Stuff and Nonsense

Malarkey is Andy Clarke, a UK based designer, author and speaker who has a passion for design, CSS and web accessibility.

Andy has been working on the web for almost ten years. He is a visual web designer and author and he founded Stuff and Nonsense in 1998. Andy regularly writes about creating beautiful, accessible web sites and he speaks at events worldwide. Andy is the author of Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design, published by New Riders in 2006.

My new biography: Tell me yours

What's your story? Do tell.

As I've just been invited to speak at a web conference in Canada next year, I thought that it was about time that I updated my biography.

Looking back at what I have written before, it all seemed a little bland; designer this, accessibility that. So instead of writing the usual marketing gloss, I thought that it was time that I told the truth about who I am and how I came to be where I am today.

Andy Clarke

Malarkey (Andy Clarke) is the only son of travelling Romanian circus performers. His late mother was a knife-thrower's assistant; his father, a knife thrower and part time strong-man. Together they toured the country performing their act, Night Of The Long Knives, twice a day and three times on Saturdays.

After his one fatal Saturday matinee mishap, his father stopped performing and the infant Malarkey was abandoned and left to fend for himself in Wolverhampton. He was taken in and raised by Kenneth and Sidney; two kindly, effeminate tailors with an innocent penchant for silk pyjamas. It was a happy upbringing, interupted only by bickering about dunking and finger biscuits.

At sixteen, Malarkey headed south to seek his fortune. It was there, in the seedy back streets of Solihull that he fell for the ample charms of Evangelina, an alcoholic former feather dancer turned advertising consultant, who helped him to develop his talents.

He now regularly speaks and is available for weddings, children's parties and private functions.

What's your story? Do tell.

Replies

  1. #1 On August 8, 2006 03:09 AM R�mi Pr�vost said:

    Off-topic question: where in Canada? :-)

  2. #2 On August 8, 2006 03:14 AM Dave S. said:

    R�mi - all going well, you'll know by the end of the month.

  3. #3 On August 8, 2006 03:24 AM Jonathan Snook said:

    Well, with Mr. Shea chiming in, I'd put my money on Vancouver. But I hope it's Ottawa (yeah, right) or Toronto, and then I might be able to meet the man of malarkey once again. Oh, and you, too, Dave. ;)

    (yeah, I have no story.)

  4. #4 On August 8, 2006 06:49 AM nortypig said:

    seriously? we're related? I mean what are the chances of finding another person abandoned by Romanian circus performers and taken in by effeminate tailors named Kenneth and Sydney...

    oh no that's right. I was a monkey for a while at the Toronga Zoo (but they've got real monkeys now) and after I was fired I got taken in by a bunch of Sailors in Sydney one of who was named Kenneth...

    and i have to admit i've always had a penchant for silk pyjamas...

    ok mine is a crock...

    my real life has been very long, aeons of eternity in fact. i've become very wise, a bit ill tempered and intollerant of children. i lie a LOT. did i mention i used to be a pirate? :)

    interesting life story Andy lol

  5. #5 On August 8, 2006 08:26 AM gb said:

    funny... i was just thinking about this the other day (since I'm redoing my site right now), and how sick I am of marketing BS-speak. I think I went a bit overboard on the nuttiness last go 'round, though.

  6. #6 On August 8, 2006 09:27 AM Jim said:

    My secret rock 'n' roll history was posted to alt.punk many years ago, and is now part of my flickr profile.

  7. #7 On August 8, 2006 12:06 PM Scott Swabey said:

    Well don't tell anybody in the Australian government, but I am the son of a man who emigrated from the UK in the early 70's, who misbehaved so badly he was quickly deported back to England. Oh the irony!

    My mother, being the old fashioned type, dutifully returned with her errant husband, only to divorce him and hook up with a knife throwing Romanian. Life was a whirlwind of glinting steel and candy floss, which I quickly tired of, and so moved out of the horse drawn caravan we called home, and into the wide world.

    After several years stowed away in the depths of a P&O cross channel ferry I set foot on Australian soil. By good forging fortune, I now call Australia home.

  8. #8 On August 8, 2006 01:57 PM Miyuki said:

    Another off-topic comment: Yes, where in Canada indeed! I hope it's Toronto...

    (And I also have no colourful story to tell. But, I don't have my own website either.)

  9. #9 On August 8, 2006 03:30 PM Carolyn Wood said:

    You skipped over the beginning of your bio, omitting a fact that will explain a lot to your readers�that you were conceived on the back of a scooter as it was going full speed down the road to Bucharest.

