Michael Bywater

Michael Bywater is a writer and broadcaster. He was a long-running columnist for the Independent on Sunday and his books include Lost Worlds (2004) and Big Babies (2006).

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How should a man die? The late Tom Lubbock

Until Further Notice I Am Alive, By Tom Lubbock

This extraordinary, vast little book enacts Larkin's almost-instinct, almost true: what has remained of him is love. Tom Lubbock was art critic of this paper for many years until a brain cancer removed, inch by inch, his language and then he died, stupidly young.

The Lifeboat, By Charlotte Rogan

The surface question of Charlotte Rogan's debut novel is: what would you do in order to survive? Beneath that, The Lifeboat is a study of knowledge and experience, memory and truth-telling, inventing and forgetting, focused and intensified by confinement in the lifeboat of the title.

The Ideal Home Show takes place at Earl's Court

The Ideal Home Show reveals we're a nation obsessed with home improvement

Faced with a flat housing market, property owners are choosing to improve, not move. But do we really need self-cleaning grills and a mop for every occasion? Michael Bywater endures a day at the Ideal Home Show in a heroic bid to find out.

Simpsons creator Matt Groening (he doesn’t really have four fingers)

Homer's Odyssey (and some of his fellow voyagers)

As the 500th episode of The Simpsons airs in America, Michael Bywater looks back at a record number of guest stars and asks why we're still not jaundiced by our yellow friends

The global visionary: Steve Jobs launches iTunes in Europe

Steve Jobs, By Walter Isaacson

It was one of the Sunday papers that got it. Not the serialisation rights to Walter Isaacson's exemplary biography of Steve Jobs (though it got that, too), but the epitome of the coarse-grained, dullard response to the story of Jobs's life. The puff on its front page read: "ACID TRIPS. WEIRD DIETS. THE DEMENTED GENIUS OF STEVE JOBS."

BOOKS: A little learning...

The Know-It-All By A J Jacobs HEINEMANN pounds 10.99 (386pp) pounds 9.99 (free p&p) from 0870 079 8897

The Lost World of Michael Bywater: Friends, Romans, countrymen...

Blame Sulla. Beaky nose, sneaky look in the eye, weak chin, bit of a Herbert you'd have thought, to look at him on a coin. None of us look our best on a coin, it's true, but if your daughter had brought him home you'd have not been pleased.

United we fall over

LAST ONE of the millennium and frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn. It's nothing. A mistaken calculation based upon a misrepresented date of the putatively miraculous birth of a man in Palestine. Impinge? I think not.

Columns: 'Tis the season

"HELLO!" "What?" "Hello! You don't remember me, do you?"

Condemned to live

HELLO TREES, hello sky, we'll meet again, with a smile and a song, and I think to myself, what a wonderful thump crash wallop, knuckles crack, nose bursts, blood blossoms all down Mr Portillo's little blue shirt, and you know what? I don't even have anything against Mr Portillo at the moment, and as for his shirt, he's always struck me as quite a well-dressed sort of a man. It's just free-floating rage. Juvenal would have understood, but then Juvenal is also dead, so to hell with him. Can't you just see him - smell him - nearly two millennia back, condemning the vices to which he was most drawn, slouching past the racetrack with his big old belly and his pout and his lousy teeth, snarling at the lip-licking popsies up on the Palatine with their fancy scent and their smooth, smooth thighs, and their rich bastard "protectors" ... once you got to a certain level, then as now, you could move up from fornication to cubiculation, trade the rat-shit arches of the Colosseum for the scented couch of a senator. The bitches! The bastards! And never mind that your man Juvenal is himself straight from the bath-house, slick with the venerean sudor of that self- same senator's wife. Times change, and we ... we remain the same.
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