Funeral DetailsFuneral: 3:00PM
Thursday 3rd April 2014 at The Boulevard Restaurant, 121 Studley Park Rd, Kew, VIC
Memories of John Dalton (Jack) Clancy
13.7.1934 - 23.3.2014
Sportsman, teacher, scholar,loving family man, music lover, wine appreciator, good friend. Died peacefully after a long illness. Loved and admired by his family Patsy, Dave and Rob, Nicola and Sophie, beloved Pa of Ben, Charlie, Alice and Laurie.
A private cremation will be held on Thursday, 27 March 2014 with a celebration of Jack's life at The Boulevard Restaurant, 121 Studley Park Road, Kew (enter from Walmer St.) on Thursday, 3 April 2014 at 3pm.
Jack Clancy of the overflowing
Digitally altered image.
Jack Clancy played one game for Fitzroy, sort of. He was picked as 20th man for the first game of 1957, in which the Lions downed Melbourne, the reigning premier, at Brunswick Street. He remembered coach Bill Stephens' rousing pre-match address, also that the dressing gown was scratchy. Stephen remembered that no man ever sat on the pine as impressively as Clancy.
Though Clancy didn't get on that day, he was sure his time would come. But six weeks later, he did his knee in a reserves game against Collingwood. Two years later, back at Uni Blacks, his alma mater, he did his other knee.
Not in the least disenchanted, he played on for the then formidable Blacks, and later for more social Reds, and at length filled every imaginable postion at both clubs, also for the umbrella Melbourne University Football Club, from decorated player and president to coach of the under-19s, sometimes doubling on match days as boundary or goal umpire. For more than 30 years, he hosted the Blacks' best and fairest count at his Camberwell home. His involvement with the club stretched almost to 60 years.
Clancy was large in life, and larger than it. A schoolmate remembers him protesting the preoccupation with science. At RMIT, says art historian and contemporary Vincent O'Donnell, he taught English to engineers, fitters and turners and boilermakers, "to let them see a life beyond the lathe".
As head of humanities, he pioneered courses in media, cinema, communications and semiotics. He also became secretary of the Friends of the ABC. His spectrum of interests was broad, but fine. A friend remembered their conversations thus: "We ranged more widely, and occasionally deeply, into drama, the arts, the perfidies of the worlds of arts and publishing, football, cricket, the political angst of the left and the iniquities of global capitalism."
At RMIT, he never missed a boozy annual celebration of Karl Marx's birthday. Can't you just hear Andrew Bolt turning in his swivel chair?
Wine was a particular passion, also music. Another friend recalled that his aim in retirement was to listen to all the Schubert lieder. One a day, it would take him two years, he figured. Clancy hosted memorable Melbourne Cup parties, appeared on Sale of the Century, wrote a book on the 1956 Olympic torch relay and loved his garden.
"I remember him grumbling about misuse of nouns as verbs and making scathing denunciations of injustice and meanness," said another old friend, "But I don’t remember him ever using his wit unkindly." Hawthorn premiership player and Blacks stalwart Ray Wilson called him a bon vivant, a Renaissance man, but also "an upmarket version of Joffa".
This bemused O'Donnell when they first met. "At Sydney university, where I had studied, such an adherence to a football code would be unacceptable unless you were an engineer," he said. Rugby union would hint at "lingering immaturity", league to a "quite unsatisfactory social background". "But Jack was an eye-opener. In one moment, he was discussing the French Nouvelle Vague, or the films of Howard Hawks, the next the prospect of a flag for his beloved Fitzroy."
In Melbourne, blessedly, this established Clancy not as unusual, but foremost of a kind, who perceive beauty in sport as they see it in the arts. Two years ago, David Parkin - whose son Anthony once coached the Blacks - wrote that the club's culture was the best he had known, including Hawthorn's and Carlton's. Clancy personified it. It was not entirely innocent. En route by train to an intervarsity carnival in Adelaide, Clancy ended up spending a night in the Ararat lock-up, consequence of a card game. Another time in Perth, a steamroller somehow ended up in a canal.
Clancy regretted the decline of the powerhouse Blacks in the `80s and `90s, but almost alone did not waver in his dedication. When Blacks and Reds found themselves improbably together in E grade, Clancy donated a cup. Clancy's wife, Pat, is a world-renown translator of French literature, rarely seen at the football, but doubtlessly was the inspiration for the name of the Rouge et Noir Cup, named after a Stendhal novel. Inaugurating the cup, Clancy made his speech entirely in French!
"As he moved from being a contemporary of young players to an elder statesman many decades their senior, his ability to communicate with, understand and mentor them was amazing," said Wilson. "Whether a player’s interest was sport, literature, theatre, music, politics - or in just growing up a little - Jack was a go-to man for all seasons. All delivered with the hand of friendship and respect for the individual, no matter if it was the star player in the seniors or the trainer for the clubbies."
