A pale ray of sunlight seeps through a dusty stained glass window to light a shabby congregation - all kneeling, eyes closed in devout prayer:
“Thank you, Lord. Thank you for saving us.”
The scene is a Fleet Street pub at lunchtime - and, as yet, hardly a drop’s been touched. I stand up, cross myself, dust the knees of my corduroy trousers and reach to take a grateful sip of my pint of London Pride. All around me my fellow workers are rising from their knees: men - and a few women - all known to the world as penny liars, scribbling scum, foot-in-the-door merchants, callous bastards, and reptiles. The massed hacks of the News of the World.
We are celebrating a crucial moment. Just ended is a long, bitter financial war. It has been the saving of the world’s best-selling Sunday paper from the grasping hands of the monster - Robert Maxwell.
And our unlikely saviour? A newcomer to the Fleet Street jungle, a raw young hayseed from the Australian outback - Rupert Murdoch.
In this lively memoir, John Bull lifts the lid on what it was really like to work on the ‘News of the Screws’ in its heyday, producing what the staid British Establishment called a ‘torrent of filth’ every Sunday - and selling four million copies a week.