Tag Archives: Stuey & Dexxy

The Last Supper? (A Gruesome Tail)

Anyone who has experienced the joy of my presence at their Shabbos table will know that I am in the habit of gathering, deboning, and taking home food left on plates for Stuey and Dexxy. Indeed, so regular has this fowl, greasy habit become that I am convinced that my hairy housemates believe that I spend every Friday evening hunting poultry.

On occasion, I take them along, too. And having thrust the pair (uninvited) upon her for lunch at the weekend, my dear aunt’s nerves were clearly becoming increasingly frayed by the longing stares, from beside her chair, for scraps from her plate.

“That is what they do,” I said, as if believing that this would placate her. “In fact, I have heard that if someone dies alone, and a dog has no choice, it will even eat its owner.”

“You see,” snapped my aunt, suddenly Messi latching onto a mishit back pass, “that is why you need a wife!!”

Folk have had so long to come up with convincing arguments as to why I should get hitched (cast your own vote in my Marriage Poll). But all have failed miserably. And this latest one – to avoid being consumed by Stuey and Dexxy – was only marginally more bizarre than most of the others (which usually boil down to: “Why shouldn’t you be miserable, too?”)

Hello, sailor!

Hello, sailor!

I have more than one friend who just longs to come home and to wake up to a fraction of the love I receive “365”. Accepted, it is not human. But neither is the mutual malevolence and contempt so seemingly common in more ‘normal’ relationships.

“If it happens, it happens,” is what I continue to tell the noodgers (whilst assuring everyone that my Purim fancy dress – see inset [in the event you hadn’t noticed] – was just that).

In the event that it doesn’t, then, seeing as I will never muster the courage to cast off the shackles of my upbringing – cremation would be my end of choice – and it will be them or the worms, why shouldn’t Stuey and Dexxy have one last good frenzy to remember me by?!

They wouldn't . . . would they?!

They wouldn’t . . . would they?


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.


Dating Israeli Women (Part II): Freeing the Dirty Dog Within

Well, it wasn’t really The End (see Dating Israeli Women: A Guide by the Perplexed). J . . . oh, f*ck it, Jennifer forgave that e-mail, and granted me a stay of execution. A brief one. We saw each other twice more, before that dreaded pregnant pause on the telephone, on the evening before our fifth date . . .

“Mike, you are a great guy, but you feel more like a friend.”

I consider proposing friendship with “extras” – Jennifer is an almost indisputable “9”, and I haven’t had too many of those – but refrain.

So, where am I going wrong?

"Could I score with a zoynoh?"

As I explained to a friend, last week, I think I have lost that predator’s instinct. When I was less serious about settling down – and preoccupied not with the future but, largely (if not merely), on gaining access to the Kodesh Kedoshim (Holey of Holeys) – I had a far lower goal:attempts ratio. Now, however, I am like Fernando Torres (right), a forlorn centre-forward who can no longer rely on his nose for goal, but who has started to think too much . . . rather than just poking, sliding or slamming the ball into the back of the net.

Let’s face it, when it comes to matters sexual, we are animals. And I could certainly learn a thing or two from Stuey and Dexxy in that regard: When they come across a hitherto unknown canine, they don’t agonize for weeks on end about a little excess facial hair or slightly imperfect hind symmetry, but rather head, without hesitation, straight for the “box”, where they have a jolly good sniff, often a bit of a lick, and decide, purely on the basis of that, whether or not to take it on from there. (The object of this attention does, on occasion, not take too kindly to it, though – very unlike their owner – neither Stuey nor Dexxy have ever been accused of going too fast, or of being interested only in one thing.)

Therefore – while incumbent upon humans to add a moral dimension to their behaviour (take note, most recent “dirty dog”) – the great scorers, both footballing and otherwise, will be in maximum sync with their animal sides (hence the sobriquet of my childhood hero, Allan “Sniffer” Clarke).

Human blind dates, however, are – to my shagrin – considerably more fraught than their canine equivalents. And, while it is perhaps inadvisable to follow the example of the romantic JDater (of Persian origin) who, twenty minutes into his first meeting with my friend in Manhattan, announced “I want to be inside you now” (she ran out), we are guilty of complicating the natural and straightforward . . . when we should, instead, be finding and releasing that hidden dog (or, at least, centre-forward) within.

I have come to see dates in terms of the motor vehicle . . .

