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...
Recommend this book
Add your recommendation
Only registered users can recommend books. Please use the buttons below to either create a new account, or sign-in to an existing account.
The book is a classic of its kind, in my opinion; if I were Bageye, I would be immensely proud of it. - Sunday Telegraph
He has a great ear for Bageye’s patois-heavy dialect and offers detailed accounts of his father’s simultaneously bathetic and bizarre escapades in which a young, unwilling Grant is sucked into a world of gambling, marijuana, ceiling tiles and unlicensed cabs. - Metro
Grant’s memoir is the latest in a long series of accounts of immigration from the West Indies… As for Grant’s addition to this genre, I must jettison any claims to cool by confessing that I loved every word of it. - Independent
What a fabulous example of storytelling this book is... The authorial voice might be in that fashionable nine to eleven-year old bracket, but it has the rarer psychological insight of a writer remembering himself as a child. - Herald Scotland
Bageye at the Wheel is a wonderfulyl amusing and insightful account of a young Jamaican boy growing up in Luton - Luton News
[A] vivid and bittersweet window into a vanished world of 1970s suburbia. - Metro
Grant’s salty sweet memoir ... is inflected with the Jamaican patois spoken by his parents, and is a classic of its kind. - Spectator
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.