“If you vomit, I’m fine”

Jan Gorkow alias Monchi is a singer in the punk band Feine Sahne Fischfilet. When the band took a break just before Corona, he decided – he weighed 182 kilos – that it was time to lose weight. And he did. In one year he lost 140 pounds and ended up writing a pretty honest book about it: Never enough.

Our video call is supposed to take place at 8.30, but shortly after half past two Monchi calls us on the phone. He’s in the gym right now.

So we talk on the phone while he sweats on the stepper and talks about the devil in all of us, his little penis and why it must be great to be AfDler.

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VICE: In the movies 8 Mil there is this scene in the finale when Eminem lists all his faults to his opponent in the freestyle rap fight so he has no ammunition against him. Your book is incredibly honest and open. Was that also your thought?
The main idea was that the book is only good if it is authentic. There were some people who discouraged me from being so honest. And if I had just written a fitness guru book, it certainly would have been easier for me too.

In which way?
Right now, everyone is going completely crazy with the subject body. And I could have played that 150-pound weight loss card for anything. I had a BMI of 50. My clothes were XXXXXXL. But I thought to myself: all or nothing. Therefore, there are also these emotional things in there that hurt me.

What hurt you the most?
For example, people have told me that I must not write about pranking and pranking in any lakes. The book feels so authentic. But I was just too heavy for most toilets, so I preferred to swim. And if the next lake was too far away, I would drop some pressure and so to speak shit in my pants. My cheeks were so big that nothing came out. It is still difficult to present this at my readings.

If the book was so authentic, why did you include it then?
For me, it was everyday. I wanted to show that it’s not about having a sixpack, it’s about not being able to dry myself in the ass anymore. Writing it down and reading it out again makes it clear to me that I do not mind anymore. That’s why I’ve been sitting here in the gym since 6 p.m.

Why are people so obsessed with the body these days?
Because everyone has a body, and everyone struggles with it, even slim people.

Even slim people?
I had already thought that fat people or people who have lost weight would find themselves in the book. But there are also a lot of people I would call normal-weight people who say they recognize themselves in it. About the eating disorders, the food that turns into food, or when I write that I sometimes vomit after eating. These problems with one’s own body are simply a ubiquitous issue.

Do you have any idea why this body worship, this dissatisfaction with one’s own body, could be such a contemporary topic?
I think I’m too stupid for this question.

Let’s talk about that again later. You are incredibly honest in the book, are there any questions that confuse you?
No, but I’m excited about what you want to try. It’s like that, if I do not feel like it, then I say it, and if I do not understand something, then I say it too. At the same time, I have to say that I officially do not care about the social aspect. This is about me, very selfish. I did not lose myself for any society, not for any cult of beauty, only for myself.

But you also write in your book that you were called fat before you felt that way. And that’s why you started eating. So it was also people around you who bear a bit of responsibility.
It was great. I wrote a letter to my parents. I wanted to know why they did not say anything when the fat boy got fatter. And they said I was not always fat. My mom showed me pictures of me in confirmation suit when I was 14. The suit is super ugly, but I’m not fat at all. Still, I was always the fat one back then. And then it escalated, my mother said. In a picture three years later, I’m already the Monchi you know. So I wanted to find out why I was not always fat, but always felt fat.

Do you remember a situation there?
At school, a teacher once had a classmate who was not so slim either and got me weighed in front of the whole class.

Do you resent the fact that people make you feel that way?
There is no anger, I am responsible for myself. I’ve always been more of a perpetrator than a victim anyway. Do you know how many times I have bullied people? It was standard. I’ve even bullied fat people.

So it’s your own fault.
It would be easy to say that it was someone else’s fault that my parents were not careful enough that I started eating because others said I was fat. But this is wrong. I am responsible for the fact that I weighed 182 kilos because I wanted to compensate for some things.

So what?
I always quote from a VICE article during my readings. The point is that schools are being threatened where a film about fine cream fish fillet, the film, is to be shown wild heart. So “Adolf Hitler’s grandchildren” sent bomb threats, wrote “We will execute you all” and that people would die slowly. The shows have been canceled.

How could I convince myself that I could get this worn?

