Hasmo Legends XXX: Sick in the Head . . . in Cyprus!

“Come on! Let’s go to Cyprus to find Chishios!”

The throwaway idea came from ex-Hasmo Michael Murgraff while we were walking the dogs one early Jaffa morning, seven or eight years ago. No sooner had he proposed it, Murgraff, having a life, no doubt immediately forgot it . . . but he had unknowingly planted in me the tantalising prospect of a nostalgic quest for the Legendary scourge of the spastic.

The idea lay dormant for years. But, a few months ago, having completed my latest project and with too much time on my hands (I am looking for writing/editing work should anyone hear of any), I contacted George (aka “Joj”), with whom I had corresponded at the time of my original post on his father — see Hasmo Legends IV: Sick in the Head – Mr. Chishios — with the proposal that I visit Cyprus to interview him.

I doubt as much negotiation went into F*ckface Von Clownstick’s summit meeting with Kim Fatty III, but, on 5th March, I received the news that I had been hoping for: “I saw my dad yesterday and he said he was fine for you to come and see him.” Get in!! Within a couple of days, I had finalised my two-night trip to Nicosia.

The whole idea seemed a tad crazy, even to me, but the opportunity of meeting up with one of the ultimate Legends after all these years was simply one I could not pass up. (Thank you to the various ex-Hasmos with whom I could not resist sharing news of my impending trip for keeping it under your school caps. Henri Berest’s reaction best summed up my own excitement: “oh f*ck off. no way.”)

While it was lovely to finally meet George — who, in 1986, aged 15, accompanied his dad back to the island to take up his new teaching post — I found myself looking nervously over my shoulder all the time we were supping on our KEOs. Mr. Chishios is 80 now, but it was almost as if the memory of him, upside down Dunlop (toe forward) menacingly in hand, had been wired into my psyche. I had no idea what to expect. George had expressed concern, in our correspondence, as to whether his father’s memory might disappoint. And, to avoid that disappointment, I had prepared myself mentally for a meeting with a doddery old man.

I needn’t have. Spotting the Legend for the first time, as he walked purposefully towards us, I intuitively knew that my trip would prove worthwhile. Chishios looked great and, after exchanging a warm hug, I must have told him so about half a dozen times. In fact, it felt more like four years had passed than 34. And I was so indescribably pleased to see him again.

We sat down and jumped straight into Andreas George Chishios: The Early Years. Little details that I had forgotten came flooding back as we talked animatedly . . . the vigorous, overactive right index finger, for notable instance, though thankfully on my knee now rather than my breastbone.

Chishios moved to the UK to further his education in 1956, aged just 18. His determination to advance, he recalled, was illustrated by his weaning himself off The Sun and The Mirror, and onto The Times, in order to perfect his English. And his first teaching post, at Fulham’s Henry Compton School in 1970, explained a lot about his Legendary “shock and awe” approach to discipline.

“It was a rough school. One fellow teaching English ended up in a psychiatric hospital. The headmaster gave me a cane and told me to use it. I had written permission for two strokes. ‘If they realise you are weak,’ he said, ‘you are finished. Be tough from the beginning. If you can teach here, you can teach anywhere.’” 

“Very early on, I had trouble in the gym from a cheeky Indian boy. I looked around. There was no one there. I said ‘OK, I’ll fix you.’ I punched him in the chest and he fell down. I punched him again. ‘Patel,’ I said, ‘I am a Cypriot and I kill people!’ ‘Don’t kill me, sir,’ he begged. ‘OK,’ I said, ‘but tell the others he is a Cypriot and he kills people.’ I had very little trouble after that.”

“There was another boy, a Jamaican called Brown, who was stealing other boys’ dinner money. I remember he had his thumbs in the front of his trousers, puffed out his chest and kept calling me ‘Chowman’, which must have meant something in Jamaican. I pinned him down on the bench in the gym and, with the help of another boy, dropped a one hundred pound bar on his chest. ‘What’s the matter with you, you chicken,’ I said. ‘Push it, you chicken! You are nothing. You are a chicken. If I catch you taking dinner money from boys again, I’ll murder you.’ And that was the end of that.”

In prison terms, then, Chishios’s move from Fulham — he was annoyed at not receiving a promised promotion — to Holders Hill Road in 1972 was like getting into a TARDIS at Scum and getting out at Porridge.

“Hasmonean was a grammar school. They were excellent students. Very well behaved. [mm: I kept shtum] They respected people. [mm: and again] There was no point in using the cane. When I was appointed, I went to see my predecessor, Mr. Jurke. ‘We use the slipper here,’ he said. So I did. But, after a while, it wasn’t necessary. The students knew I expected good behaviour. And I got it. [mm: and again]”

The main thing to come out of our meeting — which traversed pub, café and superb taverna, last Tuesday evening — was incontrovertible confirmation of my conclusion in my original post on the Legend: that, at Holders Hill Road, he had “unwittingly stumbl[ed] across a culture very alien to his own.”

“The non-frum students were better behaved. They listened to me. The others were much more difficult. For instance, they refused to take their kapels off when we were playing football. When you are playing football, you can’t wear that kapel with the clip. If you head the ball, it will damage your head. They thought I was against their religion, which wasn’t true. It was difficult to get through to them.”

“But the real shock for me was the people with the hats and the beards. This boy, I have forgotten his name, used to read the laws to me from a big book. [mm: The Code of Jewish Law?] ‘If I had to do what it says in here,’ he told me, ‘I’d go berserk!’ To me it is disrespectful to your wife not to sleep in the same bed as her when she has her period. How must she feel? Humiliated! And, with sex, the boy told me that the idea is not to enjoy it, but that it is just for having children. ‘Look,’ I said, ‘the most enjoyable thing in life is the woman’s body!’”

“Marks and Soester got me to talk to a 26-year old teacher [mm: who shall remain nameless here] who had three children but had never seen his wife naked. ‘You tell him about it,’ they said. So I did. I told him that one of the biggest pleasures in life is foreplay. [mm: the Legend was somewhat more explicit] ‘No, no,’  he said, ‘it’s not right! You Cypriots are sex maniacs!’”

“I will always remember one rabbi [mm: nameless again, though a couple of beers could do it!] telling me ‘The only thing I enjoy in life is my car.’ ‘But don’t you enjoy your wife,’ I asked. He didn’t reply.”

“Everything at Hasmonean seemed to be ‘kosher this’ and ‘kosher that’. But I remember Mr. Bloomberg telling me that, until he came to the school, he never knew there was even such a thing as kosher milk!”

