As a useful ps to Salut! Live's recent look at the two songs with the same title - The Boys of the Byline Brigade, on the working lives of journalists, and specifically newspaper reporters - my old friend Geoff Lakeman has duly popped up again with the lyrics to his version.
Still no word from Mickey MacConnell, like Geoff a folksinging journalist, who wrote the original song and was therefore the man who came up with the title. But attempts have been made to make sure he is aware the issue has been discussed, and credit suitably given.
In the case of Geoff's song, which he put to a tune of his own, there are references that require a little explanation to those unfamiliar with Fleet Street. These, with minor editing from this end, is his glossary:
* "The bank in the sky" was the cashier's office on the top floor of the Daily Mirror's Holborn Circus office, to which hacks would turn for the money to get to assignments (or, more likely, the pub). It was eventually closed down because so many people got advances (against expenses) and were too slow in paying them back.
* "The stab in the back" was the Mirror office pub of choice,, actually part of the building, reached by a glass bridge across the road, so nicknamed in honour of the score-settling and office politics that typically influenced conversations over pints of beer and stout.
*"The mink-lined coffin" was how one Robert Maxwell - who later did an even better job of cleaning out the place - described the Mirror because of its profligate spending, when negotiating to buy the paper. He also, famously, said: "The gravy train is about to hit the buffers..." Boy was he right when he ran off with about £800million!
* (and one from Mickey, describing his own song in the notes to his album, Joined up Writing): Boys of the Byline Brigade - a byline in newspaper parlance is when your name appears on a story you have written. This is my genuflection to all of the old time heroes who populated the journalistic days of my youth, and who were badly paid, badly regarded, and who were relegated to working the nightshift - the Doomwatch - at the end of their days.
And now for the lyrics.......