The photograph above is a portrait of Samuel Beckett taken by Richard Avedon on April 13th 1979: exactly thirty years ago today. It is notable in that it offers us an image of the writer ten years before his death, but it's also notable for another reason: April 13th is Samuel Beckett's birthday.
'On a fine sunny morning in the mid-1960s Samuel Beckett was walking to the Lord's Cricket Ground across Regent's Park. He had travelled to London from Paris specially for the test match between England and Australia, staying with the publisher John Calder at his house behind Wigmore Street. John Gibson, an Irish director in the BBC radio department, remembered how enthusiastic the playwright was about the green trees, the birds singing, the company of good friends, the beautiful blue sky. At this someone remarked, "Yes, on a day like this it's good to be alive." To which Beckett replied: "Well, I wouldn't go as far as that!"'
'The Essential Samuel Beckett: An Illustrated Biography'
Today is the 103rd anniversary of Beckett's birth, and to mark the occasion I've included two links to quizzes The Guardian have devised on the man and his career. So, raise a glass of Jameson, or Bushmills if you prefer, and see how well you fare:
Happy birthday, Sam.