Life’s Little Irritants – No 20

Tyldesley — never knowingly understood

Have you ever wondered about what is the most useless, pointless job in the world? I mean apart from politicians obviously, and those people who put mile after mile of cones on the motorway when there is no work going on.

For people who write letters to the Daily Mail, it tends to be anyone working in public services, especially if they work in health and safety, education examiners and those catch-all scapegoats, the managers and pen-pushers.

Then there are the European bureaucrats, of course, whose entire existence is dedicated to creating silly, useless regulations designed to send the blood pressure of said Mail readers through the roof.

For me though, the most useless job in the world has to be that of tv sports commentator. And I mean all of them*, not just the obvious culprit (Clive Tylesdley you know who you are).

Their generic job description seems to demand a skill set of four key verbal attributes:

  1. Stating the Obvious: telling the viewer what they could see for themselves if they hadn’t decided to stare at the ceiling instead.
  2. Getting Very Excited: a rise in volume and pitch of voice when almost anything happens, designed to wake the ceiling-starer if they happen to have nodded off.
  3. Reading Obscure Meaning into Even More Obscure Statistics:  such as ‘Smith hasn’t scored from outside the box with his left boot when the lace was untied in his previous 374 minutes on the pitch’.
  4. Improvising Topical One-Liners (even though it is obvious they were scribbling them down the night before and are desperate to crowbar them into the commentary come what may.)

I was thinking about the latter as I watched the Champions League match between Manchester City and Ajax played in Amsterdam last night which City lost 3-1. Here are three prime examples:

‘As they say here in Holland, City are running with clogs on.’

‘Edin Džeko is known as ‘The Diamond’ in Bosnia, but in the city of diamonds he has failed to sparkle.’

‘Amsterdam is a city of twelve hundred bridges, but this was a bridge too far for City tonight.’

And those were just the ones I made a note of. Did they in any way add to the televisual experience of the game? Other than to flag up the pretentious banality of the commentator?

Anyway, that’s got that irritation out of my system and I would love to hear your thoughts on the most useless occupations.

* I would exclude Barry Davies from my list as he always had the good sense to keep his mouth shut while the pictures were doing the talking.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

9 comments… Add yours
  • john 25th October 2012

    I kind of like commentators getting excited…
    it makes me smile…… having said that I seldom watch sports on tv…
    Claire Balding is probably my favourite…. and she is a cool as a cucumber!
    ( btw- that cottage you saw is next dooe to auntie glads!)

  • "They Think It's All Over" Pudding 25th October 2012

    Would you prefer to watch sport without any commentary? That would be weird! Most useless occupations? Estate agents would have to come near the top of the list along with The Pope and dodo hunters.

  • Mr Parrot 25th October 2012

    John: In that case we might reconsider – I love scones!

  • Mr Parrot 25th October 2012

    YP: We often do just that. Our telly has something called a sports setting which suppresses the commentary and increases the ambient noise of the crowd.

  • Roger Green 25th October 2012

    Some of them WILL give background not evident, but so many, esp in American football, are NOT helpful.

  • Trevor Rowley 26th October 2012

    Poor old Daily Mail. How do you rate the readers of other newspapers, Mr P?

  • Mr Parrot 26th October 2012

    I must confess that I’m not an avid reader of letters to the editor, but those to the Mail do tend to end up blaming Europe, bureaucrats, NHS managers etc and even David Cameron these days surprisingly.

    My personal favourites are to be found in the Telegraph. They usually run on similar lines, but the spluttered outrage is sweetened with a little humour!

  • Trevor Rowley 26th October 2012

    Somewhere (and I really must try to dig it out of one of those bottom drawers), I have a newspaper cutting of one person’s view of the readership of our various (UK) daily newspapers and how he thought they viewed their particular newspaper. It really was very funny. Will start the rummage tomorrow.

    PS I don’t recall that it included the Independent so that probably dates it at being at least twenty five years old.

  • Mr Parrot 27th October 2012

    I think I know the one you mean. Does it include:

      Daily Telegraph: Read by the people who run the country.
      Daily Mail: Read by the wives of the people who run the country.
      Morning Star: Read by people who think the country should be run by another country.

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