Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger. Volume Thirty Five – August 2003.

Dear Joe,
I read your views of the Iraq war. I entirely agree.
It may interest you to know that I resigned my membership of the Conservative Party because Iain Duncan Smith supported Blair and Bush in the war against Saddam Hussein. Why not give the UN inspectors more time?
It was disgusting. Whatever they say the intelligence was misused and it was obvious that it was. I am with Clare Short, Robin Cook, Tam Dalyell over this. Indeed Tam Dalyell and I exchanged letters and telephone calls over it. We, the US, and the UN were deliberately misled. British soldiers died because of it and it is a scandal. The sooner the electorate wake up to the fact that Blair is a sham, a liar, a pretender an actor, etc. the better.
I prefer old labour. I can think of not one thing that Blair has got right. Education, Education, Education, Law and Order, (tough on crime and the causes of crime) Justice, Reform of the Lords, The NHS, immigration, agriculture, the Dome, Foot and Mouth, Environment, GM Foods, Abolition of Lord Chancellor, Iraq, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Hunting, Prisons, Police, etc. I could go on and on. Blair is the biggest shambles of a PM of my Lifetime. I could respect Wilson, Callaghan, (even Kinnoch), Major, Thatcher, but Blair, swipe me.
To the US "a Blair in the hand is worth two for the Bush". They should both bugger off into oblivion.
My Britain is buggered by Blair and getting worse daily.
Sincerely Joe,
Best regards,
(Name and address withheld upon request)

It is becoming increasingly obvious that we Brits have a Prime Minister who is nothing short of a bare faced liar so I thought I would start the August ‘Ramblings’ with this letter that I received in early July, before the death of Doctor Kelly and its ensuing aftermath, from an old pal who wanted to stay anonymous. I suppose all Prime Ministers over the decades have withheld important information and misled the public to proceed along lines that the public would not have agreed with had they known the whole truth. Churchill is a prime example. But to excite a war by telling the public that Iraq could deliver weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes was irresponsibility gone haywire. Did he not realise that when the war was over that he would be found out?

It became obvious to me (and I assume anyone else with a semblance of intelligence) about 7 days into the conflict that there were no weapons of mass destruction. I had indeed always believed there were none, but when the allied troops started the invasion it was obvious. Had Saddam had them, he would have used them.

Blair’s speech to the American Congress in mid-July was nothing short of sycophantic nonsense. It’s very easy to stand up in front of a host of people with guilty consciences to tell them that what they did was right and to receive rapturous applause. To say that History will judge us as having acted correctly is another ‘Blairism’, clever talk and manipulation of words. History does not have a conscience. History is incapable of making decisions. History cannot think. History will however dictate that two very strong Nations combined to defeat one very weak Nation and did so after convincing it’s electorate that the weaker nation posed an immediate threat that had to be quelled. Whether it will also dictate that its by-product was world wide terrorism by extremist Muslims against Western Imperial Nations remains to be seen. Using the tactics of Blair I can safely say that it will, because of it doesn’t I can very easily later deny having said it!

To be frank, unlike my anonymous friend, I have only a little sympathy for the dead British and American troops. People who join the armed forces do so knowing that they are putting their lives at risk and they know too that they are willingly and openly joining a society which believes in the credence of ‘kill or be killed’. To be fair I think they are very brave people. We need armed forces certainly to prevent others attacking us. But I have as much sympathy for them as I do for people who smoke, get cancer and then complain that they should have been warned by the tobacco companies that smoking was a dangerous activity. If you deliberately put smoke into your own lungs you cannot in any sense of reason turn round and blame somebody else when it harms you. Likewise the military forces; if you play with guns you must be prepared to die the same way. You can’t turn around and say “Oh I didn’t know if I joined the Army I might get shot”. I do however have great compassion for those who get unnecessarily mercilessly slain, maimed and raped. Particularly if they are children. I also have great compassion for those yet to die in this country from suicide bombers incensed by the actions of Blair and Bush. The London Underground is not a safe place to be these days. It is only a matter of time before a religious lunatic slips the MI6 net and blows himself up on the Northern Line in the middle of the rush hour.

America in the meantime have another ‘Vietnam’. Again time will tell but the protest marches will start, protest songs will be written and perhaps another Dylan or Seeger will be born.

And now to a happier subject. The new Musical Showcase part of the RNLI website ( is up and running! Click on Watermark - Gifts and Bargains

Have you have been caught speeding recently?
Do you think you might have been caught but you are not sure?
Go to the following website. >
You need to type in xxx for your login and xxx for your password, then enter your registration number.
Shows you a photo as well !!!!!!!

I’ve been rushed off my feet during July especially the latter part. I found myself journeying between Liverpool and Scarborough and points in between. First to Manchester for a cameo spot in Coronation Street then on to Liverpool to be an angry farmer in Hollyoaks, then Scarborough to sing at the Festival of the Sea, then back to Liverpool to continue being an angry farmer, back to Scarborough to be a fisherman in The Royal and then back to Manchester for a photography audition for an advertisement.

