Tooting author's book " 1973 and Me: Connecting cricket and Caribbean culture" now on sale

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Tooting author's book " 1973 and Me: Connecting cricket and Caribbean culture" now on sale

Postby Community Editor » Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:39 am

Colin Babb can vividly recall watching his first ever cricket game, through the new coloured television set at his family’s home in Streatham, in 1973.

But the match, which took place between the West Indies and England at the Oval, was not only a memorable moment for Babb.

The West Indian team’s impressive win against England, by two matches to nil, cast them firmly on the cricket map.

Mr Babb, who describes himself as a “BBC” – British Born Caribbean – says this victory was pivotal in shaping his cultural identity.

“It was one of the ways I connected with my Caribbean heritage, by watching, understanding and appreciating and finding out more about West Indian cricket culture,” Babb says.

He has dedicated his latest memoir, 1973 and Me, to the iconic year -- exploring the politics, legacy, music and history of Caribbean migrants in the UK.

Mr Babb has a varied heritage, growing up between Streatham, Battersea and Norbury, but with family roots in Guyana, Guadeloupe and Barbados.

In the 1970s he experienced lots of personal changes, adapting to a new school and home, as well as political shifts, as the UK joined the common market.

Cricket, however, was always a linking factor.

Now, Mr Babb has settled in “sunny” Tooting, where he has a 7-year-old son who shares his passion for the game.

The 55-year-old says 1973 and Me is a way of passing on part of his boyhood.

As the West Indies tour the UK again this summer – albeit behind closed doors – there is a growing awareness around the importance of Caribbean heritage, not just on the game, but on British identity.

Last weekend, legendary Jamaican cricket player, Alford Gardner, spoke about how the Leeds team was vital in integrating Windrush migrants.

Whether it's Leeds or Streatham, cricket can be a means of promoting equality and anti-racism.

Mr Babb has also written They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun: West Indies Cricket and its Relationship with the British-Resident Caribbean Diaspora, in 2012.

You can buy his book, 1973 and Me, here -

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