Hasmo Legends IV: Sick in the Head – Mr. Chishios

“Uh-sack-sohn . . . you spastic! You sick . . . you sick in the head!”

This, apparently, is the traditional Greek Cypriot method of encouraging, and instilling a sense of self-worth and confidence in, a boy. Or it is, at least, the Chich method.

Mr. ChichiosJewish children are not cut out for Physical Education. True, many like playing football, the more sophisticated might try their hand at cricket, while the self-reliant tend to enjoy tennis. Others, however, prefer merely to be spectators. And the rigid discipline of P.E. is most definitely “not for us”. So, in joining Hasmonean, Mr. Chishios (inset, and middle row, fifth from left, in the staff photograph in Hasmo Legends I), obviously hadn’t done his homework.

“Chich”, as we branded him, was in sole charge of P.E. at Hasmo, which he ran from the fiefdom of his gymnasium. He was assisted, on a part-time basis, by a likeable black-cab driver, Mr. Hackett (back row, furthest left).

A coarse, short-tempered and politically incorrect (politically wrong would be a more accurate description) immigrant from Greek Cyprus, Chich would throw around the “spastic” insult as uncontrollably as, err . . . well, as, err . . . a spastic. And, with similar gay abandon, he would bring his favourite Dunlop trainer to bear on, admittedly cheeky, young Jewish backsides.

I don’t recall Chich himself having any particular sporting ability to speak of (though that would have made him no different from the vast majority of his Hasmo colleagues, in their respective fields). I remember, too, being contemptuous of the basketball moves which he would proudly demonstrate to us, prancing towards the net and pivoting like a swarthy Mediterranean “fairy” (in fact, if Chich had been the first male Shirley Valentine had met on her holiday, she would have been on the first flight back to Liverpool). Anyway, showing a Jewish kid a “lay-up shot” is about as useful as showing a black one a profit and loss account.

For someone who, when out of his trademark tracksuit, sported an offensive – even by early 1980s standards – purple suit, Chich placed a strange importance on dress codes, forever insisting on the wearing of jockstraps and “wutsocks” (white socks). I don’t (as others do) recall him checking for the former by peering down at “me crown jewels”, but, so obsessed was he, I wouldn’t have put it past him.

Aside from his favoured terms of abuse, Chich was also famous for his beloved minibus and multi-gym. Considering the relative affluence of most Hasmo pupils’ parents, the minibus seemed to take an Age to finance. And Chich greeted the arrival of the multi-gym like a gift from the Greek gods. Most pupils also viewed it as extraterrestrial, venturing nowhere near the uninviting mass of metal and pulleys.

I will most remember Chich, however, for his “cross-country” runs through the graveyards and golf courses of North Hendon. With the inevitability of Phil Taylor in the “arrers”, Nachshon would always come in first, with Melnick not far behind (making a nonsense of Chich’s oft-articulated view that Hasmo’s Yids were bigger “spastics” than its Yoks). There would then be an almighty gap to everyone else, especially to the sizeable group of stragglers (including yours truly) at the very back, who – as soon as Chich was out of sight – would start walking. The danger in such a course, however, was that Chich had the unerring, and unnerving, ability to appear from absolutely bloody nowhere, yelling “Spastic!” and slippering backsides with the deranged excitement of an escaped paedophile suddenly finding himself at a bar mitzvah party.

My favourite Chich story relates to the occasion on which we were patiently sitting in rows in the gym, waiting for him to emerge from his office. His young son George (which Chich pronounced, with soft French Js, “Joj”) – an annoying little runt who always seemed to be around (he had probably been expelled from his own school for continually calling other kids “spastics”) – was again present; and, on this occasion, Elbaz thought he could get a laugh by telling him that his dad was a c*nt. And he certainly did get a laugh. A big one. Though it was one which soon turned to stunned silence, as we watched George, as if in slow motion, wander off to his dad’s office, from where we heard him say, in his pre-pubescent voice (reminiscent of Dick Emery’s “Dad, I think I did it wrong again” character): “Da-ad, Elbaz says you’re a c*nt.” If Greek Cypriots had displayed as much resolve and fury in staving off the Turks as Chich did in emerging from that office, his country would never have been divided.

Due in no way whatsoever to Chich, our year, at least, had a decent football team, beating, inter alia, JFS (incidentally, featuring new signing Elbaz [“free transfer” might be a more accurate description] . . . though I believe JFS has since tightened up its admissions policy).

There were four “Houses” at Hasmonean – Carmel, Hermon, Jordan, and Sharon – and I recall experiencing a strange sense of pride on pulling on the green of Jordan (though I have absolutely no idea why).

School Sports Days, however, held at Copthall Athletics Stadium, were particularly farcical (even by Hasmo standards). At various such Sports Days, I participated in the discus, javelin and shot putt events . . . even though the relevant Sports Day was the first time that I actually set eyes on these objects, never mind attempted to project them. I ended up stabbing the javelin into the ground (in order to register one valid throw), and put my back out trying to putt the shot.

Notwithstanding all of the above, and even his questionable attitude towards Jews – he once, on a minibus ride, attempted to explain his intense dislike of crooner Frankie Vaughan to me (and it had nothing to do with his voice) – I found Mr. Chishios curiously likeable, or, at least, not objectionable in the DJ/Gerber mould. In fact, I think I was so embarrassed by the behaviour and nonsense of most of Hasmo’s Jewish teachers, that I attempted to disassociate myself from them by fraternising with the non-Jewish ones.

Jews are more adept at exercising their self-deprecating sense of humour than their bodies. As Woody Allen has observed, “Swimming is not a sport. It’s what you do to stop yourself drowning.” And I can still picture Baum, a rather rotund boy, heroically trying to complete a long-distance race on Sports Day, while my classmate, Paul Kaufman, followed him around the inside of the track, tormenting him with an open packet of Golden Wonder.

Mr. Chishios can, therefore, perhaps be forgiven his excesses, and even pitied, after unwittingly stumbling across a culture – both sporting and otherwise – so very alien to his own.

[Even if you have already related Chich stories (in earlier comments), please “cut and paste” them here. And, if you have a photograph of him, please let me know.]

Postcript (24.7.12): Just to show that some things never change, see this Hasmonean Boys Sports Day video that I recently stumbled across, paying particular attention to the ‘efforts’ of the high jumpers (over a bar that my grandmother would have walked over), first long jumper and the relay baton handoff . . . all “spastics” in the great tradition!

Next on Hasmo Legends, Part V: Back to Melchett . . . and to Me (Caribbean Trip: Week 3)


198 responses to “Hasmo Legends IV: Sick in the Head – Mr. Chishios

  1. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Chich didnt change, from the day he arrived in the school in 1972 he wore the same tracksuit.
    does anyone know if he had any qualifications for the job?
    I once remember him being extremely nice to me, Willie sent half of our year to him to be slippered, and when it was my turn he let me in in his office shut the door , hit the table six times with a plimsole and told me to prrreten it hut.
    I think he was made to stop looking down shorts by an irate parent in the early 80`s and he often used the showers , i think more in the interest of making sure the pipes didnt rust up, because no one else ever used them.

  2. Lawrence Rosenstein

    Chichios once bought a set of tires from my father for his car. He came to my house to pick them up! In the course of conversation he proceeded to tell my mother that the other teachers were quite strange and that some of them had “never seen their wives naked”!

  3. Howard Fertleman

    The first thing I remember about Chichios was “THE SQUAD” If you weren’t in the “SQUAD” you were basically excrement in his eyes.

    Then there was the cross country running. I had the dubious pleasure of winning the first 3 cross country runs in the 1st year in 1976 when our games took place in West Hendon. This mantle was then taken over by Laurence “The Launce” Joseph. ( Does anyone remember us being driven there by coach to West Hendon, until the powers that be decided on budgetary cutbacks and we all had to walk to Copthall for games). The problem with winning the cross country runs was that we were then picked for the Cross Country Running Team and had to participate in the Barnet School Cross Country Runs. These runs would invariably take place at some severly anti semitic “yoks” school. On these runs our basic aim wasnt to win, but to stay alive as if we won the yoks would try and kick the shit out of us even more. The thing about it was that Chichios was never there to “protect” us , in fact I cant recall him ever being there at all . He never brought up any of the anti semitic incidents with the particular schools concerned.

    I remember a unique form of punishment that he introduced for a while. It was to get the “yids” to hang from the climbing bars that were located on the wall until they fell off because they wouldn’t play football or run.

    He would also get George to chase the yids around the playground with a slipper to get them to run as he was so concerned about their lack of physical exercise sitting in the Beis Hamedrash all day.

    He had his favorites like “Launce” Joseph , Laurence always having the stamina to finish first at cross cemetary running (cross country running). We would always get Laurence to approach him when we wanted to get out of doing something.

    I remember when he was put off kosher food for life when a group of 3rd years showed him a plate of Mrs Bannister’s Monday lunch time Viennas. Embeded in these Viennas were human toe nails, or they could have been finger nails, but it did the trick.

    I remember him trying to introduce us to the grace and form that is gymnastics. He would try and roll the yids over by hand when he tried to get them to “roll over” at the end of some gymnastic stunt.

    Another thing about Andy (Chichios), was his complete concern for our health and safety when it suited him. He refused to let us play football with our kippot attached to our heads with hair clips. The excuse being that if the ball was to land directly on your head the hair clip would become embedded in your skull. He gave us the choice of either
    1.Playing football holding onto our kippot with our hand.
    2. Playing with no kippot on your head (which caused the Yids a basic problem because apparently you are not allowed to walk more than 4 paces without your hair being covered. Maybe some former member of the Yeshiva Stream can confirm this Halacha).
    3. The final alternative was to play football with an elastic tied around your head (going under your jaw over the top of your head) to keep the kippar on. Some of the Yids actuallytook up this final option and looked totally and utterly ridiculous.
    Unfortunately his Health and Safety Concerns didn’t extend to poor Danny Kelly.
    I remember Danny Kelly losing the top of one of his fingers when using the new multi gym because Chich had obviously failed to be there when he was lifting the weights, or had shown little concern in showing Danny how to use the damn thing properly. So much for health and safety. Can you imagine how much the school would have been sued for in todays market of lawyers’ ” no win no fee claims for negligence”.

    Do you remember the moldy manky dressing room. Built to probably hold 15 there were 90 boys in there trying to change all once. Boys would undress in the shower compartments. But worse still were the unlucky sods who had to undress and store their clothes in the Urinal area. Another thing about this changing room was it was so bloody dark and the door was never locked during games so any Gunoff could rifle through our lovely maroon balzers.

    Do you remember his obsession with selling those f…… raffle tickets to raise money for his beloved minibus. It consumed him more than his supposed job of teaching us.

    Finally as a PE teacher does anyone actually remember taking part in any of the games we actually played. Was he a good footballer for example? Did he have the tricky Liam Brady skills that we so admired at the time. Was he the Peter Shilton of our day.
    I can never recall in all the 8 years that I attended Hasmo him ever playing a game of football with us. Can anyone else?

  4. Howard Fertleman

    Sorry my maths is crap, a result of a Hasmonean educashun. I spent 7 years at the school.
    Do you remember another of his memorable sayings; “If you want help, I’ll help yah” which was then finished with a cuff around the back of your head

  5. He once bundled Ackerman & Scharfer into his smelly “office” for a summary roughing up. There was a startling crash a moment later, then both of them burst back out, laughing so hard that they couldn’t stand straight.

    Chich had slammed the door so hard once they were inside, that every football, basketball, trophy, skipping rope, you name it – had tumbled off the shelf to the floor, some of them knocking the balding tracksuited loser nearly senseless.

  6. More like:-

    “You need hep?? I hep you”
    I remember him picking on the ultra-frummers – Yossi someone or other and a fat neturai karta twat who had never shaved. He tried to humiliate them, and the more he tried, the more inept they made themselves. He went mad with the Spasteeek comments.

  7. The late Rabbi Refoel “Genghis” Kahan, our Gemara teacher in the 1st and 2nd years, would frequently and publicly declare himself a sworn enemy of “Kishkes”, as he termed him.

    I asked his opinion when Chich’s departure from Hasmo was announced, and he went on the record with “It’s another Purim – he’s the biggest Anti-Semit (sic) in the school.”

    Apparently it all dated back to an ill-fated table-tennis match, when one or the other of them was new in the school, in which each accused the other of maintaining less than scrupulous standards of sportsmanship.

    The best Chich/Genghis episode that I can recall, was in a snow-sodden winter, the back playground glistening like an ice-skating rink, sleet pelting down, and bone-chilling winds whistling overhead.

    Chich puts his head round the beis hamedrash door: “Sorrih Rabbah Kahan but Oi’m lookin for Soo-buh-kuhh…[Sulzbacher]?”

    “Oh, Mr Chichios, I think you’ve just missed him – I saw him heading down the playground to the mobile unit about 5 minutes ago,” replied Genghis.

    As Chich headed back out, swearing in Greek under his breath, Genghis gathered the whole class around the beis hamedrash window, to watch him slither down the playground to the mobile unit, soaked to the skin……as Sulzbacher emerged to join us, from behind the curtain of the Oron Hakodesh.

  8. Who remembers when Chich attempted to instill a little fine culture into the school when “Superstars” came to Hasmo? (or “Swa-stas” as Chich called it). I cannot remember what the point of it all was (multi-gym probably), but I do remember that having done the Football (5 penalties), the Gym (a few dips on the parrallel bars) and Basketaball (5 lay-up shots), it died a death. I guess it dawned on him that we were lacking a lake, a velodrome and a shooting range in the back playground to make it viable. What a pathetic waste of time that was.

