I did it mike’s way . . .

“You’ve got too much to say,” I was repeatedly told, in my youth, by a French-teaching Welshman.

Since excitedly bashing out Virginal Meanderings, however, one typically dull commercial lawyer’s morning back in November 2008, I fear that I may now have said it all.

“Why do you have to write about things like that?” has been my poor mother’s refrain over those four years as I would ask her to proofread each and every new effort before hitting the Publish of no return.

“What would you like me to write about,” I would respond, “the crisis in the eurozone? People don’t read blogs for stuff like that . . . or, at least, not this one.”

“Gotta go,” she would then hang up, on her marks to dash to her PC, always calling back, minutes later, with something like: “It is actually quite good. You know who taught you to write like that . . .”

In each of their own individual ways, I take considerable pride in my 188 posts to melchett mike (far more than I would have imagined possible on that distant November morning). They are the book that I never wrote (and which, in spite of continued encouragement from various quarters, I see no point in writing).

In recent months, however, I have lost much of that urge to write.

I still, of course, have important questions. Like . . .

Why do Russian women feel the need to pose for every photograph – even at sites like Har Herzl and Yad Vashem – by pinning themselves up against the nearest wall or tree, as if for a Playboy shoot?

And why are charedim such God-awful drivers? Check it out for yourselves: Aside from the inevitable wankers in their 4x4s, the drivers obstructing the fast lanes of Israel’s highways nearly all have beards (Ivan “It is always the frum ones” Marks, it would seem, knew of what he spoke).

I also continue to enjoy fascinating encounters in my seeming unending search for the future ex-Mrs. Isaacson . . .

I mean what could have given my most recent JDate the idea that I would want to treat her – on our first (blind) date, scheduled for a mid-afternoon – to a meal in a boutique hotel? “I will be hungry by three o’clock,” Irit informed me, after we had finalized a time. “And I would like to eat at the Montefiore,” she added, as if arranging a shopping-and-lunch date with her Ramat Aviv Gimmel mother.

“Dog food again please,” by way of contrast, is the only demand ever made of me by the lovely female (see photograph below) with whom I am currently shacked up. “And that fetid bowl will do just fine.” A woman or dogs, then? Now there’s a toughie . . . oh yes, and there was no first date.

But I am set to embark, in November, on the next chapter in my continuing, studious avoidance of anything that could reasonably be called a career. And I am reliably informed that the two-year Israeli Tour Guide Course requires more diligence than comes naturally.

In a scene chillingly reminiscent of Marathon Man’s “Der Weisse Engel”, Ole Nipple ’Ead himself (who says the Law of Return is too exclusive?!) was recently spotted and confronted on Jerusalem’s King George Street by my old classmate, Paul Kaufman, giving me a great idea for a future tour . . .

  • From the Footsteps of the Prophets to the Doorsteps of the Despots: Join ex-Hasmo hunter, melchett mike, as he surprises retired ‘teachers’ – DJ, Jerry, and many more – in the suburbs of Jerusalem.

So I log off, but do not shut down. melchett mike – the “Never forget” aid for damaged, eternal North-West London schoolboys – will always be here for your amusement, reminiscence and comments . . . and even perhaps, when I re-find the urge, the odd post (indeed, the best Hasmo Legend could well be yet to come, awaiting a combination of circumstances beyond my control).

In the meantime, thank you to all the commenters (all 7,502 of you) – from the sublime to the Shuli – who have contributed to making this such good fun.

Over . . . but not out.



23 responses to “I did it mike’s way . . .

  1. Daniel Epstein

    Will miss you, my fellow Raleigh Close backbencher! Be well and hope to read more soon!

  2. I was only thinking yesterday that you’d been a little quiet recently………..

    I wish you only well in your new career. The thought of you leading DJ, Jerry G et al into a newly militarized DMZ will send me to sleep with a smile on my face.

    Take care


  3. Philip Witriol

    No! You’ll have the perfect opportunity to write in your trenchant manner about the course itself AND meet the future ex-Madame/Signorina/Senhora or even Госпожа Isaacson. And for what may be MY final plug for a while, I have put my father’s autobiography online here http://autobiographyofafailure.wordpress.com/index/

  4. Interesting that you observe that “drivers obstructing the fast lanes of Israel’s highways nearly always have beards”. Long ago, I came to the conclusion that “the car in front is a slow, badly-driven taxi”. I shall be especially wary of getting stuck behind bearded taxi drivers.