It was clear that Chishios had a particular soft spot for Joe Paley — surprising, perhaps, since he was responsible for scratching the beloved “miniboos” — whose name he simply could not utter without the addition of the epithet “poor chap”. Until marrying his religiously “extreme” wife, Paley was apparently just a “normal guy” — not how many (any?!) ex-Hasmos will remember him — with a penchant for Greek food. “He was a very nice chap. But he couldn’t stand the religious side. She changed him completely. He went mad. I remember he used to go down to Goodge Street to pass the place where he used to eat souvlaki, just for the smell. He had a real problem with discipline, and I used to help him. Unfortunately, they got rid of him soon after I left.”

Having said all of that, Hasmonean was the highlight of Chishios’s career. “It was the best time of my life. I will never forget it. The students were excellent. I was getting results. I was teaching skills, and they appreciated it. And the staff were great. I used to get on with everybody. And they helped me a lot with the Sports Day. I was very grateful for that.”

Having taught over five thousand pupils in a career spanning thirty years, it is only natural that, while the name “Chishios” still resonates deeply with many of us, he has long forgotten nearly all of ours. Most of the names I mentioned (even those like Koffman and Elbaz) drew a complete blank, while a few others — due to their sporting ability (Felsenstein, Nachshon and Haruni) or the fact that they went on to sell his Dollis Hill home (Leigh Topol) — brought fond recognition.

Chishios hasn’t forgotten his former colleagues, though, especially the liquid lunch crew of Marks, Soester, Hackett, Joughin, and, later, Sue Schneider. Martin Hackett has visited Cyprus a number of times, and is due there again later this year.

While Chishios clearly enjoyed my recounting of the many tales told about him on melchett mike, his reaction was almost as if they were about someone else (or, at least, a past life). As well as the Legendary Dunlop — which he only used because Mr. Jurke had forgotten to take it into retirement with him — he also claimed to have no recollection of ever having used the word “spastic”. “I don’t really remember it. Perhaps I said it. If they were not working hard. If they were not doing things correctly. I might have said that. But I don’t really remember it, to be honest.”

He also had no knowledge of, and seemed genuinely surprised by, accusations of perviness which I informed him had been levelled against one former colleague of his in particular.

George sat rapt through the four or five hours of lively reminiscence and storytelling, enjoying learning new things about his father, while visibly cringing, on occasion, at his more outrageous, often explicit, utterances. My assessment of the Legend, in my original post, as more “politically wrong” than incorrect was bang on. He recalled getting seriously pissed off with his noisy new West Indian neighbours in Kilburn, as his son politely pointed out the irony of his somewhat dodgy views on the subject of immigration to the UK. “He just doesn’t get it,” George said to me in an aside.

Chishios left Hasmonean in 1986, following an offer he simply could not refuse, to become Head of PE at the English School in Nicosia. He only accepted the position, however, after the headmaster had guaranteed to build a proper gymnasium (it was completed in three years — compare that to the laughably drawn-out Hasmo minibus saga). Chishios retired, at the then compulsory retirement age of 60, in 1999.

We met at the English School, which he visits once a week to have coffee with a former colleague, the following morning. There had been no Dunlop there. “There were other ways of punishing them: detention and, in the hot weather, runs, sprints, press-ups, sit-ups and step-ups.” One former pupil George bumped into recently recalled how he had tried the old “I didn’t bring my kit” routine on his father. “Start running,” Chishios told him. “It was 35 degrees. I never forgot my kit again.”

Everyone I met told the same story about the Legend. Even the VAT refund officer at Larnaca Airport, who had started grilling me as to the nature of my visit. “To meet up with my old PE master,” I said. “He was a teacher at the English School in Nicosia.” Chishios had taught him, too! “Strict but fair,” was his assessment. And he didn’t dare rummage through my bag after that.

Chishios is enjoying his retirement, and is an active grandfather to his four granddaughters (two each from George and his daughter from his second marriage). But he has known sadness, too. The Turkish invasion of 1974 led to the theft and uprooting of the family’s beautiful and profitable fruit groves (30 acres) in Famagusta, just a few kilometres from his hometown of Paralimni (still his main home). His father never fully recovered. Chishios has little love for the Turks and, as a matter of principle, has — like many Greek Cypriots — never crossed into Turkish-occupied territory. He is very pleased about Cyprus’s increased cooperation with Israel, especially over the proposed EastMed gas pipeline.

I took my leave of Mr. Chishios with no little sadness. He had been hugely engaging and a generous host. He, too, seemed to enjoy our meetings, and was genuinely chuffed that an ex-Hasmonean would fly in to see him.

Mr. Chishios is clearly a more normal, well-rounded and compassionate individual than most of the assorted bigots, misfits and lunatics whom I recall from Holders Hill Road. According to comments following my original post, Rabbi Kahan had apparently labelled him an antisemite. That was clearly complete nonsense. If some of his language and behaviour were a tad outlandish on occasion, it probably had more to do with the shenanigans he had to put up with on a near daily basis. And, never mind get on an aeroplane, I wouldn’t even cross the road to greet any of the ‘mullahs’ who have relocated to Har Nof.

I told Mr. Chishios that a visit to Israel and An Evening with Chich would (unlike the pitifully attended Hasmo Boys’ pub meets) draw a very good crowd. He said he would certainly consider it.

My only request of him was that there be no requirement for white socks or jockstrap inspections.

“Don’t be funny, son.”

[Thank you to George, without whom none of this could have happened . . . and, of course, to his “old man” for being such a sport! For videos of the Legend from my trip, join the “Hasmo Boys” Facebook group.]

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69 responses to “Hasmo Legends XXX: Sick in the Head . . . in Cyprus!

  1. My that was enjoyable Mike…I should be working on numerous things right now, so have only skim-read. Will definitely read and re-read and add some thoughts of my own in due course. Thank you ! D

  2. Nicky Amini

    Amazing! You’re a legend Mike 🙂

  3. zeev portner

    Mike

    Great post.

    Glad you met the great man. it would be great if you could track down Walters.

    Best wishes,

    Ze’ev

  4. Fantastic post!!!! Really made me smile (-;

  5. Mike Greene

    What a fabulous interview- and he’s still instantly recognisable.
    I’ve long reflected that , as with most (ALL) of my subjects , if I’d only embraced PE with
    Chich what great sporting prowess I might have achieved . And Corbyn says Jews don’t do irony .
    Well done 👍

  6. midlifesinglemum

    Great writing. I really enjoyed this post and I’ve never even heard of him.

