Blog in isolation There is a radiant darkness upon us

damned with faint praise

My son, Norman Junior III, plays competitive junior tennis. When I watch him play, I tend to stand at a distance and remain completely silent. Outwardly at least. I always try to offer positive encouragement - congratulations if he wins and commiserations after a defeat.

My son wins some matches and loses a handful more. However, he always enjoys playing, he doesn't scream and shout or thrash his racket into the ground. He wins and loses with the same good grace which makes me just as proud as his sporting prowess.

However, recently, he was given a real hiding by a lad of a similar age, ranking and ability. When he came off, I said 'Jesus. If you're going to play and serve like that, I think even I could take a set off you.' I always call him 'Jesus' when I am cross with him.

This lunchtime, work and school commitments finally allowed the great Brightside veteran-junior invitational challenge to take place.

He thrashed me 6-0. I took him to a couple of deuces but only because he made a couple of unforced errors and threw in a few double faults. When Sue Barker interviewed me, in a sweaty and breathless state (me not Sue) immediately afterwards, she made the preposterous claim that I only made two outright winners during the whole 24 minutes.

When I asked my son for tips to improve my all-round game, he graciously replied

'You actually weren't as bad I thought. You did get some serves in.'

I may have lost but I can tell you, I really looked the part as I strolled out onto court 14, immaculately attired in cream flannels, cream blazer with a cream holdall embossed in gold lettering with 'NB'.

We then adjourned to Asda for an emergency purchase (toilet rolls) and I cheered myself up with the purchase of Editors 'An End Has a Start'. This CD has been on my wishlist for a whole but I have been poised on tenterhooks, waiting for Doug Burns to divulge his innermost thoughts on this indie band but, sorry, Doug, I simply can not bear the suspense any longer.

I see Interpol's third album ('Our Love To Admire') is also out which has received negative reviews for being too similar to the previous two with vivid echoes of Joy Division so that has also been ordered.

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