Clancy quietly rejoiced in the Blacks' rehabilitation to A grade, even as a long illness slowly overtook him. He died last week, aged 79. When he retired from RMIT, a lecture was instituted and named in his honour. "It's not the Jack Clancy memorial lecture," he would growl to O'Donnell, who added: "I guess he won't mind if the name is changed now."
Obituary by Dr. Vincent O'Donnell, published on www.screenhub.com.au
An Australian pioneer of cinema studies, Professor Jack Clancy, has died aged 79 years.
In the mid-1960s, when an Australian cinema was only a page in our pre-WW II history, Jack Clancy was teaching English to engineers, fitters and turners and boilermakers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, now RMIT University.
Teaching humanities to the trade students was, he said, to broaden the post-secondary education experience of the students, to let them see a life beyond the lathe. In a similar way, Professor Hunter at the University of Sydney was packing his chemical engineering students off to the English Department for a couple of hours a week.
Already having a keen interest in the cinema from his own university days, Clancy recognised in the cinema the opportunity to bring literature to his students by stealth. Thus he created two electives, Classic Hollywood Cinema and, in second semester, Classic European Cinema. It was the beginning of cinema studies at a tertiary level in Australia.
Prior to the 1960s, film schools where they existed were production centered, like the Moscow Film School, the first in the world to focus on film, established in 1919, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, established in 1929. Criticism and analysis was to support insight for production not be a major theme for study. The spread of television post-WW II and the recognition of the power and authority it wielded, stimulated academic interest in screen culture which found a well-established critical conversation about the cinema in the pages of Cahiers du Cinema as well as Movie, Film Comment and volumes of critical essays like the Penguin Film Review.
I first met Jack Clancy when I took responsibility for the Experimental Film Fund (EFF). The fund, together with a film school and the Australian Film Development Corporation, were programs established by Prime Minister John Gorton on the recommendations of the Film Committee of the Australian Council for the Arts, to reinvigorate a film production industry in Australia. But public money cannot be dished out willy-nilly so a bureaucratic process had quickly evolved to make judgements on whose project would receive support.
Jack Clancy was on the Melbourne panel that made recommendation on who should get EFF funds in Victoria. Another panel was based in Sydney, and ad hoc panels worked in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, made up of local film makers and academics and a member of the Sydney or Melbourne panel. A Hobart panel was formed if there were sufficient applicants, otherwise the applicants got a free trip to Melbourne.
Jack Clancy was the second Melbourne academic I had encountered. The first was Ian Turner and the quite, quite, extraordinary thing about them both was they were football tragics. I later discovered it is quite a Melbourne academic thing. At Sydney University where I had studied, such an adherence to a football codes would be unacceptable unless you were an engineer. In any case, adherence to Rugby Union would suggest lingering immaturity and a private school education and to Rugby League, a quite unsatisfactory social background and probable from the western suburbs.
But Jack was an eye opener. In one moment he was discussing the French Nouvelle Vague or the films of Howard Hawks, the next the prospect of a flag for his beloved Fitzroy. Jack continued to support Fitzroy long after the team was sold down the road to a northern state capital by a mercantile and uncaring AFL.
Jack later changed my life. I encountered him having a smoke outside the awards ceremony for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards about 1992. He was attending with his wife Pat who has an interest in the Dinny O'Hearn Prize for Literary Translation. She went on to win the prize in 2003 for her translation of ‘Voyage to Desolation Island’ by Jean-Paul Kauffmann.
I was very rested between engagements and Jack suggested I give a guest lecture to his cinema studies students… it would pay $120 for a two hour session. I chose to talk about the state film corporations having worked for two and been close to all the others except the NSW Film Corporation. At the end of the lecture... not heavily attended… Jack said ‘that story would make a great subject for thesis. Think about it.’ And the rest is, as they say, History.
Jack supervised my MA thesis, a comparative study of the performance of the SA Film Corporation and the Victorian Film Corporation measure against critical and commercial imperatives, and was second supervisor on my PhD, having by that time retired.
