Wed, 16 Jul 1997
LUTHER BLISSETT STORIES IN THE BRITISH PRESS
Here's some other Luther Blissett coverage from the British press (the *Daily Mail* of 7 April, the *Sunday Telegraph* of 23 March and the *Observer* of 16 March).
I hadn't seen these pieces until recently. They're complete bullshit - fifth-hand, copycat distorted accounts of the Bus Hijack Trial in Rome. The tabloid hacks simply plagiarised the piece from *The European*, 20 - 26 March 1997 - they describe LB as a 'collective identity', which is nonsense: while parties, sects and churches are 'collective identities', Luther Blissett deconstructs the bourgeois concept of 'identity'; s/he is a multiple single, a multi-use virtual reputation, a name that anybody can use. These journalists repeatedly use the word 'anarchy', which is typically anglo-saxon but has little to do with the Italian scene and LB. At the very least, I AM NOT an anarchist - I've NEVER BEEN an anarchist - and I WILL NEVER BE an anarchist. Anarchists may use the name as well, but it ain't no "by word for anarchy". They also write that the Luther Blissett Project wants to prove that the media lies (which they prove by themselves everyday), while LB is much more - i.e. an experiment in avantbardism and mythopoesis. Moreover, we didn't choose the name because we regarded the soccer player as an utter idiot, as implied by the hacks; it is necessary to stress again that we didn't adopt Blissett's name because he was an imposter hyped by the media, as the British rags misreported: he simply had problems with the Italian way of playing football, which at that time was too defensive. He was a nice Afro-Caribbean guy. His unlucky season even turned him into a target of racist jokes. The Luther Blissett Project is kind of his revenge on stupidity. Another smear the British press is obsessively repeating: "they do conform to type: many are students". They do conform to type? THEY DO FUCK!!! Many are workers or unemployed.
As to the Rome trial, these pieces are hardly an account of the bus hijack - a bus, not a train! - the night bus was occupied by a crowd of ravers adopting the multiple name during a *Radio Blissett* drift - nobody gave a fucking shit about the tickets - the cops stopped the bus and attacked the Blissetts with truncheons - a cop even fired 3 shots into the air - Eighteen people were busted and charged with sedition and resistance to public officers - all collective charges were dropped before the trial, thereby only four people faced the court - the trial was postponed to December. That's that. Do these events bear any resemblance to the crap I've retyped?
From "The Daily Mail", April 7, 1997
SHEER ANARCHY FOR LUTHER
QUESTION: Why did four Luther Blissetts appear in court in Rome?
THE four 'Luther Blissetts' faced court in Rome for failure
to produce valid train tickets. They refused to give the court
their real names, insisting they were all called Luther Blisset
In the summer of 1994 an Internation anarchists' group of 'revolutionaries, artists, poets, performers, cybernauts and squatters' set up the Luther Blissett Project in Italy, dedicated to the idea that individuals were subjected to too many lies by the establishment and media.
Outside their immediate circles of friends they adopted a 'collective identity'. They chose to be Luther Blissett on the premise that the former Watford FC player had been hailed by the Italian media as the man to revitalise AC Milan when he transferred there for £1 million in June 1983.
But Blissett was a less than spectacular success. He scored few goals in his 14 months there and saw his team relegated before he made a sullen return to Watford for £550,000.
The Luther Blissett Project has now fallen victim to its own hype. Rebels and anarchists all over Italy have adopted the name, and groups have sprung up in several other countries including Germany, Australia and the U.S. The name is being used by a punk band and by many petty offenders who crave a political defence for their minor crimes.
Now the assistant manager of Watford FC, the real Luther Blissett was initially amused at the way in which is name was being used by a political movement, but now refuses to say anything about his namesakes in Italy.
Ray Spiller, Assoc of Football Statisticians, Basildon, Essex
From "The Daily Telegraph", 23 March 1997
LUTHER BLISSETT EMERGES AS ANARCHIST HERO
by Tim Reid
LUTHER Blissett, the former England striker who enjoyed an
undistingushed [sic] season at AC Milan, has long been forgotten
by Italian football fans.
But his name lives on.
For no obvious reason, "Luther Blissett" has become a byword for anarchy. Last week four men, all calling themselves Luther Blissett, went on trial in Rome for travelling on a train without tickets. When asked to identity themselves, all said they were Luther Blissett and argued that "a collective identity does not need a ticket".
This is just one example of how Italy's growing band of Signor Blissetts are operating. The country's media has been sent on several wild goose chases by the Luther Blissetts.
One 1994 hoax saw investigators from the television programme *Chi l'ha visto?* (Who has seen them?) spending weeks searching for an English artist named Henry Kipper missing in the north of Italy. Another prank concerned an exhibition of chimpanzee art in Venice.
Quite how Mr Blissett, now back at his old club, Watford, as assistant manager, has become a hero is a mystery. Commentators suggested that the only claim to fame was his ability to miss chances.
Although the Luther Blissetts are not organised, they do conform to type: many are students who enjoy poking fun at authority.
One Luther Blissett, from Bologna, said their goal was to show the public how to fight a dishonest media. "We are a collective ghost - a myth which finds reality in those who take part".
The real Luther Blissett is taking it in his stride: "It's rather funny - bordering on the ridiculous. But I don't mind these people using my name - whoever they are.
From "The Observer", 16 March 1997 (a small column, no title):
To unbelievers, Luther Blissett is just a player-turned-assistant
manager at Watford FC. But to the initiated his name spells anarchy,
*writes David Harrison*.
A bemused Blissett has just learnt that his identity has been adopted by an Italian youth movement which believes individual identity is 'the enemy'.
Thus, four youths in a Rome court last week for riding a tram without tickets all gave their names as Luther Blissett, claiming that a collective identity needs no ticket.
Blissett, 38, was chosen because he is still remembered in Italy for his dreadful season with AC Milan in 1983-84. He said yesterday: "It's odd that these weird people are using my name, but I have no control over it'.