The wit of the perpetual student

The quest for wit consumes anyone who writes in broadsheet newspapers about food or TV. Slipping in as many witty one liners as possible is part of the training, along with giving your kids a mention and a little self depreciating humour about being useless at DIY.

In this instance I’m referring to Thomas Sutcliffe’s column ‘Last night’s TV’ in last Thursday’s Independent (16 February 2006). As above, it’s the usual droll affair of the potential stand up comic, tapping into everyday situations to make himself sound down to earth as well as educated. Surprisingly, he also manages to give his daughter a mention, her cleverness giving rise to, “…ribald and animated discussion…”.


Basically he’s not into winter sports or the winter Olympics, and is probably the sort of bloke who maintains that football is just a game. So half a page of a daily national newspaper is devoted to smart comments along the lines of downhill skiers starting at the same time and being encouraged to use their elbows. Funny if your at the nearest successful sixth form college, not funny for anyone indulging in the boring process of living and breathing.

Thomas’s smug column contrasts superbly with the radiant picture of British downhill skier Chemmy Alcott on the front page. In years to come her friends and family will marvel at it in a scrapbook and say, “Wow, you look fantastic in that picture!”.
They won’t turn to page 56, and read a witty TV column by a perpetual student whose mugshot induces bouts of self harm.

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