The blind date car

And – unlike the meeting/clash of eyes across a crowded room, of trolleys in the supermarket aisle (the SuperSol on Tel Aviv’s Ben Yehuda Street is even said to stage a weekly, unofficial p’nuyim/p’nuyot [unattached] evening), or (for the benefit of Daniel Marks) of body parts in a nightclub lavatory, where the wheels of love/lust are at once in motion – the blind date car is entirely stationary . . . and facing an extremely steep hill.

As the driver, I consider what is in front of me and decide, (rightly or wrongly) more or less instinctively, what gear to put my brain in.

On occasions, the battery is completely dead, and all attempts to start the vehicle are futile. You both want to say (though neither of you has the courage): “Listen, there is no point. Let’s just go.”

On others – a recent Saturday morning, for example, when I met a lovely woman for breakfast in Modi’in, but just couldn’t imagine filling up – I go straight into cruise control. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours, before I sent her a text message, that evening, stating that “something, I don’t know what [a white lie], was missing.”

I suffered no such shortage of imagination with Jennifer. But after screeching off in first, and moving swiftly and smoothly into second, I hit trouble in third . . . and never reached fourth. In the old days, I would have been in fifth before I (and certainly she) knew it. My changes, however, have got a little rusty, and women, I think, sense that hesitancy.

Well, the gear box is definitely due some attention. A thorough service and oiling should do it, followed by a few spins around the block (prompting me to wonder whether I should be amending the “languages spoken” field in my JDate searches to Russian).

And, as Fernando Torres must also be reminding himself – it is comforting to know that I am not alone – it only takes a second to score a goal.

Watering the beasts: a lesson in comparative religion

Striding down Shderot Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Boulevard) last week, running late for an appointment in south Jaffa, Stuey and Dexxy, starting to wilt under the midday sun, were desperately trying to pull me off the tarmacked sidewalk and under the shade of each and every tree.

The sight of Stuey (always so full of beans), in particular, actually tiring is a rare one. So, passing a plant/flower centre, I popped in to request some H2O for my hairy flatmates. A nursery employee was instructed to pour some brownish water out of a large black flower bucket into a tan plant-pot tray.

Then, as I was enjoying the  sound of the canines quenching their thirst (always so strangely enjoyable), the centre’s Arab owner volunteered:

“Our religion tells us to give water to dogs, but not to rear them.”

My first thought: “Why the hell is he telling me this?” After all, I hadn’t asked him about the place of dogs in Islam.

My second – a reaction, perhaps, to all the shit that has gone down since 9/11 – was to inform him that I couldn’t give a f*ck about what his religion does or doesn’t “tell” him.

But, while I often fantasize about a Monty Brogan-style outburst, I, yet again, settled just for thinking:

“And my religion tells me: to build buildings, not to fly passenger planes into them; that women, though different, are equal, and certainly not some subspecies that should be forced to wander around like cloth-covered Daleks; to teach our children the right way; to treat animals humanely; to respect the environment; and to obey the laws of the land.”

Mr. Flower Man’s one sentence had summed up for me the huge gulf that exists between us.

Not that I haven’t, since moving to Jaffa (a month and a half ago), already been made fully aware of that: Cries of “Allahu Akbar!” emanate from the loudspeakers of local mosques five times a day, including at 5 in the morning (though to his credit, and my relief, the ‘chazan’ at my local is surprisingly melodic).

All this with Jaffa now estimated to be three-quarters Jewish. And, while you can argue the toss about inequalities of bargaining power, those Jews have purchased their homes, not – according to the much-loved narrative of the Israel-only basher – driven out the former owners, forced to flee only with that iconic key.

So, Mr. Flower Man, if you wish to win me over to your religion, it won’t be through its approach to our furry friends (much less to humans).

No. Apart from those 72 virgins (I would settle for just two, these days . . . though twins, please, if poss!), far more likely to Islamize me in these troubling times would be the old proverb:

“If you can’t beat us, join us.”

To all readers of melchett mike, a happy, healthy, and always humane, 5772. (And, if you haven’t done so yet, kindly visit http://www.justgiving.com/mike-isaacson/ . . . only 200 quid to go!)

Stop, hey, look what’s going down on Rothschild

“There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear . . .”

The closest I have come to tasting revolution since 1967 – the year in which Stephen Stills sang those words, and the one, too, in which I was born – was witnessing Johny Finn stand up in a crowded Holders Hill Road examination hall and (following, it must be said, no little provocation) cut Rabbi Abrahams, aka “Abie,”  (even further) down to size with the now legendary “You chutzpadik little man.”

