its popularity within rural districts and the difficulties to define class in those settings, rule out any exclusive working class context. These bands have a strong cultural relevance to what would appear to be very different sub-communities with in Protestant Northern Ireland.

Given the transitional nature of their origins (the transformation of an existing band) many can trace their existence back over a century and the marching musical tradition is entrenched within their local community. Many bands are an integral part of their town/ local district (Witherow 2006) and it is accepted that a significant proportion of individuals in many areas will pass through the local bands ranks at some stage. Today in Northern Ireland the Blood and Thunder element of the wider marching band movement consists of over 280 bands (approximately 12000 active members), with over 100 similar bands in Scotland and 20 in England.

In relation to other musical genres the Blood and Thunder style has almost universally been viewed as irrelevant, sometimes with contempt and on occasion been referred to as not being music at all. This commentary invariably comes from those within more ‘respectable’ musical areas and in a much wider musical context is commonly found when any older musical movement comments on any youth based movement, for example a Country music aficionados views on the Punk movement. This hierarchy is largely created by the practitioners of music within these ‘respectable’ areas and in many cases can be rooted in an apparent class bias or a reluctance to be complimentary to ‘agitational’ or politically controversial music. They are part of long established movements and feel accepted as part of a society norm, and are naturally predisposed to anything that appears to be on the fringe of society and therefore conflicting with that norm.

Given the general characteristics of the Blood and Thunder genre, which are easily definable, it is no surprise that the music has different meanings for different groups of people. The differing connotations taken can effectively be divided up as coming from two sources: those individuals internal to the movement and those within the same community but oblivious to the internal workings and structures of the movement; and those outside of both the movement and the community from which it emanates, some of whom also subscribe to political/ cultural philosophies and ideas that would be considered ambivalent to said movement and culture.

As already touched upon, within the Blood and Thunder movement, both its members and those within the wider community that support it, the ‘scene’ has developed into very much a social movement. The core ideals instrumental in its inception, those of protest, expression of identity, etc, are still there but they are vastly subsumed by the social importance of the bands general practises and routines. The music has therefore

became merely a part of a social system adopted by many thousands of people and as such the source of the original music has grown to have less significance in comparison to the actual performance.

All bands play lists will include many traditional Orange/ Loyalist tunes/ anthems, but even since its inception an incredibly broad range of culturally irrelevant/ diverse material will make up the majority of the repertoire. In the late 70’s and during the 80’s many pop and country music standards such as ‘7 Tears’ and ‘Lay the blanket on the ground’ where played, along with folk anthems such as ‘John Browns body’, ‘Swing low sweet chariot’ and ‘Waltzing Matilda’. Today complex arrangements of classical music, ‘World in Union’ being the most notable example, will appear along with reworked versions of traditional fife and piping tunes, yet more folk tunes and still more versions of popular music- Abbas ‘Chiquita’ was a popular tune for many bands in the 2005 ‘marching season’!

In contrast all those from outside the community approach the bands and their music from a vastly different perspective. Many opinions and views are constructed solely from sound bites on television from controversial parades. They are based on conjecture and myth, and have been reinforced by perceived bad experiences with some bands. For example it is continually quoted of the common experience of the Blood and Thunder band ‘letting rip’ outside a local chapel during a parade (Mitchell 2002), however when placed into the context that the bands will play even louder when passing each other (Mitchell 2002), the example loses some of its validity.

The music itself is often cited as being sectarian or deliberately provocative (Smyth 2002), but given that the tunes most mentioned within that context, The Sash (Some Irish Republican Flute bands actually play a tune called ‘My Irish Molly O’ which effectively is the same tune) and Derry’s Walls, are actually ‘ancient’ Irish tunes, it is difficult to give the arguments credence. It is impossible to discount that many negative attitudes towards Blood and Thunder music is actually politically motivated, and the nature of ‘music’ would suggest that those who object are doing so because of the religious make-up of the bands (Mitchell 2002).

Many images evoke memories of Northern Ireland’s recent troubled history, and one of the most familiar and striking is that of the parade. Unfortunately parades have usually only been covered by the media when there has been some controversial aspect and being one of the most visible components of any parade, the Blood and Thunder marching band has been tainted with that ‘controversial’ stereotype.