  7. Josh Haruni

    Excellent piece, Mike. You kept that quiet!! Anyway, he looks remarkably fit and happy. Clearly his years back home have softened his memories of our nut house and cast his view of the boys at Hasmo with a slight rose-coloured tint, which can’t be a bad thing. I think its a brilliant idea to have him visit.

  8. Leigh Topol

    Absolutely brilliant Mike. He does indeed look really well for his age. And I’m so glad he recalls me selling his house. It is 33 years on, but I’ll never forget his face as he answered the door to this suited, juvenile spiv, before standing there with that familiar arms splayed stance and saying “Topol, what are you doing here”. I don’t know who was more surprised. But he was warm and engaging and I’m pleased this has come across in your blog.

    I am so glad too that I was honoured to have actually played, albeit a minor part in sending him back to what has been a wonderful family life back home. I maintain that some of my funniest Hasmo memories in terms of teaching staff were related to him…

    One in particular springs to mind in which (as the third best runner in the year after Nachshen and Melnick) I was avoiding being press ganged into going on the Barnet interschool run. I hated it. Finishing at the back of the pack of an athletic mob, in which randomly and at any moment, some reprobate would present themselves and either physically or anti-Semitically abuse me held little interest. So cue me hiding from him one day, as Mr C chased me around the school, desperately trying to round up his embarrassing team of no-hopers; as I darted in and out of various nooks, crannies and classrooms. Every so often I’d hear the accented “where’s Topol, have you seen Topol”. Great fun.

    Anyhow, if George is reading this, then please send the great man my regards.

  9. Wonderful read – sat here smiling away. Mike it seems that you may yourself be…..a Hasmo Legend!!

  10. Daniel Cohen

    I really enjoyed that Mike – I loved him even at the time
    no one has mentioned Brazil v Italy, Q/F WC 1982 – I watched that game so many times, infact every time it rained we all watched it, again and again – I am not sure how busy you are Mike, but can you find and interview;
    Alan Walters (agree with Zeev)
    Mr Hackett
    I know Mr Tarrant was at a Jewish school in Burnt Oak but any others will be great

  11. Mike – i can still hear the “dont be funny son” in his accent – great read and well done for giving an old man the respect he clearly deserves

    I love the homicidal threats he used in the first school

  12. Simon Spiro

    Fabulous read. Thanks for posting and taking the care and time out to go visit him. Great job.

  13. Mike

    You know I am a big fan of yours and I love all your writing. We are friends.

    But – and I’m sorry to be a party pooper here – I am very uncomfortable with this complimentary article.

    In fact, I’ll go even further; I think you should remove it.

    Let me get the anticipated rebuttals out of the way first, though: I don’t hold any personal grudge against Mr Chisios. I was a reasonably non-troublemaking student at Hasmo and I don’t recall any major clashes with him. I doubt he’d remember me (well possibly, the infamous slippering on the North Circular road together with other two fellow students, but we had bunked off games to be fair). Also, I can excuse a lot of things which seem wrong to us now but were seen as ok back then. So actually no issues with slippering because corporal punishment was common then, and wasn’t outlawed. Equally, even calling people “spastic” – something which might make us recoil in horror now – was, again, the norm at that time. I guess the fact that none of us probably even mentioned these things to our parents back then as being unfair or unusual probably reinforces the point.

    BUT, here’s where things get difficult. This was a man who, prior to each PE lesson, insisted that we should not be wearing underpants under our shorts. Then, at the beginning of the lesson he would perform an “inspection” by lining us up, pulling aside the waistband of our shorts and looking down to “check”.

    Again, I don’t think any of us saw fit to mention anything about it at the time to our parents. And actually, I can’t say I’m traumatised by the memory of it either.

    As I say, I’ve not been left traumatised by it. As far as I now, nor have most of my contemporaries. But I guess I could say I don’t know for sure.

    I do not think there can EVER be an excuse for that kind of behaviour, and I think we owe it to those who may have been disturbed by these actions to not publicise and pay tribute to such a man.

    I’m sorry Mike. Please take this article down.

  14. Daniel Cohen

    Thats really sad Tony – I cannot recall at all incidents like you have mentioned (1979+) – I remember the multi gym sport – the mini bus – not wearing a Kippa with clips as you might head the ball and Brazil Italy – whilst the political climate has changed, I do not think Mr Chishios’s behaviour falls into a problematic category at all.

  15. Hi Anthony,

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I don’t agree with it. Chishios was merely checking that boys were wearing jockstraps for PE and not underpants (that may cause chaffing and fungal infections).

    Moreover, it says a lot I think that, in the over ten years that this blog has been in existence, not a single person – until now – has made any such accusation against Mr. Chishios.

    I am even wondering, to be honest, if this is a wind-up . . .

    Best,

    Mike

  16. Alan Howitt

    Excellent interview. Well done! You deserve a Pulitzer for this scoop. So nice to hear Mr. Chichios again. What a gever!

  17. Sorry, Mike, I don’t want to turn this into a major debate here.

    I repeat, I am a big admirer of your writing and especially your insightful and witty writing on Hasmo. On a personal level, I think you are a man of integrity who calls out nonsense and hypocrisy (and there was a lot of that in Hasmo) when he sees it. I am not schmoozing you when I say this.

    And I’m not, in my everyday life, an active campaigner for this kind of stuff. I don’t even like talking about it. Really.

    But there is a limit. I don’t accept the argument that because nobody mentioned it, either then or now, it can’t really have been an issue. Mike, to be honest, I didn’t even think about it until recently. This was the 60s/70s/80s – it was different times, and much of what was said and done – sexism, racism etc – we didn’t regard as wrong so it has left us largely untroubled. And I can live with that.

    So I’ll restate it baldly because I think it is worth reading in plain script. A teacher tells you it is a rule that you cannot wear underwear under your shorts. And he looks down your trousers at the beginning of each lesson because he says he has to check. I don’t care what era we were growing up in, that is wrong.

    I tell you what. Here’s a test. Go home tonight, and read out that last paragraph – minus the last sentence – to your spouse/partner and to any kids above the age of, say, ten. Ask them whether they think it’s serious or no big deal. You’ve got a child of your own now, Mike. Are you saying you’d be ok if a teacher did that to them?

    Why do I feel strongly about this? I’m not sure: by nature I’m not a big campaigner on anything and I tend to avoid conflict. I’m all for saying “that was then, let it go, let sleeping dogs lie, nothing to be gained” etc etc

    But here’s why I do feel strongly about this: because bad stuff happened in a lot of schools back then. And only now are victims feeling strong enough to talk about it. So, we need to respect them and encourage them to speak out, by never tolerating, vindicating or excusing any behaviour of that sort, even in its mildest form.

