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Edding and confusion


I am equally afraid of living in a future where teenagers still scrawl NOFX doodles in corners and toilets as I am of a future where I no longer see NOFX doodles in corners and toilets. My fear of stagnation and being trapped in perpetual adolescent sameness battles with my fear of change and of new kinds of musical teenage revolutionaries who peel off my half-hearted punk memories like old Antifa stickers from a cigarette machine.

Contrary to what was predicted 10 years ago, street art has not caught on. It was appropriated by RTL2 muddis sticking wall tattoos. Shabbily repainted Banksys invite the art-averse public to dilettantish pop-up "exhibitions" crammed into peculiar spaces such as Berlin's Kleisteck or the former Esprit flagship store on Frankfurt's Zeil. In Basel, these Etsy aesthetics disfigured parts of the exhibition halls in spring 2023. To quote a man who stared at an artist performing on Zurich's Vierläutenplatz: "Are we spared nothing in this city?"

The good thing about the fact that street art hasn't caught on is that the deliberately shabby graffiti with sharpie and weed scent can continue to sail through subways and toilets in their dingy waters.
I've often wondered why, of all the endless rebellion-on-carrier-pressing bands, NOFX appear so often as graffiti. Are songs like "Don't Call me White" or even "Kill all the White Man" a kind of atonement catharsis for white middle-class kids with felt-tip pens?Perhaps there is simply something satisfying in the arrangement of these four letters.An added value, completely beyond a musical dimension, that ensures the permanence of these signs in every conceivable public place.

When I asked a friend as a teenager why the band was called NOFX, he told me that it was because they played so "raw", without effects, so no-effects. That's complete nonsense. A look at Wikipedia reveals: "The name NOFX is a reference to the Boston hardcore band Negative FX." But that's how it was before the internet, or rather in the early days of the internet. You didn't know something, asked a question, got the wrong answer and simply held it in your heart as the truth.

The NOFX drawings date back to those days. But if you walk through Basel today, you can still find them. And not just as remnants, but also freshly written and tagged in a contemporary way. Unlike the Ramones, who were absorbed by H&M T-shirts, NOFX have managed to stick to confusion and Edding. And somehow there's something nice about that.