    Also of note is that you have “188 followers” and “188 posts”. Might the real reason for the hiatus be that , like any wannabe messiah, you are simply waiting for more followers?

  5. I’ll really miss it

  6. Mike, you write corking articles, very well put together and coherent (even for my fetid mind) — your narrative of your exploits amongst the tottie of Tel Aviv have been particularly entertaining… I trust you are not out too long.

  7. The duffel-coated 45 year old stands in the lobby, flicks the switch that plunges the entire edifice into total darkness and steps out into the cold, dank night. Closing the door for the last time he starts to walk away but instinctively turns and raises his gaze to the battlement that had once been the headmaster’s study.

    Inexplicably, he thinks he perceives a flicker of light…and then another, brighter than the first. He makes out the figure of a sadly disfigured man, his arms painfully crossed, staring down at him benignly. The figure is shortly joined to his left by another silver-haired gentleman wearing school-master’s cap and cape smiling warmly in his direction. Another mustached gentleman appears to the right of the first and seems to be winking towards him. The three turn silently and disappear into the ether, to be replaced by three black-suited, bearded individuals who glower ferociously at him as the flickering light fades away.

    Turning to walk through the playground of his thoughts for the last time, he is confronted by a mysterious, attractive woman wrapped in a greatcoat. Although they have never met, they acknowledge each other and head together for a nearby café where they can talk of Hasmo and, perhaps, other things.

    To be continued?

  8. Good luck on your new career Mike, I think you’ll need it.

    I guess that many of your prospective ‘guidees’ will be varying forms of Christians out to see the sights of the Holy Land. Will your training include lessons in how to keep a straight face when confronted with the credulous comments of Mid-Western Christian Zionists (and Mormons) or when having to make statements like, “…and it is from this point that it is believed that Our Lord set off upon his walk on the water…” to a coach full of Catholic nuns. All of which leads me to think that you will indeed have ‘plenty more to say’ after just a few days in the job, and I for one can’t wait for your first post of the new tour-guide-Mike era!’

    At least you’ll get to meet many, many ladies who aren’t Israeli, or who aren’t – dare I say it – Jewish, and whom moreover will be hanging on your every word (wouldn’t be the real reason for your career move by any chance would it?).

    In all seriousness though Mike, I’ll really miss Melchettmike. It’s been a blast. So, for now I’ll bid you farewell with this thought – UP THE BROMWICH!!

  9. Charles Philip Lehrer

    @ John Fisher. A great piece of writing Sir

  10. Please continue to post. You’re the one connection to a sad, yet bitter-sweet, nostalgic youth… Love, Simon Spiro

  11. Thank you for your lovely comments (and see the photo, taken by my talented photographer friend, Peter Vit, added above). I am already experiencing withdrawal symptoms . . .

    Walking the beasts down the half of Rothschild Boulevard ridiculously – you can’t expect Israelis not to abuse such empowerment – designated for cyclists, this evening, a clearly gay 20-something male merely uttered the words “shvil ofanayim” (bicycle path) as he rode past. And because I do not consider myself a homophobe, I am feeling the need to explore why his softly-spoken, effeminate voice made two such simple words so much more bloody irritating . . .


  12. Philip Witriol

    This homophobe and born-again cyclist just put up a comment on a cycling blog arguing that cyclists should use pavements (as in Japan)!

  13. Young man

    You cannot walk off into the sunset and then, before you get as far as the garden gate, turn around and say “Oh! By the way….”

    Methinks that, to borrow from Mr Twain, reports of this blog’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

  14. ‘e ain’t dead, ‘e’s restin…….’e’s tired and shagged out after a long squawk.

  15. “Great piece of writing,” my a*se, Charles Philip . . .

    Yesterday afternoon, Mr. F had me “step[ping] out into the cold, dank night.” This morning, however, I’m “walk[ing] off into the sunset.” What about the consistency of the narrative? Do these Ra’ananaites think they can do whatever they like?!

    And it doesn’t end there . . .

    “Another mustached gentleman appears to the right of the first and seems to be winking towards him.”

    The Welshman? “Winking”? About as likely as “the figure of [the] sadly disfigured man” giving a V-sign or thumbs up!

    More importantly, though, does the “mysterious, attractive woman” get her “greatcoat” off? And what exactly are the “other things”? You can’t do this to me, Fisher . . .

  16. I wish you the best of luck and am certain you will make good use of your legendary story-telling skills to be a superb tour guide.

