Gentlemen Ranters
October 12, 2007 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Gentlemen Ranters, a "brilliant compendium of reminiscences of the great days of Fleet Street". Via (check the comments for a more depressing viewpoint).
posted by criticalbill (5 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Good stuff, this. File under "A" (for Albion 4 EVAH):
[W]e were confronted by the murder victim’s mother, tears staining her face and a pinafore covering her simple blue dress. ‘I’ve got nothing to say,’ she announced mournfully.

Tommy went into full vicar-mode. ‘Of course you haven’t, my dear,’ he said. ‘What could you possibly say? What could ANY of us possibly say?’ He put his hand on her shoulder. ‘You have lost the daughter you loved. And here we are bothering you and trampling all over your nice clean doorstep. I can tell, you see; I bet you scrubbed this doorstep this morning.’

Bemused, the mother looked down and nodded.

‘I thought so,’ beamed Tommy. ‘Just like my old mum. Always kept a clean doorstep.’ Then he took a mighty drag on his cigarette, which by this time had a produced a tip of faltering ash. ‘And with a lovely doorstep like this, the last thing you would want is me dropping my cigarette all over it. Is that an ashtray I can see on the table in the hall?’

Fag hand outstretched like a cavalryman’s sabre, he glided past her into the hallway and I followed, mumbling apologies. Minutes later we were cosily installed in the kitchen while mum made a cup of tea, Tommy banged off a couple of snaps of her before making his choice from the family photo album and I coaxed some words out of her about the heartbreak of losing a daughter (sorry, but we old hacks still talk in tabloid headlines).

As we drove back to London I said to Tommy: ‘I didn’t know you smoked.’ He gave me one of his beatific smiles. ‘Only when the occasion demands,’ he said.
posted by rob511 at 2:54 PM on October 12, 2007

Nice set of links.

(But seriously, the guy writing the "Fleet Street" articles claims to have worked in the newspaper industry, but doesn't know how to use apostrophes. He drops them in front of every single plural. For the sake of the U.K. newspaper-reading public, I hope he was carrying around buckets of ink or something.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:44 PM on October 12, 2007

Sodden self-glorification at its finest - thank you!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:49 AM on October 13, 2007

Fantastic, thanks. I was born way too late.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:08 AM on October 13, 2007

Reporters don't have to punctuate. That's the subs' job. Sometimes it is also the subs' job to make the reporters' reports readable.

(I used to know someone, employed by a major publisher, whose job was to turn one specific former-Fleet Street-hack-turned-big-novelist's manuscripts into readable English.)

(I also once saved a major Sunday paper from some kind of trouble by spotting that a hack had lifted two-thirds of a feature article from a website. The thing that tipped me off was that the piece was too well written.)
posted by Hogshead at 3:37 PM on October 14, 2007

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