The Jack Clancy Lecture was instituted by RMIT University on his retirement in recognition of his pioneering contribution, first the cinema studies, then media studies. It is not the Jack Clancy Memorial Lecture he used to growl. I guess he won’t mind if the name is changed now.
|There are 32 personal tributes|
April 1st, 2014 at 8:01 pm
A Fond Memory of J. Clancy from J. Clanchy As a lanky, shy, stripling teenager entering Melbourne Uni in the early sixties, I was keen to make new friends by joining the MU Football Club. I set out for the ‘Pavvy’ one March evening with a pair of boots, shorts and a school footy jumper and was welcomed into the warm and lively company of the under-age first year players (the ‘Juniors’). No coach had been appointed for the Juniors at that stage of the year, but a friendly giant had volunteered to coach and look after us in the meantime – a typical gesture of generosity which marked all my interactions with Jack in the ten years which followed. After our first training session, this gentle-tough giant handed out application forms for joining the Victorian Amateurs Football Association. ‘Fill them in now,’ he told us. ‘We want to make sure you’re signed up and eligible for the first game of the season.’ I didn’t know that Jack was still playing competitive footy himself (captaining the Uni Reds ‘mixed-age’ team). So I was surprised when he took a form himself and standing bent over the table next to me began to fill it out. I was even more surprised when out of the corner of my eye I saw he’d filled in the first line (Name) and had written J. Clancy. I was in a terrible dilemma. Did a long drink of a pimply adolescent tell this gentle giant that he’d got my name wrong – that he couldn’t spell – in the face of the astonishing fact that he was so careful of his new charges that he was filling in my form for me, and the even more astonishing fact that, among us all newbies whom he’d just met, that he’d remembered my name? Or did I just stay mum and accept the fact that I’d be registered under the wrong name and would have to live with it for as long as I played footy? I said: ‘Sorry, sir. That’s not how you spell it.’ Jack looked up, laughed, and said, ‘Maybe but that’s how we’ve spelt it for a couple of hundred years.’ ‘Perhaps, but it’s not right,’ I said. ‘Don’t be nervous, son,’ he said. ‘You know how to fill in a form?’ ‘Yessir.’ I saw in his eyes he was thinking, How did this idiot ever get into University? But also saw that it was immediately blocked out by a second thought: This kid’s so stupid, it’s possible he could actually play football. ‘Okay, son,’ he said, ‘just relax, and do exactly as I do.’ He went back to filling in the rest of his form, and I started on mine. Moments later I saw him look across and check on my progress and note that I’d filled in the first line (Name): J. Clanchy. Our eyes met – and I read in his a sudden terrible concern. ‘I didn’t mean it literally, son,’ he said, one hand on my shoulder, the other already reaching for a fresh form. Vale Jack Clancy. A gentle giant, if ever there was one.
April 1st, 2014 at 6:05 pm
Jack and I bonded in 1965 when we kind of co-coached the inaugural season of the Reserves; he did match days and I did training nights. We liked to think that it was the foundation that we built that led to the two's (also known from time to time as the All-stars) becoming the most successful team in the MUFC's proud history with something like 17 or 18 flags in the past 40 years. Later Jack and I, having helped to persuade him to become Coach, became The Silver Fox's private support team lunching weekly at a little Greek restaurant in Collins Street. One can't think of Jack and the MUFC without also mentioning the bawdy, beery Hookers nights at the pavi. One now cringes at the thought of how he got home to Camberwell. On one famous occasion he didn't. Having found himself in the Carlton/Exhibition Gardens at the end of Drummond St he decided to 'rest' until dawn so he could work out how to get out. It's not hard to see why he was so attached to the Blacks as these are but a jot of the memories he had of his footy days and that we have of him. You were a great comrade Jack and you will be sorely missed. Warm greetings and condolences to Patsy, Robbie and David.
April 1st, 2014 at 10:12 am (edited)
My thoughts and sympathy to the caring Clancy family. Jack was an inspiration to me from the beginning of my university football in 1956 and will have my lasting and greatest admiration for his continuing attendance to support the Blacks these last seasons.
April 1st, 2014 at 9:32 am (edited)
I was a colleague with Jack at RMIT for four years between 1980 and 1983. He graciously welcomed me to the Humanities Department even though he should have occupied the role of Department Head to which I was appointed. It was always a pleasure to be with Jack. His avuncular and affirming manner, his enthusiasm for life, his wide range of interests, his tolerance of my commitment to rugby - the real brand of football, his friendship with so many and his wonderful Melbourne Cup parties with Patsy will always remain in my memory. Our Maori people would say: "a mighty Totara the has fallen in the forest." It is very sad to say farewell to Jack. He lived a good life.
April 1st, 2014 at 12:29 am
Jack Clancy was my colleague, my boss and my friend during the almost six fortunate years I spent in Australia. More than that, he was a revelation to this Southern woman. Jack could quote Shakespeare, philosophers or film directors in the same breath and then go on to music, sport and wine. Ah, so that's what a true scholar is, I thought, and to this day he represents what the academy SHOULD be. He was so very, very kind to me as he and others guided me into Australian culture and included me in a circle of colleagues and friends. He helped me see a broader and richer world in many ways, and he taught me never ever to read bush poems in a southern accent.