  10. #10 On August 8, 2006 04:24 PM Ms. Jen said:

    I recently had my first speaking gig at BlogHer'06 and spoke on photography and moblogging, so here is the bio I used. Not nearly as colorful as Malarkey's... Must think of a more colorful story...

    "A web designer/developer and teacher/student by trade, a photographer, moblogger and professional art weirdo for the love of it, Ms. Jen started her art career in the high chair with her love of personal food art and food wall art at the age of 11 months. Her love for photography took off when given a Nikon FG-1 film camera for her 15th birthday. Many concerts, birds, trees and people photos later, she usually carries at least two cameras in her purse at any given time, one of which is a camera phone all the better to moblog with. Currently completing her Masters degree in Computer Science in Multimedia Systems in Dublin, Ireland, Ms. Jen will be returning home to California in October and can always be found online at blackphoebe.com."

  11. #11 On August 8, 2006 07:08 PM Matt Robin said:

    Ah Canada: the sun, the sea, the bright-lights, the trees, the moose (what?!)...err...yeah..well, I've never been there...so, where was I? Oh yeah, your biography!

    Silk pyjamas and effeminate tailors eh? (Explains a few things about your design approaches Andy...hehehe).

    I'm afraid my bio is a mystery to all...any previous attempts to write such a thing have resulted in ink drying-up on contact with paper and computer hard-drives burning to a crisp as soon as anyone starts to type the first few lines!

    Maybe some bios are left unwritten...y'know, like keeping darkness bottled-up in a jar at the very back of a very dark shelf, in a government storage facility soooo large that no-one will ever find that shelf?!! ;)

    Of course...the 'About' section of my web site only gives a taster of the real me...

    Nortypig: Strange - but you as a pirate wouldn't really surprise me! Now what does that mean eh? :D

    Carolyn: Hahaha...good one...'just don't go down that road with me' (No, I mean it!! Hahahaha)

    Ms. Jen: ....you're from California? ;)

  12. #12 On August 8, 2006 11:59 PM ppk said:

    Andy's noble example gave me the courage to finally tell my real story:

  13. #13 On August 9, 2006 01:50 AM Mick said:

    Andy, what a great story! Ever thought about writing a book? Definately should write "And All That Malarkey... The Autobiography".

  14. #14 On August 9, 2006 08:40 AM Skip Chris said:

    Bah, never mind individuals: you could read the biography of my entire (ex-)band, Boyscout Inferno!

  15. #15 On August 9, 2006 11:16 AM Ian Lloyd said:

    I dunno why, but I think this biog needs to be read out by Eric Idle to give it the final touch. Go on, re-read it, but imagine Eric Idle's voice inside your head. Priceless

  16. #16 On August 9, 2006 05:28 PM Jack said:

    The youngest, and some say least poisonous, of the descendants of Cesare Borgia, I wasn't so much born as summoned, if one were to ask my parents. At the age of 10 I became a rock critic, collected bits of lead and started an absinthe habit (it was more the green color than the taste, really).

    Toward the end of my incarceration for trafficking in 18-century Dobro guitars, I started the trend of stand-up drama, which, sadly, wasn't as successful as one might think. I sold the elaborate theater I used for performances to a venture capitalist, and used the profits to buy office supplies.

    I currently live in a poorly-constructed home made entirely of pens and staplers, mere yards from the Chicago River. The computer I'm using to write this is made up entirely of desk lamps.

  17. #17 On August 14, 2006 12:09 PM JackP said:

    In comparison to what I suspect are the blatant lies and misinformation above, mine is a true story:
    I was born in the previous millenium, and for the first few years of my life did not produce any standards compliant code. Then, as I grew older, I continued to not produce standards compliant code, studying Biology at Lancaster University (but spending more time playing on the BBS) on the way, and then finally getting a job. I continued to not produce standards compliant code until earlier this century, at which point I started to try to do it. I have not yet died.

  18. #18 On August 14, 2006 12:13 PM JackP said:

    Oh, and I particularly like the google ads for knives on this page. Well done. Your next mission is to try and produce an article that produces google ads for ... oooh, I dunno... how about West Indian Cooking Pots?

  19. #19 On August 14, 2006 10:32 PM Ms. Jen said:

    Yes, Matt,

    I am from California. Born and raised.

    I am currently living in Dublin whilst getting my M.Sc. in computer science at Trinity College, Dublin. Course over in early October and then back home.

    I love the UK and Ireland and will be back.

    smiles, jen ;o)

This article was originally published by Andy Clarke on his personal web site And All That Malarkey and is reproduced here for archive purposes. This article is published under a Creative Commons By Attribution License 2.0.

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