Morning dawns slowly over the main road through a quaint residential neighbourhood. A set of waste disposal men get to work keeping Spain clean as a young lady zips past on her morning jog. But while the city begins to wake, all around there are signs that someone has been busy during the night.
That neighbourhood is mine, and recently signs that I am not the only former resident of Germany have been popping up all around. These subtle symbols are entirely innocuous to the uninitiated, but followers of German Football culture can recognise that at least one person from the East German city of Rostock has moved into town. Not many German Football clubs boast a wilder following than FC Hansa Rostock, and its boisterous fan base is known the world over for its artistic exploits – most of which are illegal.
In 2015 the “Suptras” of FC Hansa released a film about their supporter culture with even a cameo from home-grown rapper and Hansa fan Marteria staring in the trailer. “Blau Weiß Rot” documented the Ultra lifestyle in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – the East German Bundesland whose flag features blue, white and red – with contained a predictable amount of conflict and bravado that one would expect from a film made by Footie fanatics. But what makes the Suptra story particularly distinct from the fan culture of other German clubs is their predilection for graffitying their club name in as many unlikely and imaginative locations around the world as possible. Blaut Weiß Rot follows Hansa fans to Italy, Russia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and beyond as they literally spread their name as far and as wide as resources allow them to.
An occasional collaborator of FBTG retold the story of his time travelling alone through New Zealand. In a small town on the south island, he approached an abandoned building to find an unmistakable FC Hansa Rostock tag some 12,000 kilometres away from Rostock. His initial shock was washed away by admiration for their enterprise even though he admitted to a strong dislike for the team from the Baltic coast. He had no idea how long the graffiti piece had been there, nor who had done it, but I guess it’s plausible that said artist may now be a neighbour of mine. Let’s see how these tags stay there.
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