    Talking of lay-up shots, one of the most memorable moments came when Chich was attempting to show us how to sink his beloved lay-up shot, yet failed miserably in the execution. If the first failure was funny, the second lead to uncontrollable hysterics by all. Chich being Chich decided then to pick on the most notorious of spastics in our class to demonstrate how difficult it actually was…… “OK Kahn (Yoel). If you think it’s so funny, why don’t you try?” Unfortunately for Chich, he didnt know what ruach ha’kodesh was, and clearly all those years invested in learning gemarra and being a good yid was an excellent replacement for anything resembling sporting talent. Yoel proceeded to sink his lay-up shot. Chich, as if wishing to dig his grave a few feet deeper, told him to do it again. To his disgust, it brought the same result. Boy did we wet ourselves.

    Actually Yoel was great guy, (one of about 17 Kahn brothers I think to grace the school). I wonder if he made it to the NBA. I guess he probably settled for his moment of sporting glory and is a Rosh Yeshiva somewhere.

  9. How could I forget “You need help?”

    Apologies. 😉

  10. What of “those who have dahrear of the mooth, shuddeet – or you’ll get a slipper across the mooth”.

    I don’t remember him ever making good on that threat though..

  11. He may have been your gym teacher. No big deal to have a shitty gym teacher.

    I am still suffering from the fact that he was my MATHS teacher for 4 years!

    Here goes….. don’t forget the greek accent…..the blue/red speedo tracksuit with white stripes down the arms:

    1. He gives a nice loud smack on the head to a fellow inmate (your classic adolesent greasy dark and hairy Sephardi kid) for getting a sum wrong. He then stops in his tracks, swivels round and then feeling his hand says in front of the whole class,

    “what shampoo do you use, son?”

    “Come and see my later, I’ve got a good shampoo for you”

    2. Chichious standing at the entrace to his classroom before his lesson smacking each inmate on the head as they walk in barking in his greek accent,

    “why late” – not as a question, but as a statement.

    3.Can you remember his instructions for the the route of the cross country run?

    “Round the girls school”

    “Through the allotments”

    4. Just before he left the school to return to Cyprus

    “Dont worry Mencer, tomorrow you gonna be here in the rain, i’m gonna be on the beach with the naked women”

    5. if he caught you chewing gum in class

    “Speak to the bin son!”

    6.If he caught you talking in class

    “Mencer and Corney join me for lunch, no problem” as he wrote our names in his book

    7. When he forgot his papers in his office in the gym at the start of a maths lesson, he would scan the class and ask…

    “who is a barnet runner?”

    and when a fat kid would raise his hand

    “don’t be funny son!”

    8. Lamenting hasmo’s high regard for sports, Chichious would muse the lowly budget he was allocated for the gym at the end of each years school spending round,

    “Thats pathetic, they gave me £10. I can buy two footballs with that!”

    9. General Chichious wisdom that has stayed with me;


    “whats the matter with you?!”

    “You got diariah of the mouth?”

    “I spoke to Chashem….”

    “Corney and Rosenfeld, couple of comedians”

    “use the lay-up shot”

    “Don’t worry if you don’t get the O’level. You can go to the bank manager and say ‘I don’t have an O’Level, but I’m able to add and subtract, please give me a job.”

    and 10. my fav

    Chich teaching the high jump in the gym, and the arched back moves needed for the famous ‘fosbury flop’. We would always beg him show us how he would do it just to get him to scream;

    “I can’t do that, i’ve got a bad back!”

  12. Daniel Greenspan

    Chich took exception to his beloved gymnasium doubling as dining hall when the main hall was out of action during ‘renovations’ (the concertina doors).

    The serving tables, of course, provided a vital resting place for many the 30 boys (out of 90) who were waiting to show him their sick notes.

    This lead to a Chich line that my little brother, then in primary school, found funny enough to repeat over and over again for months. Maybe that’s why he went to City…

    “You wap your smelly booms on the table! Pooh unhagenic!”

  13. Well, this is one page where my name will appear far less frequently never being known for my sporting prowess. I have few and unexciting memories of sport like sports day when Mr. Taylor announced over the loud speaker in Copthall Stadium that I should stop dazzling Mr. Meyers with my little mirror or the time when there were not enough balls to practice headering with, so Chisios told one pupil to practice in the meantime by knocking his head against a wall, and he did.
    In answer to El Fegenbaum’s question regarding Chisios’s qualifications, I do remember that he finished a degree on the Open University and that he hit me for quipping about that fact. I forget the quip.
    Hasmonean always had great football teams, we invariably lost 10-0 to other schools, I always assumed that there must be something in Christian law forbidding scoring the 11th goal, however, there was apparently nothing about kicking the s**t out of Jews as our team occasionally returned after having being beaten by the opposing team in both senses of the word.
    Our revenge was our annual game against Chabad, who we usually beat 10-0 but to the best of my knowledge, in these cases no violence ensued.
    I may be corrected on any of these statements as I was a truly terrible player, spent most games afternoons bunking off and thus can relate only what I heard.
    Finally, the unforgettable day that we had “forgotten” our gear but were sent to run the cross-country course, anyway. A small group of fully dresses lads, walked as far as the Pakistani grocers at the bottom of Holders Hill Road, where we treated ourselves to Mars bars (about 5p each if I recall). Then coming out and continuing our “run” we saw a taxi and the temptation was too great. Our vehicle overtook all the David Josephs and other athlete who usually one top places and after getting out 100 yards before the end and sprinting the end bit victory was ours. We even gave the usually undistinguished athletically Moshe Robinson the privilege of setting a new Hasmonean record. Mr.Paley was rightly flabbergasted at our extraordinary feat and I have it on good authority that the record remains unbroken until today.

  14. Shimon Soester-Soreq

    “The Defamation of Cyprus” (repeated at Mike’s request) .
    Chich was our form master he had in his room posters of Cyprus , one with he caption “The god of beauty was born here ” . Someone (את חטאי אני מזכיר היום) put a dotted line in the middle of the map , and wrote “Turkish Cyprus” next to the caption , and “Greek Cyprus ” on the other side – together with an arrow and “Mr Chichious was born here”. Mr C did burst in to tears and told us about the vinyards stolen from the family by the Turks “Dey took everyting”. I was appointed as the deputy investigator , due to the fact I had raised 15 quid for the multigym in the second year and was in his good books.
    This all proved that “You finka you tough – you no tough , I tough and I am go to smash you” wasn’t all that true.

  15. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    I was in my first PE lesson in Hasmo circa 1971 and Chichios stood before us clutching a basketball.
    All the pupils sat shivering uncomfortably on the low long wooden benches that can be found in most prehistoric unheated Gyms.
    I pulled my PE shorts tightly round my thighs conscious of the fact that from our seated position any self respecting mohel standing in front of us would have been able to perform an ID parade on our Brit Millahs.
    Yes – We were checked for pants or as Chichios would say “No panz” as he snapped back the elastic of your shorts.
    By the way there was nothing quite like playing football in PE lessons during the winter in the wet and having a soccer ball hit you square in the groin.
    The 2 millimeters of cotton surprisingly never managed to stop the hard, cold, fast moving projectile and the resulting wet smack on impact still makes me shudder.
    Those few seconds of shock before you doubled over in pain with tears in your eyes were an eternity.
    Not that wearing underpants would have made that much difference to the level of discomfort but for some reason the volleyed-ball-to-groin incidents always seemed to happen in PE.

    Anyhow, back to the basketball.
    He turned and jogged toward the hoop announcing, ”You put the ball…….” throwing the ball into the air, “………in the basket”.
    The fact that the ball recoiled from the rim of the hoop did not seem to faze him too much since he now could take out his lack of success on us.
    He spotted the perfect candidate in Benjy Dorman.
    Benjy was not the biggest of boys in his formative years and Chichios obviously was out to ridicule him.
    He threw the ball to Benjy who seemed to sag under the weight of the ball, it looked huge in his hands.
    Benjy gallantly turned and ran at the hoop, hefting the enormous ball with all his might as Chichios stood by confident that there was no way he would make the basket.

    The ball looped a full 6 inches into the air before it started on its downward trajectory.
    Chichios stood smirking and we all watched as the ball continued to bounce at about knee height toward the side of the Gym.
    To everyone’s immense pleasure (apart from Chichios) the ball hit the wall of the Gym and rebounded perfectly into a wastepaper basket in the corner.
    Poetic justice had just scored 2 points!

  16. Yitzchak Landau

    The first Chich phrase I can remember was, in trying to persuade us of the importance of the cross country run – “if you can’t run, you can’t play football”. Also some twoddle about the goalkeeper having to be fitter and do more running than anyone else in the team (or “squad” as pointed out by another contributor).

    I could never work out why the obsession with volleyball of all sports – in my time addled mind we seem to have had to practise our “digs” and whatever the other thing was called, every PE lesson for about 3 years, interspersed with another obsession – the high jump.

    Daniel Marks – your story would have been truly complete if your taxi was being driven by Mr Hackett!

  17. graham summers

    Chich couldn’t have been totally crazy…after all ( as already mentioned by tony w), he loved Noam Gottessman who is now some zillionaire hedge fund owner.

    He had an older brother called Assaf and they were the only ones in the school to pass all 4 of the BAGA awards.

    I managed a forward roll and that was it.

    If you’re reading this, Mr Gottesman, sir, wouldn’t mind a job pls….property market a bit slow right now….sir…

  18. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    I agree that for the most part there was a general lack of enthusiasm for PE lessons but that could be said about any lessons that we attended at that school.
    In my era you only had to look outside in the playground at lunchtime to see 4 separate football games and at least 2 cricket matches running concurrently in that relatively cramped space.
    People like Eric Dangoor and myself would go running to get ourselves fit during the lunch breaks to support our respective sports of Karate and Judo.
    Marc Pollock (Polly) and Phil Green were more than decent footballers not to mention Malcolm Myers, Brian Cohen and many others.
    The point I am making is we enjoyed our chosen sports in spite of Hasmonean’s lack of support.

    On another note I may be wrong but wasn’t it Ellis F. who claimed he could not do PE since he had an elongated coccyx – on in layman’s terms – he was growing a tail?

  19. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    Talking about hard sports – who remembers Murderball in the school hall or the massive bundles we used to have with Aaron Najad at the bottom of the pile?

  20. Ellis Feigenbaum

    That jonny my friend is one of the few aillmemts i reported as suffering that actually had an element of truth.
    Not that it ever stopped me from playing football for maccabi and the youth service team, tennis in the park with Nick or any other physical excersise you care to mention ( we know which one Marks will mention )however what i actually have is an extremely rare and mild form of spinabifida.

  21. Lawrence Hajioff

    Great job Mike! My wife and kids think I have gone crazy with my periodical bouts of bent over laughter!!

    Chich was a true character, and Hacket his side kick, was a fairly decent guy, even with bin liner clothing and all…

    What gets me were those foul changing rooms…they had that foul musty smell for all the years i was there. Thinking about it now…did they even have anyone cleaning the premises?

  22. Lawrence Hajioff

    Oh and David Mencer…classic job…

    But wasn’t it hard being one of the younger Mencer brothers…you had a lot to live up to….

  23. Someone asked about Chichios’ qualifications. I vaguely remember him telling us that he’d studied Classical and Modern Greek though to what level I couldn’t say. These were obviously a pre-requisite for being a gym teacher at a Jewish boys school.

    Despite the fact that I’ve been quite scathing about some of my former teachers over the past week, the past is the past and I bear no ill will to any of them – that is, of course, with the exception of the greasy, vindictive jobsworth being discussed here. I can’t understand how some of you remember him as a loveable rogue, in the same vein as Cyril, for example. To my mind, the guy was a see-you-next-tuesday of the highest order and whoever it was that added the yimach-shemo suffix to his name was spot on. I’d have dearly loved to have seen him dig his own hole in the Yoel Khan story, or witnessed the self-proclaimed hard man reduced to tears on account of someone defiling his treasured map.

    The story of the cross-country runners hailing a cab has reminded me of something else. Many years ago I took delivery of a brand new London Taxi and was horrified to discover that the latter half of the number plate read AGC. Talk about twisting the knife…


  25. I remember one Barnet run being surrounded by a bunch of menacing teenagers form all the non-Jewish schools in the area who were obviously neo-nazis!!! Knees a’ tremblin’ waiting for the starting gun I stood in the front line with some 2-3 other Hasmo boys lined up behind me. Unlike boys from proper schools who bought spikes to run in, we Hasmo boys used the trainers we’d been running in for years or worse still our regular black school shoes….from Brians!! It had been raining heavily and the grass was damp. As soon as the gun was fired I tried with all my strength to sprint to front to show those neo-Nazis that the Jews were back and this would be my way of showing Hitler that we had survived (DJ’s approach was to have 12 kids – a different approach). As a result my feet slipped on the wet grass falling flat on my face followed by 2-3 Hasmo boys. Arms and legs flailing in all directions unable to move due to weight of these boys on top of me, I watched as dozens of neo-Nazis sprinted past leaving us with no chance of catching up. Chich just stood there, mouth open in disbelief until eventually he mustered up the energy to shout “Get up and run you stupid spastics!!!” .

  26. Jonny Horovitz

    My favourite Chich story actually took place at the Staff vs School cricket match – rember those. Anyway, on a suprisingly sunny day, we had all been taken to watch this pathetic spectacle. It happenned to be the last day of an Ashes tset match in the famous summer of 1981 (Willis was in the middle of his unforgettable 8-43) so we were all sitting around the radio and not watching the teachers getting hammered by the 6th formers.
    Chich was going in No.3 – he spent at least ten minutes choosing a bat, weighing them all up for size and shape. He them nonchanantly marched onto the pitch only to be bowled out first ball! I recall him coming back, chucking down the bat and gloves and muttering “cricket’s not my game”. What was his game?