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  • Joe Bloggs

    They cause bother when they are encouraging young catholic children to hero-worship sectarian terrorists, to hate anything and everything British, expose kids to on-the-pitch, cowardly violence (attacks on referees anyone?) and allow fundraisers for terrorist groups to be held on their property. That money is then used to buy guns and explosives to murder protestant civilians.

    That sounds like bother to me.

  • CGM

    Hardly scum for pointing out that it wasn’t murder, unfortunate but not murder…

    As you said there have been no charges, surely that tells the tale.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Well at least cookie attempted to half answer my questions. Here are my questions again. To set the ballrolling on encouraging a full sppreciation of this cultural expression. Perhaps Quincey can answer them:

    – – Do these Blood and Thunder bands allow people to join who are not from the reformed faiths? If they do, do the Orange Order who hires them allow people who are not form the reformed faith to march in the bands? Do people who join these bands, do so to learn and play music or do they join them to take part in Orange Order Marches?

    – From the view of people inside these groups ;- Do you see the percieved problem that those who take part in the bands and their followers engage in sectarian intimidation as a myth? If not, do you see it as a problem?

    – “Blood and Thunder” music is essentially agitational music. What do you see as its goal? what do these bands want to agitate? Do you accept that history would suggest that this music combined with the speeches that have follwoed marches have been used to agitate anti-catholic feeling which has resulted in significant acts of criminality towards their catholic neighbours?

  • between the bridges

    Re topic the fermanagh B&T bands recently held a charity parade in enniskillen raising funds for the children’s hospice. This will be an annual event at which the music and finery of the unique marching band phenomena will be on display for all to enjoy and raise much needed funds for local charities.

  • changeisneeded

    joe. i will let your paranoid delusional comment speak for itself.The GAA ain’t marching where they arnt wanted!
    The have manners!

    CGM
    i called him scum for trying to justify the killing of an innocent man. He still is and anyone else that does likewise.
    There have been charges, members of a blood and thunder band included. No prosecutions though…why? Coleraine RUC running scared from the UDA..thats why..
    Next they will be apologising for trying to investigate…

  • Joe Bloggs

    Lionel Hutz (profile) 9 August 2011 at 12:48 pm

    – Do these Blood and Thunder bands allow people to join who are not from the reformed faiths? If they do, do the Orange Order who hires them allow people who are not form the reformed faith to march in the bands? Do people who join these bands, do so to learn and play music or do they join them to take part in Orange Order Marches?

    – From the view of people inside these groups ;- Do you see the percieved problem that those who take part in the bands and their followers engage in sectarian intimidation as a myth? If not, do you see it as a problem?

    – “Blood and Thunder” music is essentially agitational music. What do you see as its goal? what do these bands want to agitate? Do you accept that history would suggest that this music combined with the speeches that have follwoed marches have been used to agitate anti-catholic feeling which has resulted in significant acts of criminality towards their catholic neighbours?

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    1, Any band who has received funding from the National Lottery MUST have written into it’s constitution that people of any religion are welcome to join the band.

    In my younger days I – and a group of around eight friends – were members of one of Belfast’s most well known flute bands. At least half of us had catholic girlfriends throughout our time in the band and one even went on to marry a catholic girl. They were always made welcome in the band hall for social events and never experienced any ill-feeling because of their religion.

    2, There is a myth that band members sit in dark rooms at the back of band halls and Orange halls plotting how to kidnap and eat catholic babies. The truth is that being in a band is much like being in an amateur football team or other social club/organisation. At band practice most of the talk is of the weekend’s antics (chasing women, etc), trouble with the wife, score of the Liverpool match, broken down car, etc. Unless some major IRA attack had taken place that day politics and religion was rarely ever mentioned.

    3, How is it agitational? 99.9% of tunes played by b&t bands will be played to welcoming crowds or bemused cows (when out in the country). If it was solely to agitate then surely the vast majority of parades would be in areas NOT welcoming.

    Also, the perception that every song played by b&t bands are offensive/sectarian is rubbish. I’ve heard bands play ABBA, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers and even the Vengaboys!

  • Joe Bloggs

    changeisneeded (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 1:03 pm

    joe. i will let your paranoid delusional comment speak for itself.The GAA ain’t marching where they arnt wanted!

    – – – – – – – – –

    They regularly drive down my road on coachs singing provocative, intimidating IRA songs and giving offensive hand gestures to those they know to be protestants.