    I’m not advocating anyone does or says anything about the man. I’m just saying, we don’t need to accord him respect and honour. That’s what this article does, and that’s why I don’t think you should keep it.

    (P.S. I’m in Israel over Pesach, so I’m expecting you to come and see me so we can have a proper argy-bargy about this. But don’t wait till then to take the article down, please).

  18. Great stuff.

    I always found him to be a decent enough chap. Just before my barmitzvah I had a knee problem that kept me off PE and Games for almost a year. I was spared the normal task given to people with sicknotes of cleaning up the gym because, as he said, “you want to be out there”. He also kept an eye on my recovery and wouldn’t let me back until I had a doctor’s note saying I was okay.

    Re: the wearing of kippa during sports; I remember once a few of us came to borrow some cricket gear to have a game in the park and he showed us what had been proposed by one of the teachers (I’m not saying who, but there’s a connection with Frank Skinner). It was a beret. Imagine an entire year playing football at West Hendon playing fields whilst wearing berets!

    My only complaint about him was his complete lack of appreciation for cricket.

  19. Hi Mike,

    It’s Graham Summers here – you know me very well and I’m a close friend of Anthony Wagerman and I can validate every word he has written.

    I was in school with him and it went on regularly.

  20. Anthony,

    I hear everything you say. But I think you have put two and two together and made five.

    I remember the inspections myself. To my mind, there was NOTHING too wrong with them. Whether you think Chishios was a good teacher or not, what was extremely clear from the time I spent with him in Nicosia – all that stuff about “skills”, etc – was that he took his job extremely seriously. All right, other PE teachers might have let the pants thing go. But that wasn’t Chishios. Rightly or wrongly, he was pissed off that he couldn’t get most of us pampered Jewish kids wearing proper sports gear (hence, also, the obsession with “wassocks”).

    And I will, of course, be happy to continue in person.

    Best,

    Mike

  21. I too disagree with Anthony’s comments. I had no real common ground with Mr C as I was totally unsporty and just wanted to get out of PE, but I think he was / is a rough diamond and a thoroughly decent man. Different times back then remember.

  22. “….thoroughly decent”, “….rough diamond”, all true no doubt. But you, and others, miss the point. You are implying that attributes of decency and such behaviour must be mutually incompatible somehow. Of course they aren’t; look at descriptions of other (admittedly much worse) offenders; they were always throughly decent people. It means nothing.
    Incidentally, DanGins, I just saw your brother in Shul and considered consulting him on the matter, but then thought better of it!

  23. Anthony
    Sadly it’s your comments that need removal.
    If you want to allege something then do so. But to wave vague comments about being uncomfortable today whilst making comparisons with 40-50 years ago are not on. What you’re doing is creating just a widget of doubt….and that becomes ‘no smoke without fire’ and escalates accordingly etc etc.
    Perhaps you should revisit these comments in this light, and remember that there is a totally innocent 80 year old man reading these comments.

  24. OK this is definitely my LAST response. I’m not sure it’s good for anyone to keep this one going and, as I said, I’m not the campaigning type. I’ve said my piece and I will say no more after this.

    Henri (Henri B, I assume; hello, hope you are well). I am not alleging, I am stating fact. I am not making vague comments about being uncomfortable, I am saying it was wrong, full stop. Not actually the most heinous crime compared to some incidents of abuse you hear about but still, it was wrong.

    I’m not trying to create a vague sense of doubt, I am saying it actually happened. I understand your contempt of people who smear others through vague but meaningful implication and, like you, I strongly disapprove of that insidious approach. I’m not doing that here: I am calling it out in simplest terms.

    I wasn’t aware Mr Chisios (aka your “totally innocent 80 year old man”) read these comments, but if he did I’d still stand behind them. Sorry Mr C – I think I quite liked and respected you, but that doesn’t mitigate your actions in any way.

    Mike, I repeat my earlier challenge to you; read out that earlier paragraph in my last post to some of your nearest and dearest and ask them how they would judge it. (Anyway, Mike, we will meet in Israel to debate this personally. The rules of engagement are that each of us can bring two supporters to help us argue. I’m bringing one of my daughters and sons-in-law. You can bring Stewey and Dexy).

    That’s it.

  25. Okay, I’m going to wade in here. But firstly my credentials. I’ve been a police officer for 15 years and a detective for the best part of 14 of them. I’ve spent the past decade working in child abuse investigation teams across two forces. I deal with both current and historic sexual abuse cases. I deal with serious Crown Court cases, and have secured convictions resulting in sentences that have literally run into hundreds of years combined. I’m also an accredited specialist child and adult witness interviewer, a nationally accredited specialist child abuse investigator and my work involves significant training in all things centring around child abuse. It’s basically my life and I spend the best part of 60 hours a week on it, so I think I’m qualified to talk about this subject – and I feel very strongly about what’s being said on the limited basis of what’s been disclosed.

    This is a man who Mike filmed at his previous school in Greece at which he had a long and respected career doing what he did. This speaks volumes in itself. As the blog said, thousands of children were taught by him – and yet the best anyone can dig up is that he used to check to make sure we were wearing jock straps. I can tell you now, if you phoned up to report this to the police tonight, they would take your report, give you a pleasant little crime number to take away, and allocate it to a Detective Sergeant to review. The sum total of that complaint would be nothing. He’d not even be interviewed and the matter filed. This was the 1970s, and I watched what happened at that school. I watched other teachers doing and saying things that, frankly, nowadays, would be astounding. This was a decent man who, like every single teacher at that school, had peculiar methods and ways about him.

    He was a sports teacher that I remember would moan that none of the boys were taking showers, it doesn’t mean he wanted to see their bodies. The reason I’m defending this man is because, professionally, he hasn’t done anything wrong – there was nothing untoward about him, nor did anyone else seem to think so at the time. There was never any gossip about him. And in all these years, nobody has come forward and alleged that he touched them inappropriately. Now if somebody came forward to me and informed me he ‘sexually abused me’, I would take their complaint seriously because that’s another matter, a game changer. But they haven’t. What we’ve got here is a man who probably came from a school where the children did take showers and do as they were told and who also wore jock straps. It was a total cultural shift for him. Have you not watched a single American movie where you can see the locker-room culture and a coach who’s clearly not a paedophile but is nevertheless slapping the team on the arse with a wet towel etc? Yeah, if this happened now people would have more to say about it – but it still wouldn’t be child sexual abuse. When you’re looking at potential offences over the years at Hasmo, I’d say it’s far more troublesome that a certain religious teacher, who we all know, used to put boys over his knee at the front of the class and, between smacks, rub their bottom, telling them they were a naughty boy. Even that wouldn’t pass the criminal threshold of being sexual abuse.