  27. Simon Lawrence

    Chichios used to live in Dollis Hill – the other side of Gladstone Park to where I lived in Neasden.

    He’d occasionally give me a lift to his house and I saw a different side to him.

    I think he felt completely trapped by his circumstances (referred to in the posts above) and was actually a decent enough bloke really.

    Imagine trying to be a PE teacher in a school full of us lot, an indifferent (at best) and obstructive (at worst) faculty and denied anything remotely approaching an adequate budget.

    One of very few of whom I have fond memories.

  28. My Chich story was also Maths related.

    It was the 3rd year, and I had already started the school tradition of private lessons for maths (how else was I going to maintain the school’s high results).

    I had done with my private tutor something, and when Chich taught it to us 3 weeks later, he left out the most important aspect of the thing (please note – I went to Hasmo – so my education is lacking)

    I pointed out his error to him, and for the rest of the yesr he kept asking me if he had got it right when he was attempting to teach.

    Dave M – you beat me to the bad back for fosbury flop story!

  29. Dovi "The Dove" Weinbaum

    One side to Chich that few ever saw: when we joined in the 1st year we had 1 kid in the class, who’d be described nowadays as having severe learning difficulties. Less ambiguous terms were used in the early 1980s.

    During a double games session for the whole first year – all 90 boys – Chich took it upon himself to send that kid on a fictitious mission to the school office. While he was safely out of earshot, Chich sat us all down and lectured us, imploring us to understand the boy’s limitations, and not to mock him. “Doo noh call him spasteek, doo noh call him mongawh…..”

    It was a touching gesture, which he was under no oligation to make, and stood to gain nothing overt from career-wise. Ultimately futile and pointless, in the grand Hasmo scheme of things, but it does reveal something more than the anti-semitic and indisputably talentless thug, that most of us think we knew.

  30. Being a North Hendon Adass boy (who would have thought?) I was intimately familiar with the gym as it was the setting for an excellent weekly game of five a side football between mincha and ma’ariv on Shabbat afternoon. This was played by all the NHA youth (ages 11-25?) while Rabbi Sid Cooper was giving a shiur in the shul. I’m not sure how we got into the gym but I seem to recall that it involved some sort of arrangement with Mr. Thompkins. On the odd occasion that we didn’t have a football, the senior member of the group whose name escapes me (could it have been Gerald something?) would approach Chich’s office door, hit it very hard in exactly the right place near the lock causing it to swing open providing access to a football. All this pre-amble leads me to my brush with death.
    One day in the spring as the whole year (minus the “spasteeks”) was about to schlep to Copthall I told Chich that unfortunately a bad attack of hay fever was going to prevent me joining him there. As soon as he left I set about organising a game of “one-touch” in the gym. I didn’t have a ball but of course I ew the magic trick with Chich’s door. I couldn’t pack quite the punch of the Shabbat guy so I took a run up, jumped and channelled all my body weight through my shoulder onto the “exact spot”. A sickening, splintering sound was immediately heard followed by the door torn of fits hinges landing head up on Chich’s desk with me on top. I quickly regain my senses and turn around where to my horror, I see an incredulous Chich staring at me with a look I can only describe as terrifying. My survival instincts (and Hasmo training) immediately kicked in and wearing a wounded, bashful look I proceeded to tell Chich that I had been so dismayed at my inability to go to Copthall that I had taken it upon mysef to run laps of the gym to maintain my fitness. Unfortunately, the fact that I was wearing leather-soled dress shoes had caused my best intentions to become unhinged (along with his door) as I had lost my footing right outside his office. I think that he was so stunned by the devestation to his inner sanctun that the only thing he could utter was that I should fetch Mr. Thompkins to repair the damage!
    One lucky escape!

  31. pauly herszaft

    getting out of the cross country runs was easy , when we found out it was partly through a cemetry about 80% of the class proceeded to tell him that they were” COHENS ” ………. when playing basketball his favourite saying was ” DON SLAP THE BALL ” this was always our Q to slap it as hard as possible just to wind him up even more ………..he also used to go on and on about passing BAGA 4 so again just to wind him up we would call it” BUGGER 4 AND BUGGER ME ” .The man was a raving lunatic but definitly entertaining.

  32. Captain Kovler

    ‘you wearing wa socks?’

  33. I remember when the Multigym arrived at school courtesy of Mr. Joughin and some Sixth Former (I believe that it was one, Martin Goldberg courtesy of this blog) who were sponsored to run the London Marathon.

    In our first gym class after its arrival, we were lined up in front of the Multigym as if it were the Ark of the Covenant. Chichios began to lay down the rules for using the only brand new piece of equipment in the entire school. (This pre-dates Flop’s computers!) The one instruction that seemed to really matter and which I remember to this day, was not to slam the weights or as Chich put it; “Don’t Slam Thah Weyss”! Anyone caught slamming the weights was threatened with nothing less than Physical violence. Reluctantly, Chichios permitted a few of us to approach the revered Multigym, showing us how to use the different bits, taking care that none of the weights were slammed. Having been observed for a short period of time gingerly pushing weights up and down, Chichios grudgingly left us alone whilst taking some phone calls in his office. With Chich out of sight, a bundle ensued to get on the Multigym and like a group of Gibraltarian Baboons commandeering a tourist car we yanked, pulled and twisted the Multigym as hard as we could ensuring that all weights were slammed very hard. Within seconds of hearing the sound of crashing metal Chich was out of his office like a madman screaming; “Don slamm thah weyys!! Whos Slamming Thah Weyys?!! … Get off thah Multigym you spastics!!

    Does anyone know whatever happened to Chichios? What on earth could he be doing in Cyprus other than check people for ‘wassocks’, or if they are perhaps wearing a ‘josstrap’. Maybe we should organise a delegation of ex-Hasmo boys living in Israel to rent a white minibus go and visit him in Cyprus. I’m sure he’d be touched to see us again.

  34. Yitzchak Landau

    Josh – the teachers / pupils cricket match was mentioned above; if I remember correctly, you were once banned from the pupils side due to your bowling being too quick and therefore dangerous! Was this true?

  35. Richard Simmonds


    Can you please give us plenty of notice when it comes to Flop? I think I’ll need to take a week off work in preparation…

  36. Steve Graniewitz

    Am I imagining things or was there some sort of apparatus on the multi-gym that attached to your head with brown leather straps that looked like something out of the Spanish inquisition?

  37. Dunlop Green Flash

  38. one sunday morning( I think that this was yeshiva stram time?) we decided to bunk of Gerry Gerber’s shiur to play five a side footy in the gym . we got into the gym somehow, and after about half an hour we get caught and all of us were sent up to Rabbi Roberg’s office. The Rabbi Roberg proceeded to call each of the parents of the boys involved and threaten them that their son had been caught “breaking and entering” and that we face possible prosecution. I can tell you my Dad and I couldn;t stop laughing over this for years

  39. Not a story about Chich directly, but Walters – that deranged, screeching, lanky commie, rejected by Brezhnev’s USSR, Mr Alan Walters !! – served alongside Joe Paley OBM for a time, as Chich’s PE sidekick.

    Does anyone recall the time when, for no reason at all, he locked the whole 3rd form into the foul-smelling changing rooms, sweltering hot in mid-summer, for the best part of an hour…..and sloped off to the staffroom for a drink and a biscuit.

    Roberg’s phonelines were jammed with protest calls from parents for a week, and still Crazy Al stayed on the payroll. Did they EVER sack ANYONE??

  40. Steve Graniewitz – I think you are getting the Multigym confused with your tephillin.

    I liked Chichios. I didnt think he was anti semitic, he just hated frummers.
    He didnt mind me, probably because i went to football on Shabbos and could talk to him about going to football. I always remember him telling me that we wont be playing football against other schools unless all the boys agreed to play without wearing a kippah. Sadly we couldnt muster a non kippah wearing eleven.
    He was right though, nothing will ever beat the ridiculous spectacle of Naty Nathan leading a inter school cross country run, only for his kippah to blow off, and he ran back to get it, and cost the school victory. Chichios was devastated.
    After Chichios left, he was replaced by Phil Loman , a top bloke who was Barnet FC’s physio. He tried hard to create a sporting atmosphere and used to put up posters that had Barnet FC’s forthcoming fixtures, which were naturally removed as the fixtures were played on Shabbos.
    Sport and Hasmo was just never going to take off.

  41. I never warmed to the man, probably because I dind’t have much interest in his subject and prided myself on being the only student in the class to not understand that “cross country” involved something faster than walking through the allotments.

    Thinking about it, I really enjoyed my little stroll, so maybe Chich wasn’t so bad after all. He did used to appear every now and again like a bad dream but then disappear after I’d speeded up my pace a little.

    I also can’t understand the educational value in getting a bunch of kids to watch him and Hackett showering together – or was that meant to be his contribution to our sex education?

    All I remember is the bizarre look on the boys’ faces as they peered over to see if he was “cut”.

  42. Anyone else remember Hackett telling people that Rabbi Roberg has bought him his brand new Bronze London cab as an xmas present?

    Clearly Roberg would have the cash if he dipped into the countless thousands raised over the years by successive generations of louts for his birthday cake.

    Anyone know what year Chich succumbed to the fashion of the day and grew his moustache? It seems conspicuously absent in the picture of all the teachers taken in 1979.

  43. The appearance of Chichios’ moustache coincided with him rising from the lowly post of menial gym teacher to become slightly less menial but still menial maths teacher and equally menial form master, the latter role being one the wanker took just a little bit too seriously . This occurred either in the autumn of 1984 or 85.

    I very much doubt Roberg bought Hackett’s cab even if it was only the Bronze version, as cabs have always been ridiculously expensive to buy and the school had previously had to have a raffle to raise funds for a minibus which would have been far less costly.

    Talking of minibuses, is there any truth in the story that Paley was once driving down HH road with a minibus full of boys and on approaching Kelly’s Corner, panicked and drove straight over the roundabout itself, that is the grass bit in the centre?

  44. Not so much a story but also sad story of chichios and Maths. No one would really believe that the school gym teacher was also doubling as the maths teacher.

    ” I am not Chashem” I cannae help you,

    you are spasteek, you go down to D group. (taught by Jack Ordman!!)

    I Salute David Mencer, Tears of laughter, with my wife trying to understand just what the heck is so funny….

    Let’s wait for the Flop stories they’re even better…

  45. Talk of “sweet shops” reminds me of the one on the Great North Way, over the bridge from the entrance to Copthall. We would all attempt to pile in there on the dreary walk back from Games, engaging in a tug of war with the door with the Asian shopkeeper, who used to attempt to keep it only slightly ajar, shouting “Two at a time! Two at a time!!”

    Which begs the tangential question . . . why were Asian shopkeepers in the UK always so ridiculous?! Whenever England was beating Pakistan in the cricket, a friend would torment the one in the shop next to the bus stop opposite Princes Park Avenue, on Golders Green Road, with something to the effect of “We are beating you!” Suddenly offended by the fact that he was being told this by a Jewish kid, he would scream back (in that hilarious It Ain’t Half Hot Mum accent): “Whoo’s ‘we’?! Whooo’s ‘WE’?!!”

    Josh, the idea of tracking down Chich in Cyprus is positively inspired! Shades of The Boys from Brazil . . . perhaps we could even try to obtain funding from the Simon Wiesenthal Center! 😉


    PS Whoever brought up the subject of Josh’s bowling . . . whilst I was no Viv Richards (more like Wendy!), having netted with Josh on Hampstead Heath Extension, I can confirm that the lad could bowl . . . perhaps the most wasted sporting talent since Gazza!

  46. Neil Greenbaum

    Terry M – I don’t know about Paley driving the white minibus over the roundabout. What is certainly true is that the school fundraised for a new red minibus (I think in 1989). On the very first day that this shiny new vehicle arrived Paley backed it into a wall in the front playground. Needless to say that they school management (if you could call it that) were not very impressed.

  47. Daniel Greenspan

    I do remember Paley bringing us back from Copthall (white minibus), and slightly overshooting the turning into the school gates.

    He stopped mid-turn, and reversed back and tried again… and again… and again… it seemed to take forever for him to realize that he also had to turn the steering wheel during this maneuver, if he wanted to actually make it through the gate.

    I can also recall Chichos driving the minibus within Copthall, and turning round to yell at us, oblivious to the need to keep one eye on the road when doing so, and veering off onto the grass.

  48. Jeremy 'Lun' Landau

    Martin Hackett was one of my favourite teachers, who taught me cockney rhyming slang and football jargon. Which was quite useful when I became a football scout many years later. He was bow legged and a taxi driver. His nickname for me was “Little Willie”, not for the reason you may think and nothing to do with Willie Stanton !! He named me after the then Arsenal central defender, Willie Young, because I was always wearing my Arsenal top and would head the ball. If you check the official website of Hayes Football Club, via Features and Players A-Z, you will see a photograph of him and his football career profile. He was manager of the club the season after, the other Cyril, the former England international, Cyrille Regis, left the club.

    Whilst at Hasmo, I vaguely recall another of my favourites, Mr Joughin, playing in the 1st round of the FA Cup as captain of Wembley. I showed him his name in the magazine, Match Weekly, and he was grinning like a Cheshire cat.

  49. Jeremy Cardash

    First ever gym lesson must have been the same for countless previous and successive generations, Chich drops his tracky bottoms points to his jock strap and says ” when your a big man you wear one of these as well.” Well I am and I’m not.

