#74 Andy Burns: Doppelgänger

OK, here’s the thing about Luis Suarez, yeah? Everyone hates him, I know, including myself. Even Liverpool fans hate him now, as after proudly supporting his racism for many years they later played against a team containing him and were rightly appalled when for some reason Suarez was a big of a complete shithouse when playing against them as he was playing for them. Also, he celebrated scoring a goal against them, which he shouldn’t have, because Liverpool FC is a pure club that is in every Godly man’s soul and it shouldn’t be possible to enjoy hurting them. I’m not a Liverpool fan, by the way. Quite the opposite. Luckily, the team I support has been beyond reproach and criticism for as far back as I can remember, so I feel safe making these jabs. But yeah, we all hate Luis Suarez. He cheats, he dives, he hates the Jackson Five. Even if he was an exemplary character, even if he planted trees on the centre circle of every football ground he played in to combat climate change, even if he carefully measured each shot he took to ensure the ball would fly out of the stadium and land in a nearby orphanage to give those poor little tykes something to play with, on a base level he just possesses an extremely unlikable face. It’s not his fault, I know (though he can now afford plastic surgery many times over), but nor is it our fault – being as we are simple humans – to want to slap that dumb face of his, or at least enjoy it experiencing some sort of severe emotional pain.

Yesterday, Uruguay were knocked out of the Human Rights World Cup at the group stage and, quite rightly, the world (outside Uruguay, one assumes) delighted in the sight of Suarez in tears. Again, we’re just human. We’re just innocent humans. I have no issue with this, and I certainly don’t have any issue with laughing how Ghana, who were out of the competition no matter what, decided to time waste despite being 2-0 down just to stop Uruguay scoring a third and qualifying on goals scored. Ghana have previous with Uruguay of course – Uruguay beat Ghana in the 2010 World Cup quarter final, preventing them from being the first African side to reach the World Cup semi finals at the first and only World Cup to be held on the continent of Africa. To further thicken the plot, Uruguay’s elimination came at the hands of Suarez. So, what, he scored the winning goal? No, dear reader, and if you’ll look back over that sentence you’ll see that I employed some devilishly clever wordplay when I exclaimed that Uruguay went out at the hands of Suarez! Yeah, right at the death, right in the final seconds of extra time, Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah’ had the ball sailing into the goal but Lovely Luis decided he couldn’t have that, stopped the ball going in by using his hand, and received a straight red card. At the hands of Suarez, see? Oh, I’m awful, aren’t I? But I do love being naughty sometimes. Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty, missed the chance to send Ghana into the World Cup semifinal at the death, and Suarez celebrated madly off the pitch. Uruguay would then lose on penalties. Boooooo! Bad Luis! Dirty Luis! Absolutely the worst of his crimes.

But… Is it…?

OK, let’s set aside the ‘worst of his crimes’ troll, as that’s not what’s being debated (the worst of his crimes was playing for Liverpool. Sorry, did I mention that I’m not a Liverpool fan?), but was that handball… really that bad??

The incident is often brought up in relation to Maradona’s handball v England or Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland (because football fans are generally idiots incapable of lateral thinking so can only compare it to other handballs) as another example of a scoundrel bending to rules to benefit his team. Scoundrel! Only… It really, really isn’t. Maradona and Henry committed fouls that they got away with and used the referee’s error to benefit their team unfairly. Suarez knew that his actions would result in a red card, but was willing to sacrifice himself to save his team. He was sent off and Ghana got a penalty. This is all within the rules, these are the rules of the game, an intentional handball stopping a goalscoring opportunity will always result in a red card. It was in the area so a penalty kick was given. No cheating was actually done, no rules were bent. What it actually was was Suarez deciding he didn’t care if he stayed on the pitch, he just wanted his team, his country to win. Much was made of how jubilantly Suarez celebrated the penalty miss on the touchline, but remember this is a man who knows that, whatever happens, his World Cup is over. His red card carried a two match automatic suspension, so he would miss the semi final and final anyway (Uruguay were eventually beaten by The Netherlands in the next game). This is a man celebrating purely selflessly, for the love of his team, celebrating that his own personal sacrifice had meant the team and country that he loves live to fight another day, whether he is with them or not. I’m sorry, but that shit’s fucking heroic. Perhaps it points to England’s more neoliberal and US influenced individualism (and how rare it is for us to experience emotions) that we still celebrate Gazza’s tears in the 1990 World Cup semi, when Gazza was actually crying because he himself wouldn’t be able to play in the final, not really giving a shit how the team did! Get over yourself, you fat Geordie angling enthusiast!

And yeah, I know, it’s implicit but never stated among anyone that a convinced racist was just doing all this to stop the black guys progressing, but honestly, that’s quite probably not true.

What has any of this got to do with Andy Burns? Dude, absolutely fucking nothing. The problem is I have absolutely no idea who Andy Burns is, only that he has now released two absolutely ace lo-fi pop indie records that made the end of year list in 2018 and now four years later. Mate, I don’t know what to tell you, this geezer hasn’t Tweeted in two and a half years and might actually be dead. Sure, he released this record in March, but not Tweeting in two and a half years?? Either don’t have Twitter, or have Twitter and post about every facet of your meaningless existence while getting in arguments with TERFs and RadLibs, there is no middle ground. The only reason to be active on Twitter and then stop is if you die. So I guess this is a tribute album or summat, I dunno. Andy Burns, we hardly knew thee, but you released some stonking tracks. RIP.

This album rocks.


2018 #71

2 thoughts on “#74 Andy Burns: Doppelgänger

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