    Surely this is worse than a group of Christian pensioners making their way to church on a peaceful Sunday morning?

  • changeisneeded

    least they arnt kicking people to death joe..

  • Lionel Hutz

    3, How is it agitational? 99.9% of tunes played by b&t bands will be played to welcoming crowds or bemused cows (when out in the country). If it was solely to agitate then surely the vast majority of parades would be in areas NOT welcoming.

    ——————————–

    Why do you think they are called Blood and Thunder Bands? Its supposed to generate a feeling among the crowd. What is the goal?

  • changeisneeded

    I’m done with this thread.
    peace to you all

  • Congal Claen

    Hi CIN,

    Before you go just one quick question. Have you changed your attitude to marching bands in any way over the course of the discussion?

    As you say, it’s needed…

  • between the bridges
  • Joe Bloggs

    Lionel Hutz (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Why do you think they are called Blood and Thunder Bands? Its supposed to generate a feeling among the crowd. What is the goal?

    – – – – – – – – –

    The feeling I get is enjoyment – as I’m sure it is for most of those who watch parades on a regular basis.

    I presume the goal of the bands is the same as that of any singer, band or orchestra – to please those who have made an effort to attend.

  • changeisneeded

    ha.
    Congal
    one thing , i liked lamdearghs? i think mention of the rural fst 12th celebrations and how they preferred a more hmmm more relaxed(my words ,can’t remember his/hers) style of band.I am a musician myself and have watched people play the bass drum and battering it. I think this is an important distinction and ties into the difference between bands who try to annoy and those who are really there for the music. I can totally see bands having a parade around on the 12th but with emphasis on playing, not battering. It tends to set the mood. so in short i can see a future with a band parade possibly of the sort lamdeargh (i think) was on about. mutual respect, i expect to see it in rural areas first…

    burn the bridges
    “sigh” get with the program dude

    later

  • Congal Claen

    Hi CIN,

    Glad to hear that CIN. I Truly am.

    From watching the bands over the years, about 30, I think the drumming has actually got quite a bit better. Some of the flute bands drum corps are on a par with pipe band drumming. That doesn’t come from merely belting. You need actual talent to be a good drummer.

    Maybe give it a second chance? Best bet would be at a non controversial parade…

  • CGM

    On topic, just thought I’d repost my original comment, it was probably overlooked while awaiting moderation. Contributions made by Blood and Thunder bands seem to be often overlooked, contributions to local economy through hire of buses, purchase of uniforms, charity events, purchase and maintenance of instruments. Not to forget the boost annual parades bring to the areas they are held, some shops, take aways or restaurants boast their busiest times when these events are held.

    A massive social aspect for many within the community, often meeting 3 times or more a week to practice or participate in events. Much of this is over looked and the same old blinkered opinion rattled out from those that oppose a massive cultural movement. Why would bands put in all this effort just to offend a few? Answer is they don’t!

    ‘Parading is at the very core of Ulster Loyalist identity. Choosing to be entertained by it, rather than offended, is the secret to a shared future.’ from the book Blood and Thunder, Inside an Ulster Protestant Band by Darach MacDonald. A book well worth reading for those looking to understand Blood and Thunder bands.

  • galloglaigh

    Just to make something quite clear here: The UVF did not fight at the Somme. Members of the UVF, along with tens of thousands of Catholic and Protestant Ulster men, joined the 36th Ulster division. They were fighting under that division, and not the UVF.

    I asked another UVF apologist in the past, between the bridges, to show me evidence that the UVF did indeed fight in WWI, and of course I’m still waiting on it.

    I put it to him, that given the fact that UVF and UDA members had also joined the UDR, does that make the UDR the UVF or UDA? And of course we all know the answer to that now – don’t we!

    When the Orange Order, or any of the loyalist bands use the UVF to commemorate WWI, they are disrespecting the Irish men who went to the Great War, on the notion that their country would be freed from British/unionist fascism, just like the countries they were fighting to free.

    The UVF were a Protestant militia, and were not part of the British army. Those UVF too old or ill to fight, remained the UVF, while those UVF who went to fight with the 36th Ulster, were simply the 36th Ulster. Not the UVF.

    High jacking history doesn’t cut the mustard on this one. The written facts do.

