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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Refreshing the hearts other drugs can't reach

WOULDN'T IT be awful to die in the middle of a column, some elegiacal piece about, oh, I don't know, some poor unknowing disregarded tidewrack from the late 20th century, the cruellest p

Columns: Imagine there's ... nothing

OK. OK, how about this one, Life With Billy, OK?, see, Billy's this lovable mutt, a terrier, and he lives with these, um, goofy people, right?, they think they're his owners, but Billy, see, Billy knows it's the other way round and ... No, hear me out, what we get is this sort of concept where Fliss - that's the woman character, a cross between the Breatharian one, come on, you know, looks like a twig in a hoar-frost, Ally McBeal, right, and the other one, the annoying one there's a new book out about. Bridget Thing. Exactly. Um. Yes. Yes! So Billy, see, offers this mordant commentary on Fliss and her chap. Billy, you see, he's the narrator of their...

Columns: And another thing...

I know what you want. You want a coherent narrative: beginning, middle and end. You want it to start with a particular observation ("I saw this old geezer coughing his blubber up in the gutter"1), move through general animadversions on life ("We must all cough a peck of blubber before we die") and ending with a meretricious synthesis of grief and circumstance, so that you can head off to the boozer, the telly or the adulterous couch feeling that you have given some thought to the eternal verities, and thereby earned your fun.

Mahir, my brother, my frand

HELLO MAHIR! I kiss you!!! Just like you self, on your famous "web sight" where you say "WELCOME TO MY HOME PAGE!!!!! I KISS YOU!!!". Is was big surprise when you the "address" comes! From my frand! Just I open my "email" one morning and there is!

Mahir, my brother, my frand

HELLO MAHIR! I kiss you!!! Just like you self, on your famous "web sight" where you say "WELCOME TO MY HOME PAGE!!!!! I KISS YOU!!!". Is was big surprise when you the "address" comes! From my frand! Just I open my "email" one morning and there is!

The skull beneath the face-paint

"YOU'VE TOLD us about your clothes," a Reader writes, "but what about other things? What about your cosmetics? Grecian 2000 and Brut Body Splash, I'll be bound." Well, madam, you shall be bound indeed. The eight- strand cotton warp from Captain OM Watts, Chandlers to the Gentry, I think; about 20 yards should do the trick, and then a couple of ring-shackles and panic-snaps before it's on with the blindfold and out with trusty Viper, the split-tongued tawse, which is what happens to people who make personal remarks.

Heads I lost

ODD, what you notice or don't notice or can't quite put your finger on. When I was a lad, we used to cut up dead bodies, not just for a joke or a hobby, like fretwork, but because we were made to do it. Straight after breakfast I'd trudge blearily off to the Anatomy School, all the bodies half-dismantled in various shades of ham, like a sepia photograph in the pallid, submarine light.

The joy of senseless violence

THE MAN downstairs, the World's Worst Builder, slack-jawed over his lump of wood: I could thump him. Do you know the feeling? Thump him. Grab him by the lapels and pull him towards me and shove my face in his and shout for a bit and then ... thump. Grab his bit of wood and ... whop. Crunch. Bone-shards and schnozzle-gore and bewilderment and then the slow heavy slide to the floor, the beseeching look, the eyes misting over as the darkness closes in.

... brought to you in association with Michael Bywater

I HAD ALL my lines ready, and everything. All the lines. "What I don't understand is why a beautiful, intelligent, successful woman like you is..." and "I normally don't do this sort of thing" and "Don't not misinterpret me, but may I come in for a nightcap...?"

Welcome to England

PICTURE the scene, if you will. You won't? Well tough. I'll describe it anyway. The scene - sit up at the back there - is a country road on a typical English August night: six lanes of heavy traffic and the rain gouting down like catastrophe or second thoughts. The traffic is all driven by madmen, gits, the snout-and-leisurewear set; in the backs of the cars, children retch and swirl; wives scold, purse their lips and dream of guns and hysterectomies. Despite the rain, the air is clogged and mephitic, a chewy, rancid soup of petrol fumes and brassica-fart. Hustled out of Dover into an insanity of cones and hoardings, shunted away from the feral refugee-stabbings, dodgy coppers and local newspapermen wired to the moon, the lurching boil of traffic has raged its way on to the motorway and is now confronted by a lovely sign: No Services For 68 Miles.
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