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).

i Newspaper
The Independent around the web

Love thy neighbour, just don't talk to him

I DON'T know what happened to Andrew Boulton. I think he went off to be a doctor, just like he'd always wanted to when we were at school. He's probably respectable now, and won't like to be reminded that once he hung around with the likes of me, people who sit around in our shirt- sleeves, giving off a pleasing aroma of Bois du Portugal and Latakia while a couple of hired Latvian danseuses exotiques squirm attractively by their pretty heels from the rafters. "I wonder," we say to ourselves, giving one of the girls an absent-minded twizzle, "what it would be like to be respectable?"

Managing to take the Great out of Britain

TO GO home from Broadcasting House, I pass the Middlesex Hospital, cross Tottenham Court Road, go past the Imagination building and turn left by the British Museum ... and this tells me more than I want to know about all the stuff I'd really rather not know about.

Books: Bad girl of the Fifth

A fearless truth-teller... or the acceptable face of dissent for suburbia? Michael Bywater unmasks a rebel with applause; I Knew I Was Right by Julie Burchill Heinemann, pounds 15.99

Throwing a spammer in the works

Spam's Cranking up. You know, spam. Electronic junk mail. Maybe they think we're turning into suckers, Christmas on the way. It's importunate, it's ugly, it's of no interest, the people who perpetrate it are, without exception, swine ... they're talking about Harsh New Laws, but it doesn't bother me.

How to have fun without taking your clothes off

Time is an illusion, but you can never tell what's going to do the trick. You don't believe me? Ask any theoretical physicist, or, better still, an actual physicist, if you can find one. "Time?" he will tell you; "It's just an illusion." But he won't tell you about the trick, because he doesn't know what it is. If he did, he wouldn't be futzing around being a physicist; he'd open a business, and get rich: Time Rolled Back While You Wait! Easy Terms For Pensioners and The Unwaged!

We are what we eat, and that's the problem

I Was thinking about France a lot, down in Liskeard last week. Well, you do, don't you, stuck in Cornwall, trying to write, with the rain gouting down, the wind howling, the land sodden and shrouded in cloud (not mist; actual cloud), the birds silent, the roads grey and lethal between high, dripping stone banks, the unavailability of ... the unavailability of anything.

The long arm of the law? Let's amputate it

Hypocrisy? Me? Oh, come come come. Tsk tsk. But there it was. "You're a hypocrite, supporting the Legalise Cannabis campaign," she snarled. "You should tell the truth." Fair enough. These days, I rather dislike cannabis, for the same reason that I dislike other drugs and particularly dislike booze. Taken in anything other than the smallest amounts, they are rather like beating your children: acts of horrible violence against something that's on your side and can't fight back. The poor brain is doing its best. It's a consolation, a chum, an entertainment, a sympathetic ear for your inane drivelling self-narrations, a useful tool in times of crisis, the provider of dreams, the conduit of delight, the gate-keeper of security and the monitor of appetite and desire. It is witty, heuristic, faithful and so wonderfully diligent that, even when you sleep, it remains wakeful, telling jokes, making up stories, chewing over the day's events, quickening the dead and bringing people to say hello who you haven't seen for years.

Book review: Not one of us, darling...

A Class Act: the myth of Britain's classless society by Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard Hamish Hamilton, pounds 17.99 Class: knowing your place in modern Britain by Stephen Brook Gollancz, pounds 20

Book review / Laugh? He really died

Peter Cook: a biography by Harry Thompson, Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 18.99

If only the King were dead

Quiet, you middle-aged fawners, says Michael Bywater. Elvis's success was a disaster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits