Extract from Chapter 18 – Relapse

The psychiatrist had said I would have a relapse and another episode of mania if I came off the lithium abruptly. I hadn’t believed him but he was right, it just took six months longer than he had predicted.

After yet another night of no sleep following my resignation, there was a knock on the door, it was workmen from the council. They finally came and collected the two TVs and bath from the garden. It was comical that they’d finally come, a whole year after I moved in. I appeared normal and held the doors open for them as they moved the items out through of the flat but a few hours later I was arrested by Brixton police.

I had prepared a picnic on the road outside my house, a picnic full of blue crockery, as blue was the colour branding of the Conservative Party. I’d also put up barricades using bins in the road to stop the traffic. I was expecting Mrs Thatcher to come and sit down at the picnic and discuss the future of Britain with me. It was urgent as she seemed intent on destroying British industry with her narrow monetarist free-market policies. Most of my college lecturers were very worried about this too. I had come back into the flat to collect more blue items when I saw two police officers by my window.

A neighbour must have called the police. They stood right up next to the glass of my bay windows and tried to peer through my net curtains. I thought I’d better open the front door to them. On opening the door, two police men and a police woman barged in. I can’t remember the conversation properly but they were rougher than they normally were to me. I think this was because despite my efforts to appear ‘normal’ I ended up having a conversation about sexuality and I told them I was only interested in women and therefore only the police woman. This wasn’t received well.

I was shoved onto my sofa, and a knee was dug deep into my back. I cried out. They put handcuffs on me and marched me out of my flat and roughly put me into the police van. The duty solicitor I saw later, at Camberwell magistrates court cells expressed concern at the extent of the bruises on my wrists and hands.

When I was in the dock, the magistrate asked me some questions. I don’t recall what was said but the funny thing is that the magistrate took pity on me and he ordered that I be given £10 out of the police charity fund. The police weren’t amused with this at all, but I was really chuffed. On my release from the Camberwell cells, with the tenner I immediately went bought myself cheeseburger and fries and caught the bus back to Brixton.

Later I visited Paul and his new girlfriend Ingrid up near Balls Pond Road in Islington. When I was there I got very wound up in an argument about communism and I removed all my clothes, I think I was trying to re-ground myself and get back to basics as it were. They eventually called the police which I don’t blame them for in the slightest. I would have done the same in their situation.

The police took me off their hands but despite my friends asking me to be taken to psychiatric hospital to be looked after they just dumped me in King’s Cross, which was a well-known area for sex workers to solicit.

I had put my clothes back on before being taken away and I was wearing black satin-look trousers, though it’s hard to believe I looked good. I was barely there for five minutes before a middle-aged man stopped his car and asked if I’d like to go back with him. He seemed friendly enough so I did. It didn’t occur to me that he would want to have sex with me. He took me up to his flat. He was not especially well off judging by his possessions and furniture. He asked me what I wanted to drink and I was given a cup of coffee.  I saw he had some music by Suzi Quatro and we talked a bit about her and he played some of her music.

I thought he seemed alright but then he disappeared out of the room and came back in with just a dressing gown. He sat opposite me and his gown slipped and revealed his large, though un-erect, penis. I didn’t react at all though and he realised his mistake in thinking I was a sex worker. I think he could tell I wasn’t well and he offered to drive me to the nearest tube station, Shepherds Bush, so that I get back home.

On the way there though, he suddenly turned to me and said, ‘Show us your tits then!’ which obviously, I refused to do. I opened the door in indignation and threatened to jump out but he said I was being stupid. I had to agree and I shut the door. He then gave me £2 for the tube fare and we said goodbye. Whilst it was a potentially dangerous situation, I didn’t feel in any danger. He hadn’t tried to be physically close to me nor had he pressurised me and he’d even given me a lift to the tube.

On another occasion, when I must have explained I was hungry, I was given lots of chicken for free in a fried chicken shop on Brixton road, and then the owner gestured to me to go through a door which led to the rear of the shop. There at the back was a small bedroom, where his son was waiting. His son offered me money. I realised what he expected and I wasn’t happy with the assumption. I argued with him and threw his money at him and escaped out the back door. I didn’t feel under any physical threat again though, it was just the assumption that I objected to. I suppose he thought that as I was short of money I wouldn’t say no to sex but it would’ve taken a lot for me to be in a position of wanting to have sex with a man willingly whether money was involved or not.

My lack of interest in having sex with men extended to more amicable meetings. During one period when I was feeling better, I met a young homeless man on the streets of Brixton who I liked a lot. We had both been picking up dog ends to smoke and started chatting. I befriended him and took him home. He was sweet and quite vulnerable in some ways as he couldn’t read. I gave him a bath, some food and cut his hair for him but he also badgered me more than once to have sex with him and I flatly refused.