Forgive Us Our Press Passes

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When Fleet Street was demoted to a mere address, 'time, gentlemen, please' was called on a marathon binge that had produced some of the greatest stories in tabloid press history. Stories that would never make the morning papers.These unprinted legends circulated secretly among an elite handful of national newspaper reporters and photographers - colourful characters whose own outrageous tales often eclipsed those in the headlines they created.Now that well-paid jobs and bumper expense accounts are no longer at stake, vintage scribe and broadcaster Ian Skidmore blows the whistle on the jolly jape that was journalism in the 50s, 60s and 70s.Forgive Us Our Press Passes is a surreal yarn of the slapstick and wit shared by a crackpot but talented crew of hacks who somehow produced the greatest newspaper circulation figures in the history of the world press ... between pub opening hours.Only a Methodist MINISTER, a tailor's dummy or a university journalism professor could fail to split his sides at the anecdotes in this hilariously written, warts-n-all account of the media circus BEFORE they sent in the clowns.Chosen as BBC Book of the Year, Forgive us our Press Passes had the highest listening figures on Radio Four, and was read twice on the BBC Overseas Service.The Daily Post described Ian Skidmore as Wales' funniest columnist, the Western Mail as 'a great eccentric'.Now, revisited, revised, and expanded to more than twice its original length it is being published in this special edition - and in ebook form for the very first time.There is no way the po-faced 'media studies' Gestapo training today's young reporters would let them have sight of this marvellous tome in case it corrupted them. They should be made to read it. Skidmore brings back to life some of the marvellous characters of my newspaper youth, men who taught youngsters how to be proper reporters. Alistair McQueenShould be made required reading for every child-in-a-suit populating what passes for our newsrooms these days. Grey Cardigan, Press GazetteIn journalistic terms and, by some strange alchemy ... exactly the right blend of talent and lunacy required for life in a pressure cooker. Ian Skidmore, celebrated northern reporter, author, broadcaster and wit, writes of that harum-scarum world in this book. Derek Jameson. Former national newspaper editor, author and celebrated radio star.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DavidBaird - LibraryThing

Hilarious, witty account of his reporting days by Ian Skidmore, journalist, broadcaster and author. Picked as BBC Book of the Year and read twice on the BBC Overseas Service. Read full review

About the author

Professional wit and best-selling author Ian Skidmore devised and presented one of BBC Radio Wales' most popular programmes, Radio Brynsiencyn, with a branch on Radio 4 UK. In 40 years he wrote twenty six books and, until he was sponsored by the Marquess of Anglesey for a generous pension from the Royal Literary Fund for services to Welsh culture, earned almost as much as he would have done if he had spent the decades on social security. His books include biographies, histories, war stories and two comic novels set in a mythical Welsh island with an uncanny resemblance to Anglesey, for many years his home until he was forced by frenzied nationalists into exile in the Fens,. He no longer writes satire, for the very good reason that every time he dreams up an improbable situation, say, an American invasion of a Commonwealth island; the siting of missile bases in the face of local opposition; British armed landings in support of a political party ndash; it happens within the year. Forgive Us Our Press Passes should be safe. It's an account of the author's past; the years he spent as a freelance reporter based in Chester and working in North Wales and a decade on the Daily Mirror where he became an unwilling night news editor. It is unreliable autobiography and shouldn't be taken too seriously. All the stories in the book are based on fact, but the details may be blurred and the characters are mostly composites. This is because of libel laws and because the author doesn't remember too good. Like the late Earl of Rochester he spent the years under advisement in a mist of perpetual revelry and hopes his readers will approach his book in the same happy way. It has one claim to literary fame. It took two months to write and nine years to find a publisher. But then so did Jane Austen's first book.

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