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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A chap is entitled to some relaxation

LOVELY WORD, "mistress", wouldn't you say? Frilly lingerie - lovely word, "frilly", wouldn't you say? - a little flat in Dolphin Square or Nell Gwynne House, marabou mules, maybe a little poodle. Scented. Always ready to be enjoyed. (Not the poodle. The mistress.) A ... well, a plaything: smiley, docile, presentable, makes a chap feel a bit of a dog as it were. After all, a chap has his troubles. A chap has rich clients, important contacts, business associates to impress. A chap has a third-class degree to live down, a set of carefully - too carefully - honed vowel-sounds to maintain, cars to think about, houses to think about, a rich but mad wife to think about. A chap is entitled to some relaxation, and of course the little flat in Dolphin Square or Nell Gwynne House is in a chap's name; everything goes to the rich but mad wife when a chap doubles over the steering wheel of his Jaguar one day, the pain surging down into the splayed pale fingers of the left hand - the wedding-ring hand, bloody irony, ha ha! - and the sweat erupts on the brow and the terrible, terrible fear strikes just long enough to stop the heart so that darkness and perpetual infamy can mercilessly supervene.

A man of protean sensibilities

I WANT my money. There's money out there with my name on it - or, at the very least, the words "To Whom It May Concern" - and I want it. Other people get their money. George Lucas has got his money, and Stephen King has got his money, and Thomas Harris has got lots and lots of money and hardly ever writes anything at all. Ten years between The Silence of the Lambs and the new one, Hannibal. Ten years. Do you know how much I write in the average 10 years? Between four and five million words. If Thomas Harris wrote that much, he'd be ... he'd be like me. Skint. I want my money.

Hands up who envies me

"BLIMEY," said the thin woman, all in black - jittery, smoking a cigarette as though it were an enemy she was punishing - "Blimey; they're eating outside." Well, yes, but it was a beautiful evening: soft, balmy, you might have been in Rome except that it was just the two of them outside the restaurant, the street was almost deserted, people were thinking about bed ("Time we made a move, then") and there was no chance of me having a glass of wine because it was 11 o'clock at night. But they were eating outside, him and his girlfriend, not a care in the world you might think, and you might well be right. Made his fortune before he was 40 (nobody knows quite how), invested wisely, does slightly inexplicable things to do with keeping his fortune ("Just off to a meeting") but otherwise seems to spend most of his time pottering about. Goes to the gym, flat stomach, clean-cut jawline, grey hair and face like a tree-frog but nobody's perfect. Little flat, peppercorn rent, can't be thrown out on a whim like the rest of us. Goes to Cuba with a chum; the chum goes for the women, he goes for ... Cuba; likes dancing, likes sunshine, likes talking Spanish. ("I'm off again tomorrow, matter of fact. Eight days. If you want me to bring you back some cigars, you can give me the money now.") A good life. An enviable life. I envy it. I'd like it.

Michael Bywater column; They're driving me into business

UNIQUE special oriental beauty. Jane, petite blonde, stunning, fit, versatile and athletic; Genuine Photo. It's not what I do - it's the way that I do it; genuine photograph. All Services; A-Levels; genuine photo. French lessons from ravishing redhead; genuine photo.

A preview of my next four columns

DO I write to you? No. You can sleep easy in your beds, knowing for sure that, come the morning, your doormat will not be disfigured by the mephitic squelch of a letter from me, criticising the way you write software, pull teeth, manage the imbecilic workforce in your dodgy business, preach sermons, negotiate settlements, teach maths, can peaches, restore sofas ... cor blimey what a lot of things there are for people to do, innit? (Here's a handy hint: next time you get bored with your meaningless, repetitive life, just reach for a copy of the Yellow Pages and browse through the index. It's startling, the things people do to put a crust on the table, the poor buggers. One wonders what historians of the future - I mean future historians, not historians who study the future, though I bet they've got them, too, in America - would make of it. A pig's ear, probably. They get all the details wrong, and don't talk to me about primary sources; at least 50 per cent of all my notes, account-books and memoranda are deliberately false or, at the least, misleading, and as for my letters ... Ah.)

I'm joining the world of BritSex

GIANT JUICY jug stunna phwoar boobies phwoar bonk todger todger TODGER! Not only that, but Fifty cigarettes and a bottle of vodka FOR EVERY READER!!! Our girls go NAKED ROUND BRITAIN!!!!! Phwoar! Mad for it! Phwoar! Phwoar! PhwTHWACK.

Michael Bywater column

It's time to make a stand

Where I came from, who I am

DO YOU KNOW what I always say? I always say the world is divided into two classes of people: those who divide the world into two classes of people, and those who don't. I don't know why I always say it. It's not original and it's not even true. The world is divided into two classes of people, but what they are is: those who can answer the telephone and open their mail without feeling sick with fear, and those who cannot. Guess which class I am in?

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!"

Let them eat meat

WLPH MMPHM blsh ... sorry. Just empty my mouth. There; thatsh bsshttr, wlph shmmpht ... damn. Bloody stuff just won't go down. And the texture. I really don't know how people swallow it. They probably just want to please; think it would be rude to spit it out.
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