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Thursday, 18 February 2016

In Bed With Brendan Behan (and his Typewriter)

This illustration of a sozzled Irish writer Brendan Behan (1923-1964) is by noted Dublin artist Tom Mathews (1952-). It appeared with an article called "The Behan Legacy", by Joe Ambrose, in the In Dublin magazine in the mid-1970s. In the story, Ambrose, a former colleague now a writer, filmmaker and arts agitator based in Tangiers, approached the question of whether Irish writing was fairly considered to be synonymous with alcohol abuse.
Among the then up-and-coming writers Ambrose talked to for his piece was Mairin Johnston. When photographer Tony O'Shea arrived, during the interview, to take a snap of Johnson for the article, he asked her to stand at the bar of Grogan's pub. Ambrose concludes:
One much more unusual possibility Ambrose did not have to contemplate for his story was writing about Brendan Behan using his Remington Model 2 portable typewriter in bed. 
Among many projects Ambrose has since tackled is one involving the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Here is Behan using a Japy portable typewriter in the Chelsea:
But Behan was much more at home in the pubs of Dublin, with his little Remington:


Anonymous said...

Love the photo with the MILK stout!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. He's only using one sheet of paper, and that bed prop can't make things easier on his wrists. I've been after one of those Remingtons for a long time.