  50. I often wondered whether the Rabinical elite knew that they had a prophet in the sports department – every games lesson in my first year Chichios would say (in his Greek accent) “I spoke to CHashem today and he told me you gonna go on a run!!”

    Chich always reminded us to use the showers and wash properly – “You smelly boys!”. I only ever recalling the non-Jewish staff using the door less freezing cold showers, particularly, Mr Joughin and Mr Hackett (the taxi driving football scout) after their lunch time runs! We only used them as substitute urinals.

    During the summer exam season of 1989 or 1991 I remember Rebetzen Kramer coming through the changing rooms to invigilate the afternoon exams as the only way into the Gym was via the changing rooms – to her surprise Mr Hackett was standing there in all his glory having just stepped out of the shower and with a cheeky smile said “Afternoon, Mrs Kramer”. Not knowing where to put her eyes Mrs Kramer high tailed it out of the changing rooms.

  51. “Whenever England was beating Pakistan in the cricket, a friend would torment the one in the shop next to the bus stop opposite Princes Park Avenue, on Golders Green Road, with something to the effect of “We are beating you!” Suddenly offended by the fact that he was being told this by a Jewish kid, he would scream back (in that hilarious It Ain’t Half Hot Mum accent): “Whoo’s ‘we’?! Whooo’s ‘WE’?!!””

    In fairness, that could have been because the shopkeeper was, in fact, Indian.

  52. Okay, Allan, so “England was beating India in the cricket” . . . the point was more about the Jewish kid making out that England represented him, but not the shopkeeper (reminding me of the later “Tebbit test”).

  53. And I thought journalists never admitted errors? Or if they do, they bury a correction in 4pt type on page 76.

    What is really odd is just how many ex-Hasmos seem to have wound up living in Israel, if Hasmo was as institutionally anti-Zionist as some commenters here suggest.

    Or is it just the typical bloody mindedness of Hasmo boys to do the opposite of what the teachers expected of them?

  54. I lived on Great North Way on the cross country route, so a few of us would sprint ahead till we were out of sight, nip into the house for a nice cup of tea and digestives, put our feet up, and watch the rest of the year traipse on by.

    Thirty minutes later, feeling nicely refreshed, we would spot the red-faced rabble through the window on their return, drenched in sweat, most of them walking, approaching in the distance looking completely knackered. We would quickly amble out and sprint our way back to Hasmo, fresh as daisies, finishing in first place to Chichios’s astonishment !

    This continued for many months till some jealous anonymous little b*****d (if it was you, you’re forgiven) grassed us up to Chichios.

    He was furious, and I’ll never forget his charming comment, “Nexweek ya run with the hottea, and it will drip on your skin and burn you all, you spasteeks !”

  55. moshe shatzkes

    I do recall the amazingly pathetic spectacle that was the annual sports day at copthall, mentioned by mike above. A few memories stick in my mind. Non particularly funny but just a gentle jog down memory lane.

    The 1st and worst was josh haruni doing the javelin (as I recall he was throwing only against himself and trying to beat the record he set the previous year again against himself) and his knee cap just popping out, the screams of agony and as I remember steve posen being really helpful and actually knowing what to do whilst chich just stood around panicking.

    Most boys just bunked sports day, so in a school of 650 only the 100 or so who participated actually showed up at all.

    Mitch Taylor OBM was the “stadium announcer” and coughed and spluttered his way through the commentary he would do during the races.

    Being quite tall, by sheer fluke I was able to do the “fosbury flop” and as the only boy in my year who entered the high jump merely tried to beat last years height. Chich of course used this to his advantage and always got me to demonstrate the high jump to every group of 1st years he tried to “teach” another sport other than football to.

    It got to the stage by our 2nd year when 80 boys would go home for the whole afternoon during triple games and the same 10 of us would play football for 3 hours, no one said a thing about it. Amazing.

    In our year there were 3 or 4 good cross country runner, Bradley Speiglstein, Jonny Feigenbaum, Eli Glauziusz and one or 2 others, most boys would walk round, but others (yours truly) would wait for the lead runner to sprint past towards the end of the route and just jog in after them. However the cross country “Barneh” as chich would call it would separate the real yoks from even the most talented hasmo runners. There would be 80 runners from all the local schools and the 3 hasmo entrants would come 78, 79 and 80th without fail.

    I was a bit of a sprinter and chich would enter us in the “Barneh” meetings where we would come 7th and 8th in every sprint. As mentioned above we had no spikes or any proper training. As I remember josh haruni, had spikes and could really run. I also remember neil nachson being quick as was danny bazini.

    Even though our year had some excellent players, we never played a single game against another school. We did however play the teachers in our 6th form in which I had the great honour of breaking Alan Walters toe.

  56. graham summers

    Anthony Wagerman and I represented Hasmo in the 110 m hurdles at various inter school Barnet competitions in the 4th and 5th year.

    Is there an equivalent of ‘being lapped’ in a 110m event ?…if so, we were…regularly.

  57. Asian shopkeepers apart, how you doing, Allan?

    Still a big cricket nut? Still bowling your straight balls . . . cunningly disguised as straight balls?! 😉

    Watching the current series? I reckon we’ll lose the next one . . . and badly!

    Regards (and to Moishe),


  58. Hi,

    You’ve seem to have started something of a sensation, I hope you’re considering a book.

    Yes, still following cricket religiously, was gripped by the last test; all that’s good about test cricket (the semi colon is for Mr Soester).

    I’m even still playing a bit. By the way, your memory lets you down again. I never had any difficulty turning the ball, it was pitching it that was the problem.

    There was a distinct subset of Hasmo boys who were cricket nuts, you were definitely the flag bearer for your year, (was Danny Lange one too?), in mine there was myself, the late Steven Davis, and Mike Glassman, who I believe is now a respected Rabbi in the Hager’s kolel.

    Enjoy the rest of the cricket, I’m not as pessimistic about England’s chances as you are.


  59. Allan,

    Yes, it was a fantastic Test to be at. And I got some nice piccies (if a bit dark) with a few West Indies players in the aftermath (the legend Chanderpaul – most underrated and understated player of all time? – even got off the coach for me!)

    Re your bowling, yes I remember, but didn’t want to be unkind! Though my batting was not much better . . . and far less entertaining! And I had the ignominy of captaining the boys’ cricket team in its first ever loss (or so I was told) to the teachers!

    What happened to Steve (“Dilley”, right?) Davis? I remember him well. And Mike Glassman, yes! A lovely guy . . . but used to get very worked up about his cricket! I vividly recall those games outside the dinner hall (between the two small porches), when you could only play leg side shots . . . because there was a wall on the off side!

    I know it not strictly a Hasmo story, but I would love it if someone posted the funniest story ever – though I understand you didn’t see it that way, at the time! – about the Shirehall Cricket Club scorebook on the trip to Cardiff. Cue Arye Goldberg . . .


  60. The route of the cross country run that Chich had mapped out took us close to or sometimes erroneously through the cemetary on Holders Hill Road before heading towards the girl’s school.

    However being of priestly Cohanic stock there was no way we were going to risk our future jobs in the 3rd beit hamikdash (bimhera beyamanu) by contracting ‘tumas meis’ (please excuse the cringeworthy ashkenasi pronounciation) imparted to us by the graveyard and its infectious overhanging trees. Chashem would never approve…

    Our slightly modified Cohen friendly route took us down Holders Hill Road and fortuitously straight to the 221 bus stop while the rest of the boys ran themselves into a stupor for the next couple of hours.

  61. Dilly fell ill in the sixth form, and he spent much of it in hospital. I remember a few of us walking to the Middlesex Hospital one shabbos to visit him, and watching the Eurovision Song Contest in his room (The Swedish entry Diggy Loo Diggy Ley won, as you all doubtless recall).

    He recovered enough to go to university and then pass his accountancy exams, but very sadly passed away a while after that. He was a lovely bloke, I still miss him.

  62. Mike – here it is so you can share it with the B.Army. It’s right up there with the Tiger Moth and Fredalo scandals.

    Huge fixture, Stuart Neils Cup 1st Round, July 1992. The mighty Shirehall on their first and only overseas tour….. vs Cardiff Maccabi. Luxury transport arranged by Zvi Goldberg –dodgy white mini-van (Chich would have been proud). The aforementioned Aryeh “Ahj” Goldberg declined the offer to travel with the proles, in favour of Andy Hillel’s 7-series, who had kindly offered to take the team kit-bag.

    At the M4 Service-station stop-off for a leak and mars bar, we met up with Hillel and Ahj, who mentioned in passing to Allan Engel (skipper and Bearders…the latter a reference to the hours of dedication in ensuring that the scorebooks and records were meticulously maintained), that he had had a bit of a mishap with the scorebook. Ahj recounted how, with the sun-roof open, he had momentarily slightly loosened his grip, only for a freak gust of wind to wrench it from his grasp, and suck it out of the sun-roof, to the mercy of the oncoming M4 traffic.

    Allan of course, thought this was a 100% leg-pull; it was too preposterous. Surely nobody could have dared treat Allan’s beloved scorebook with such wanton negligence. But alas finally the penny dropped – yes it was true. The unofficial but more educated version of how this terrible mishap happened is understood to have involved a spliff, a box of matches and a lack of a third hand.

    But as in life there is always a silver lining…we won the game by 3 wickets. Probably just as well for Ahj, who had to travel back with the lads in the van; Allan Engel’s resisting the temptation to dismember Ahj was very much due to the high spirits on the victorious journey back to London, that was not even a 2-hour breakdown on the M4 (Zvi Goldberg forgot that small detail about motor vehicles needing petrol) could dampen. Ah the memories…..

    Just a quick indulgence…Allan – all the best to you, Mo, and if you are in touch, send the same to….Tosh, Lewie, Zvi, Ahj, David, Katch, Garbacz & Phil. I think everyone else is here in Israel….happy/barmy days.

  63. To gently nudge the topic back to sports at Hasmo, (while at the same time confirming my reputation as statistician par excellence) I have in my possession the scorecard of the Staff vs School cricket match played on the 23rd July 1980, at Copthall.

    The school team comprised: Kramer, Freedman, Nissen, Perez Weisz, Gilbert, Bazini, Schwartz, Gubbay, Besser, Granville, Czarny.

    The staff: Mr Hackett, Rabbi Schmahl, Rabbi Kahan, Mr Joughin, Rabbi Roberg, Messrs Lawrence, Tarrant, Paley, Soester, Taylor and Bokor.

    Scores –
    School 143-6 off 15 overs (Perez Weisz 32*, Freedman 29, Joughin 2-34, Paley 1-1)

    Staff 47 all out in 12.1 overs (Hackett 18, Rabbi Roberg 8, Gilbert 5-13)

  64. Not too much talent on display, although I seem to recall R.Roberg being a decent left-arm quickie.

    The following year 1981 was famous for the most vociferous and vocal support from the boundary edge. Every wicket was greeted by thunderous cheering. It soon became apparent to those playing that 99% of the boys had ears glued to radios listening to Bob Willis’ 8-38 at Headingly and had no interest whatsoever as to whether Jonny Bokor could tickle a single down to fine leg’

  65. Maybe what Chich was really pissed off about was the fact that no-one ever called him by his correct surname – Chisios.

    I use to enjoy Sports Day, usually because I was the runner for Mitch, bringing the scores from the track and field to his commentary box.

    When we took our O Levels at the end of the fifth year, we finished the term a while before the rest of the school, and certainly before Sports Day. A few of us hatched a plan where we would turn up at Copthall and demand that some events were put on for our year, the catch being that all of us were from Jordan, which would guarantee vast numbers of points for our House.

    I myself competed in at least six events, the last of which, the 800m, took me about half an hour to finish. In fact, when I passed the bell for the first time, they had time to stage about four 100m heats before I got back to the stadium side. All through this, I could hear exhortations of “Come On Engel” at regular intervals from the commentary box, Mitch was looking after his own. My recollection is that the points our year amassed made the difference in Jordan beating Hermon.

    I think Sports Day and the Choirs were when Mitch really stood out, and I made sure that I was always in the choir, not because of any great singing talent, but it was always a good excuse for missing lessons, whether true or not.

    Also, Mitch’s precariously placed polyester cappel never stood a chance of staying on his head while he was energetically conducting Ner L’Ragli or Haneiros Hallalu, and we would place bets on how long it would take for it to fall off.

  66. I remember running at inter-school Barnet events with Moishe Shatzkes! We would cycle down to Copthall, where we would meet Chichios. There he would register us, give us our numbers and spend the rest of the afternoon pretending that he hadn’t a clue who we were. In retrospect, his distance isn’t at all surprising given that our dismal results showed him up pretty badly in front of his colleagues.

    I used to sprint the 100m & 200m. When threatened with physical violence by Chichios, I would also run the 400m. On one occasion running the 400m, I seized up with cramp and had to stop. This delighted the spectators who started a collective chant of “Yiiiddoooo, Yiiiiiiiiiidddoooooo”. At that point Chichios bravely walked away from the track and turned his back on me to take the abuse alone. I don’t know about anybody else’s experience, but at the start of each Barnet race, I couldn’t help being surprised by how obviously much older and physically more developed the other runners were to the age group that they were meant to represent. Whether it was a race for under-14, 15 or 16’s, the boys from other schools were clearly two to three years older than any Hasmo ‘athlete’. We basically never stood a chance. And it didn’t help that we weren’t actually any good (Naturally, I speak for myself).

    It was clear that the school placed no value in physical education. Whether this stemmed from a belief that doing sports was ‘Bitul Toirah’ or whether there simply wasn’t enough money to invest in sports is, at this stage in my life, irrelevant. What it did do however, was create a comical tension between Mr. Chichios and the frummer pupils and Rabbis (as mentioned in earlier posts) that is totally unique to Hasmonean.