  • Toastedpuffin

    galloglaigh,

    That’s an important point, and indeed UVF members also joined other Divisions, not just the 36th. However, they did form the overwhelming bulk of that division, and fascism didn’t exist in 1914 for anyone to be freed from.

  • between the bridges

    GG Oh dear another apologist with short term memory loss….i did reply but sure let’s jog the auld grey…. matter using ones own words of wisdom… ‘High jacking history doesn’t cut the mustard on this one. The written facts do’….

    The history of 36th (Ulster) Division

    In September 1914, the Ulster Division was formed from the Ulster Volunteer Force which raised thirteen battalions for the three Irish regiments based in Ulster: the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Rifles. A unique situation existed. This summary is from Ray Westlake’s “Kitchener’s Army”:

    “It took several weeks after war was declared that permission to form an Ulster Division was granted. The Ulster Volunteer Force, a Protestant organisation created by Sir Edward Carson as a force to counter the threat of the Home Rule Bill, was already in existence and its members were as eager as any to join the war. However, due to the political situation in Ireland, things were held up. Many volunteers refused to wait and either crossed to England or Scotland to enlist, or joined the 10th or 16th Divisions already being formed by the War Office in Ireland.
    With over 80,000 members, it was clear that the UVF was in a position to make an important contribution to the recruitment of the New Armies. Lord Kitchener met with Sir Edward Carson in London who, although eager to help was concerned at how the situation in Ireland might turn while his force was away at war. The Government were not able to give any guarantees that might put Sir Edward’s mind at rest. However, he later agreed to raise a Division, without any conditions, and within days had placed an order for 10,000 uniforms with a London firm of outfitters.”
    The UVF was not only organised, but trained to some extent as a military force, and had been armed. It was therefore considerably more advanced as a formed body of men than the similar formations of the New Armies now being created elsewhere.
    These battalions were clothed and administered by their raisers in the same way as the locally raised New Army battalions in Great Britain, although the UVF was at a high state of readiness in August 1914 as a result of heightened tensions in connection with the Home Rule debate that had occurred earlier in the year”.

    http://www.1914-1918.net/36div.htm

  • between the bridges

    GG if my memory serves me better than yours, in our previous ‘debate’ you also expressed a view that the OO had no right to hold memorial services for WW1…just a wee reminder of my reply wot you managed to forget old bean…

    During WW1 the Orange Order left no doubt as to the Orders’ loyalty to King and Country. The Orange Order had more members volunteer for military service in WW1 than any other politico-religious organisation in the world. It is estimated that more than 200 000 Orangemen saw service in WW1 including 80 000 from Canada alone. It is estimated that 3 out of every 10 Canadian soldiers who enlisted were members of the Orange Order. Many Orange Lodges never reopened after the war due to the very high number of Lodge members who were killed. In addition to Orangemen from Great Britain and Canada, Orangemen from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and several smaller countries volunteered their services for King and Country. The first Australian killed in WW1 was Able Seaman William George Vincent William who was an Orangeman with Loyal Orange Lodge (L.O.L) 92 Melbourne. The sacrifice of the Orangemen was great as was their bravery. The resolve of those young men may be seen in the dying words of Bro. Pt. F. Holt, 4th Kings Liverpool Regiment, (a Member of L.O.L.782) fatally wounded at Neuve Chapelle on 14 April, 1915 who told his comrades “I have done my duty to my King and Country and I have not forgotten the Orange obligation I took in 782”. Due to records being lost or destroyed it is not possible to know the exact number of Victoria Crosses awarded to Orangemen but at least five are known.

    http://irishregimentsofthebritisharmy.webs.com/theorangeorderinww1.htm

  • Brian

    The UVF did fight in the War, and many fought bravely. They were alloewd to form their regiments have have their own officers…something which the Irish Volunteers* were denied. Just like the UVF could run guns as much as they wanted, and just as they could threaten rebellion and not worry about any consequences other than getting their way.

    *Note: These were the National Volunteers, not the group that split from them over Redmond’s enthusiastic support for the war among other things. The splinter group, the Irish Volutneers, who would go on to fight in the Easter Rising. About 15% split from the National Volunteers

    Rather off topic but this thread got rather out of control about 290 posts ago so oh well.

  • Brian

    ‘ But that’s just another attempt for the nationalists argument to deviate from the topic.’

