Colin Babb author


Contribution to upcoming Clyde Best film documentary, 5 May 2023

Colin Babb with the Degan production team

I spent part of the Bank Holiday weekend in Stratford, East London, as a contributor to Transforming the Beautiful Game: The Clyde Best Story. A film documentary directed by Dan Egan of Degan Media.

Clyde Best was born and raised in Bermuda and came to England to join West Ham United as a 17-year-old teenager. When Best arrived in England in 1968, it was his first time away from the Caribbean. By the end of his time at West Ham (1968 to 1976), he had achieved iconic status as one of the first black footballers seen on British television.

The film will reflect on Best’s life and career, with a focus on the challenges he faced on and off the field in 1970s Britain. Best was an important contributor to 1973 and Me, where he shared his passion for West Ham, cricket, his roots in Barbados and Guyana and more.

Thanks to Dan Egan for inviting me to contribute. The film is scheduled for released in 2025.

Talk for The Cricket Society at the Union Jack Club, London, 22 February 2023

Colin at the Cricket Society

Many thanks to members of The Cricket Society who supported my talk at the Union Jack Club, Waterloo, London.

One of the aims of The Cricket Society is to promote, arrange and conduct meetings, social gatherings and other functions for members to meet each other, and encourage and facilitate the exchange of views and information concerning cricket.

The talk featured reflections on my 1970s childhood, FA Cup finals, politics, television, identity, Guyana, bread and butter pudding, cricket and much more. The audience was warm, engaging and knowledgeable, and a book signing session was followed by an entertaining question and answer discussion.

I was also honoured to perform the task of pulling out winning tickets for the raffle!

“Many thanks to Colin, who is a born storyteller, for a fascinating talk. I learnt so much. It was a wonderful evening and I’ve only heard positive comments from everyone in the audience. There is so much depth in 1973 and Me, and the book is full of wonderful stories and reminiscences, and brings that year back to me – today.”
Nick Tudball, The Journal of the Cricket Society editor, and event organiser

Author event for the African Caribbean Cricket Association at The Oval, London, 26 October 2022

Colin Babb signing books at The Oval

Many thanks to all members of the African Caribbean Cricket Association who supported my author event in the Mark Butcher Room at The Oval cricket ground.

The African Caribbean Cricket Association aims to inspire young British people with African and Caribbean heritage to play and excel at cricket.

Following my talk, there was a lively question and answer session, and passionate debates about the past, present and future of West Indian cricket and the Caribbean diaspora in Britain. Copies of 1973 and Me and They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun were signed and sold, and the audience also enjoyed chicken, patties and more!

Many thanks again to Lonsdale Skinner, a contributor to 1973 and Me, for helping to organise the event and supplying some positive post-event feedback. Lonsdale Skinner is the Chairman of the African Caribbean Cricket Association and played with distinction for Surrey CCC and Guyana.

Meet the author event at Roehampton Library, London, 19 October 2022

Colin Babb at Roehampton library

Many thanks to everyone who supported my event at Roehampton Library for Wandsworth libraries Black History Month (BHM) 2022.

BHM is celebrated in the month of October and Wandsworth Council and Wandsworth Libraries marked this annual commemoration with a series of events and activities. 

“Colin’s talk was very informative and engaging, and taught me a lot about the history of Guyana and Northern South America. Particularly how culture and politics bleed into one another. It was entertaining and engaging for people who don’t love cricket, and I enjoyed listening to Colin’s personal stories.”
Patrick Malone, Library Manager, Roehampton Library

Special thanks to Andrea, Patrick and the team at Roehampton for organising and managing the event, and my farewell refreshments takeaway!

From the Caribbean to the Balkans – for Caribbean Intelligence, 26 September 2022

Kellian Daniel

Kellian Daniel is the first Caribbean person I’ve met in Albania during several trips to the country in the last 20 years.

She describes herself as “The only Caribbean person I know in Albania with, of course, my family!” Her father is from Desruisseaux in St. Lucia and her mother from Princes Town, Trinidad.

Kellian shared her story with me for Caribbean Intelligence about why her family arrived in Albania, her businesses, her passion for music, and learning a new language.

Despite being home schooled in English by her family, Kellian was determined to learn Albanian and integrate with the communities she lived with in Tirana and Korçë.

Read the article.

Fircroft School Summer Fair, London, 25 June 2022

Man with a copy of 1973 and Me

Many thanks to all who supported our bookstall at the Fircroft Primary School Summer fair. Including people who bought copies of They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun during my last visit to the Fircroft summer fair – five years ago!

Alongside copies of the updated edition of 1973 and Me, and They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun, visitors to the stall discovered more about Hansib publications.

These included some books from the acclaimed nation book series, Trinidad and Tobago – Terrific and Tranquil, and Jamaica Absolutely.

“It was great to see Colin at our fair. Everyone loved him being there and lots of people enjoyed chatting with him about his books.”
Angela, Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) co-chair, Fircroft Primary School

Talk at Chestnut Grove Academy, London, 16 January 2022 

Many thanks to the Sixth Form students and staff who invited me to present a book event at Chestnut Grove Academy, Balham, London.

