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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Beckett facts

To mark Samuel Beckett's centenary in 2006, I thought I'd do a hundred Beckettian facts. Here are the first five.

One of the addenda to Watt is all of two words long: 'Watt snites'. Sniting is how footballers blow their noses, holding one nostril and violently expelling the snot through the other.

In the late prose text Company Beckett describes swimming in the Forty Foot in Sandycove with his father and a friend. The friend was John Manning, brother of Mary Manning (model for the Caleken Frica in More Pricks Than Kicks). I once came across John Manning's copy of Endgame, inscribed by Beckett, in Greene's bookshop on Clare Street, across the road from Beckett senior's former office. Prices in Greene's are marked inside the back rather than the front cover, luckily for me. Though the inscription is fairly illegible anyway. Not that I'm complaining.

In Beckett's first novel Murphy works in the Magdalen Mental Mercyseat, but in the French translation it sprouts another m to become the Maison Madeleine de Miséricorde Mentale.

Someone once told me that having visited Cork he could confirm that Beamish doesn't travel -- doesn't travel from the brewery to the pub across the road. Despite this, Beckett's favourite Irish stout was Beamish, not Guinness.

A good place to drink Beamish, or Guinness, is the Stag's Head, outside which there is a drain cover emblazoned with the words 'W. Beckett & Sons'.

Why did the waitress sham pain? Because the stout porter bitter

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