Future appearances for Kimber’s Men and yours faithfully look like this …….

Aug 24th (KM) The Harbour Festival, Cardiff.
Aug 29th (KM) Hull Festival of the sea
Aug 30th (KM) Hull Festival of the sea
Aug 31st (KM) Hull Festival of the sea
Sep 5th (Joe) North York Moors Festival
Sep 6th (Joe) North York Moors Festival
Sep 7th (Joe) North York Moors Festival
Sep 8th (Joe) North York Moors Festival
Sep 8th (Joe) Hollyoaks (TV filmed in July)
Sep 9th (Joe) North York Moors Festival
Sep 9th (Joe) Hollyoaks (TV filmed in July)
Sep 10th (Joe) The Cross Keys, Uppermill, Manchester.
Oct 3rd (Joe) The Wellington, Seaford, Sussex.
Oct 4th (Joe) Tenterden Folk Festival, Kent.
Oct 5th (Joe) Tenterden Folk Festival, Kent.
Oct 10th (Joe) The Grove, Holbeck, Leeds
Oct 31st.(Joe) Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase. Virginia, USA
Nov 1st. (Joe) Fairmount Park, Philadelphia 3pm. Pa. USA
Nov 1st (Joe) Philadelphia Folk Song Soc – Valparaiso workshop 8pm. Pa. USA
Nov 2nd (Joe) The Point, Bryn Mawr. Philadelphia. 11am – 2pm. Pa. USA
Nov 5th (Joe) Montgomery College, Bluebell Hill, Pa
Nov 7th (Joe) Mom and Pop’s Club, Levittown, North Philadelphia. Pa. USA
Nov 8th (Joe) First Reformed Church, New Brunswick.. New Jersey. USA
Nov 9th (Joe) Sit 'n Bull Pub, Maynard, Boston MA. With Rick Lee . 4pm USA
Nov 10th (Joe) The Cantab Lounge, Central Square, Cambridge. Ma. USA
Nov 12th (Joe) The Marine Science Center in Nahant. Ma. USA
Nov 15th (Joe) Skylight Exchange, Chapel Hill. NC. USA
Dec 1st (Joe) The Three Tuns, Staines, Middlesex
Dec 3rd (Joe) The Gordon Hotel, Rochester
Jan 23rd (Joe) General Ludd Folk Club, Huddersfield.
Jan 24th (KM) The Square Chapel Theatre Halifax with children from Holy Trinity Junior School
Jan 30th (Joe) Kingswinford Folk Club
May 1st (KM) Sweeps Festival – Rochester.
May 2nd (KM) Sweeps Festival – Rochester.


We received this from Chris Wade - about Beverley Council's potential intention to sell the Picture Playhouse for use as a pub (as if there aren't enough pubs in Beverley already.) Chris Wade is hoping to turn it into an arts centre - which would present a significant amount of folk.
The council still need convincing that this is a good idea. Please read the following - sent to us from Chris - and write in support to the address on the document.

Many thanks
Jacey Bedord

On Tuesday this week (8th July) the East Riding of Yorkshire Council drew up a shortlist of 5 out of the original list of 12 bids that had been submitted for the take over of the Picture Playhouse in Beverley. In the original 12 were several proposals to turn the venue into an Arts Venue.
In an article published by the Hull Daily Mail on 9th July -
"National chain JD Wetherspoon wants to spend £1m on turning Beverley Picture Playhouse into a pub and restaurant. The shortlist of the five bidders for the historic former cinema and adjoining buildings includes four who want to turn it into a pub or bar and restaurant. None of the bidders, as far as is known, have specified using the venue as an Arts Venue"
According to the Hull Daily Mail, the Wetherspoon proposal is seen as "promising" in County Hall.
"Councillors and officers claim that they want to ensure the concert venue is run as a viable business which fits in with Beverley's character". Unfortunately the former lesee of the venue was forced into liquidation as he failed to run the venue on a viable basis. This may have been because he was also trying to run a full time job at the same time as keeping the Playhouse going, and prior to that had taken it on with no other assistance. The Council's concerns, therefore, about it not being viable as an arts venue are not necessarily well founded.
Beverley is the county town for the East Riding of Yorkshire. It has a Leisure Centre and is about to have a new Swimming pool, but has no dedicated arts venue. The town supports a rural community with no other arts venues, except for village halls / community centre and schools. At present the Council seems to believe that pubs and
restaurants are the cultural level of its local population!
It needs to be forced to concede that an arts and cultural centre is essential in a market town of this stature. The Beverley Folk Festival has for 21 years used the Playhouse as its most popular venue. It now faces the loss of this venue. Other local arts events have also used it in the past - Jazz Festival; guitar Festival; Comedy Festival to name
but a few. I cannot see Wetherspoons supporting such events.
As most of you will already know - this region has already lost this year its FOLK SHOW presented by Henry Ayrton, on BBC Radio Humberside, now we are to lose our only concert venue where folk (and other live music artists), other than the club acts, can perform.
Please could you contact the Council (thanks for doing it the first time - if you did) - this time head for the top -and email your responses to the following
Darryl Stephenson - Chief Executive
Alan Menzies - Head of Economic Development
Neil Anderson - Head of Arts
If you don't mind writing your own version of text it may hold more sway than one than a standard one.
Chris Wade
PS any more information you require from me I will happily send it to you.

