A spam email I just received: Dear British people | noreply@blogger.com (MichaelRosen)

I know that this message will come to you as a surprise. I am the person in charge of the country of the United Kingdom. I hope that you will not expose or betray this trust and I am confident that I am about to repose on you for our mutual benefit.

I need your urgent assistance in transferring a sum of money from you, who are the nearest persons to our deceased welfare state who died in a banking crash in 2008, into the account of some extremely rich people within 10 or 14 banking days.

I don’t want the money to go into government treasury as an abandoned fund. Please I would like you…

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You don’t want to end up like the Michaelsons | noreply@blogger.com (MichaelRosen)

If my mother or father thought we weren’t

working hard enough, or we weren’t that

bothered or we didn’t appreciate how hard

it all was back in this place they came from

but where we never went, this place called

the ‘East End’, one of them would say,

‘You’ll end up like the Michaelsons.’

Who were the Michaelsons? We never met

the Michaelsons. It didn’t matter. If we weren’t

working hard enough – out it came: ‘You’ll

end up like the Michaelsons’.

‘I’ve never seen poverty like it,’ my mother

said. ‘They had bed bugs. There were bed

bugs in the tenements. The…

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My Mum and the Flower | noreply@blogger.com (MichaelRosen)

My dad said that my mum

had some secrets.

‘One time’, he said,

‘when she was a girl

at school they said that

it was ‘Harvest Festival’

and all the children had to bring in flowers.

‘Well, remember,’ said my dad,

‘your mother’s family were very poor,

they couldn’t just go out and buy flowers

and they didn’t have a garden

they just had a back yard.

Now all this made your mother


She didn’t want to be the kid in the class

who didn’t bring in flowers.

And she wanted to fit in.

So, do you know what she did?

She slipped into the Park,

the one just in front of the…

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Yiddish and the Tower of London | noreply@blogger.com (MichaelRosen)

My mother said that she wanted to take me
to the Tower of London. She often took me
places. I think it reminded her of how she
thought she had bettered herself. She used
to spend hours in the Bethnal Green Museum.
She told me it was her university. She went
there, she said, so she didn’t have to listen
to the meshpukhe (relatives) who came over to 
play cards in the back room swearing at each 
other in Yiddish. My father liked swearing in 
Yiddish. They argued about it. My father would 
mutter something like ‘Chaddich im loch.’ ‘Don’t 
say that!’ my mother would say to him. ‘What did 

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Rat | noreply@blogger.com (MichaelRosen)

I was on New Cross Gate station and

it was late, trains were being cancelled,

there weren’t many of us waiting, some

people had given up, gone back upstairs

and looking for night buses, the lights from

Sainsbury’s were being switched off, and

I noticed some rats, they were coming out

of a concrete ditch next to the platform

and on to the platform itself, people said

that’s what happens when people chuck

their take-aways away, they end up in that

ditch and the rats feed off it, and soon there

were as many as ten or even twenty rats

all over Platform 5 and some of them were


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