Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LBC Radio, Clive Bull and Shlomo From Finchley

Mike From Stamford Hill
You know how you start looking for something on the Internet and get side tracked into looking for something else? Well, I was looking for some tourist guides to Central London on Youtube.com and came across an old 1980s documentary about the Londoners who phoned up Clive Bull's "Through the Night" show on LBC Talkback radio in the early hours of the Motzei Shabbos and Sunday morning.

The video featured an Orthodox Jewish Green grocer known as "Michael from Stamford Hill" who I remember used to send Clive a box of fruit every week, fresh from old Spitalfields Fruit market.

I used to listen to the Clive Bull show every Motzei Shabbos in the 1980s when driving to and from London with friends to see a film up the West End.

Back then, a good percentage of these callers were Jewish, many of them Frum Jews. Michael from Stamford Hill had an unmistakable Stamford Hill Jewish/Yiddish accent. He was clearly a religious Jew and proud of it. He would phone to chat with Clive about his Shabbos or his Jewish customers. Every Motzei Shabbos he'd send Clive some exotic fruit. This turned into a 3:00am quiz where Londoners would call in and try and guess the name of the fruit that Clive had in his hands.

Clive Bull Gets his box of fruit

So, there I was, watching this documentary about Clive Bull's 1980s LBC show on YouTube.com and reminiscing about the good ol bad ol days when I suddenly remembered one particular Clive Bull show from February 1988 that so angered and upset me, I occasionally think about it even today. My feelings of rage and betrayal came flooding back like a Tsunami in the mind. It was as if it had happened only yesterday.

I was remembering another one of Clive's regular callers. He was known as "Shlomo from Finchley". Like Michael from Stamford Hill, he also had this half English/Yiddish accent. (I wonder if there are still Jews in England who speak like this?)

He told us that he owned and ran a Jewish Deli in North London. He spoke about the Jewish customers that came into his deli in the small hours of the morning and of the food they prepared there. He never said exactly where his deli was so my friends and I used to listen carefully for clues so that we could find the place and try out what sounded like delicious Heimishe food.

Well that cold February night in 1988, Shlomo was going to tell Clive how to cook Schnitzel and Potato Latkes. Clive had transferred his show to the LBC kitchen and was broadcasting live while following Shlomo's instructions over the phone.

We all had a good laugh when Shlomo was explaining to Clive and the rest of London that he must use Elswood's Extra Strong Chrein, her Polish heimishe cucumbers and Rakusen's Matza Meal instead of flour for the Latkes!

Clive in the LBC kitchen examining the Matzo Meal
 Then, about 30 mins into the program as we were just driving through Stratford heading East, Shlomo gave Clive the next set of instructions which was to add some milk to the egg which was about to be used to dip the turkey schnitzel into.

I looked at my friend. He looked at me. This was Shlomo from Finchley? For years we had had this image of this middle aged pot bellied Jew in black trousers, tzittis, white shirt with food stains on it, big black kippa and beard. Here he was telling Clive to mix meat and milk! We thought it was a mistake but to our amazement and disgust he then said in his Yiddish accented English that "if you v-vonted to keep it kosher then leave out ze milk".

I was still thinking about this when I glanced at the side bar on the YouTube page and noticed a link to another video entitled "Cook With Clive - a Clive Bull Through the Night special". I clicked on the link and to my utter amazement, found it to be the entire three hour radio show from the 21st February 1988 where Shlomo from Finchley tells Clive and the rest of London, how to make treif schnitzel and latkes!

I recorded the audio and extracted the disreputable segment that was still so fresh in my mind.

By the technological ingenuity of the Internet, here it is in all its horror, Yiddish accent and all!

Listen to Shlomo From Finchley 4:00 mins

Press to Play

Clive Bull today, still going strong on LBC radio.

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