Message text written by
The Nigerian supreme court has just ratified the sentencing to death by stoning of Amina Lawal - a young mother accused of becoming pregnant out of wedlock. PLEASE sign the Amnesty petition to help bring the world's attention to her plight. Her death sentence is due to be carried out on August 27th and four other similar cases are under currently being examined by the Nigerian courts. Thanks.

PS The petition is in Spanish but very easy to understand - just fill in (in order) your surname, first name, county, country and e-mail address. The website is:
Thanks again
Tim Broadbent.


Adagio Formaggio: To play in a slow and cheesy manner.
AnDante: A musical composition that is infernally slow.
Angus Dei: To play with a divine, beefy tone.
A Patella: Unaccompanied knee-slapping.
Appologgiatura: A composition, solo or instrument, you later regret playing.
Approximatura: A series of notes played by a performer, not intended by the composer.
Approximento: A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch.
Coral Symphony: (see Beethoven-Caribbean period).
Cornetti Trombosis: Disastrous entanglement of brass instruments that can occur when musicians exit hastily down the stage stairs.
Dill Piccolino: A wind instrument that plays only sour notes.
Fermantra: A note that is held over and over and over and...
Fermoota: A rest of indefinite length and dubious value.
Fog Hornoso: A sound that is heard when the conductor's intentions are not clear.
Frugalhorn: A sensible, inexpensive brass instrument.
Gaul Blatter: A French horn player.
Good Conductor: A person who can give an electrifying performance.
Gregorian Champ: Monk who can hold a note the longest.
Kvetchendo: Gradually getting annoyingly louder.
Mallade: A romantic song that's pretty awful.
Molto bolto: Head straight for the ending.
Opera buffa: Musical stage production by nudists.
Poochini Musical: performance, accompanied by a dog.
Pre-Classical Conservatism: School of thought which fostered the idea, "if it ain't baroque, don't fix it."
Spritzicato: Plucking of a stringed instrument to produce a bright, bubbly sound, usually accompanied by sparkling water with lemon (wine optional).
Tempo Tantrumo: When a young band refuses to keep time with the conductor.
Vesuvioso: A gradual build up to a fiery conclusion

I am told these are extracts from actual letters sent to various Councils and Housing Associations throughout the UK.

1. I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt my knob off.
2. I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage
3. Their 18 year old son is continually banging his balls against my fence
4. I wish to report that the tiles are missing from the outside roof.
5. I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming off the wall
6. Will you please send someone to mend the garden path? My wife tripped on it yesterday and now she is pregnant
7. I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen. 50% of the walls are damp, 50 % have crumbling plaster and the rest are plain filthy.
8. The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.
9. Will you please send a man to look at my water? It is a funny colour and not fit to drink.
10. Our lavatory seat has broken in half and is now in three pieces.
11. I want to complain about the farmer across the road. Every morning at 6am his cock wakes me up and it is now getting too much for me.
12. The man next door has a large erection in the garden which is unsightly and dangerous.
13. Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two small children and would like a third so please send someone around to do something about it.
14. I am a single woman living in a down stairs flat and would you please do something about the noise made by the man I have on top of me every night.
15. Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy my wife.
16. I have had the clerk of the works down on the floor six times but I still have had no satisfaction.
17. My bush is really overgrown around the front and my back passage has fungus on it.

Heaven is where the police are British, the cooks French, the mechanics German, the lovers Italian and all organised by the Swiss.

Hell is where the cooks are British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss, the police German and it is all organised by the Italians.

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shone his flashlight around, looking for valuables and, when he picked up a CD player to place in his sack, a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark saying, "Jesus is watching you".
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off and froze. When he heard nothing more after a bit, he shook his head, promised himself a vacation after the next big score, then clicked the light back on and began searching for more valuables.
Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard: "Jesus is watching you." Totally rattled, he shone his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.
"Did you say that?" he hissed at the parrot.
"Yes," the parrot confessed, then squawked. "I'm just trying to warn you."
The burglar relaxed. "Warn me, huh? Who do you think you are any way?" "Moses," replied the bird.
"Moses!" the burglar laughed. "What kind of stupid people would name a parrot 'Moses'?"
The bird promptly answered: "The same kind of people who would name a Rottweiler 'Jesus'!"

Keep smiling and keep singing.

Joe Stead