Michael Bywater Column: Hello? It's me. I'm on the train

HELLO? I'M on the train. The train. I'm on the train. The eleven hundred. Yes. We'll be getting in at twelve fifty-five. It's a sort of religious experience, really; a bit like making an intellectual decision to start going to church again, only to find God himself on the door at Sunday Mass. "Hello! It's Me! Take a pew!"

I'm on the train and I've made a decision. From now on I am going to put my trust in management. I've been fighting it so long, frankly it's a relief. They're ... sorry? What do you mean, "management of what"? Management isn't of anything. Management just is. If I said "It's raining" you wouldn't say "What is?", would you? It's the same with management. Management is good. Management is wise. Management is not puffed up, nor seeketh after its own. Faith, hope and management; but the greatest of these three is management. And here, on the train - I'm on the train, can you tell Debbie I'm - here, on the train, like a vision of God at the church door, is a manager. Before my auto da fe, I would have berated him. I would have told you about his smug face, his nasty "crisp" shirt, his cloacal bearing, the Fahrenheit whirling off his scrawny body ... but now I love Kevin because I know that he and all the other Kevins are my salvation.

Kevin hasn't shut up since the train - I'm on the train, yes - pulled out of St Pancras. Out came the cellphone, the A5 executive time management system, the Cross ballpoint pen, and off he went. Kevin is remorseless, relentless, unceasing, just like God Himself. Down the clogged airwaves churns an endless stream of memos, messages, notes and queries, and yet not once - it's Market Harborough now - has Kevin said anything interesting; not once has he committed anything to the microwaves which, if expunged or never said, would make any difference to the world at all. And for this, they pay Kevin. For this, Kevin is able to maintain a wife ("Hello, dear, it's me; I'm on the train") who presumably allows him to have sex with her, and a house in which Kevin and his wife have that sex, and quite possibly children who, benighted, think of Kevin as "Daddy". Kevin's vapourings, his choked and rigid circumlocutions, enable Kevin to eat and go on holiday and drive his car ("Debbie? Kevin. Can you book my car in for its service? I'm on the train") and have his Jasper Conran suit ("I don't think of myself as a run-of-the-mill manager; I like to be a bit different. I'm on the train") dry-cleaned, and to, in general, live.

How am I different? Three ways. I don't make anyone's life a misery (except for my intimates, who weep, it must be said, their pints); I don't whine and whine and whine on my mobile telephone; and Kevin gets a lot more money than I do. I do not have a car or a house or a wife; my clothes, though exquisite, cost me dear and in more than money; and I had to buy my own train ticket.

So my act of faith is ratified. Kevin, a manager - perhaps the Platonic manager of whom all other managers are a mere imperfect copy - has the edge over me. From now on, I shall listen to what management says, and learn their vocabulary and their enchanting little ways, and I shall be happy. Oops. With regard to my happiness, this ongoing matter will be agendized for executive committee consideration with a view to progressing the matter having regard to group and divisional strategic objectives. I'm on the train.

Nor is it just words. It's actions. Not actions like you or I might mean them; no - management actions are what happen when you draw up a ratified statement of group and divisional strategic objectives, then action them with a view to progressing same. Management actions are diminutions. You, too, can get on a train and listen to the Kevins, paring their cheese: an inch off here, false instead of real, cut back the workforce, lower the quality and hope the punters won't notice. And there, in the end, is the secret. The punters won't notice. They never do. So, from now on, I shall leave out one syllable in every sent. Similarly wht letrs. And, just as peple buy and eat Ginster's Brnch Bars and Miller's Jumbo Ssage Rolls, you won't padding notice if cereal nostril I pad out my copy hoof uterus with rubbish padding to make it lung earlobe slurry look as if my stuff is more intellectually nutrit than it reall is. Jokes will be prested as ither setup or pnchline but nt bth. Wy dd t chikn crs th rd? Haha. See? Y har nticed. Ths is t wa frward. Hl? Hl? I'm on the tr.

Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Arts and Entertainment


These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London