  67. Allan Engel – you’re not quite right that everyone pronounced the name “Chichios” rather than “Chisios”.

    Do you not recall the late, great Uncle Joe Paley, frequently threatening his class with

    “Right! Shullup I said…. Or I’ll sendjer ter Mister CHIZZ-YISS !!”

  68. ….and who recalls Chich’s unquestionable delight in the role of Gallant Defender of Vulnerable Female Teachers?

    On how many occasions, for example, did he manage to take precious time out from his busy PE schedule, to burst in on La Schneider’s chaotic French lessons, and threaten the rowdy rabble with all sorts of physical violence……while lapping up the almost pitiful gratitude of the simpering mistress out of the corner of his eye?

  69. Dan Gins,

    It’s funny – only yesterday I posted something on Hasmo Legends II about Chichios’ magically appearing at the exact moment a female teacher was having problems with her class. I’m sure said damsels would have been instantly lovestruck at the sight of a low-ranking member of staff bullying a bunch of defenceless adolescents.

  70. Jeremy Cardash

    Last years we had a competition to name my kids school in Buchman, Modi’in. Naturally as this was Modi’in, HQ of the Hasmo family, I voted to call the school Hasmonean. In fact I wasn’t the only one. At the end of the day they chose a different name. The principle of school told me that calling the school after the Hasmoneans, as religious and nationalist as they were, would probably instill in the boys a sense of the military side which might lead to all sorts of problems with the boys and be counterproductive. Makes you think. Still better the Hasmoneans than the Greeks (or Cypriots)

  71. Terry – nice to hear from you, I was in the year below you, used to chat with you and Laurence at the back of Hendon Adath countless moons ago!


  72. Howard Fertleman

    If you click onto Allan Engel’s link, click on photo album, click on file 2004-2005, go to the staff photos.
    Is that not Chichios sitting 4th from the white next to a woman in a red Jacket. Is that him.
    I do beleive that he is not wearing his white socks!

  73. It does look like him. I dare you to contact the school and find out!

  74. After talking with Michael Rose this evening at a bat mitzvah where many old Hasmo louts were present we remembered that we had a teacher who we called ‘Shoestring’ as he looked like Trevor Eve from the said TV programme. Does anyone remember his real name? Mike was awfully pissed off that he could not remember!!!

  75. If it helps I remember the school briefly employing a security guard circa 1980 who was nicknamed shoestring for exactly the same reason

  76. Shouldn’t Mr Ari Hepner, the bursar responsible for the school finances through the 1980s, have been called “Shoestring” for far more obvious reasons?

  77. It looks nothing like, and is not, Chichios!

  78. Jonny "Kiri" Kitsberg

    Dave Kovler, I am totally flabbergasted that Michael “sale of the century “ Rose forgot a bit of trivia – obviously the lad’s going senile.

    I remember some teacher called Mr. Forbes. We called BOD because of the TV cartoon character . Had some likeness the aforementioned Eddie Shoestring.

    I recall this bod chap threatening to send us to “The Rabbi” refer to Rabbi Roberg – needless to say he did not last very long.

  79. Jeremy Cardash

    Wasn’t Bod some scrawny South African or Ozzy teacher that cred a lot every time a chair was thrown at his head.

  80. If you go deeper into the site you will see that the gentleman’s full name is Andreas Chishios. ‘Andy’ was his name.

  81. Sale of the Century Rose says Shoestring was like a school policeman or something like Terry M has posted! Any one got a name?

  82. Agreed .Chichios hated ‘frummers’ and they in turn intentionally tried to drive him crazy. Before Chichios took us out of the borough’s league I remember playing in goal without my (broken) glasses. We lost but remarkably I think only one of the goals was due to me not being able to see anything. Gave Chich some credit though, in spring/summer 1982 we arranged a match against Carmel College and he drove us there on a Sunday afternoon. Some years had elapsed and by this time my glasses had been fixed. We won.
    Melchett Mike, you definitely manifest a certain ‘Zelig’ quality. Hopefully the irony was intended but in the paragraph following the one in which Chich is labelled ‘politically wrong’ you come down with the same disease :you manage to besmirch gay men, to a certain degree Greeks generally, and Afro-Caribbeans. For good measure later on you take a knock at Asians too. When you write about Sid I hope you don’t become him too. ‘You rotten bunch of hooligans’
    To be more precise, if Chichios came to the UK before the Turkish invasion in 1974 he came from Cyprus ,not Greek Cyprus. And Jonny Kitsberg, sale of the century should be written Sale of The Century.

  83. If you look carefully, Allan Engel’s link is to the list of the School Board of Management and not the Staff.

    What must he have written on his C.V to have ingratiated himself onto the board;
    ‘Jockstrap Controller for an Orthodox Jewish Institution’?

  84. Just remembering my own chich storys..one of the funniest which comes to mind was my very first cross country run 1981..i am sure most my fellow year will remember that on our first cross country which happened to be the “short run” (later banned due to over hanging trees and a graveyard) ..my old mate the invincible bradley speigelstein managed to get the whole year, well most of it lost on the golf course after a wrong right turn. This happened to be bradleys first and only loss in a cross country, a certain Shai Cohen a fellow N.H Adas boy was so far back that he didnt follow everyone else and by some miracle managed to jog home first.. I can remember running around the golf course for a good 20 minutes annoying countless members of Mill Hill golf club who must have wondered what this merry band of brightly coloured jewish school boys are doing . What i cant remember is how we ever found our way home. Chich of course had a few choice words to say when we did get back. Want to add that i managed to vomit up my first ever helping of mondays Viennas and mash along the way. By the way i went on to run in a few barnet runs and managed to come last 3 times in row b4 chich told me not to bother.

  85. Pleased to be of entertainment value gents. Whilst of course I admit nothing, there is a certain section of the M4 that is forever consecrated with the “ashes” of Shirehall All Stars.

    Now to Chichios.

    It was double sports, and a group of us, namely Avi Greenman, Josh Haruni, Danny Fluss and me, were proceeding at a leisurely pace towards Copthall. Suddenly a milkfloat sped past us at all of 8 mph, the driver leaned out, and while giving us the English equavalent of the finger, informed us that we were “f*cking yid c*nts”. Before I’d even thought about it, I had responded with a choice couple of words back at him. Unfortunately the milkfloat then pulled over and these 2 yoks get out and, full of menace, approach us.
    For some reason, Danny Fluss was looking at something across the street and hadn’t quite clocked what was happening. The lead yok walked straight up to him and punched him right in the eye. He then moved over to me. I stood there in front of him with my fists up, absolutely bricking it. “You want some ‘n all do ye?” he shouts, then for some reason they call it a day and clear off. (He must have seen the steel in my eyes. yeaahhhhs.)

    Anyway, we head back to school, report the incident, a big fuss is made, the police are called, and we end up in the room next to the headmasters office. It’s the 4 of us boys, Rabbi Roberg, Chichios, and the 2 cops. So we tell the cops what happened leaving out the bit about me shouting back at them. The cops write their report, and then ask “now this is important, did any of you say anything that might have provoked them in any way?” There’s an uncomfortable silence and eventually I admitted that I had responded to their original verbal assault. I sensed Rabbi Robergs’ discomfort as this new information came to light. The cop asked me what I’d said. I glanced over at the headmaster and replied vaguely that I’d told them to go away. The cop was not happy and he impatiently told me “look son, don’t be shy, I’ve heard it all before, now what EXACTLY did you say?” So I just blurted out “I told him to f*ck off!” Roberg was fuming at this perceived embarassment of the school or something, and stormed out the room, after which there were smiles all round, cops and all.

    For days after this incident, Chichios could be heard telling anyone who would listen “if Gowlber no say fack off, Fluss no ge hi in the oye”.

  86. “You are saffering from vehrbaw dyorhih OF THE MOUTH” !!!

  87. “Don’t be funny, son”

  88. You didna shenge into kih – you are ihvalid !!

  89. Woh is your excyoo why you didna shenge?

    You do noh have excyoo – DAT is da prob-lem!

  90. David Mencer, brilliant work . . . I reckon that is definitely “Joj”!

    Michael Rose, I have never professed to be “PC”. Far from it in fact (see About this Blog) . . . though don’t take my writing style too literally. And, as for my supposed Zeligness, I seem to recall seeing you in Bet Shemesh, recently, sporting a broad-rimmed, Belmondo-style black hat . . . what the bloody hell happened to you?!

  91. Sorry. Like a lot of people I went straight tot the Hasmo postings.Misunderstood. Thought your Chich remark was barbed.Didn’t realize that you identified with that aspect of him.
    Your Zelig counter-punch was misplaced as I’ve more or less always worn a hat (even with an earring);Most men in my neighborhood do not.
    Enough of this. Michael, thanks for the Hasmo postings!
    Back to the Hasmo legends.
    Alan Walters. He taught me in his first year at the school and regarding him at least I side with those who hold that not all teachers were either/ both incompetent or nuts when they joined the school. As far as I recall he was a Cambridge graduate ,and a PhD too I think,and at first took his job and disciplining the class seriously.
    He taught us Euopean history and my favourite walters story transpired during a class on the unification of Germany.As he described it this came about through the Prussian determination to bring together the kingdoms, princedoms, city-states and archbishoprics of the Germans;obviously the latter became Archbishop Pricks in the ears of his students and everyone ended up laughing over it including Walters.

  92. I can testify to the authenticity of the altercation between an employee of Express Dairy and Danny Fluss’s face, as recounted by “Stroller” Goldberg. It actually started with the milkman’s helper. The young lad had made reference to us in a quite vulgar manner that was both insulting to us and the Jewish nation as a whole. Needless to say, the majority of our group felt that we would allow these comments pass in order to avoid potential violence. What possessed Goldberg to shout ‘F*ck off’ back at the slow moving vehicle, whose occupants were plainly hostile is beyond me. Before you could say ‘run for it’ a very large tattooed & pierced, nasty Yok-filth Milkman pulled his milk float to the side of the road, got out and walked over to us. As Arye has mentioned, it didn’t take very long for the milkman to take an instant dislike to Fluss whom he punched in the eye.
    Where Goldberg fails to embellish is in the interview with the Police Constable outside Roberg’s office. In attendance with the Rabbi, was Mr. Hepner, Mrs Couhl/Cool/Kool? and Chich. Throughout the interview Goldberg was in fact totally silent. He merely nodded in agreement as I explained to the Copper as vaguely as I could, in as many different ways that I could and for as long as I could, that Arye had merely expressed a wish for the Milkman to leave us alone and stop bothering us. However the Policeman insisted on knowing exactly what was said;
    “You told him to leave you alone – those were your exact words were they?”
    Aryeh finally decided to overcome his initial shyness and made things very clear;
    “No. I told him to F*CK OFF”.
    What is memorable are the few seconds of profound silence as the words ‘F*ck Off’ began to register around the room. Of course, Roberg decided that he could take no more and left, Mrs Couhl went very pale and Hepner decided that it was time to go and sharpen his pencils. We were ultimately left to complete the statement with Chichios and the copper who were both trying to keep straight faces but who clearly saw the funny side.
    Naturally however, ‘If Gauwber he wou’no say Fack Off…’ eh Arj?

  93. Henry Conway

    First lesson with Chich in first year:

    “When you ruh you sweah, when you sweah you smeh, when you smeh you need shawah”. This was as introduction to the showers that noone other than Mr Hackitt or Norman Kahler ever used!!!

  94. george chishios on facebook is indeed my sun jorg!!!

  95. Dan Rickman

    just quick note to say thanks for the blog – brings back quite a few memories which I though were long suppressed – reading this is (in a minor and much less significant way – so forgive the comparison!) a bit of a Waltz with Bashir experience

    Englard was in my year (I was there 69-76) I had forgotten all about him wonder what he is up to

    I do remember the PE teacher (this was Mr Jurge?) chasing David Lixenburg round the gym kicking him on the backside whenever he was in reach …

    happy days – aaargh!!

  96. Also can confirm that Chichios did work until his retirement at the english school in Cyprus .. By the way George seems like a nice bloke.

  97. Grant Morgan

    ‘Don’t slap the volleyball’

    Now here is an interesting point. Were we the only boys in the land to have ever learned how to play this sport and do the ‘dig’. If so, why ?

    That said, Neil Rodol and I were in Sardinia a few years ago and beat the Czech national team ! Thanks Chich. you were evidently years ahead of your time.

    As an aside, my good mate Leigh Topol sold Chich’s house before he went back home to Cyprus. However, the transaction completed early and a none too pleased Chich (and family)spent his last few weeks in a mobile home !

  98. Alex Israel

    But do you recall when Chichios was obsessed for many weeks to find out who had kicked Myers (Gnu) “in the tessicles”? I never really thought about it before, but he did seem rather over-concerned with certain sensitive parts of the male anatomy.

    Mike. Keep up the fine work.

    I do think that we also need a post on the various places or hideaways in Hasmo that were “bootleg”. Beyond the cross-country strolls through the cemetary, there was smoking (cigarettes) down the alley, poker in the tuck shop under the stairs and, if I recall in the 2nd year, a certain interest in sex mags at the bike shed. And was it Paley who took people swinging on a rope over the river in the park?? Of course there must have been more that escapes my memory.

    (As for the escapes for the teachers, how can we forget Jack Ordman’s need to check the cricket scores in the middle of class?)

  99. Daniel Kelly

    I was honored to be in the minibus the day Joe Paley scraped it against the school gates.

    The gates were only partly open and Joe could not be bothered to get out and open them. He called to the back of the van to ask us if we thought he could drive through ok.