That uprising, however, ended there. And, following the exchanged glances of horror (and of respect for our classmate), our heads immediately returned to the University of London exam papers from whence they had risen. Moreover, Armitage Road’s answer to Che Guevara is now a successful (and, what is more unusual in that line of work, well-liked) Jerusalem property developer.

Following some encouraging early signs of rebelliousness, the only type of revolting ever associated with me had nothing whatever to do with changing society for the better (or, indeed, at all). And, at our Shderot Rothschild architect’s office, yesterday afternoon, my partners and I – entirely oblivious to the tent-ridden Boulevard outside – were, somewhat obscenely in the circumstances, arguing the toss about whether we should invest an extra 15% for Schüco (German) windows with a spec befitting a gas chamber (as you can perhaps tell, I was against).

Observing the day-by-day growth of the Rothschild tent protest, however, has left me in no doubt that we are witnessing something truly historic and society-changing here. Something is clearly rotten in the state of Israel: twenty-odd families, effectively, control its economy (Bloomberg article), while insane property prices and high food costs – ludicrously, much Israeli produce costs far more here than abroad – cause significant hardship for most Israelis, whose low salaries are completely out of sync with the cost of living. But it is not in the interests of the vested interests – said families, the Israel Lands Administration, property developers, and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats – to make life more affordable for the ordinary Israeli.

Rothschild Boulevard, yesterday evening

It would, of course, be entirely hypocritical of me to overdo the empathy bit with the tent-dwellers. And, of course, no one likes a protesting student: what exactly have they got to “protest” about? Doing f*ck all for four years?! The movement has also been hijacked, to some extent, by agitators, crusties and downright lazies, many of whom appear to believe that the world owes them a living. I observed one such yesterday – who looked like he regretted ever leaving Goa – appropriate water from a fire hydrant to fill (and to the brim) a large plastic swimming pool. For all of these reasons (and because I am just like that), I have turned a blind eye to Stuey raising his hind leg – walk after walk, and day after day – against tent after tent (see July’s Mensch of the Month). It is, after all, his Boulevard, too.

Nonetheless, it has been quite something witnessing this public awakening and mobilization – and the intensity of debate being conducted – on Rothschild, until only recently the bastion of Tel Aviv superficiality, vacuity and bullshit. And, if you haven’t seen it for yourself, it is well worth a visit.

Tomorrow morning, I will once again walk Stuey and Dexxy down Rothschild . . . and will once again confront the harrowing sight of early-20-something Israeli females emerging in their skimpy pyjamas – in this humidity, merely shorts and a vest – into the virgin sunlight from the night’s makeshift erections (their tents, I mean!) And it is not an easy sight to behold, I can tell you.

Though there is nothing to be gained, either, from looking the other way or burying one’s head in the sand . . . so, may the struggle continue!

Photos from Rothschild, the following morning: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150745740155160.720923.611810159


Back on the Chain Gang

I recently decided, after a somewhat lengthy lull, to start dating again.

The decision to get back “out there” was as much the product of the realization that a next generation of melchetts is unlikely to spring from my domestic bliss with Stuey and Dexxy – who, perhaps unsurprisingly, appear to have no problem whatsoever with my staying single – as it was about the discovery (bitter-sweet) that I still had a month remaining on a frozen, and forgotten, subscription to JDate, the international(ly notorious) Jewish dating site.

“I found a picture of you, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh”

After less than a week “back on the chain gang,” however, life with my canine flatmates is appreciated more than ever . . .

First, on Friday evening, was a blind date in Neve Tzedek with Efrat, whom the wannabe shadchanit (matchmaker), a friend (still), informed me had recently split with her boyfriend. And it was great: good beer – I got inebriated (though convivially so) – and good chemistry . . . all followed, a day or so later, by the inevitable “I’m not ready” line (Efrat claims that she told me on the night, but who can remember?!)

“Now we’re back in the fight, we’re back on the train”

. . . though it already felt like I had never been off!

Next, on Sunday evening, was Anat (JDate this time), an English Lit. doctoral student, who – a couple of hours before our scheduled meeting, and only in response to my text message to fix the Givatayim venue – cancelled without explanation.

“A circumstance beyond our control, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh”

Then, on Tuesday morning, I met Vered – again through a friend (though, on this occasion, less likely to remain one) – on Nachalat Binyamin. The early indications were that Vered was a sensitive soul: seated inside the café, she had put on her shades to conceal her tears as she related her terrible treatment at the hands of her landlady (who had just, after ten years of impeccable tenancy, and without good cause, given her notice). I was touched (well, a little).

