SKU ebook Category

175 in stock


By Zekria Ibrahimi

ISBN: 978-1-78382-190-7
Published: 2015
Pages: 209
Key Themes: Mental Health, Mental Illness, Nineties, 1990’s, Gay Rights, Schizophrenia


This is a frightened and hesitant book about the 1990’s- the period of Section 28, of the insecurity verging on danger faced by the gay community. It is about the relationship between two gay men destroyed by the ingrained intolerance of straight society. Conservatism at its most nauseating crushes the love that is essential to being gay.

Participate, then, in tragedy as you plunge into this book, and feel how the hatred against gay truth is like an abyss destroying beauty and peace.

The items and elements of this book were done in the late 1990’s under the aegis of the Gay Authors Workshop, run by Kathryn and Elsa in Stratford in the East End of London. I still recall the Vegan meals they used to cook for those attending the Workshop on a Sunday, the sense of togetherness they seemed to form among the gay men and lesbian women attending.

Gay people are still so far from being acknowledged, from being accepted. They remain like martyrs in the catacombs, continually hammered down into the shadows by persecution…

About the Author

Zekria Ibrahimi (born in 1959) is defined by his schizophrenia. It first hit him long ago, in his late teens. He is fifty five years old now, grey and frail, almost a pensioner, with all the aches and injuries of age, incontinent and impotent, lame and with constant tinnitus; he has shattered his right arm, which will never recover. He is always stiff, painful and weak.

He does not always want to remember how, as an adolescent in the late 1970’s, he suddenly became afraid of everything surrounding him, and, worst of all, of himself. He would run around the countryside and knock at the doors of strangers because he feared the apocalypse was pursuing him … He would pick up rubbish outside in alleys and streets and hoard it in his not very palatial lodgings … He was always wandering away from home, searching for … what would never be found again … the straight route, the level way … He was a tramp, freezing during the nights in public toilets where he had various unsavoury insects as company on the cold concrete …

There were years of pain when his schizophrenia became almost his only companion- albeit a sadistic one, punishing him even as he hugged it. Perhaps, to echo both R. D. Laing and Emily Dickinson, it is the entire globe, it is general society, that is truly insane. Schizophrenics simply burrow all too deeply under the surface. They reach the very core of the savage reality in everyone. Most varnish over the anarchic truth within through the superficial sham paraded as ‘civilization’. Schizophrenics prefer to be uncomfortably honest barbarians.

Eventually, after much psychotic shouting on Hammersmith Broadway, the hapless Zekria was confined at the Charing Cross unit in the West London Mental Health Trust. Following the unsafe unstable freedom of his schizophrenia, came the restrictions of Section 3. He would not have survived without the multi- racial compassion of the individual doctors and nurses in Charing Cross. Yet the overall SYSTEM remains an ogre of rules and restraints, and the INSTITUTION of psychiatry can be as cold and vicious as in the days of lobotomy and insulin shock.

He is an extreme liberal socialist, despairing of the tendencies towards cruel inequality and vicious intolerance across this planet.

Zekria is very elderly, but still he muses about being locked up, drugged up, about how, with schizophrenia, the treatment can be worse than the disease…

Book Extract

I’ve always seemed attracted to Irish males, although I am of Pakistani origin myself- my parents were Muslims who arrived by BOAC from Lahore in the 1960’s. I’m not very religious; faith always blinds people to the possibility of love, turns them into conformists unwilling to experiment, afraid to be independent individuals apart from dogma and tradition and convention. Religion is basically conservative, but being gay is the Revolution.

Fuck God. He’s just an aged hypocrite ordering people to be moral but who decided to create a dangerous and unpredictable world where anything ethical will soon guarantee tragedy.

It must be the terribly fresh wildness of the Irish that makes them appear so appealing to me.

It was half past eleven at the Blarney Stone, some time in November, about three years ago, around 1993, and everyone in the pub was drunk. A couple of dykes were groping at each other by the bar, some men, all covered in glitter and make- up, were dancing to very unrestrained disco music, in the middle of the place, and an elderly fellow, with a hat, a cane and a cloak, resembling some character out of an Edwardian novel, looked on from one corner while sipping extremely slowly a small whiskey. Nobody in the Blarney Stone cared about who was having sex with who, particularly after the consumption of heroic, indeed suicidal, quantities of alcohol.

I was drunk, and I was a virgin.

The manager, Patrick, started kissing me. I did not resist him. I seemed grateful for his nearness, his touch, his embrace. My lips responded by urging themselves onto his cheek, onto his neck, down his chest, Patrick throwing away his tie with a quick, somewhat melodramatic, gesture, and opening up his shirt.

I felt as passive as a puppy. I was no better than a small dog on a leash, and I let him lead me to the toilets, where the thing described by the clientele as ‘action’ occurred.

He was around thirty five, and he seemed to enjoy his control over me. We coupled manically as the cisterns rumbled and gurgled, providing a backdrop to our grunting and panting. I managed to slip on the tiles, nearly splitting my skull on a tap. He lifted me up, and resumed the ‘action’, our trousers round our ankles, our underpants down, my own shirt ripped while his was totally removed.

He made sure that I was a virgin no longer.

I left the Blarney Stone in a dazed and dishevelled condition, Patrick hissing at me as I left: ‘Make sure you buy more beer next time you’re here, because my establishment is not a charity. I’m proud that it’s bloody commercial.’ And then his eyes appeared to relax, just a little. ‘And thanks for the shag. It seemed luckier than a shamrock.’

And, a week after my questionable deed of passion with Patrick, my uncle informed on me. I had been in a gay pub, he sneaked. That weird Blarney Stone, where all sort of strange people turned up, and the windows were blacked out. I must have been drinking alcohol, against the dictates of Islam, and I must… I must… have been going with men, in a way absolutely forbidden by the Koran. My parents, the anger across their faces on fire like some furnace in which they would have liked to shove me and my sins against the Prophet, ordered me to leave their semi- detached residence near Southfield Park.

I was a stray on the streets of Shepherd’s Bush, in the vicinity of the Green, that area of depressed tramps, smelly and moping and static on benches, and of traffic circulating, circulating, circulating, of queues and tills in supermarkets, Argos and Safeway, all the impersonal combination of forced intermingling and sneaky suspicion of person against person that constitutes London. I was a nobody deprived of a pillow and sheets, of a blanket and a mattress, for two grinding, numbing weeks, at the end of November, 1993, before the Council eventually told me I could have a one bedroom flat in White City.

I was a speck, an ignored non- entity. A vagrant whom no one was able to love.


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.