    I don’t normally reveal what I do for a living, mainly because I deal with some of the darkest elements of society, and when I get home, my downtime and head space is my own. But hearing people demand that this post be taken down and demonise this man, on the basis that he ‘checked for jock straps’, is both sinister and laughable in equal measure – and I’m ashamed and sorry his son may have had to see such defamatory talk. It was a great post about a man many people felt fondness for, maybe some anger towards because of his behaviour with his slipper – nobody’s perfect in life. But he took the time to be interviewed, at 80 years old, about his time at Hasmonean. Again, I’m ashamed anyone would tell you to take the post down. If you’ve got anything else to say about this, pick up the phone, dial 101 and report it.

  26. Thank you, Leigh. The words “hit”, “nail” and “head” spring to mind.

  27. zeev portner

    I am sure he will get a heroes welcome in Israel.

  28. Grant Morgan

    Schools need cash and these days they have quite sophisticated fundraising strategies. You omitted to interview the great man on his own unique fundraising technique of approaching boys with the slipper and asking “is your dad rich ?”

  29. Thanks for your insight Leigh. Whereas I still don’t entirely agree I respect your professional viewpoint and experience and will say no more.

  30. Great achievement Mike,
    Now the Legend of Chichios has been immortalized for all time.
    Another feather in your cap you too are becoming a legend

  31. Bullfrog Brown

    Even though I was a City of London boy, this was great reading. Your journalistic skills are superb !

  32. David Mencer

    Well done Mike.

  33. The reference to his alliance with Uncle Joe Paley is quite sweet, and brings back amusing memories: “Beyave yerself or Ill sendja ta Mista Chizyiss !! “

  34. Love this post, it’s full of great, insightful writing. Who’s your next interview gonna be with?

  35. Grant Morgan

    Like most of us, I remember Mr. Chichios with nothing but great fondness. A firm man yes, but also a fair one and let’s be honest, he was one of the few decent men in an asylum run by absolute lunatics. I’ll come onto one of my favourite stories shortly but first, please allow me to respond to previous posts.

    Yes, he operated in different times where corporal punishment still existed (as did practices which would, at the very best, be frowned upon today) but there is absolutely nothing in his past (recent or otherwise) to evidence or even suggest an ounce of truth in the ridiculous allegations levelled at him on here by a number of mildly cretinous keyboard warriors who should perhaps first look a little closer within their own “pious” communities to expose those who truly physically, mentally and sexually abuse.

    I joined in 1978 along with Herszaft, Isaacson, Topol and of course Elbaz (a Moroccan refugee arriving in the late 70s from Anfield). Now, none of us were particularly frum (yes, some more observant than others) and as such were already one nil up in Mr. Chichios’s books. It didn’t necessarily save us from run, slipper, rib digging or bar hanging punishments but equally we knew where we stood with him. And him with us. There was an equal amount of respect and fear and we could certainly get away with more than the frum unstable spastics, most of whom sadly didn’t have a single sporty gene in their DNA. Even BAGA 4 was beyond them as they head rolled diagonally across the gym, tzitzit flayling while pressing hard on their velvet kippas for fear of them falling off and, in the words of the great man himself, “the sky falling in”.

    Elbaz, as those of you who schooled with him or are familiar to this blog will know, was what we referred to as a “lobus”. There is no English translation sadly and it is reserved solely for the likes of Elbaz. On one very rare occasion, when we hadn’t spent three periods taking three form registers, walking to Copthall, walking back from Copthall and the time in between used for dressing and undressing in changing rooms even Josef Fritzel would not have allowed his children into, we were afforded a game of playground football with Mr. Chichios officiating. He made it emphatically clear from the outset, adorned in his famous brown tracksuit and holding a styrene cup of god knows what, that he was playing and was available for “team selection”.

    So, with everyone lined up against the wall, including Mr. Chichios, Elbaz and another wretch (probably Neil Nachshon – a wonderful sportsman, a lovely boy and the only frumer fortunate enough to have received every sport gene which bypassed all the others) were made captains and proceeded to pick teams in the usual alternate manner. Mr. Chichios had already confirmed his eligibility for selection but that didn’t stop Elbaz (on his first turn) to ask him “are you playing Sir?” “Yes Elbaz” came the response upon which Elbaz said “thank you sir” and proceeded to pick me. Mr. Chichios, not happy, took it in fairly good spirit until a number of turns later, and with only the unstable frumers and him left standing, Elbaz asks for the fourth time “are you playing Sir?”

    You can only imagine the hysteria from us and the rage from him. “ELBAZ!” “Ok, I’ll pick you Sir.” I can still see Elbaz during the game looking up and shouting “Sir, Sir” yet still passing to someone else.

    This story embodies all that was simultaneously genius and nuts about the school, our relationship with it, and with each other.

    George, if you are reading this then you should be very proud of your Dad, which I’m sure you are, and do send him my very best wishes. The last time I saw you, you must have been around eight years old as you always came to work with Dad when your school heating broke down (a more than regular, perhaps even convenient, occurrence I recall).

    I understand from Michael that you are now both a father and a successful banker. That’s wonderful news and just know that you are always welcome to come to work with me if the heating in your new building should ever fail and I promise not to interfere with you!

  36. Peter Weisz

    I remember him fondly…because I was a good at sports…captained the soccer team and excelled in athletics. I never found him harsh…just disciplined…Never forgot my white socks though! Peter Weisz. Hasmo boy from 1973 – 1980.

  37. What was it with Chich and the colour purple? I remember he had a Morris Marina, a tracksuit, and a nylon 2-piece lounge suit (which appeared once a year, for speech day)….all in that tasteful hue

  38. Robert Chevins

    My favourite Chichios moment was when we played Albany College when I was in the Lower Sixth. I couldn’t find proper football boots so just wore trainers and I was sliding all over the place, and scored the flukiest goal ever (looping over the keeper from a shot miles out). Chichios was also the ref, but at half time gave us our team talk. It was basically “all of you were roobish, you’re useless” that type of thing. Then he turned to me with a look of utter despair and said “Chevins, what are you doing, you were roobish” – so I said “I scored a goal, didn’t I?”, to which he replied instantly “your goal was roobish”! Classic encouragement – anyway we somehow held on and won!