On regaining her composure, Vered moved onto her self-proclaimed “ruchaniyut” (spirituality). In fact, Vered is so f*cking spiritual that she felt the need to inform me that dogs are the reincarnations of sinners. “You may laugh,” she said, as she spotted the first twitch of my cheeks. So I did.

Then, perhaps fearing that I did not yet think her sufficiently inane, Vered opined that the demise of my late brother, Jonny, was not really down to drugs – as I had explained – but to something deeper. I was not laughing anymore and, after promptly ordering the bill, let Vered pay her half.

“Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh”

Late that afternoon, I also met Shira (JDate again), who – as we were enjoying a perfectly pleasant conversation on a park bench in Gan Me’ir – appeared to start suffering some sort of breakdown (though I suspect it must have commenced sometime earlier).

“Bring me to my knees when I see what they’ve done to you”

The warning signs had probably been there that same morning, when Shira had cancelled our planned lunch date (though, once again, only after I had phoned to finalise the location): “I just can’t do it anymore,” she cried. “I have taken my profile off JDate.”

“the wretched life of a lonely heart”

To preclude the temptation to send Shira a text message – informing her that it might have been a little more considerate if she had called to let me know (you cannot, I am told, teach people . . . or Israelis, at least, manners; though I have never quite understood why) – I deleted her, at once, from my phone. Shira did, however, then call in mid-afternoon to let me know that she had, once again, changed her mind. And, seeing as I had only been on the one date that day, I decided to give her the benefit of the (mounting) doubt.

The encouraging news is that there is still Michal to come: a mother of one, The Great Divorced Hope, if you like . . . but who, with every new telephone conversation, gives a stronger impression that someone is forcing her to remain on JDate at gunpoint. Michal offered me a “quick coffee” yesterday evening – a tactic, facilitating a quick getaway, I can’t complain about, having invented it – but with all the enthusiasm and conviction of an England footballer taking a penalty kick.

My JDate membership really will expire, this time, on 16th February. And the 129 shekels-a-month required to renew it will likely, instead, go on discs, Goldstar, good food, and perhaps even some new toys for the beasts . . . the sane (Stuey has never been formally certified), predictable and lovable ones I already know.


Walk on by: Tea and cake with Noam Shalit

Strolling up Jerusalem’s Rechov Aza (Gaza Street) with Stuey and Dexxy last Wednesday teatime, I passed a tent which (from news coverage) I immediately recognised  to be that set up by the family of Gilad Shalit.

Expecting only to find a handful of hard core activists inside – perhaps students and/or OAPs with too much time on their hands – I was amazed to see a seated Noam Shalit, the father of the kidnapped Israeli soldier.

I was taken aback. And seeing Mr. Shalit in the flesh for the first time brought home to me – in a way that none of the “Free Gilad” campaigns could or, indeed, have (see Why Gilad must not be freed “at any price”) – the desperation of a parent to be reunited with his child.

I continued walking past the banners unfurled across the perimeter walls of the Prime Minister’s official residence (outside which the protest tent was set up in March 2009) – including one showing that the 24-year old had been in captivity for a staggering 1,641 days (he was captured on June 25, 2006) – but wondered whether it would be more menschdik to pop in and pay my respects. After all, doing nothing is easy; and this was the very least I could do.

Noam Shalit at the offending table

So, having made an about turn, I nervously entered the tent and, finding myself face to face with Mr. Shalit, reverted – as I always do under the slightest pressure (though usually under rather different circumstances, chatting up totty on Rothschild) – to my mother tongue, babbling some incoherent platitudes at him. (I have always been crap at the shiva visit. And while this is not a shiva house, it very much has the feel of one.)

Mr. Shalit looked up at me with the tired expression of the mourner. And his English was much poorer than I would have imagined, after years of interviews by the foreign press.

“Are you here a lot?” I enquired of him, enunciating each word as if for the hearing impaired.

“I live here,” came the terse reply.

“Oh,” I said. Derrr. I had missed that nugget.

“Anyway,” I continued, desperate suddenly for the exit, “I just wanted to say that I hope Gilad gets released soon.”

But before Mr. Shalit had finished mumbling a cursory “Thank you,” Dexxy was up on the visitors table, swiping a large, particularly inviting-looking slice of chocolate cake off it.

My host looked even less pleased than usual.

“Err, sorry, Mr. Shalit,” I muttered, reverting to naughty Hasmo boy mode, all the while trying – and failing – to wrest the cake from Dexxy’s jaws.

And then I was out of there.

Even with the best of intentions, it is sometimes wisest just to keep on walking.

As though chocolate cake wouldn't melt in her mouth