During the talk, stories were told and shared about social and cultural identity, the value of nostalgia and memory, Derby County, Guyana, the Caribbean, cricket, South London, my 1970s childhood, UK politics, music and watching television.

The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session.

“It was so interesting to hear a perspective that you don’t often get to. I didn’t expect cricket to evoke such an important impact.”
Josie and Tilly, Sixth Form students

“I found the talk really enlightening and it opened my eyes to the importance of sport within culture.”
Zahra, Sixth Form student

“Colin gave an insightful, fascinating and engaging presentation of the importance of cricket in his life and a vivid image of the year 1973. The intersections between sport, television and politics that Colin talked about not only emphasised the differences between now and then, but also the significant effects of a game like cricket on the lives and pastimes of so many.”
Yasmina, Sixth Form student

Many thanks to Yasmina and Ms Gordedo for the warm welcome and organising the event.

Pics from the event at Chestnut Grove.

Bourda Bazaar in Colliers Wood, London, 11 December 2021

Many thanks to everyone who visited the 1973 and Me/Hansib publications stall at the 2021 Bourda Bazaar. The event was held at the Johmard Community Centre, Colliers Wood, London. 

Some of the goodies on our stall included books – 1973 and Me, and Belonging: Fate and Changing Realities by Herman Ouseley. The Hansib ‘Caribbean Contribution to Wartime Britain’ calendar was also on sale.

Proceeds from the raffle went to the Rotary Club of Demerara. The Rotary Club conducts crucial medical expeditions into the densely forested interior of Guyana. Another highlight was a spontaneous Guyanese drumming and folk song session.

Many thanks to Rod and Juanita from Guyana Speaks for organising another wonderful event.  

Bourda Bazaar 2021 pics and video.

1973 and Me BHM events for Wandsworth libraries, 29 October 2021

Colin Babb at Battersea library

Many thanks to everyone who supported my events for Wandsworth libraries Black History Month (BHM) 2021. The first was at Battersea library on 13 October and the second at Balham library on 28 October.

Both events were well supported by enthusiastic audiences, lively question and answer sessions, and copies of 1973 and Me were signed and sold!

“It was a pleasure to watch as Colin guided an engaged audience through Caribbean politics and the streets of South West London, all with the power of cricket.”
Alex Martin, Library Manager, Balham Library

“I really enjoyed the talk. It has left me thinking about the friends I grew up with who have Caribbean parents, and how cricket has changed as a cultural touchstone for successive generations of West Indian migrants.”
Oliver Gafsen, SWLondoner reporter, after the event in Balham

“I don’t have a deep understanding of cricket but I really enjoyed the event. Especially Colin’s informative and entertaining presentation and storytelling. I look forward to more!”
Ina, after the event at Battersea

Joseph’s feedback after the event at Battersea library.

Special thanks to Susan, Alfred, Mohammed and Alex at Battersea and Balham libraries for managing two thoroughly enjoyable evenings. 

Book event at the Morocco Bound Bookshop, 31 August 2021 

Colin Babb outside the Morocco Bound bookshop

Many thanks to all who attended the 1973 and Me event at the Morocco Bound Bookshop, London.

During the evening stories were told and shared around Dickie Bird, Rohan Kanhai, Leeds United, 1970s television, Caribbean unity, 1973 and Me and more.

A lively Q&A session followed the talk. This included some of audience having a fun chat with each other, and me, following each answered questioned!

Some of the audience also enjoyed the variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available as copies of 1973 and Me were signed and sold.

Copies of 1973 and Me are still available from the Morocco Bound Bookshop.

Many thanks to Jonathan, Elsa and Graham for organising a brilliant event.

Pics from the Morocco Bound event.   

Not Coming Home – for Caribbean Intelligence, 19 July 2021

Mural of Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling in London (photo by Colin Babb)

Mural of Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling in London (photo by Colin Babb)

This article for Caribbean Intelligence, written after Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties in the 2020 Euros final at Wembley, was partly based on content in 1973 and Me. 

During the 1970s, for many of the English-born Caribbean diaspora, supporting West Indian cricket had more appeal than supporting the England football team.

The England players who missed their penalties in the penalty shoot-out – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Buyako Saka – were three of the 11 in the squad with Caribbean or African heritage.

Across all the major social media platforms, the racist blame directed at Rashford, Sancho and Saka erupted into a firestorm.

Post-Euro 2020 tournament debates featured commentary and conflicting opinions about identity, nationality, race, acceptance, and how to maintain the widespread connection with the England team.

This article also looked at the generational shift towards supporting England by people with Caribbean heritage.

Read the article.

The Death of a Black Man, 3 July 2021   

Death of a Black Man promotional poster

Set in 1973, the England v West Indies Test series and the performances of Garry Sobers were central to the meaning of The Death of a Black Man. 

The play opened with a speech by Shakie (Nickcolia King-N’da), holding a cricket bat and standing in front of a set of cricket stumps. Shakie passionately explains why he is inspired by the legacy of Garry Sobers.

Sobers scored a century during the final 1973 Test at Lord’s, which helped West Indies to a 2-0 series win v England. This was his last Test innings in England.

Excerpts from 1973 and Me and an advert promoting the book were featured in the Hampstead Theatre programme to complement the play.