The inimitable Gentlemen Ranters site - described by The Times as “a brilliant compendium of reminiscences of the great days of Fleet Street” - celebrates its 200th edition today (June 10).
It’s a tribute to its founder, ex-Mirror group executive Revel Barker, that he has kept it going for almost four years, publishing well over 1,000 pieces during that time.
He has also published several books, mostly memoirs by veteran journalists, and republished old classics.
Today’s double centenary edition contains a single article by Barker in which he extols the virtues of a site that has been called the last pub in Fleet Street. (If you want to know about the real pubs, he lists them all).
He writes: “The site’s readers are aware that they had enjoyed the best of times out of the entire history of The Street Of Ink, The Street Of Adventure, The Street of Shame, The Street of Disillusion, Grub Street… The Boulevard of Broken Dreams… It was surreal. It was bizarre. But that’s how it was.”
And he is happy to concede that it wallows in nostalgia and is unashamedly self-reverential, concluding:
“Although Fleet Street as a geographical area and as a calling may be much maligned and misunderstood – this collation is not intended to change the opinion of those who malign or misunderstand it. It isn’t written for them: it’s written for us.”