I first met Brendan Behan in 1950 in Dublin, during Horse Show week. He was then twenty-eight, fresh-faced, very handsome, almost pretty. He was wearing nautical costume because he was supposed to be a deckhand on a collier that had been chartered for some doubtful enterprise plying between Dublin and Belfast; it seldom, if ever, put to sea. He produced from his seaboot a short story he had written about the painted corpse of the dearly beloved friend of a publican lying in state in a bar parlour. I don’t think it was ever published, but it showed distinct signs of talent.