Paper Monitor: Jumping for joy

Girls getting A Level results

A hardy summer perennial takes to the air again.

Ascot, Henley, Goodwood… A Level results. It's part of the social season. Or so one might think from the newspaper websites.

The girls are in the air again. Everyone appears to be well briefed as to what's required. As in years gone by, there are legions of wholesome, grinning young women clutching their printed results like winning lottery tickets - marked A* A* A* - in the game of life.

The Daily Mail doesn't do things by halves. There are nine pictures of triumphant young women. The first leapers-in-the-air are "Varsha Samuel, who got four A*s, and Pippa Malll who bagged two A* and two A's".

Paper Monitor's first thought is how many 'l's there are in that surname. The second thought is whether amateur acrobatics coaching is part of every photographer's training.

They always get the leap right. Varsha and Pippa are a few feet off the ground with an arm around each other. One of them has hooked her legs up under her, as if to clear an invisible high jump bar. The other has an arm in the air like a victorious athlete crossing the line.

There must be a lesson at photography school in briefing subjects: "Right, on the count of three, you will leap like a salmon and hang in the air with a look of joyful surprise mixed with boundless potential. You will remain airborne for long enough for me to get off a dozen shots. Careful how you land, it can be hell on the ankles."

The third thought is whether boys have stopped doing A levels. All the photos are of girls, unless you scroll down to a picture of Tom Daley. He got all As. Another thought enters one's head about standards. But the thought is swiftly suppressed as Paper Monitor has read a colleague's etiquette guide to A level results. (Stop Press: boys have now been added.)

The Times sparingly has just one photo. It opts for three girls in a clinch. One of them looks like she's been holding that smile for a while and wishes the photographer would get on with it.

It's not all about looks. Actually, it is. The Daily Telegraph has identical twins Eleanor and Sophie Harrison, 18, waving their results at Church High School in Jesmond. They are both, erm, highly presentable young women. The paper subsequently added a picture gallery devoted to jumping pictures.

The Independent includes bona fide boys in its photo. Albeit in the background.

The Guardian gets all post modern on our posteriors. Its A Level picture re-enacts this photographic cliche in Lego form.

"Here, six of the most promising students at Brick-By-Brick Academy (formerly Plastic Construction Toy Comprehensive School) celebrate their A-level grades in time-honoured airborne fashion."

Paper Monitor wants to salute all the, arguably, less photogenic boys and girls who did jolly well too.

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