    I was not attempting to deviate from any topic. After reading your indefensible comments regarding the death of McDaid I had to respond to show my incredulity at what was said.

  • tacapall

    “During WW1 the Orange Order left no doubt as to the Orders’ loyalty to King and Country”

    So what happened at the Boyne, who carried the Union jack there. Was there some sort of mistake, what happened to loyalty to King and Country.

  • galloglaigh

    I will prove you wrong on the UVF later, but just to remind BTB, that what I said was, the OO were shitting on the graves of people, by using UVF bands in WWI commemorations. I never said they had no right. Correct me if I’m wrong. In other words, read my comment again, and get back to me!

  • between the bridges

    GG, i bow to the superior knowledge of ‘the one’, who believes WW1 was fought against fascism…

  • changeisneeded

    just got word those evening my friends old father has been badly beaten by loyalists for being a catholic in the wrong town and is in hospital awaiting surgery..
    20yr olds attacking an OAP
    Loyalism is sick

  • between the bridges

    CIN, regardless of the reality of the situation, (regarding your credentals as an impartial reporter) any gang attacking a OAP is shameful, i hope the chap makes a speedy and full recovery.

  • changeisneeded

    Thank you BTB
    The reality is as stated.
    I could name places, names and groups but i am just thinking of the poor man right now..

  • carl marks

    A loyalist band (the shankill star flute band) which honours (brain Robinson) a sectarian assassin killed just after murdering a random catholic in a drive by shooting attempts to walk within 20 meters of where the murder took place, A loyalist “brigadier “goes on TV to announce that the bandsmen don’t mean any offence and just want to walk the Queens highway furthermore those complaining about this are just troublemakers.
    On top of all this the decent upright Christian unionist politicians see nothing wrong with this, (could be wrong here I may have missed the outraged condemnation in the media).
    Maybe folks it things like this that are the reason Catholics don’t like loyalist bands

  • lamhdearg

    changeisneeded, groups beating O.A.Ps proves that changeis needed indeed, was it because he was a cathloic or was it because they where scum.

  • carl marks

    lamhdearg I respect you as a poster but (please prove me wrong) it seem to me when a protestant is attacked( I condemn these without reserve) unionist commenter’s call it like it is, however when it’s a catholic proof of a standard required in the courts is needed before (if ever ) condemnation starts.
    Usually a attempt is made if not to blame the victim but to muddy the waters.

  • lamhdearg

    carl.
    random, gaa/ira members have killed random protestants, catholics vote for and elect the sectarian killers off random protestants, maybe its things like this that are the reason some protestants don’t like gaa/ira members or catholics, have your and my comments helped?.

  • lamhdearg

    carl my post at 921 is to cover your 850, its hard for me to prove you wrong, but believe me i see the reverse, if changeisneeded had posted that the victim was beaten (by scum) because he was a irish nationalist, i would believe it quicker.

  • carl marks

    you have a point and I will not deny it, However your point about electing sectarian killers can also be laid at unionists as unionists elect the apologists for loyalist terror gangs (honestly when was the last time you heard a unionist politician commenting on the actions of theUDA,UVF, etc without being mealy mouthed).
    The recent riots in east Belfast and ballyclare and the way unionism reacted is a case in point.

  • carl marks

    lamhdearg
    by the way I object to the phrase gaa/ra perhaps i should use oo/uda uff uvf, or udr /uda uff uvf .
    please no attempting to accuse gaa members of all being ira members after all how many Presbyterians Cof E Baptists etc were also members of paramilitary groups but I don’t hear you linking them

  • Joe Bloggs

    carl marks (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 8:50 pm

    A loyalist band (the shankill star flute band) which honours (brain Robinson) a sectarian assassin killed just after murdering a random catholic in a drive by shooting attempts to walk within 20 meters of where the murder took place, A loyalist “brigadier “goes on TV to announce that the bandsmen don’t mean any offence and just want to walk the Queens highway furthermore those complaining about this are just troublemakers.

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    No different from Sinn Fein ‘politicians’ touring the country opening businesses and new schools beside places where they murdered and maimed innocent protestants.

    I doubt you would condemn that insensitivity.

  • carl marks

    Joe Bloggs
    No different from Sinn Fein ‘politicians’ touring the country opening businesses and new schools beside places where they murdered and maimed innocent protestants.