    I cannot quite remember what was said but it would have been something along the lines of “Of course you can”, “certainly”, “you can do it” and I am certain a chant of “King Joe” broke out.

    As the van scraped and wedged itself in to the side of the gates, and we cheered victoriously in the back, Joe Paley tried unsuccessfully to free the van by scraping it backwards and forwards.

    I seem to remember Chichios running over in horror to cries of “Ma miniboos!” from the riot errupting in the back of the van.

  100. Leigh Topol

    I have a confession to make. It was I who sold Chich’s house in Neasden in the early eighties.

    I was working as a school leaver at an estate agent, and had been sent round to value a house which had been sitting on the market for some time. Anyhow, as I sauntered up to the property, I noted through the glass fronted porch, a red tracksuit top with a white stripe down the arms hanging from a hook in the hallway. The door swung open at speed, and there was the great man. His first words ‘Topol… what are you doing here!!” – I honestly think he thought an errant pupil having left Hasmo had truly taken leave of his senses and stalked him to his safe haven in the heart of NW2. Anyhow, I ended up selling his property. And the great man to his credit was a pleasure to deal with, paid our fees on time, never once called our offices and asked the calltaker for ”that spastic Topol” or attempted to take a slipper to potential purchasers… So thank heavens for small mercies.

    As an aside, my favourite memory was of the time Nadir Bolour decided to cut the arms off his long sleeve Jordan top. He’d literally used a pair of rusty old scissors, or something equally as blunt to perform the task, as a cruder piece of tailoring I’m yet to see. It looked like he’d asked a blind arthritic Iranian uncle to assist him. Anyhow, there he was sat amongst the rest of the class, when Chich spotted him. I don’t know what was funnier. Chich’s astounded look and walk towards him in typically distressed (hands open facing the ceiling) way, or Bolour’s reasoning for having done so as he’d been watching Danny Zucco in Grease, and the immortal words he said to Chich….”It’s the T-Birds init sir”

  101. Michael, the only “Ph.D.” Alan Walters ever had was the album by the 80s band. And he never “Let [Us] Down” either . . . he was always a total and utter loon!

    Great story about Nader, Leigh. Are you sure his sleeves weren’t ripped off in a fight, with his once good neighbour Elll-baz?!

  102. Great memories of some of the frummers coming to PE without sports kit and having to do PT in their undies instead of shorts and wearing the throw out plimsolls. Chich was one of my favourites. Running in the inter school cross country runs was also a good way to get out of school for a few hours even if it meant the possibility of being attacked by some anti-Semitic hooligan from one of the other schools. But as we know most of our teams were so bad that they usually ran in a big group at the back of the race! lol

  103. Jack Buechler

    This blog made me cry with laughter. Well done. I have a story I have rmeembered for over 30 years.

    It was the last day of term, being highly enthusiastic – see the continuing thread of this blog – only a few people brought their keet (kit) in. So the spastics – see prior postings for a definition – were ordered to the side and had to write an essay on ‘why spastics (real handicapped people) were better than us spastics. Well, of course every wrote a load of nonsense EXCEPT for 3 people who signed it. One of them was Alan Sober ( ZL) Alan Schechner and the other a boy who turned out to be well known famous Rabbi H. These Spastics were then called into his ‘office’ – better described as a messy broom cupboard. And summarily whacked. Political correctness, corporal punishment, just did not cut it then. What an education.
    Why is it every hasmo boy has 50,000 stories to tell…..

    Jack Buechler

  104. Isaac Wahnon

    I had chich for a short while. He had stopped checking young boys underwear. The multigym was also far from hallowed by my time (I started in Hasmo in 85).
    We still had the cross country runs, through the allotments etc. I remember once being told we had to complete it in x (my memory fails me on numbers) minutes, or else we would have to do it again. I didn’t see the point of ruining a nice stroll, and myself and another lad got to the bottom of holders hill road with 1 minute to go. Hackett greeted us and told us to leg it up the hill. We ran like Ben Johnson on drugs and came a satisfying last and next to last, about 58th and 60th, not bad out of a year of 90+ pupils. Gareth Caller and Shlomie Geller were always eager to finish, and came in first. Neither of them looked like athletes. Wonder where they are? Shlomie if probably a Dayan somewhere.
    Chichs replacement, Mr Loman was injured and unable to do sports for most of his time in the establishment.

  105. Isaac Wahnon

    obviously 58th and 60th was meant to be 59th and 60th. I think I came 59th and Robert Ekireb (or whatever he was called) came 60th.

  106. David Silver

    Memories thankfully clouded but one incident with made me reconsider hating Chich quite as much as I did.

    One day we got up the nerve to suggest that calling us Spastics was not the done thing and would be offensive – he replied that he had been so impressed by what he had seen “real” spastics achieve with perserverence that he believed that us able bodied layabouts who could not be bothered should be the ones to be labelled spastics and not them. – so he had a little humanity after all

  107. Geoffrey Hollander

    Mike – Thank you for the many hours of side splitting laughter that you have started with this blog.

    Chich was an amzing phenomena – for years he got away with calling himself a “teacher” but all he did was send us on runs to copthall and meet us at the other end in his minibus (why he neede to shower after just a ride in his precious minibus, I will never know). He certainly taught us abosolutely nothing.

    I don’t think anyone has yet mentioned Chich’s other sporting calendar highlight – the swimming “galah”. After months of no traning at all he would get his kicks by seeing the same boys who competed in the barnet cross country, strip down to their trunks and compete in a few poorly contested swimming races at Copthall training pool. In the “stands” were the same people who ended up as spectators at copthall stadium at sports day, the squares and mugs who bothered to turn up for this useless event.

    For most it just meant another afternoon off school.

  108. Not long after Chichios started at Hasmo he decided that we would have to take showers after PE. Of course none of us wanted to go near those showers and this created a great hullaballoo. Perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me but I think it even reached the pages of the JC where a Hasmo mother was quoted as saying that the objection to the communal shower was that as frum Jews we found nudity offensive!

    I must also put in a word for the cross country team from my year which actually won the local competition. Felsenstein, Gardbaum, Schwab, Citron (who have I left out?). They then upset some of the staff by appearing bare headed in a team photograph in the Hendon Times.

  109. I remember one time when me and a couple of other boys decided to bunk off games. We went along to Copthall and whilst everyone was getting changed, we picked our moment when we thought that Chich had gone back to school for something. Wrong!!

    We got as far as turning out of the playing fields entrance by the A41 and walked straight into Chich lurking around the corner.

    As a punishment we were made to go and have a shower straight away. No games, just the shower. Which I felt was pretty lenient under the circumstances.

  110. I thought the showers in the gym were only used if the other urinals/WCs were’nt being used!

  111. Peeing in the showers?!? Standards most definitely dropped in the years after I left.

  112. Just found you today.

    I remember Chichios pulling the frummers peyos while saying ” you are a bunch of old women…wat is this tzitzis you no run in this… wheres your kit…’ etc.
    His son Joj, well he was like a trained dog “joj do handstand, joj do press up Joj roll over, beg give paw, bowwow…”
    My best moment with was in his tiny office with another boy (Hanan) distracting his attention and me messing with the starter pistol as any good Israeli would, until it went off 10 cm from his ear. “Ah ah my ear, my ear” and off he went after me. Lucky for the maze of that multigym and a good rugby tackle by Mr. Hackett or else I wouldn’t be here now. Needless to say I never did sport again at Hasmo, got straight A’s in PE, became 6th form captain of Sharon House sports day team without attending the event.
    Mike keep it up – love it.

  113. George "the runt" Chishios

    Dear Mike “spastic” Melchett.
    Congrats for your hilarious blog and all the stories posted – I have’t read anything this funny for years.
    I have vague memories of Hasmo and even Copthall stadium although I must admit i don’t remember the c**t incident. Sorry to Elbaz if he got slipperred.
    My dad did indeed teach at the English School (I also attended) and although there was no corporal punishment he did manage to compensate by poking you in the chest so hard you thought your ribcage had caved in. I swear anyone else would have broken their finger. He is retired now but he is on the board of the school and he keeps busy with my two daughters. I mentioned some of the ex Hasmo students contacted me to ask me about him and he was honestly very touched. Just to shed some light on the spastic thing – David’s post – “One day we got up the nerve to suggest that calling us Spastics was not the done thing and would be offensive – he replied that he had been so impressed by what he had seen “real” spastics achieve with perserverence that he believed that us able bodied layabouts who could not be bothered should be the ones to be labelled spastics and not them. – so he had a little humanity after all” is probably what he truly felt at the time as I had a cousin, Elena (and for those still suffering from their Hasmo education that would make her my dad’s niece) who was spastic and didn’t make it past her 10th birthday.
    On a lighter note and i need someon to clear this one up for me, Lawrence’s post – “In the course of conversation he proceeded to tell my mother that the other teachers were quite strange and that some of them had “never seen their wives naked”! stems from one of the Rabbi’s telling him that to have sex, the very religious jews would use a sheet with a hole in it and the lights off as they were not permitted to see their wives naked. I don’t know if the Rabbi was just pulling his leg or not but my dad was horrified – it’s a concept he simply could not fathom.
    Funny really but in this age of political correctness and lack of corporal punishment i bet the kids don’t have half as good stories to tell.
    Regards to all,

  114. Hi George!

    First of all, great to have your comment! How did you hear about melchett mike?

    To the obvious questions . . . Has your dad visited melchett mike? What was his reaction? Does he still talk about his Hasmo days?

    And where is he living in Cyprus? Are you there too?

    We are planning to have a Hasmo reunion, in Israel, some time in the summer (probably August). Cyprus is so close, he should be our guest of honour! Has he ever been to Israel? I’ll just make sure airport security checks that he doesn’t try to smuggle in his favourite Dunlop!

    Re the hole in the sheet thing, whilst extremely rare, I have heard that it is practised amongst certain ultra-Orthodox sects. If you saw some of their wives, though, you wouldn’t think it so odd!

    And re your point about political correctness, I agree wholeheartedly. The absence of it is what made Hasmo, for the most part, such a great place. And it is the reason why, even today, most of us don’t stop talking about it. And your “old man” was obviously a vital ingredient!

    Please pass on my best to him (it is “spastic” Isaacson [or “Uh-sack-sohn” as he pronounced it!] . . . Melchett is my street in Tel Aviv).

    It would be great if he would comment to the blog and/or if he sent me an email (I have sent you my address separately). Do you think there is any chance he would do a telephone interview? Now that really would be something!



    PS Funnily enough, now that you come to mention it, I remember your dad’s pokes in the chest. And no need to apologise to Elbaz . . . he probably wasn’t slippered enough!

  115. Daniel Greenspan


    All those years in Hasmonean, and you posted on Shabbat… never mind, you weren’t exactly cut out for Yeshiva stream… what with not being Jewish.

    Hole in the sheet… you don’t have to go much further than Google for the answer… http://www.beingjewish.org/jewishemail/resp0429.html

    But, now that you’ve brought up the matter, let’s be clear that none of this information would have been passed on to the boys… after all, in the mid-’80s, with Aids rising at record levels, all the other schools were learning about Safer Sex. At Hasmonean, we were learning about Sefer Torah.

  116. Getting an interview with Chich would be excellent. I’d love to hear his take on Hasmo, as a non-Jew being surrounded by the whole mad and alien experience.

    I mean, we’re Jewish and most of us are only too aware that the place was bonkers.

  117. In order to put things in perspective, it might be appropriate to consider the different zeitgeists against the backdrop of which successive generations of juvenile delinquent Hasmoneans operated.

    From 1944 to around 1970 the school was run on Torah Im Derech Eretz lines – reflected in the Oxford educated headmaster and his Cambridge educated deputy – providing a sincere attempt at the synthesis of Torah and secular education.

    Around 1970, with Eric Frank approaching retirement and Willy Stanton suffering from deteriorating health (and hence, I suspect, will) a silent revolution brought our very own Pol Pot regime to power. The name of the game was anti-intellectualism and secular education was reduced to a painting-by-numbers exercise. Teachers, like the young Ivor Marks, who cared and tried to resist, had the fight knocked out of them in a long war of attrition.

    Judging by the comments to this blog, somewhere around 1979, following Willy’s retirement, the whole show descended into anarchy where it apparently wallowed for several years.

    Now, judging by the official website video, it is a totally boring and respectable educational establishment where the gym teacher is more articulate than virtually any master I remember and there are plants in the rooms that haven’t been treated with Agent Orange or similar smuggled defoliants.

    My hunch is that the best time was had by the 1960’s crowd who had to take real risks with the likes of Willy and his sharp tongue, Elman and his more youthful pugilism and, acharon acharon chaviv, Mr B Valier Grossman, who was dead by the time I arrived but, by all accounts, made Elman look like Mother Theresa.

  118. Nussi Feiner

    For the record & according to the Hendon Times, Feb 4th 1972 (copy of which I just rescued from the back of a cupboard) our Cross Country Team came 4th.
    Team & placings: 11 Danny Felsenstein; 13 Steve Gardbaum; 16 Benny Last; 28 Eli Perl; 36 Ronald Dombey; 43 Marc Ezekiel; 44 Nussi Feiner; 47 Bobby Grossmark…

    I still remember running with Marc & Bobby round an incredibly muddy course & cracking jokes all the way round.. & indeed there’s a great photo in the newspaper of us all setting off in a mad dash – all except me – sadly I’m shown falling flat on my face in the mud….
    I had borrowed trainers from someone far larger than me and as they were worn smooth & in the slippery mud……

    I believe it was about 2 years later that our year won the Cross Country League with Danny Felsenstein placing first or second… with Steve Gardbaum, Robbie Citron & Benjy et al..