  39. Just scrolled down and read your post Grant Morgan. Brought a tear to my eye and your recollection of some details is outstanding. The polystyrene cup for one. Ignoring Tony making the accusations as it’s not worthy of a comment, I think for all of us they were indeed special times. I remember on my last day, climbing up on the top deck of the 240 bus home and looking across the road thinking whatever comes next is never going to be as much fun and as mad on an hourly/daily basis as that place was. I was right. It was so different (in all our eyes anyway) to everyone else’s school that it’s a credit and heartwarming that we all have these many stories, fond acccounts and memories of what went on there. I have never known any of my friends that went to City, Habs, Orange Hill, John Lyons, Mill Hill etc ever mention anything close to what we experienced. So 35 years later to still have it all flooding back because of a great article and a man putting himself out for others to enjoy and read, is bloody beautiful x

  40. Perry Shapira

    The notion of interviewing Chishios in Cyprus, and then actually going ahead with the plan is hilarious. Mike your post is great, really funny. But you don’t need me to tell you that – everyone has said it before me.

    I cant remember in which year Chisios become the PE master. I believe it was our 4th year. I’m sure my friend John Fisher will correct me if I’m wrong, which I’m likely to be. I had very little interaction with him. I remember him as being friendly enough – I think I knew how to stay on the right side of him. To the best of my recollection he never wielded a Dunlop– in fact, very few teachers administered corporal punishment in our day. That seems to have changed later on – as some of the ‘youngsters’ in this blog record.

    So regarding Tony’s post (‘checking’ under shorts) I consider myself to be somewhat of an outsider and objective – no axe to grind. No reason to defend or accuse Chishios. I of course read Leigh Topol’s expert opinion post, and I duly respect that. I understand also that no accusations have ever been made.

    Clearly , though, Chishios’ ‘checking’ made his mark on Anthony, who doesn’t appear in any way traumatized, but on the other hand doesn’t seem to have forgotten the experience. And I daresay he will not have been the only one, notwithstanding the comments made on this blog. So did Chishios break any law? – very possibly not. But was his behaviour (looking down kids’ shorts, to check that they are naked, for heavens sake!) worryingly out of the accepted norms of society, even of those days? – It certainly looks that way to me. If we heard that was happening to our kids in school, we’d be marching right up there, and demanding to know what’s going on. At least I hope that’s what you would all do, however well-respected, (‘fair but firm’) the individual teacher involved may be.

    Shavua Tov

  41. Glad you enjoyed the post, Perry.

    I also remember the inspections. But they were NOT “to check that [we were] naked”, but rather to make sure that we were wearing jockstraps and not underpants!

    Chishios will have overseen around 2,000 boys in his 14 years at Hasmonean. But Anthony’s comment is the only ONE of its nature in the over 10 years that this blog has been in existence. He has said that that proves nothing. I would suggest that it proves an awful lot!

    This is an absolute nonsense. And I am putting it to bed.

    Mike

  42. Brett Radley

    Wonderful!
    Reminds me when Chich was hassling Elbaz for his “rich dad” to sponsor the minibus or the multigym (can’t remember which).

    Elbaz’s successful tactic was to deflect attention to me:

    “sir, you should ask Radley, his dad drives a Rolls Royce and is loaded – he’s a famous porno movie producer”.

    All of course untrue, however the tactic worked and I got grilled as to which porno’s my dad produced.

    Elba’s clearly new the best titles which he rolled off “ deep throat”, “Debbie does Dallas” etc…

    That was it, chich viewed me with a new level of respect and keenly awaited the requested sponsorship from my Dad – which obviously never materialised.

  43. Daniel Rynhold

    Mike,

    On reading this fond (and wonderful) “Chich” post, thought you might like to know the following.

    There was a post from a while back which was either about, or at least mentioned “Mad Dog,” and like this Chich post was pretty sympathetic, portraying Mr Marks as an intelligent and decent sort frustrated by the Ayatollah’s under whom he had to work. I had liked him (and English) back in the day, and after reading your post I recalled that he had tried to persuade me to take English A level. But it was Hasmo, so much to his disappointment I took the sciences.

    I haven’t searched back for the post, but I remember that in my mind at least, it had conjured up the image of a melancholy ex-teacher, with regrets at having wasting his talent on us idiots – and that prompted me to seek him out. Long story short, I’ve ended up a Professor of philosophy (specializing in Jewish philosophy – NOTHING to do with Hasmo, which turned me off Jewish Studies completely), so I thought that it might be gratifying for him to hear that an ex-student, who at the time was just another one he’d “lost”, had gone on to do something he might actually be quite proud of.

    I’m now in NYC, so I messaged Shimon Soreq Soester (of this parish), since someone had mentioned that Mr Marks and Simon’s dad still met up for drinks, and asked if he’d mind passing on a message from me to Mr Marks. Shimon gladly obliged, and a few days later I received a lovely email from the man himself (who remembered me frighteningly well!!). I sent him a copy of one of my books, and we’ve been emailing every couple of weeks ever since. We’ve shared the odd Hasmo memory here and there, but mainly chat about Spurs (to absolutely confirm that “worst kept secret”), literature, Nietzsche, and what we’re watching on Netflix.

    Just thought it might warm the cockles of your heart to know that you’d inspired a renewed a connection which I’ve really enjoyed – and without wishing to blow my own trumpet at all, I think has also brought a smile to the face of the Hasmo Legend that is Mr Marks.

  44. Daniel Rynhold – I fear you may have just volunteered yourself to beg, steal or borrow Ivan Marks’ Hasmo memoirs, for this blog. In the meantime, will you please pass on fond regards from the Ginsbury brothers (of which I am the younger), next time you are in touch?

  45. Grant Morgan

    Dan R, I recall Mr Marks’ rubbish jumpers and his even more rubbish knitted kapels (that hardly covered his 1970s mess of whispy hair).

    I also recall his pain at having to teach us English, a cohort for whom English wasn’t a first language albeit we were all born here (except for the Paki Jews who arrived from Persia in the late 70s – and Elbaz of course).

    I’m not quite sure why any decent, half professional teacher (I use that word advisedly) would have been drawn to Hasmo. They stuck out like sore thumbs against a backdrop of despotic, mildly retarded and wholly abusive psychopaths.

    I liked Mr Marks. Very much. And I felt his pain, even then given the disparity in our ages and roles.

    During one English lesson in the sixth form block (oh how that phrase conjures up images of warmth, comfort and the finest 14th century civil engineering) Adrian Glasner, slumped in his chair, raised his arm and asked one of his usual supercilious questions. Preparing for another world-beater, Mr Marks grimaced, book open in hand and with a solitary forefinger pushed his glasses firmly onto the bridge of his nose, waiting for the gem to leave Glasner’s mouth.