    I doubt you would condemn that insensitivity.

    you can stop doubting i do comdemn it.
    still waiting for your view on the shankill star flute band instead of the usual wataboutery, or in your world do two wrongs make a right.

  • carl marks

    Joe Bloggs
    touring the country opening businesses and new schools.

    by the way that might be a sign that they have changed,
    lets hope eh

  • Joe Bloggs

    I don’t think the UVF are killing Ardoyne Nationalists these days, are they?

  • lamhdearg

    carl
    not all or even most gaa/ira. but they do honer ira members and they the ira did murder random protestants,
    also electing the apoloists is not the same as electing the killers and planners, but this is not helping, we need to stop throwing up what the other side is doing and live with the parts we do not like (within reason).

  • carl marks

    Joe Bloggs (profile) says:
    9 August 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I don’t think the UVF are killing Ardoyne Nationalists these days, are they?

    Sorry don’t understand that, is your argument that the UVF have not killed anybody in the last few months we should forget about the past. Fair enough I take that you have forget about the IRA, s past.
    and by your lack of condemnation of the band in question you have no problem with terrorists being glorified by bands and walking past scenes of their past misdeeds.
    come on man take the blinkers of.

  • carl marks

    amhdearg (profile) says:
    9 August 2011 at 10:12 pm

    carl
    not all or even most gaa/ira. but they do honer ira members and they the ira did murder random protestants,
    also electing the apoloists is not the same as electing the killers and planners, but this is not helping, we need to stop throwing up what the other side is doing and live with the parts we do not like (within reason).

    Agreed but is this thread not about loyalist bands.
    Start a thread on SF and i will give you my opinion (they might not like it)

  • Joe Bloggs

    carl marks (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Sorry don’t understand that, is your argument that the UVF have not killed anybody in the last few months we should forget about the past. Fair enough I take that you have forget about the IRA, s past.
    and by your lack of condemnation of the band in question you have no problem with terrorists being glorified by bands and walking past scenes of their past misdeeds.
    come on man take the blinkers of.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Eh, you implied that Unionists should forgive Sinn Fein because they have ‘changed’.

    Using that logic you can’t have any complaints about the Shankill Star passing Ardoyne as the UVF are no longer killing Nationalists from the district.

    Or have I caught out your vomit-inducing hypocrisy again???

  • lamhdearg

    i can not start a thread, and if i could the first and probably last (kicked out) it would be about mendacity and the propaganda of other slugger folk, ps i did not write of s.f. but gaa. goodnight and goodluck.

  • carl marks

    Joe Blogs
    I implied no such thing and I suspect you know that,
    I did express a hope that opening schools and business was better than blowing them up.
    You’re the one who implied that since the UVF has not killed any taigs from Ardoyne lately its ok for this band to go past the shops, I was just asking if you used the same logic for republicans as loyalist to quote you
    “Or have I caught out your vomit-inducing hypocrisy again???”
    Now I have stated that I’m no fan of SF and their history neither am I a fan of your hypocrisy.
    AGAIN, will you condemn the star of the shankill band or are you just another part of the problem

  • carl marks

    lamhdearg (profile) says:
    9 August 2011 at 10:27 pm

    i can not start a thread, and if i could the first and probably last (kicked out) it would be about mendacity and the propaganda of other slugger folk, ps i did not write of s.f. but gaa. goodnight and goodluck.
    i look forward to when you start a thread and the arguments that follow.
    nite nite

  • Joe Bloggs

    It’s YOUR logic.

    If you think Sinn Fein should be accepted by Unionists because they are no longer killing people then surely you must think the same of the UVF (who haven’t targeted Nationalists since 1994).

    Are you a hypocrite?

  • carl marks

    Joe Bloggs
    Eh, you implied that Unionists should forgive Sinn Fein because they have ‘changed’.

    and when did i do this

  • carl marks

    Joe Bloggs (profile) says:
    9 August 2011 at 10:42 pm

    It’s YOUR logic.

    If you think Sinn Fein should be accepted by Unionists because they are no longer killing people then surely you must think the same of the UVF (who haven’t targeted Nationalists since 1994).

    Are you a hypocrite?

    It,s your logic

    Joe Bloggs (profile) says:
    9 August 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I don’t think the UVF are killing Ardoyne Nationalists these days, are they?