You also write that you always do the opposite of what people expect or want from you.
It applies to all things in my life. I wrote this letter to my parents and later to my friends. My question was rough, how can it be that they did nothing? If one of us were to shit on cola, we would say something.

What was her answer?
They said that if they said anything, I would only eat more. I was chess mat every time, because I know it’s true. Every time someone came up to me and said I should try a vegan, balanced diet, I ordered five Big Mac meals.

Have you gotten better at it?
I’m still no saint.

What does it mean?
I still have a lot of shit inside me. I’m scared of the yo-yo effect. That’s why I’m sitting here in this fucking gym. I was back at 136 kilos in between, now I weigh 127.

After all.
But sugar is my drug. And food is ubiquitous. I’m in the mood for that too. Also drinks one, especially on tour. In every city there are people who say, take a drink with us. I have to learn to handle it normally. Losing weight is a marathon. You fight for years, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I just want to win more than I lose.

You write in the book that all people experience a kind of yo-yo effect when they try to reflect on their prejudices.
Angels and devils dance tango on my shoulder all the time.

What does it mean?
I fight first and foremost myself, I have been an idiot many times, beaten my brother, insulted my mother in the shabby way. When people call me a role model, I do not care. I’m the biggest bastard. None of my friends would say I am a role model.

One thing you write about is that you have a small penis. Why should everyone know that?
Maybe because I do not think I care if I am open about it. When I swam nudist, there were always situations where people took pictures of me and uploaded them. And if someone recognizes me in the sauna, the person no longer tells how small my penis is. The first question people ask me today is if I have a bigger cock now. I wanted to anticipate this issue.


Have you ever been hurt by a woman because you are overweight?
A friend once said that you have such a small cock, you lose something and it can get bigger. You do not think “oh wow, amazing, what a reflective position”, but “fuck you”. But I do not stand up and say that I am the little victim of bullying. I do not like it.

When you were fat, you pulled your stomach out at concerts and drummed on it, stuffed liquor bottles under your breasts and gave people drinks. Do you think it’s easier for a man to be fat than for a woman?
Yes of course. So what? Name a couple of people weighing 400 pounds who perform on the main stage at Rock am Ring. Just name me two. name one for me there is only me It was always a message. But I have always noticed how people look, are shocked or disgusted.

what kind of people
Even the most thoughtful people were disgusted because one of them did not have a six-pack but stank of being fat and had flabby breasts. And I still have it to this day. I weigh 127 kilos, I am not slim, my stomach is still hanging. The thought was always: If you vomit, I’m fine. I made myself a clown and it was hell for my health.

No privilege?
It was a privilege, of course, but I can still feel the disgust today.

Do you look at fat women differently than fat men?
It’s like this: I convinced myself for a long time that my weight did not bother me, and then I lost 65 kilos. And no one who has lost 150 pounds would ever want to change that. None. There are people who say that all bodies are beautiful. OK, you can tell yourself that. But if someone can not dry their ass anymore, shut your stupid mouth. It’s about health, not beauty. And that goes for women as well as men.

You also write that you know you carry sexist and racist attitudes within you. I think that is brave for someone who is active in the left-wing scene.
I do not see myself as part of the left scene. I’m monchi I do not fit in any box.

And how do you handle your sexism and racism?
I do not want to point fingers at others. Sometimes we shouted slogans on stage that we had no idea about. What should I talk about sexism or racism?

Instead of this?
I try to be myself and take care of myself. Where am I good, where am I bad, what should I work with? I do not want to get into the notion that I’m just horny and that others are just talking shit. But it’s a battle.

Against what?
How great must it be to be an AfDler?

I’m sorry, huh?
That is the greatest freedom. Everything is always right, everything is always fat, because nothing gives anything. These are temptations I fight against. Failing and understanding is my motto and I hope I can maintain it that way.

fail and understand.
Nothing is black and white. And I know that the better I treat myself, the better I treat others – and vice versa. I mean: 400 pounds, what is it? This is complete self-destruction. And if I ignore my limits, then I do not care about others. I have to fight every day to get better. To me and to others.

Robert has not listened to as much punk music as he did while preparing for this interview since elementary school. Follow him onTwitter and Instagram for more redundant information and VICE on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

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