Somehow Frank already had shit on his shoe when he was born. Even if his mother named it after Kirk Douglas, his life will not be a beautiful film, rather arsenic flower instead of glam factor. The father is a crook and drunk, always on the run, the mother follows him blindly. They fled from West Berlin to Bad Kreuznach, where Frank was born. When he is three months old, they leave him with his grandparents and go to the GDR, shortly before the Wall is built, to escape from justice. Frank only gets to know his large family after reunification, some have prison experience.
Frank grows up in the tranquil garden city of Spandau, his step-grandfather, a former communist and SEW functionary, is overwhelmed and counters everything the boy does wrong with Prussian harshness. Frank has heart surgery and is in the hospital for a long time. He doesn’t get along at school, at 16 he’s over without a degree. He can’t read or write properly, so he dives into the drug and hustler scene at Bahnhof Zoo. In the film about Christiane F. he only plays a small role, himself. But he survived almost all of them.
When he met Susanne in the fall of 1979, not everything got better, but many things changed. They remain connected for more than 40 years, between heaven and hell. Actually, the law student in the Kreuzberg stoner bar “Jodelkeller” chose another one, but it gets lost. There stands Frank with a daring grin and empty pockets looking for a place to sleep and maybe more. It’s practical that she has a small apartment just around the corner on Oranienstrasse, a big heart and strong resilience anyway. She has no way of knowing that her new boyfriend will also become a lifelong, exhausting client. As a left-wing lawyer, she takes care of those on the fringes. The two now live together in the so-called “madhouse”, where it often burns, the relationship problems are solved with the ax or the police and drugs of all kinds are available. A transfer apartment takes the pressure off.
As nice as the little home is, Frank keeps pulling it out. Houses are squatted, punks and Trebekids like him find shelter there until the hated police clear them out. He is one of the first occupants at Adalbertstraße 6, writes texts for leaflets, continues to take drugs and gets to know many people who are similarly spoiled. Susanne helps him to learn to read and write. Together they read “Death Instinct” by Mesrine. Frank shows a great deal of sympathy for criminals throughout his life, even if he himself only remains committed to petty and acquisitive crime. What role he plays in the militant struggles of the squatter movement remains hazy or part of a personal legend formation.
Frank discovers the world of books and art, finds his fixed points on the fringes of the educational canon: Charles Manson, Céline, Villon and of course Charles Bukowski. He goes cold turkey, struggles for words and motives, sober than ever, has one purpose: stop killing time, he’s lost enough of it. He paints and draws in the style of Art Brut, including his texts: disturbing, crass, poetic. The literary movement that shows life beyond the comfort zones is called Social Beat. A precision landing with its history. Even if, like Bukowski, he was plagued by stage fright throughout his life. He’ll never be a ramp pig.
Susanne sees the potential and its blossoming, even if the motivators are due to his self-destructive side. Desire for death is not nice, especially not in a romantic relationship. Frank crashes again. She doesn’t know what condition she’ll find him in when she gets home from work. This time withdrawing from methadone, he pulls himself together for more than a decade. He became known to a somewhat larger audience with the books “Happiness on the Hollywood Swing” and “Monotonous Life in an Unadorned Room”. He lives off coffee and cigarettes, appears at readings with underground icons, and has his addiction under control. In the “Mongo-Bar”, a short-lived basement club in Kreuzberg, he is the only sober person behind the counter and in the room.
Then it’s downhill again with Karacho. It starts with selling hash to counter people in return for free drinks, cigarettes he stubs out on his leg as punishment. It’s a small step from alcohol to heroin. He takes out all the pictures from his exhibition, including picture frames that aren’t his, and sells them off at special prices in order to stock up on heroin at the Kottbusser Tor. He writes less, pictures are easier to sell for a quick shot. Even if he always loses the linen bag with his unique pieces.
With his friend Matt Grau he runs the trashy “Kreuzberger Kasperletheater”. They perform in galleries, pubs and festivals with old puppets and new content, choreographed or desolate depending on their state of intoxication. They beat up Tannenzäpfle beer, police officers and the evil gentrifiers with toilet brushes. Horrified parents drag their children away, the rest laugh and applaud. Susanne throws him out after he starts a relationship with the waitress at his favorite bar. But they are getting closer again.
2017 a brain hemorrhage, Susanne becomes his supervisor. He loses the ability to speak and read, his short-term memory and mobility. Fighting back with difficulty. She is happy about every small improvement. But it doesn’t get much better. On the contrary.
Thanks to Susanne, it won’t be a pauper’s burial. Many find their way there, shocked, not surprised.