    I believe it was you who said that.
    Now your starting to sound desperate, it is so sad to see how bigotery can blind a person.

  • Joe Bloggs

    carl marks (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 8:50 pm

    A loyalist band (the shankill star flute band) which honours (brain Robinson) a sectarian assassin killed just after murdering a random catholic in a drive by shooting attempts to walk within 20 meters of where the murder took place, A loyalist “brigadier “goes on TV to announce that the bandsmen don’t mean any offence and just want to walk the Queens highway furthermore those complaining about this are just troublemakers.

    – – – – – – – –

    Joe Bloggs (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 9:45 pm

    No different from Sinn Fein ‘politicians’ touring the country opening businesses and new schools beside places where they murdered and maimed innocent protestants.

    I doubt you would condemn that insensitivity.

    – – – – – – – – –

    carl marks (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 10:02 pm

    by the way that might be a sign that they have changed,
    lets hope eh

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Joe Bloggs (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I don’t think the UVF are killing Ardoyne Nationalists these days, are they?

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    IT’S YOUR LOGIC……

  • tacapall

    Joe Bloggs (profile)
    9 August 2011 at 9:45 pm

    No different from Sinn Fein ‘politicians’ touring the country opening businesses and new schools beside places where they murdered and maimed innocent protestants.

    Go ahead Joe and tell us where this happened, were they carrying banners glorifying the person who killed or maimed those protestants your talking about.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Sinn Fein glorify sectarian IRA terrorists on a daily basis in Northern Ireland.

    Have you been living under a rock?

  • tacapall

    I haven’t been living under a rock, are you living in a bubble, theres a whole world out here and most of us dont give a fk about too much. But someone walking past your street carrying banners glorifying the person that murdered one of the residents of that street is disturbing and no victims relatives should have to accept it in the name of culture, its sick and anyone who defends it is sick. If Sinn Fein acted in the same way id say the same.

  • Toastedpuffin

    tacapall

    SF have appointed a murderer to a £78,000 job in Stormont – her salary is paid by the taxpayer, including at least one of her victims. That’s truly diseased.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Ah but, no but, wait a minute, but………..

  • tacapall

    Toastedpuffin your right, but didn’t her father and a retired special branch officer alledge that Special branch knew of the attempt on his life but turned a blind eye and took no action to stop it.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Tapacall

    “But someone walking past your street carrying banners glorifying the person that murdered one of the residents of that street is disturbing and no victims relatives should have to accept it in the name of culture,”

    I would have thought that the incident during the most recent elections, when a Sinn Féin election poster was erected near the cenotaph in Enniskillen, is a pretty close analogue to bands commemorating killers near to where the victims live.

    If they had reacted as loyalist marching organisations do, they would have blustered about their democratic rights, accused the bereaved of Enniskillen of whingeing and being bigots, and refused to remove the poster.

    Instead, they removed the poster and apologised for the incident. As one might expect of any halfway decent and civilised human beings.

  • galloglaigh

    A wee answer for all you loyalists:

    Yes Sinn Fein regularly commemorate dead terrorists. But the problem for loyalism is, that they also do the same. No terrorists in government, means no politician with grass roots support on this island in government. In fact, it applies to most governments in the Western World. I have read the best comment on here tonight, which highlights loyalist parading culture, and what nationalist people in this country are expected to tolerate. I will highlight it again, as it tells the tale, of those seeking others to be tolerant, while showing no tolerance what-so-ever:

    A loyalist band (the shankill star flute band) which honours (brain Robinson) a sectarian assassin killed just after murdering a random catholic in a drive by shooting attempts to walk within 20 meters of where the murder took place, A loyalist “brigadier “goes on TV to announce that the bandsmen don’t mean any offence and just want to walk the Queens highway furthermore those complaining about this are just troublemakers.

    That says it all about tolerance.

  • galloglaigh

    “I would have thought that the incident during the most recent elections, when a Sinn Féin election poster was erected near the cenotaph in Enniskillen, is a pretty close analogue to bands commemorating killers near to where the victims live.”

    If they do it, sure it’s OK if we do it. Very mature indeed!

    As far as I’m aware, that offensive poster was removed. When illegal flags where removed elsewhere, what happened then. And who apologised for the mishap? The people who opposed the removal of illegal flags? No, it was the PSNI!

