Author, historian and BBC radio producer Colin Grant will be talking about his third book, Bageye at the Wheel, a comic memoir of him growing up in 1970s Luton - at the time, a provincial town with few West Indians. Although the council estate he grew up on mainly comprised of Irish immigrant labourers, his father only kept company with a small group of fellow Jamaicans, who people only ever knew by their nicknames. For instance, the 'Bageye' in the book's tile refers to Grant's father, who was universally known as such, because he had prominent bags under his eyes. Always snazzily-dressed, the men worked in the local car factory and, in their downtime, shared a passion for rum and gambling, in equal measure. Set over the period of one year , Bageye at the Wheel is a story of life, as an insider-outsider, observed through the eyes of a 10-year-old; a first-generation black British boy, who, once he put the key in the front door, entered a strictly Jamaican household. 'Bageye' like most West Indian emigrants came to England in the late 1950s in search of a better life. Times, however, were hard. Nevertheless, his generation hoped their children would succeed where they couldn't. Education was the key. So, when Grant's mother decided her son's chances would be greatly improved if he went to private school, something would have to give; more often than not, 'Bageye' lost in his weekly poker games. He tried his hand moonlighting as a minicab driver - the lack of a driving licence notwithstanding - and other means. (SG7)
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