A 1970s Childhood in Suburbia
In the tradition of Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners and V.S.Naipaul’s Miguel Street, Grant's Bageye at the Wheel does for Luton and the UK what Miguel Street did for Naipaul, Port of Spain and Trinidad.
A powerful prescient memoir of life in 1970s Britain for a child of Windrush generation parents.
'This book is a classic' Sunday Telegraph
To his fellow West Indians who assemble every weekend for the all-night poker game at Mrs Knight's, he is always known as Bageye. There aren't very many black men in Luton in 1972 and most of them gather there: Summer Wear, Pioneer, Anxious, Tidy Boots - each has his nickname. Bageye already finds it a struggle to feed his family on his wage from Vauxhall Motors, but now his wife Blossom has set her heart on her sons going to private school and she will not settle for anything less.
This is the story of a father seen through the eyes of his ten-year-old son. It’s a wry and gentle comedy about unfulfilling day jobs and late night poker games, of illegal mini-cabs and small-scale drug-dealing.
And it is also about a family struggling to belong in post-Windrush Britain and growing up in a vanished world of 1970s suburbia.
LOOK OUT FOR COLIN GRANT'S NEW BOOK: Homecoming - the first oral history of the Windrush generation
“I loved every word”
“[A] vivid and bittersweet window into a vanished world of 1970s suburbia”
“A quietly unforgettable book”
“A fabulous example of storytelling”
“Colin Grant’s memoir focuses on his feckless father…but tells the wider story of growing up black in Luton in 1970s suburbia”
Antonia Charlesworth, Big Issue in the North
Benjamin Evans, Sunday Telegraph