Luther Blissett on Mon, 15 Mar 1999 08:32:37 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Luther Blissett to be rehabilitated

An Open Letter To Mr. Luther Blissett,
(first-team assistant-coach at Watford FC, England) 

Dear Watford FC webmasters, 'zine editors and supporters,

I am one of the numberless people who adopted "Luther Blissett" as a
multi-use name for radical actions and theory, multimedia works, anti-art
performances and open political contexts in Italy and other countries of
continental Europe.  Since the mid-Nineties, the British press gave
extremely distorted accounts of our activities, describing us as
'Anarchists' (which we aren't) and manipulating our statements. The
British press made us look like moronic students, while we're people who
work bloody hard and managed to be praised/feared by the cultural
institutions of our country.  Maybe this distortion is the reason why Mr.
Blissett sounds very pissed-off in his latest declarations (see The Times,
8/3/1999, p.3). He (and you) may not share our political and aesthetic
views, however we'd like to set the records straight once and for all:  It
was never our intention to sneer at Mr. Blissett's unlucky season in
Italy. We always thought that the press and the supporters treated him
unfairly since the beginnings: in the early Eighties it took a plenty of
time for a British player to understand the Italian way of playing
football, which was boringly defensive. He was never allowed to get used
to Italy. Moreover, the club was a dreadful rabble of weirdos, and the
owner Giuseppe Farina was a crook and an alleged arms dealer, who went
bankrupt a few years later.  We hope that someone will pass this letter on
to Luther, and post it on the Watford Mailing List. We'd like to get a
surface mail address for Luther, so that we can send him our books,
publications and a lot of press cuttings covering both us and him.  The
following piece is a colourful article published on today's *Tuttosport*
(one of the three sports’ daily papers), where both one Luther Blissett
and the journalist argued that it's time to re-establish Mr. Blissett’s
good name.  Thank you very much,

Fabrizio P. Belletati a.k.a. Luther Blissett

Tuttosport, March 14th, 1999, Sunday:

by Gianluca Scaduto

Do you remember the English at Milan AC? They were so unlucky that they
preceded the Dutch trio [Gullit-Van Basten-Rijkaard, t.n.]. Hateley
retired from football two years ago. Wilkins is about to strike the big
one: he entered the staff at Chelsea and there is a rumour that he's going
to replace Rix (Vialli's vice, who got mixed up in a court trial under
charges of abuse and paedophilia) when the latter is fired. As to Luther
Blissett, he was one of the most unpopular foreign players in the history
of Italian football. Since those years, however, we've seen much worse
players, perhaps it is time to rehabilitate Blissett's Italian season
(1983-84, 30 matches, 4 goals). [Actually 5 goals T.n.] In fact,
somebody's trying to re-establish Blissett's good name. After only a few
days since its publication, *Q* already needs to be reprinted. *Q* is an
adventure set in the 16th Century, a 643-pages long ponderous novel,
authored by people who had the nerve to recall the Church's skeletons in
the closet, a few months before the 2000 Jubilee. The author is Blissett,
indeed, the real Blissett has nothing to do with this: he's back at
Watford FC, his former team, and works as a first-team deputy coach.
However, his name was adopted by dozens of people all over Italy and
Europe, to create the most various situations. Some Luther Blissetts are
the bogeymen of journalism: they invent fake news and journalists usually
buy them. Their best strike was the story of Henry Kapper [actually "Harry
Kipper", t.n.], a "multimedia guru" who was travelling around Europe on a
push-bike, his route virtually spelling the word "art" on the map. He
allegedly disappeared in Trieste, soon before diving into Bosnya. Daily
papers and press-agencies gave the alarm, "Chi l'ha visto?" ['Has Anybody
Seen Him?', a missing persons' prime-time TV show, t.n.] covered the case.
Two hours before the broadcast Luther exposed the hoax: the guru didn’t
exist. This demonstrated that so-called "sources" may be utter bullshit.
However, Blissett's name is also used for political activism and
three-sided football games played on hexagonal pitches ("good old
Trapattoni" games: the winner must concede less instead of scoring more
goals). Strange blokes, aren't they? And now they've got a face, nay, four
faces. *Q* is not a common book, it is a masterpiece, and some people
believed that Umberto Eco was the real author behind the collective name
(which anyone is free to adopt). Thus the four authors came out (though
they took to the bush again, and swear they'd never be guests at Maurizio
Costanzo Show). The book may even make history: there's no precedent for a
novel written by four persons, with an anti-copyright clause. No, they
don't believe in 'the romantic concept of genius. Ideas aren't anyone's
property', as stated by one of them. Anyhow, why did they choose
Blissett's name to sign their works? 'A footballer's name would be an
excellent Trojan horse for our actions. We chose Blissett because we
wanted to rehabilitate him. He wasn't that bad: the year before coming to
Italy he’d been top goal-scorer in the English league. It was the team
that sucked: in fact, president Farina went bankrupt not much time later.
Moreover, we appreciated Blissett's Jamaican roots:  racists on the
terraces used to welcome him by crying like monkeys'. And what is Luther
Blissett's opinion? 'A few days ago The Times wrote about *Q* and asked
him: are you glad you've become a literary mystery? He answered: "I'm not
pleased, but what can you do?"’

Next updates:
#4-b  -  The four names: Blissett's most subtle hoax exposed and praised by
comrade General Vo Nguyen Giap

F.P. Belletati, Bologna, Italy

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