Gary O'Connor's Blanc Noir Audio

Contributor Biographies

Lowell 'Spirit' Grant

Spirit came to the UK from Jamaica in the 1960s. He brought with him his love of reggae music, and if you were to pass his small grocery store on Broadway Market in Hackney, you would be sure to hear it spilling out onto the street, it truly is the soundtrack to Spirit's life. He has never been asked to lower the volume or turn the music off, in fact if it's not playing people often go into the shop and ask, 'hey, what's happened to the music?' And if it's too quiet, people ask him to turn it up. The sounds from Spirit's shop are an important part of the fabric of life on Broadway Market but sadly, in recent years Spirit has became a victim of the council's mass sell-offs of property. Spirit took on the property in the early 1990s when the building was utterly derelict and spent six years and thousands of pounds of his own money to make it habitable. In 2001 the Council decided to flog it off. Despite all of Spirit's efforts to purchase the property it was bought by a wealthy Dubai based property developers who have since raised his rent by 700 percent!

On the wall behind the tiny shop counter hangs a framed portrait of Bob Marley. The reggae legend watches over the shopkeeper and his premises like a patron saint.

Spirit needs all the support he can get. His fight continues...


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