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Alexander Masters / Maria Kufeld „Niemals Frühstücken

Alexander Masters, studierter Physiker, hat ein brillantes, präzises, lakonisches, trauriges und witziges Buch geschrieben - über ein auf den ersten Blick sehr gewöhnliches Thema: einen vorbestraften, drogensüchtigen Obdachlosen. Masters fragt sich: Wie konnte es so weit kommen? Wie konnte aus einem fröhlichen Jungen eine drogen- und alkoholsüchtige Dr.Jekyll-und-Mr.Hyde-Persönlichkeit werden, ein „gewalttätiges, furchteinflößendes Wrack“, ein Junkie, Krimineller und Psychopath, der laut Masters nicht soziale Unterstützung braucht, sondern ein neues Gehirn?

Und er erzählt die Biografie des Gescheiterten rückwärts, arbeitet sich aus der Gegenwart immer weiter zurück zu dem Punkt, an dem sein Protagonist, der 33-jährige Stuart Shorter, die Pfade des geregelten Lebens verließ. Er gibt das fertige Manuskript dem Porträtierten - der es miserabel findet. So entspinnt sich bald ein interessanter Dialog zwischen Masters und Shorter. Gekonnt montiert Masters Szenen mit Sozialrecherchen und dokumentarischem Material über Drogenkonsum, Strafvollzug, Obdachlosigkeit - und verzichtet auf Betroffenheit, Klassenkampf, Sozialromantik.

Maria Kufeld hat für das Reporter-Forum mit Masters per Mail ein Interview geführt, über sein preisgekröntes Buch, unprofessionelles Schreiben und seine Angewohnheit, nicht zu frühstücken.

Mr. Masters, as someone who trained as a physicist and mathematician, how did you come to write a book about a derelict?

To be blunt about it, I wasn’t good enough at the maths to do anything interesting in science so (with great regret) I ditched it. My mother is a novelist, my father was also one, my great uncle was a poet, my grandmother an investigative journalist and my grandfather wrote about politics and economics – in short, the whole family is at it.

I came to write about Stuart because he was a friend I made while working in a homeless hostel, very funny, entertaining, intelligent, a sort of street raconteur, who exposed the secrets of a type of life I knew nothing about and had never been written about before.

You call Stuart Shorter a „biblical figure?. What was so special about him?

It was his daily battles with himself, his environment and with the system of government organisations, from prisons to homeless charities, that ruled over him that gave him an Old Testament feel.  He had the troubles of Job (dt:Hiob); he struggled with his faith in himself in a way that reminded me of Ahab – battling God at the river ; his sense of being cast out; his desperation to find a place to live without persecution by his memories; his descriptions of his wars with other people, on and off the streets, and the police and in prisons – all of it had that quality of elemental engagement with life, survival and a longing for acceptance that runs through the Bible.

You wrote this book in almost five years. Did you have any rituals or routines while writing it?

I’m a slow writer at the best of times, and it didn’t help that for a lot of the time I was writing Stuart I was very low on cash. I worked at a Day Centre for the homeless, then at a homeless hostel doing shift work. In general I am bad at patterns and routines. My one rule, however, is to get up as early as possible, drink as much coffee as I can, made as strong as I can bear, and not eat breakfast. Breakfast makes you sleepy and ruins good work.

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Alexander Masters


Alexander Masters wurde 1965 in New York geboren und wuchs in Devon, im Südwesten Englands auf. Nach seinem Mathematik- und Physikstudium schrieb er die Biografie über Stuart Shorter und wurde für sein Debüt mit mehreren Preisen ausgezeichnet. Derzeit schreibt er an einem Buch über den Mathematiker Simon Norton – einen Freund Masters, der in „Stuart Shorter“ in Kapitel vier erwähnt wird. Die ebenfalls preisgekrönte TV-Dokumentation zum Buch erscheint am 25. August 2008.

Maria Kufeld


Maria Kufeld, geboren 1982 in Berlin, studiert Journalistik und Kommunikationswissenschaften an der Universität Hamburg. Erste medienpraktische Erfahrung sammelte sie bei MTV und BILD Berlin. Momentan schreibt sie an ihrer Masterarbeit über die Arbeitsbedingungen, -praktiken und das Rollenselbstverständnis von Journalist(inn)en.
Dokumente
Maria Kufeld: Interview mit Alexander Masters
Alexander Masters: Das kurze Leben des Stuart Shorter (Auszug) (pdf)

erschienen in:
Reporter-Forum,
am 30.08.2008

 

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