    How history repeats itself eah.

  • galloglaigh

    “SF have appointed a murderer to a £78,000 job in Stormont – her salary is paid by the taxpayer, including at least one of her victims. That’s truly diseased.”

    How many former or serving British soldiers are now in the British cabinet, or leading the MOD?

    Unionists need to realise, that the ‘bubble bursted a long time ago’. Give it up ffs!

  • between the bridges

    Anyhow back to the topic (B&T bands in case anyone forgot) I was at practice tonight. I am sorry to report that the plan to kidnap a papist billy goat and sacrifice it on the big drum, has been put on hold, it appears one has to do a health and safety audit? Bloody red tape!
    Having dealt with the paperwork we got down to the nitty gritty of ‘how to offend’. As we all know this requires no real practice one just has to ‘look protestant’ and someone somewhere will do the rest. If however this fails, (unlikely I know but it pays to have a contingency plan) one can resort to playing ‘music that pre-offends’.
    This of course presents its own co-nun-drum, how to be sure, to be sure, that it is actually offensive music. The solution is to play ‘proddy music’ our latest tune will be sure, to be sure, bejasus; a sure fire hit ‘the quiet Scottish pretty solider girl went dambusting on the green fields of Johnny cash sash’.

  • Portadown Adam

    The ammount of petty, imature and intolerant comments is typical nationalists unwilling to accept anything to do with unionist culture. These bands work tirelessly week in week out, keeping people off the streets, giving yougsters something to do. Nothing is forced into their brain.

    galoglaigh – The Shankill Star Flute Band are not honouring Brian Robinson as a terrorist killer, he was a member of the band and was very well respected within them.

    BTB – Your comments are unbelievable (some may even say laughable) In my experience of the ‘band scene’, bands do not sit at practice and talk about going out to annoy the other sort or killing anyone. The general talk is the usual carryon what you got upto at the weekend, what the footy scores were, whats on tv etc. Your just trying to hammer at a very old nationalist unrealistic guessing game of what goes on.

    Some are trying to say B&T bands have influence within the Orange Order – this is not true! The Order hires their services for parades, the Orange Order choose the routes for their parades NOT the bands. So the Order or their parades should not be stuck together as if there one.

    Bands travel many miles over the whole year and to be fair if they really wanted to go out and offend catholics/nationalists i don’t think they would spend the ammount of money it takes to run the band week in week out. Nationalists need to wake up and smeell the coffee. They say we are in a shared society Unionists tollerate their culture but are exspected to give up their own to keep them happy, it’s just simply not the way the system works.

  • changeisneeded

    always with the jokes huh btb. sure its only a bita craic.
    do the bouncey anyone?
    as my friends father lies in hospital after being beaten by loyalists..suppose he deserved it too.

    there is something deeply sick in your “culture” btb and your attempt at humour only highlights your unwillingness to acknowledge it..

  • glasgow

    There is something sick in our culture? Which band attacked your freinds father? What has that got to do with blood and thunder bands? talk about clutching at straws…..

  • between the bridges

    CIN the humor illustrates the bigoted stereotypical nonsense that closed minds portray of my culture.

    as for the man mentioned i have previously wished him a speedy recovery (i also expressed my doubts on the impartially of your reporting of events). but at least you didn’t rush to use this unfortunate incident as a means to score points in a keyboard warrior debate that would indeed be ‘sick’ would it not?

  • Millbag

    Portadown Adam

    ‘The Shankill Star Flute Band are not honouring Brian Robinson as a terrorist killer, he was a member of the band and was very well respected within them.’

    Quite frankly, if I was a member of a band and one of my bandmates shot and killed a complete stranger simply because of the religion that person was perceived to be, I would be quite disturbed if my fellow bandmates thought it a good idea to honour said deceased bandmate with an annual parade.

    If Brian Robinson had raped and killed an old woman just before being shot himself by the army would he still be honoured as a respected bandsman?

  • tyrone_taggart

    broadly speaking, Irish Nationalism simply doesnt understand or comprehend what bands are about. Put simply, marching and parading is an alien concept to Catholic Ireland and as such Irish Nationalists just ‘cant get their head around it’.

    Quincey Dougan,

    Did you ever hear of St Patricks day?

    You should listen to O Neills March plenty of ‘Blood and Thunder’ in it.