    I can’t actually recall the question but it led to every single student volleying their own text book at him in (feigned) disgust that he should ask such a ridiculous question. Glasner, deflecting flying books from all sides looked at Mr Marks for support who simply looked at the class, then back at Glasner, then back at the class (with me all the time thinking “go on sir, go on sir”). He didn’t disappoint.

    He threw his book at Glasner with velocity and direction to make Mr Chichios proud. Happy days indeed.

  46. Sorry I’ve not been in contact Mike. I’m currently in the process of calling 101 to report the art teacher at hasmo for holding a boy upside down by his legs and shaking him down for charity money as we laughed and watched the coins fall out his pockets. We’re talking both assault and robbery in one. I’m also holding for the sexual offences unit at the metropolitan Police. I’m filing a report about a certain strangely spoken chemistry teacher, who would routinely call boys up onto his plinth who’d misbehaved, put them over his knee, and rub their bottom as he spanked them. I’m also reporting about 14 assaults I witnessed, whereby another religious teacher, of a name similar to a semi famous comedian, smacked the hands of students in quick succession who’d misbehaved. I saw the reddening it caused and the look on their faces as he did it. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm. There’s no statute of limitation on that type of thing… I’m sure the Met could really get their teeth into that one.

    I really could go on and maybe I will….

    I perhaps need to report all the boys that would run around taking the mickey out of anyone who was slightly camp…. report how they’d call Asian looking boys derogatory racist insults. Hate crime in modern terms you know. We can’t be having that….. And lastly I need to report an assault by the group of religious sixth formers, who lifted me up, walked me some fifty feet, and threw me in the sandpit on my first day. Again traumatised me and 35 years on I’m still talking about it.

    Fuck me this is tedious.

  47. Mike Hinden

    Mike, as always a thoroughly good read. Just trying to make up my mind who is more perverted, the teacher who was checking that his pupils were wearing the correct attire to perform their task safely and comfortably, OR, those who on reflection think he was checking just in case they were wearing nothing at all. I’m with DCI Topol on this.

  48. Daniel Rynhold

    Ha! Would have to be “steal” Danny Ginsbury, since I think getting any form of voluntary confession would be beyond my powers of persuasion. I’m not at all sure he would want to contribute to a public forum. Guess I can ask though, and will certainly send your best. Also, if Ginsbury “the elder” is the ex-rabbi of Shrubs in Prestwich, he married me and the missus, so send my best – and I forgive him 😉

  49. Daniel Rynhold

    Just to add one other thing. I think I’m a little younger (though really only a little) than most posting here (I started in ’82). And I have to say, I genuinely don’t recall Chich ever doing this. I don’t think this is a memory issue either, since I clearly recall our first ever “Games” session in which he showed us HIS jockstrap, which was barely containing his Cypriot lunchbox at the time (I didn’t sleep for a week). Clearly he must have checked out the boys’ attire for a number of years, since those posting here, on both sides of the #metoo divide, agree on that. But I’m wondering whether he may have changed this practice at some point. Would be interested if any “younger readers” can confirm my recollection of its later absence. If nothing else, it will determine whether or not I need to go get checked out for early-onset memory loss.

  50. Hi again Daniel – yes that’s my brother, although he left Shrubberies some 20 years ago now, and has been rabbi of Hendon United (Raleigh Close) since then. You were in the year below mine – I was at the school 81-88. Mr Marks had a healthy degree of respect for the Gins clan, partly because our father is quite the literary person, who can recite pretty much anything from any Orwell novel or essay ba’al peh and is none too shabby on the works of Evelyn Waugh or Kafka, either. They got along famously at open evenings. I wonder if he’d recall….

  51. The following is the response I received in 2009 – from a reader of this blog (my best chance, I had thought, of getting to Mr. Marks) – to my attempt to get Marks to be interviewed for, or contribute to, Hasmo Legends . . .

    “I. Marks has no wish to talk to you . . . He “detests and boycotts blogs”, and has no wish to have any contact.”

    I think that is fairly conclusive! And I got on pretty well with Marks, having taken English A-level.

    I have no idea what the guy has gone through – I suppose teaching at Hasmonean for 30-odd years is quite enough – but it is a pretty disappointing response from an English teacher to what is, after all, our literary (to varying degrees!) response to our experiences on Holders Hill Road.

    I am quite happy for you to forward this to your pen pal, Daniel. Please tell him, too, that some sign of life from him would make a lot of ex-Hasmoneans very happy. For whatever reason – probably because we remember that he had a pretty good, dry sense of humour – he is the Legend that ex-Hasmos would most like to hear from next.

  52. Well IM did take a lot of abuse and mockery from pupils collectively, once they got into mob mode. No denying that, and it upsets me greatly with hindsight. What a waste of a true scholar and wit. So I can appreciate that he might be willing to correspond privately with individuals, but flatly refuse to post publicly to a group.

  53. Not sure about “true scholar”. If he had been anything close, he wouldn’t have been at Hasmo. But he was a decent teacher and a good bloke. Anyway, whose side are you on, Ginsbury? We are trying to encourage him! Much water has passed under (or should I say over?!) the bridge, and I would have expected a man of his ilk to have gotten over it by now and contributed something.

  54. As ever Mike I am on the side of truth, justice, freedom, independence, modernity, tradition, science, religion, secularism, LGBT+, chasidism, jekkers….pretty much everything really

  55. 33.33% truth rate ain’t bad the day before an election, Dan Gins! 😉

  56. Daniel Ratner

    Well done Mike!
    As a cohen I used to drive him nuts with my “I can’t do the cross country run because it goes past a cemetary and the trees over hang the pavement” to which he replied “but you don’t look like a priest!!”
    I also remember his good sense of humour after SuperMac scored 5 against Cyprus at Wembley!

  57. The following are two comments, as well as my response to the first, posted here by a dissatisfied customer (I see no need to publish his name) yesterday evening.

    I quickly decided to delete them, not because I give a flying fuck about the opinion of the horrible no-mark – who I have had to block from my Facebook in the past – but rather because I have no inclination for a time-consuming war of words with such a clearly bitter wankstain.

