Bageye at the Wheel by Colin Grant

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It's a quietly unforgettable book about innocence and experience, about memory and cruelty – and the cruelty of memory.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A brilliant memoir about growing up in one of the very few black families in Luton in the 1970s and a superb portrait of the author's father: the feckless, tyrannical Bageye.
 
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 at Mrs Knight's -- 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.
 
In this wonderful memoir Colin Grant looks at his father through the eyes of his ten-year-old self. Colin is Bageye's favourite 'pickney', and often his reluctant companion in his latest attempt to placate Blossom with another DIY project, or a little cash. When he acquires a less than roadworthy old car, Bageye sets himself up as an unofficial minicab service, lack of a driving licence notwithstanding. More profitable are his marijuana deals, until the day he mistakenly entrusts Colin with choosing a hiding place for a huge bag of ganja.
 

About Colin Grant

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COLIN GRANT is a historian and BBC radio producer. He is the author of Negro with a Hat, a biography of Marcus Garvey and I&I: The Natural Mystics, a group biography of the original Wailers, Marley, Tosh and Livingston. The son of Jamaican emigrants, he lives in Brighton.
 
Published May 14, 2012 by Jonathan Cape. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel.
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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu on May 25 2012

It's a quietly unforgettable book about innocence and experience, about memory and cruelty – and the cruelty of memory.

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