    I thank you and your excellent blog for being such an instructive and fascinating introduction to this weird and wonderful alternative world. I met many interesting people here that I doubt I would have encountered elsewhere and was lucky enough to play a modest part in some remarkable conversations. I believe that early discussions regarding that insane asylum of the 1970s, otherwise known as Hasmonean, saved me a small fortune that I might otherwise have been forced to pay many mental health professionals.

    Mike, you are still alive and well, so have no intention of eulogizing either you or melchettmike, but will instead wish you health, happiness and the realization of all your dreams (lavatorial or otherwise).


    Daniel Marks

  17. Mike

    One thing I will not miss about your blog is your repeated use of the asterix. Although I, more or less, touch-type there are two keys on the Qwerty that I cannot identify blind – the said asterix and the exclamation mark. The latter should be banned from the English language (it is only appropriate for surprises like at the end of episodes of the Batman spoof in the sixties). As for the former, its use by you implies that the eyes are more sensitive than the brain to obscenities you choose to bifurcate. I am not aware of any other useful purpose for this mark in a narrative.

    Lunch in due course where I shall continue to try and persuade you to turn this experience into a novel. You clearly have what it takes.

    Gut Shabbes


    PS Believe it or not, people actually do read about the Eurozone crisis. Not as exciting as the woman in the greatcoat, though.

  18. My use of the asterisk (for readers on Nitza Boulevard, among others), Mr. F word, is far less offensive, I would hold, than your continued, complete failure to punctuate following salutations and valedictions (“Mike” and “Gut Shabbes,” on this occasion, if you can’t be arsed – happy? – to Google them).

    Thank you, Daniel, for your unique contribution to the debate, and also, of course, for – together with Nicholas – the post on Woody. I look forward to bringing groups to Ma’ale Adumim in the future under some pretence or other, where I will let you regale them on whatever subject you deem fit. Funnily enough, I was going to mention you – with a lavatorial reference, of course – in the above post . . . but thought, for once, that I would let you have the last word!

    Gut voch from Colombo,


  19. …….this parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies!

  20. I’m shocked–but perhaps not surprised–that such an astute person as John Fisher would misspell “asterisk”. That said, I’d love to hear him pronounce the word as he spelled it. One likens his ‘asterix’ to the Ebonics dialect, where the word “ask” becomes “axe”.

    One the other hand, I know little about numbers, money or the economy. Perhaps Mr. Fisher would like to take ME to lunch for a chavruta session on both grammar and economics. Either that, or I could turn him on to MY dating blog, heretofore unpublicized, for a different vicarious experience….!

  21. Hello Mike,

    Excellent blog … kept me up all night yesterday, as I was gobbling up stories on your dating adventures and childhood memories. We are very much in a similar situation (40+, single, made Aliyah from Europe), and “making it happen” with a Tsabarit really turns out to be quite impossible.

    Interestingly enough, I have also decided to take the Israeli Tour Guide class in November. Where will you take the course? Will you study it in English or Hebrew? Who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other in the classroom …



  22. As one who’s read you for a long time I have to say I will miss you Mike…I will miss your posts, your insights, your view of Israel from a Brit’s standpoint…. most of all, I will miss your compassionate Zionism, your love of Israel which was always devoted and committed, regardless of your mishaps with sabra creatures…

    I wish you would reconsider….And if you do, or if you don’t, I thank you for lightening up the days where you wrote and made everything more bearable…thank you for being such a staunch defender of Israel despite the huge adversities in our tiny land.

    I still hope to meet you next time I am in Israel. I will try to contact you and see if we can meet..beers/lunch/dinner are on me if I’m fortunate enough to be able to meet you…you’re one of my favorite Israelis of all time…take care and may the lords of the universe bless you always…

  23. “such an astute person as John Fisher”

    I didn’t know there were two.

    Thank you Ofer, and especially Yossi, for your kind words.

    Unfortunately, Ofer, I can’t recall the last time that I was “kept up all night” by “gobbling” . . . but hopefully my luck will soon change. I am doing the Ministry of Tourism course, in English, at Givat Ram. You?

    And, Yossi, do not despair – I am currently working on a new post; though they will be far less frequent from now on, and I am not sure that you will approve of what the latest one has to say about our compatriots! I will be delighted to meet you when you are here, especially if you keep the compliments coming thick and fast . . . and if “beer, lunch and dinner” (I merely deleted the forward slashes) are, indeed, on you! 😉

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