    Our year was actually pretty decent at all sports & with the likes of Barry Chesterman winning 100 metres, 200 metres, Long & High Jump…we did very well at Athletics + our football team really was excellent…

    By the way John F., pretty sure Bernard Valier-Grossman is alive and kicking…
    If I’m not mistaken (& unless a son of the aforementioned) he was a customer of mine in the early 90’s before he went on aliya.…

    & John, if you’re mentioning anarchy….. how can anyone who was there forget Alan Deal standing on the steps of the 6th Mobile Unit hurling vitriol & generally venting his spleen against the school, the teachers, the head, demonstrating & demanding a common uprising against authority..

    Oh happy days…

  119. Nussi

    If Grossman is alive he is about the same age as my grandfather who would have turned 110 this Thursday.

    Talking of anarchy, didn’t Andrew Frankel take over the box at Copthall at the school sports day in 1975 and declare martial law?

  120. Nussi Feiner

    “If Grossman is alive he is about the same age as my grandfather who would have turned 110 this Thursday.”

    So what . . . ?!

    Hasmo teachers were renowned for possessing the elixir of youth – I still occasionally see Steve Posen tenaciously marching up Golders Green Road & the bloke still looks 35!

    Yep, I well remember Andy Frankel taking over the mike at Copthall to the utter bemusement of the Masters.

  121. mah sahn George Chishios – did your Dad really get you wha’ soggs from Fennigs at Breh Crozz?

  122. David Silver (81)

    Please give my fondest to your Dad, though I hope he doesn’t remember me

  123. Do I see an Allan Engel? Could it be the famous Allan Engel who was longstanding manager of Shirehall Rovers in the late 80’s and early 90’s? Are you still involved in football management and is there plans in the pipework to bring back the Rovers?

    It is a sad fact that today there is very little trace of the former Rovers glory days. An interesting mention can be found at http://www.tffc.co.uk/graphics/FIRST_XI_results9293.pdf.
    How about putting up a website with statistics on the Rovers. Would you care to put out an all time Rovers Best XI?

  124. Was watching the Tel Aviv Marathon, earlier this morning, on Rothschild, when one of the runners shouted out: “Oyy! Great blog!”

    Shimon Levy he said his name was. And, remarkably for an ex-Hasmo, he was fairly close to the “shvartzes” at the front!

    On their way back down Rothschild, I just couldn’t resist laying in wait for him, behind a tree, and then yelling – in my finest Greek-Cypriot accent – “SPASTIC!!”

    You can take the boy out of Hasmo . . . but you can’t take the Hasmo out of the boy! 😉

  125. Daniel Lange

    Mike – will top 6 finish guarantee him a spot for “Bannette”?

  126. daniel baum

    YES, it was I, Baum…the fat little kid who always came last….i remember that incident well. I suppose chichios drilling it home that I was a fat little kid who would never ever achieve any sporting success pushed me onto running later in life. All those freezing cold cross country runs through hendon thinking how lucky I was that my fat belly was keeping me warm…a few years ago i entered for the london marathon but pulled out a few weeks before due to a back injury. I still run over 25 miles a week, maybe its the thought of the ghost of chich running behind me that drives me on or perhaps the thought of double portions the next day…soya rolls wrapped in white bread, we must have had the worse school meals of all time!

  127. Yesterday evening, whilst administering the final shakes of my ‘lulav’ in the lavs of a TA bar, it suddenly occurred to me that there has been no mention whatsoever on melchett mike of Chich’s absolute prohibition on the “double dribble” . . .

  128. Mike, it’s an age thing: see a urologist, soon.

  129. You’re obviously just a lucky man, Dan. Most mere mortals will understand the aphorism that “However much you shake it, there will always be one more drop.”

    I was reminded of Chich because we always used to refer to that unwanted drop, in his honour, as the “double dribble”.

    For anyone who doesn’t know what I am on about, Chich used to scream “double dribble” during basketball. I always thought it pure invention . . . but it apparently isn’t.

  130. Reuven Back

    Just wanted to say, great job!!
    I was only in Hasmo for 6 months as a first year. Johnny Bokor was my form master, before I made Aliyah, but the fact that I can read these stories and have tears of laughter rolling down my face, just shows what an experience it was to have learnt there…
    Cant wait to read the stories about Cyril..I opened the door and influenza…
    Keep up the good work.
    Regards to Dani Ginsbury…if he still remembers me….

  131. Hi Reuven

    How could I forget the No. 1 footballer of Mrs Zahavy’s top class at Hasmo prep (depending on where you ranked Ackerman and Herszaft of course…….)

    Hope you’re well


  132. Reuven Back

    Hi Dani, great to hear from you, Mrs Zahavy, Acky and Herszaft, those really were the good old days, playing football on that crummy playground!:)
    School in Israel was nowhere near as much fun!
    I heard that you are a very good lawyer nowdays, no suprise there!:)
    Fantastic blog, I cant stop laughing…..

  133. Thank you, Reuven.

    I presume you were a defender . . . 😉

  134. Reuven Back

    Actually no, I played up front, together with Acky, Dani Herzaft, Keith Fraser, Jonny Feigenbaum, now that I come to think of it, we had one hell of a team that year!!:)

  135. Bloody hell, with all those egos going after one ball, the other team probably didn’t need a defence . . . they were probably all tackling each other! And it’s probably what persuaded Feigenbaum to pick up a cricket bat instead!

  136. Reuven Back

    In theory, u would be right, but if I recall correctly, we smashed Menora 8-0, Matilda Marks 9-0, there were a few others that I dont recall, so on the whole, the egos were put aside, especially as we had our old headmaster, Mr Cohen,a lovely guy, I think he very sadly became very ill, shouting, pass the ball, pass the ball every 2 minutes!!!:)

  137. I think I remember the 9-0 I was at Matilda Marks. Danny Herszaft still a decent player according to what he tells me…Mike as a side point I remember you dragging me along to play cricket in Manchester circa 1990 army something was the name of the side…at least I think it was you.

  138. Reuven Back

    Danny hi, I think I remember you as being Bradley Spigelsteins mate, am I right?
    There was also an Israeli guy at Matilda Marks who our football coach Mr Hyams, he was also yours I think, told us we should watch out for as he was brilliant, obviously shows how much Mr Hyams knew about football!!:)

  139. I was goalkeeper for Menorah against Hasmo, in Shirehall Park, some years before. We lost 2-1, I think. Paul Herczaft, Daniel’s older brother, would have been playing for Hasmo. I seem to recall (don’t know how) that Johny Finn (who reads melchett mike, I believe . . . the good ole’ days, Johny, eh?!) scored for us.

    Our star player, however, was the now infamous Shuli M (I daren’t mention his surname), the Ayatollah of Bridge Lane and would be gay-killer (see comments on Vot do you mean “gay” . . . like “happy”?) That boy was good, but a better play actor than Jurgen Klinsmann. My old Menorah mate, David Feiner, and I used to stamp on him while he was writhing around on Menorah’s playground tarmac!

    Anyway, us Menorah – pronounced “Menoyrah” – boys were far more steeped in Torah Mitzvos than you Hasmo boys . . . which of course counted for far more. Look where it got me . . . 😉

  140. Reuven Back

    :)Thats for sure, I recall when we played Menoyrah:) at their place, I think they had Jeremy Finn and Dani Rind as their star players at that time, most of their boys seemed to be more concerned that I was running with my kippah in my hand (Sheigatz, Sheigatz was thrown at me the entire game) than actually trying to tackle me!!:)

  141. I remember you Reuven..and yes Bradley was a close friend. As for Rind and Finn yes decent players although Danny Rind being a true follower of the Spurs was prone to over elaborate.

    Reuven u also had the great Solly Ezekiel in your team. And I seem to remember Menorah had a few more players than just Rind and Finn. Ido Unterman amongst them. Anyway Mathilda marks were definitely the whipping boys of the group.

    Mike the name of the cricket team was Army Fields and I am 90% certain it was you.

  142. Reuven Back

    Danny, u are right.
    I forgot about Solly, a box to box midfielder, aka Lamps. Im a Chelsea boy as you may recall:)
    Ido Unterman was also a great little player, fantastic dribbler, just a bit on the small side!:)

  143. Yes, Danny, Army Fields. At that time, the best Jewish cricket team outside London. Don’t know how I got in the team!

  144. Allan Engel


  145. moshe shatzkes

    hi, reuven back, long long time, 25 years at least, scary. just a couple of mistakes that i’m sure the mists of time have created. edo unterman was in north west with me, true he was a good footballer. we had by far the best team and beat hasmo prep in 1980 in gladstone park 4-3 (although as most who were there will still testify, this was mainly down to the fact that Mr Albert, our teacher, was the referee and blew up 10 minutes early fearing we may lose). it’s true that they had ackerman, herzaft, feigenbaum et al but we had steinbock in goal. nuff said! happy days, terrible pitch.

  146. Reuven Back

    Moishe, long time indeed…how is the smallest first former I ever saw???:)
    U are right about the 4-3, our 3rd goal was a volley scored by me from Danny Herzaft who was brilliant that day (his dad was there if I recall screaming at the ref for being such a cheat, was he related to Graham Poll by any chance??/:)
    Edo of course was in North West, lived in Willesden near my grandmother if I recall correctly, but you made I think one mistake, because Im sure that Benjy Steinbock wasnt in goal, he was playing on the left wing, scaring the crap out of our defence, who were all too bloody scared to go anywhere near him!!!:)
    The pitch was disgusting, I think it was pouring most of the game, and he definitely blew up 10 minutes too early, bastard!!!:)
    What you doing with yourself these days?

  147. Mike I only played one game with you for Army fields ..what does that say about my ability. As for Mr A Goldberg I assume that his fielding was limited to the slips. Cant envisage him ever chasing a cricket ball. Just spoken to Daniel Mehdi still aggrieved at not making the Hasmo prep 1980 football team.

  148. Anthony Mammon

    His phrase “have you got your pants on” in his Greek accent, referring to underwear. After making sure we had no underpants under our shorts, I remember him making us climb the ropes. Climbing up wasn’t so bad, if you could do it, I think the fear was of sliding down the rope, and without the underwear… well you can guess the rest.. Apart from the friction on your b**ls, they were often to be found, just dangling in the wind.. not a pretty site.

    I vaguely remember one year, Hasmo managed to put together a basketball team. We thought the team was absolutely fantastic, until they went off and played Whitefields or some other normal school. The next day we heard that the score was about 150 to 10, obviously Hasmo was slaughtered, and basketball was never played again.

  149. Solly Ezekiel

    Hi Danny, Reuven, Moshe,

    Those days on the football pitch were the best. I remember in the lower sixth we had a continuous game going thoughout most of the day with different guys joining and leaving the game when they had classes to go to.

    In Hasmo prep I never saw Mr Cohen get so upset as when we would miss a chance on goal – he would stand by the side lines and scream. I cant believe I still have a picture in my head of these things.

  150. Hi Solly, how are you?
    I think the last time we saw each other we were both 11 years old!:)
    Mr Cohen would certainly take his football very seriously, thats for sure, but I suppose as someone who supported Orient, he probably knew he would have more success with us!!!:)
    The one thing I really missed in Israel was all the football, my Israeli friends were all bloody useless, all they wanted to play was basketball!!:)

  151. Solly Ezekiel

    Reuven -I remember when you left for Israel – I have been living in Jerusalem since 1994. What city are you living in?

    Danny – great to be in touch with you again. I remember very well getting lost on that golf course on the first cross-country – I remember wearing those stupid ‘school house’ coloured shirts that shrunk to half way up your arm after its first wash. After the second cross-country we of course wised up to the fact that we don’t need to turn up for any more!

    Mike – Let me take this chance to thank you for this blog – its really great and brings back so many good memories.

    It would be great to meet up at some time with you guys.

  152. Reuven Back

    Solly – I live in Petah Tikva, married with 2 kids.
    We should definitely meet up, send me a mail at reuven@coltour.co.il, we will arrange something:)

  153. Yes I seem to remember that Bradley took a wrong turn on that first run and led us around the golf course for half an hour. The only one who didnt follow him on was Shai Cohen who was so far back he missed the wrong turn. I wonder what Chich must have thought when Shai was the first to finish. Needless to say the following week Bradley finished first (a trend that was repeated every week for the next three years).
    Solly I saw Moishe Halibard recently and he mentioned your name. Would love to catch up. Adam Jenshil and Danny Mehdi also around and they are still my closest friends.
    Guys you can email me on daniel.hass@mailapoalim.co.il

  154. Mike,

    I never dived…not once…always wondered which chickens kicked me while I was on the ground…that was the only way you “fat boys” could catch me.

    Yeh Mike, we lost 2-1 to Hasmo in our only game…Johnny Finn did score our goal following up after their keeper had spilled my shot.

    Like the name – Ayatollah of Bridge Lane – that you have christened me with.

  155. Reuven, what’s all this with the “very good lawyer nowadays” – you been speaking to my Mum?

    But thanks anyway. What’re you up to when not reminiscing about Mr “Man-of-the-Match” Hyams?

  156. Actually Danny, your Mum told me shed give me 100 pounds if I wrote that on the site!!:)
    I now have a company that specializes in selling…football in the U.K !:)to the Israeli market.

  157. “after their keeper had spilled my shot” . . . proving that the “fat[test]” thing of all, Shuli-tollah, has always been your head! 😉
    The one thing I can’t deny you, however, is your former footballing prowess . . . though, as I say, it was somewhat frittered away by cheating and infrequent appearances.