    Mike – you were after my time in Hasmo, and i have no recollection of you and the image of the spirited disobedient miscreant caled Mike. Your piece is entertaining and really well written. The prupose of a blog with comments and facebook is to let people express their opinions and your reaction to Perry’s comments is typical of the often tyrannical way you run your blogs, which is far from the image of a chuzpadik nonconformist. Perry’s comments are legitimate and even they disagree with yours should not be summarily dismissed or in other cases deleted. by “Mike the Censor.” As far as I read you would have been an ideal Hasmo teacher, your views are cemented in the self righteous indignation of knowing you are correct and inability, intolreance and unwillingness to discuss others opinions, which do not fit your mantra. At least this time you did not delete his opinion ! Lets now see if you will delete this as you have other posts and possibly dismiss me from your groups!

    I responded as follows . . .

    Of course I am not going to delete your comment. Here is mine: The “purpose” of my blog and of my group are whatever I choose them to be. No one is forcing you to enter them, read what is there, or in any way participate. I have had to block you in the past from my Facebook because of your unpleasantness. Perhaps you should take a look at your own behaviour for once. You have plenty to say about others, but it is clear that you have absolutely zero self-awareness.

    He then replied . . .

    Well your not deleting my comment makes a change – I hope it is a sign of things to come. In fact I have already began to receive messages from other ex Hasmos whose comments you have deleted. Without exception they felt their comments were fair. My comments are not “nasty”, they are as fair & legitimate and within the bounds of reasonable comment and opinion, as are all the other Hasmos whose comments you have deleted. I write freely on blogs and fb for years and you are the only person who has ever deleted my comment. If your blogs and fb groups are only for your those who fit your own “thought police” then you should not advirtise them as open to ex – Hasmo, but to Mike Melchett think alikes. Personal insults from you about my self awareness are not legitimate, are exactly the material you falsely claim others publish and censor, and will not distract me from the point in hand – your censorship.

    For the record, I deleted one comment from this thread for its potentially defamatory content. Otherwise, I don’t recall the last time that I had to delete a comment from melchett mike. Even at the blog’s height, I deleted very few. (Anyone who has a blog or is admin of a Facebook group, etc, will know that active moderation is sometimes necessary.)

    As for my supposed “image”, I have never done or written anything in order to cultivate one. I write melchett mike for myself, first and foremost, though I have met hundreds of people who very much enjoy it. A few, however, seemingly only see the bad in things. (A particularly Jewish, “nudnik” attitude?)

    So there you go, you sad little loser, you have had your (abysmally spelt) say. And I have protected your identity, too. Now fuck off back down your sad little hole.

  58. Mike Hinden

    Mike, from the comments and style I think I know who the arrogant “sad little loser” is. Some people never change, he was arrogant (without justification) at school, and time doesn’t seem to have improved him. I think you’re right to amend/delete anything that is possibly defamatory, it’s your blog and assume you have some responsibility for its content, not to mention protecting some from themselves. As for your response to Perry’s comment, you were just voicing your opinion, as we all do. Seems that the “sad little loser” has one rule for him and one for you. I can only assume that his influences at school were more Roberg than Ivan. Hope I’ve got all the you’re and your, their and there correct. I had Phil Skelker not Ivan, so if not, I’ll put it down to him. Another good one that got away to bigger and better things, probably before your time. As for the blog, always, amusing and nostalgic. I remember reading one of the earliest about Johnny whom I have wonderful (but all too short) memories of. I cannot imagine there are too many “messages from other ex Hasmos whose comments you have deleted” as claimed by the “sad little loser”. Keep up the good work, keep agitating – your brother would be proud of you.

  59. Mike – expose the “wank stain”. He sounds like a right shit arse !

  60. Mike, everyone who knows this guy confirms that he is an absolute vagina of the highest order. In fairness, he does sound like one. But not a pretty, pink bald one (that looks like a little boy scout poking his head out of a sleeping bag), but a horrible brown, purple, hairy, and smelly one from the 1970s. Well done Mr Vagina. You win most reviled ex-Hasmo boy on this blog. You win no further friends to add to your already barren collection.

  61. I can’t, Lee, sorry . . . these people are only in favour of free speech when it’s them doing the talking.

    And yes, Rob, most definitely a purply-brown one! 😉

  62. Lee/Rob don’t know who you are or when you were at Hasmo (I was there 68-73) but you sound like the kind of people that I would have got along with. I’m with you both, but I know why Mike has had to decline. The shame is now he’s been barred he won’t be able to see how reviled he is. As for the “brown, purple, hairy, and smelly one from the 1970s” as a 70’s teen, I had no problem with them at the time, but concur that the “pretty, pink bald ones” are preferable!!

  63. Grant Morgan

    I love how this intelligent, honest and at times heated debate has descended into puerile “nooney” talk. Hurrah I say – bring on the vaginas !

  64. Indeed. Very Hasmonean how a discussion re the correct packaging of “meat and two veg” for PE has descended to the level of purply-brown “rats” (to quote Kaufman). I blame Wankstain, myself.

  65. Jeremy Cohen

    OK, so it was inappropriate for the gym teacher to look down our shorts, obviously. But as has already been pointed out, Chich was expecting to see either a jockstrap (kosher) or pants (treif). He wasn’t expecting us to be naked. He was just trying (ineptly) to enforce the rules.

    And it beggars belief that Wagerman thinks it was worse than the illegal corporal punishment inflicted daily by at least half the teachers. And he tries to claim the violence (and sexism and racism) were acceptable by dint of their frequency. Sorry but that’s bollocks. Caning/slippering may have been legal, but attacking children in a fit of rage has never been legal or acceptable, no matter how commonplace. Wrong is wrong, and has always been wrong.

    And trying to make Mike remove the article? Seriously? Does Wagerman really think that people who disagree with him should never be allowed to speak? I’ll see him next Tuesday, if you catch my drift.

  66. Anyone recall tormenting Mr C with the above, in the early 80s?
    “Hope it’s Chich it’s Chich, we hoo-oope it’s Chich it’s Chich…”

  67. To this day I am still called by my then hasmo classmates a nickname I inherited from Mr Chichios who couldnt pronounce Solomon and so called me Cholomon during registration. I then became Melvyn Chol which stuck for 40 years good old Mr Chichios.

  68. In view of the good time had by all (I think!) at the last such gathering, in December, I am arranging another Hasmo Boys’ Pub Meet on Sunday 26th May (Bank Holiday weekend). The Greyhound in Hendon again, 7pm till closing. Please make a note in your diaries, and spread the word. See you there, I hope! Mike

  69. Edward Chalk

    A bit late in on this discussion.
    Chich did make me do sports in my underwear for forgetting my kit and also slippered me, but I am sure he is a nice guy.
    The views quoted above by the religious faculty are not normative Jewish theology, BTW.

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