John Clarke died suddenly last weekend, and I want to add my tribute to the many that have flowed. Australian readers will immediately know John’s humour; it may be the first time overseas readers have come across him.
John Clarke came to Australia from New Zealand, where he had developed a character, Fred Dagg. There are many examples on Youtube, but I couldn’t resist this gem on real estate.
Clarke was a brilliant satirist and these are just some of the creations he has been involved with, some of the joy he has given us
- The Games, a mockumentary of the Sydney Olympic Games, described on Clarke’s website as: “a series in which the problems of organising an event of this magnitude were identified, re-labelled and buried at sea in a lead-lined container.” This snippet from the show is a classic. The Prime Minister of the time, John Howard, refused to apologise to the Indigenous People for the many injuries inflicted on them over the time of European colonisation. This is how the problem was solved on “The Games”.
- Farnarkling Never heard of the sport of Farnarkling? Let Clarke himself fill you in (taken from his website):Farnarkeling is a sport which began in Mesopotamia, which literally means ‘between the rivers’. This would put it somewhere in Victoria or New South Wales between the Murray and the Darling. The word Farnarkeling is Icelandic in structure, Urdu in metre and Celtic in the intimacy of its relationship between meaning and tone.
Farnarkeling is engaged in by two teams whose purpose is to arkle, and to prevent the other team from arkeling, using a flukem to propel a gonad through sets of posts situated at random around the periphery of a grommet. Arkeling is not permissible, however, from any position adjacent to the phlange (or leiderkrantz) or from within 15 yards of the wiffenwacker at the point where the shifting tube abuts the centre-line on either side of the 34 metre mark, measured from the valve at the back of the defending side’s transom-housing.
Clarke gave farnarkling reports on the famous satire TV show, The Giles Report.
- ‘Death in Brunswick’, a film he acted in with Sam Neil
However, I most remember him for his interviews with Brian Dawe, another brilliant satirist. Together they created short segments of interviews, where Clarke would be anybody, from a politician to a financial advisor to a quiz contestant, and interviewed by Dawe on political topics of the moment.
Ahhh, I could go on for ages. If you want to see more, just search for Clarke and Dawe. But I can’t leave without showing you my very favourite one. To me it summed up Jeff Kennett!
The word will be a poorer place without John Clarke stripping away politicians’ cant with humour and a sharp scalpel. He will be very missed.