Poets Corner: ADD & VAR are the same thing


 Nice to find you here wanting something to read and not just watch / listen too.  

 Reading is good and I find it easier to read on a screen rather than from the page. This is something it took me years to get my head round. But, it is what it is, it’s part of my neurodivergence condition. Words on a page float around. They don’t go in. Like Ryan Christies outside the box shots.  

 I just thought I was a slow reader.  


READ BOOKS you are told but no-one one tells you what to do when you struggle to READ BOOKS. So, radio – lets be honest here THE BBC Radio output – has been my friend for the whole of my life, I listen and learn. TV has been my friend, I watch and learn. Now, electronic reading devices are my friend, I can read and learn.  

I don’t read books. I read artists’ works on a kindle.   

I also find it easier to write on a keyboard onto a screen, than pen onto paper. It’s maybe my age. Computers became fashionable when I was a wean. They appeared in schools. In bedrooms. In workplaces. They hid my bad spelling and understanding of language. They covered for me. For that I will be forever grateful.  

I’m unsure IF my neurodivergence colours my mood towards the printed word. And how I use the printed word creatively. I have released a book. It’s a great book. It’s sold well (not that that bothers me). Cause that felt like vindication of being a poet. THE DREAM if you like. But more and more I’m feeling that it’s the poetry community’s dream and was never mine. I conformed to the normal thinking. Stuck in the past and genre that I have struggled with for all of my life.  

 Where am I going with all this?  


 It’s improved my life. Ok, MASSIVE caveat, in other ways it’s terrible, but see above it’s improved my life.  

 Has VAR improved my life?  

 This is a different question to whether or not VAR has improved Scottish football. It’s clear that it has not improved Scottish football. It’s just made whatever you believe was hidden now clearer. You can now see what you want to see and get two opportunities to see what you want to see. That’s a win-win for most of the population.  

 But yes, it has improved my life like the acceptance of technology as described above.   

 The other week when we played St Mirren, Kyogo scored a great chipped goal. I was muted with my celebration which a goal of such quality didn’t deserve. It looked offside. I’m sure it was going to be called offside. I was wrong. I celebrated the VAR decision like the goal had been scored again.  

 Kyogo scored a second goal after a great ball from Jota. It was flagged offside at the time. I was distraught. Another great team goal ruled out to become a member of the unwanted ‘beautiful chopped off goals club’ that is filling up nicely.   

 Then came the twist.  

 We were told that it was going to VAR. Time started ticking as the check went on. I became nervous and excited. You know those emotions you should feel watching your football team. You wondered what they were looking at? What decision were they going to come to? How long would it take them to make the decision? What a goal it was if it was on-side. It was on-side and the joy could be lived again by the fans and the players.  

Even Meada’s disallowed goal v Kilmarnock in the League Cup Semi Final gave me a certain buzz that we chase when watching the game. Elation then bemusement then disappointment then anger then the need for revenge. It was a package of feelings. It’s what I want from football. I don’t go to the cinema for those emotional moments. I do get it from music – though that is less and less now – but no matter my age or cynical take on the modern way, football still triggers emotions nothing comes close to.  

Football in its most widely accepted form is entertainment and not tribal skirmishes. VAR heightens what I want to feel when being entertained. It’s a dramatic entertainment tool. It can make the most mundane game – Morton at home – into something interesting. The amount of narratives it has thrown up are manna from heaven for those that make a living talking about the game. 

It has its faults and many of them. But, I think it is serving the purpose that it was brought in for – all over the world – and that purpose wasn’t to make sure all decisions were correct but to provide spectacle, controversy and entertainment.  

Liam Gallagher said on one of his solo albums – I’m not going to google what one, can’t be bothered really, but it was the one where it a team of songwriters tried to write songs that sounded like they had been written by his brother – that ‘You only get to do it once’.  

Well he was wrong. With VAR you get to do it twice.  

I can handle that.  


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