About the bloke behind the quill
WELCOME to the world of Australian author, playwright and journalist Bernard Clancy. Yep, that’s me, myself and I. It’s a world of real people, living their lives in a whirlpool stirred by the stick of Big Brother (the George Orwell one, I mean). Out of control, mate.
My people are just like you, whether they be in the true stories of my journalism, or factionalised characters in my book and play. Intriguing stories, remarkable lives. A good belly-laugh here and there mixed with black humor, love and hate, triumphs and tragedies.
If you’d like to find out more about my book, click on Best We Forget. It has been described by one critic as “Australia’s Catch 22” and others as simply “a bloody good read”. But don’t just take my word for it, see what the critics and my readers say.
If you’re into live theatre, my play, Foxholes of the Mind, will interest you. Why did I bust out of the fiction wetsuit to swim bare-arsed on the stage? Go to Foxholes to find out.
During my lifetime of writing I’ve met and interviewed many interesting people. Real people, not botoxed bimbos or pretentious preeners. You can meet some of them on my Journalism page.
Go to it ... enjoy the ride.
A bit of history
When I was conscripted into the Australian Army I was a small town bi-weekly newspaper reporter eyeing off the world. Man, I couldn’t wait to get to journalism’s Holy Grail, Fleet St. It was the mid-60s and the Beatles were holdin’ my hand. Adventure beckoned.
When the Army pointed the finger at me and said “we’ll have you for two years young fella” I accepted my fate with a touch of pragmatism. It was in a totally different world to Fleet St, but what the hell, Vietnam certainly would be an adventure, I thought. And I determined there and then not to waste it, to one day write a book about the experience.
Best We Forget is that book. It’s gestation period was painfully long. I returned from Vietnam in April 1969 and the book was finally published in September 1998. Thirty years. Why so long?
A number of reasons. I began writing soon after I returned from Vietnam. All that spewed forth was Angry Young Man. That wasn’t what I wanted to write. Time and again I screwed up sheets of paper ripped from my tiny Olivetti portable typewriter (and later electric desktop) in frustration. It wasn’t until 1983 that I completed the first draft.
In the meantime I had a family to feed. I worked at the Melbourne Sun News Pictorial from 1972 to 1988 firstly as a sports sub editor. In subsequent years I became Design and Production Editor, Supplements Editor, columnist, then Group Foreign Editor. Before I realised it, they’d made me “a Suit”. On the News Ltd Executive Ladder.
Underwhelmed, I jumped off. I wanted to write books, not memos.
To finance my writing I formed my own public relations company. But it became so damn successful that I had limited time for writing! I consulted to some of Australia’s biggest companies. I even helped Jeff Kennett and Alan Stockdale “sell” privatisation in the mid 90s. Ahh, the intrigue of politics... but that took its toll on my health and I advanced to the rear to recharge buggered batteries. Hmmm, must write a book about it one day...I really found my niche advising professional service practices, particularly accounting firms and their clients, in public relations and marketing. Nice people to do business with, and still are.
These days I'm doing my PhD in the Art of Beach Bumming, on the Bellarine Peninsula. It's tough work but someone has to do it. Often, while strolling the magnificent fairways of 13th Beach Golf Links, I'm asked whether I'm retired. Hell, no! The word is not in my lexicon.Life is for living and variety is the spice of life ...
And I'm still throwing punches on behalf of Vietnam veterans, the greatest bunch of blokes and mates in the world. Not to mention their wives and families. God bless 'em. And he will.