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Introduction by Lorin Clarke
This book tells the story of John Clarke’s writing life, including the fan letter he sent to All Black Terry Lineen when he was ten, a golf instruction manual unlike any other, Anna Karenina in forty-three words, and the moving essays he wrote after the deaths of his parents.
Tinkering is full of surprises, and includes all kinds of puzzles and propositions. Each one has different rules but together they reveal the different facets of John Clarke’s comic genius. In these pages you will find Fred Dagg dispensing advice on everything from dentistry to dreaming, the complete history of the lost sport of farnakeling, the famous ‘Quiz Answers’, and ‘Saint Paul’s Letter to the Electorates’ —a brilliant account of the Rudd–Gillard years that was first inscribed onto stone tablets.
Tinkering also includes previously unpublished material including the ‘Doorstop Poems’, and the ‘Letters from the School’ suggesting what a serious matter birdwatching was for John Clarke.
John Clarke was born in New Zealand in 1948. He was and remains one of Australia’s best known and most loved faces on TV. A comedian, writer and actor, his appearances included the famous Fred Dagg character, The Gillies Report and The Games. John’s books include The Even More Complete Book of Australian Verse, A Dagg at My Table, The Howard Miracle, The 7.56 Report and A Pleasure to be Here, The Best of Clarke and Dawe (2017). His only novel, The Tournament, was published in the UK and the US to great critical acclaim and will be republished in the Text Classics in November. He died in April 2017.
‘Tinkering is packed with puzzles and propositions, with tea-fuelled musings on everything from plumbing to Paul Holmes. A gem.’ North & South NZ
‘This book comes with some magnificent pictures of Clarke’s beloved birds and they seem to have represented the magic of the reality of the world to him. There is plenty of that magic in this book and everyone who liked John Clarke should buy it and find in it what will soothe their spirit. It will be there.’ Australian
‘The late John Clarke, aka. Fred Dagg, really was a satirical one-off…Tinkering is packed with puzzles and propositions, with tea-fuelled musings on everything from plumbing to Paul Holmes. A gem.’ North & South
‘…Assessment of his The Games co-writer Ross Stevenson that Clarke was “the great satirist in the English language” is probably pretty close to the mark.’ Otago Daily Times
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