    An interesting melchett mike experiment would be to nominate an All-Time Hasmo XI. Of the players I saw, I would have to nominate Shuli, perhaps Danny Bazini (year below) for his sheer pace . . . and a slimline Elbaz, who – as I have stated elsewhere – utilised his skills to great effect by smashing footballs with startling accuracy into Cyril’s Room 2 windows from 20 yards.

  158. A Hasmo all time XI ..hmmm an almost impossible task!! From my year only Danny Herszaft and Barry Ackerman come to mind. Did anyone ever play in an actual game against another school? As for Bazini wasnt his strengths on the athletics field? (400m)

  159. Mike
    thanks for the nomination
    the reason for my infrequent appearances was because my mother didn’t want her darling son being kicked all over by the likes of you!!

  160. moshe shatzkes

    hi danny, long time. we also had the 2 lads from staaaaaaaaamford ‘ill, jonny attar and erez yefet who were excellent players if a litle ball greedy. the 6 aside game we had for 7 years during “games” when everyone else in the year went home had some of the followiing in. adam bergman, danny rind, jeremy finn, barry ackerman, attar and yefet, hasky noah, jonny feigenbaum, jonny hollander, myron green, eli glausiusz, my good self help me and….out with the rest please, the other 80 boys just went home. all chich did was give us a ball and that was his contribution.

  161. Reuven Back

    Moshe, I was only there 7 months or so, but I remember Attar and Yefet, were they not both Israeli?

  162. Hello Moshe how are you? I was going to mention Jonny Attar and Erez but last minute change of mind (no place in the all time list for the flash and greedy). As for the 7 a side I remember it but not sure about all the names. You missed out Yoel Rabin, Ido Unterman, Danny Cohen, Marc Lewis and Simon Posen. I wonder do you remember when we were lower sixth playing two games after school against the upper sixth and then the teachers. I scored 3 and also managed to hit Alan Walters. We beat the teachers and lost 4-2 to the upper sixth after a mistake from Marc Lewis. I think Danny Herszaft had a broken leg at the time.

  163. moshe shatzkes

    reuven, yefet and attar used to speak ivrit at home, but are very much not israeli. they are part of the adeni community of stamford hill and together with naftali “nigel” mandel made a great threesome of boys who were late every day and had the temerity to blame it on public transport. i remember mr lesser giving mandel hundreds of lines for coming late and blaming it on the two forre bus sir!

  164. moshe shatzkes

    danny, i remember the game well, i took great pleasure in being responsible for breaking walters toe. as i mentioned somewhere else on this blog, hackett would play (in a dustbin bag) and all he would ever do was pass the ball back to the keeper. he played that day as well. yoel rabin may well have played in the weekly game (from what i gather he is a very well repsected rov today and a writer of serious seforim, nevertheless then he was a good lad albeit on the correct side of the dj imposed yid/yok line) the others you mentioned i am not sure, need others to comment.

  165. Ah, Hasky Noah . . . that’s who I thought Solly Ezekiel was! Hasky was the one I don’t think I ever saw without a football in Menoyrah days . . . or, indeed, without a puffer jacket. Puffer jackets for goalposts! 😉

    It’s amazing how we recall such trivia . . .

  166. Reuven Back

    Great, you had all these 6 a side games, while I had to spend 3 years explaining that the ball is white, not orange, and goes through the net, not the hoop!
    You have no idea how frustrating that could be…:)

  167. Solly Ezekiel

    Hi Moshe, Nice to be in touch. Talking of Walters do you remember the time when the whole class was humming during his lesson and you suddenly got up and pretended to try and catch an imaginary bee? Jeremy Platt was at the other end of the classroom (for some reason) and I remember his shouting out “Moshe, I will help you catch the bee!” He then climbed on a table and leapfrogged from table to table and did a flying dive onto you. Walters just looked on as he was too frightened of Platt.

  168. moshe shatzkes

    Hi Solly, nice to hear from you, I do remember it, Platt was a fascinating character, he was the biggest guy in our year and something of a bully. For some reason (maybe being quite big myself), he was always a bit scared of starting with me and we became quite good mates in school. We would sit at the back of Flop’s physics lessons eating Cadbury’s Dairy Milk miniatures (the stuff I remember, scary) and flicking the wrappers at everyone we could.

    The best story I remember with him was the day Shai Cohen’s Parker pen cartridge (the sticky ink ball point one not the fountain pen) rolled onto the floor during a Cyril lesson and Platt crushed it under his huge DMs and then wiped the soles with the ink. He then starts walking up and down the classroom leaving size 12 DM marks on Cyril’s floor. Cyril went mad when he saw these tread marks clearly and deliberately stamped into the floor and all leading to Platt’s desk. When the great man challenged him as to who was the lout, Platt flatly denied it. Cyril called Roberg down and inspected the evidence on Platt’s DMs. Platt told Roberg it was an accident. Not being a yid, but in the yid form, somehow he got away with it.

  169. Solly Ezekiel

    I was quite friendly with him too. I used to sell the sandwiches that my mum made me and I had a couple of regular customers. Jeremy was one of them and he always paid up.

  170. Mike,

    You may remember that I joined Hasmo – late in the day – for the 6th form – where I became very friendly with Alan Kenley and Richard Frank and they taught me all about scoring in a different type of game – which I excelled at too!!! (U can show it to Dani – she knows already).

    However, the one game I did play for Hasmo was against JFS (Elbaz was playing for them). We beat them 4-1, yours truly bending a free kick (a la Beckham) around the wall into the top corner and setting up Jon Debina for both his goals.

    If i remember correctly your job was to bring the oranges on at half-time and to be one of the corner flags during the game.

  171. moshe shatzkes

    aah, the “solly sandwich” i remember it fondly. better than anything mrs b could serve up (apart from on friday’s though, hot snacks and chocolate crispies).

  172. Solly Ezekiel

    I am flattered that you remember it. I used to sell each one for 75p and then buy a dinner ticket for one quid off someone when the school lunch was worth it – meaning chocolate crispies!! That’s one thing Hasmo was good at – teaching you the basics of good business practice.

  173. Reuven Back

    Moshe, I ve just now had this recollection, dont ask me why, of me staying at your place one Shabbat, and you strolling down Shirehall lane with Suggs blasting out House of Fun at full volume from your ghetto blaster, and ACKYS MUM TELLING YOU TO TURN OFF THAT TERRIBLE RACKET!!!:)
    The crazy things people remember….:)
    I also remember Sollys sandwiches that he used to bring from home, was it some kind of green fish paste Solly?

  174. daniel baum

    Solly, 75p!!! you are dreaming mate….10p was going rate, 15p if u were lucky, it was the late 70’s/early 80’s.

  175. Solly Ezekiel

    Daniel – these were not your regular sarnies! I used to charge 50p for most of the 3rd, 4th years and raised it to 75p in the 5th year.

    They were chicken cutlets with spices – they tasted like heaven but smelt like hell.

    One time I started to eat them in Cyril’s lesson and the whole classroom started to stink of garlic – all the lads started to shout out ‘there’s a fishy smell Sir’ in Cyril style!!

  176. 2 soya rolls and a crispy crunch for a pound. I bet you didnt get 75p on a Friday Solly!!!

  177. Shuli,

    Interesting that you should use the words “scoring” and “bending” within a paragraph of each other . . . I think that goes to confirm my and Mark Goldman’s suspicions about you!

    Alas, your memory serves you well re my role in the win over JFS. I remember Jonny Mendelsohn showing signs of the egotism he would require for his career in politics by point-blank refusing to come off the pitch when our captain (Mark Herman, I think) wanted to give me a few consolatory minutes at the end! (On that note, in spite of the usual references to Jon’s “Blairite tendencies”, our Government A-Level class will recall him never being without a copy of the revolutionary, anti-capitalist Socialist Worker!)

    I did play against Albany College, however – the ironically named “College for Achievers” – when we beat them about 9-1 . . . still, to kind of quote Michael Jackson z”l, I was/am a writer not a player!

  178. Solli,

    I thought I was the only one eating those things. Did I pay up?


  179. Richard Rosenberg

    Our school team 73/79 or 81 if you stayed on were the mainstay of Edgware Maccabbi football and as we grew up we got a bit better. By the 5th year any teams we played against were swept aside but i’ll never forget a 1-0 victory against Hendon in the pouring rain when without any teacher present we comprehensively won and then had several fights at the bus stop getting the 113 back to Edgware.

  180. Walking down Rothschild this afternoon (do I start too many pieces like that?), I encountered a couple of dozen boys from the Boulevard’s (national) religious high school doing their equivalent of “cross-country.” And the pitiful sight of the miserable wretches huffing and puffing as they staggered a mere few hundred metres – tzitzis blowing in the wind, and not a “wassock” in sight – made me realise that . . .

    1. “Spastics” were not the exclusive preserve of Hasmonean; and

    2. Contrary to the suggestion in my post above, Hasmo’s legendary Cypriot may, indeed, have been correct in his assertion that Yids are far bigger “spastics” than Yoks (but why should that be?!)

  181. Chich was indeed a land refugee of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Contemporary rumour it that his family’s land has now been restored to him and he has built a resort on it. If that is true, then good luck.

    His obsession with volleyball was actually a passion as he was a volleyball coach allegedly to the Cyprus team – presumably before the invasion.

    Any pupil who gave him the time of day and a bit of respect soon learned that he was actually a very good PE and sports coach, competent in several sports including basketball, the aforementioned volleyball, weight training and gymnastics. He was passionate about all sport and also about proper participation (fuh teniss yu mus be immucculaley dress in whyte). He was also positively passionate about winning. He soon realised that with Jews you had to play to their strengths and with us, he realised that we had a viable basket-ball squad, so he arranged a match (just the one) against our contemporaries at JFS – perhaps not realising that JFS was a school full of Israelis born with a basketball in their hands and a hoop at the end of their cots. We shuddered at the thought of the drubbing we were about to receive but we should have trusted our mentor, whose grin (and gratitude) could not have been greater as we walked off victorious having won conclusively, if not stylishly, leaving the Israelis stunned.

    For those who were interested, Chich went the extra mile, sometimes opening the gym for general use under his supervision and instruction in his own time (i.e. when he was not teaching a class) and also importing expertise such as a Judo instructor, whose name I have forgotten but who got me to orange belt.

    All in all he didn’t mind a laugh at his expense, apart from the time we were playing cricket at Copthall and Chich was moving between two matches. One of my classmates called out “here comes itchyarse”. The man went bonkers.

  182. I have added a postscript to the bottom of my above post on Chich, with a link to the newly-discovered Sports Day video.

    If you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy the London “Spasteec” Olympics . . .

  183. John Fisher

    Although no great sportsman myself, it strikes me that the “high” jumpers would have been far more successful in their attempts if, instead of practising Dick Fosbury’s Flop, they had practiced climbing carefully into bed.

  184. Perhaps, John . . . though not if any of their mattresses had one of those extra “pillow top” layers on top of it!

    In my humble, the first long jumper – in sunglasses for some reason best known to him – is far more deserving of our ridicule . . .

    You can almost see the thought entering his noddle, a metre or so before he reaches the sand, “Why am I doing this?!”

    As for his final skip into the pit, I can just hear Chich muttering to Mr. Hackett: “Oh muh Gud!”

  185. Perhaps some ex-Holders Hill Roaders – circa 1998 intake – recall sharing the “moolti gym” with this “spasteec” . . .


    His excuse is pure ex-Hasmo!

  186. Yitzchak Landau

    At least he remembered his “wuh socks”!

  187. Yes! Well spotted, Yitzchak!

    Though I suspect Chich would have had his hands full checking for his jockstrap . . .

    “Woss this, Sanford? Very nice! I no tell Roberg about the extra skin if you promise you do Barnet!”


  188. melchettmike

    Learning about the Philistines in the Israel Museum earlier this evening – “Sea Peoples” from Crete who, in the Early Iron Age (around 1175 BCE), picked up their mates in Cyprus on their way to torment the Yiden – made me consider how Chich must have somehow been ‘sent’ to Hasmo to pick up on an ancestral pastime . . . or is that just “sick in the head”?!

  189. Hey I trained with Andy Chichios in S E London. Never really knew him tho

  190. John Fisher


    Thank you for your comment.

    Unfortunately, Melchett Mike is currently jet-lagged, after returning from a meeting in the West Indies with his old pal Ian Botham. He did, however, ask me (in my capacity of stood-up lunch companion) to write and thank you for enlightening the wide readership of his famous blog with the fact that you did not really know Mr Chichios. There must be millions, nay billions, out there who could have said the same thing, but did not bother to make the effort. The world is a richer place for having people like you in it.

    In a similar vein, I look forward to the opportunity of never meeting you, which I am sure will be as enrichening an experience for us both
    as you not really knowing Mr C.


  191. Tim Harris

    are you lonely, John?

  192. John Fisher

    No, just bored because I got stood up for lunch by the bloke who writes all this stuff.

  193. He is an accountant, Tim. From Ra’anana. Probably doesn’t say much to you . . . but this is his outlet. It’s not personal.

    Your comment was a little Triggeresque, though, you must admit . . . 😉

  194. Thanks Mike, yes my comment was a little too brief. I actually was in the same group at college as Andy for three years. When i said I never knew him it was shorthand for saying he was a difficult bloke to get to know, a bit of a loner. Is that better Nobjohn?

  195. Pinchos Chalk

    Chich made me do PE in my undies (as we say Down Under) and slippered me (but not simultaeneously).

    Jack was upset when Daniel Kelly ripped his finger off as he thought this would be bad for his hand-writing.

    Chich did get nachas from Neil Nachshon and told us to follow his example and go jogging in the evenings, I do jog to work now however I’m not convinced that has anything to do with whah-socks.

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