Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 131 – August 2011

A banjo will get you through times of no money,
But money won't get you through times of no banjo.
On the bumper of a pickup truck with Texas plates

It’s odd; is it not? In the last issue of the Ramblings I chastised Americans as being loonies. The only letter of discontent came from a white Englishman living in Bradford who thought the statement rather racist. Americans on the whole seemed to agree with me, as my letter section indicates. Indeed my American readership goes up each month, complete strangers to me all eager to get my opinions write and ask to be added to my list of recipients. Curious thing this political correctness don’t you think? Perhaps the increase in readership in America rather proves my point.

In the meantime I’ve said goodbye to a couple of readers in Britain who thought my anti-Pakistan comments as too racist to stomach. I won’t miss them. For my part telling the truth is not being racist. If I criticize the Royal Family, does that make me anti-royalist? If I criticize the police, does that make me a terrorist or a burglar? If I criticize my local brewery, does that make me anti alcohol? If I criticize the Catholic Church, especially the Irish and American segments for the gross abuse of children since I don’t know when, does that make me anti Christian? I think not. The fear of being labeled non-PC has gone too far. People need to wake up and join the real world. If something is wrong we shouldn’t be afraid of saying so, unless of course you live in Iran, or dare I add Pakistan. We are fortunate to be living in a ‘free’ society where we can make our own mind heard; unlike Che Guevara.

Phone tapping, which has been foremost in the news this past month, of course is very definitely not PC; but for the good of the country it’s going to have to carry on. The problem is, knowing exactly where to draw the line. It would appear that various newspaper reporters and upper management are now looking at prison sentences for the misuse of the activity – and rightly so. Perhaps they might like to come along to one of the lectures I seem to be giving these days inside prisons. But phone tapping is an essential part of MI5 and MI6 under cover activities and if we are to keep our streets free from terrorists we best not hinder their work. The recent tragic events in Norway only emphasize this.

Do you remember in 1995 just before Christmas there was a right hoo-ha about Prince Philip who was purportedly making furtive phone calls to a certain Lady Ramsey? His calls were intercepted somehow. It prompted me to write the following poem which I recorded on my ‘Extravagant Schemes’ CD. I called it simply ‘Phil the Greek’.

“Hello Lady Rumsey? Yes it’s me it’s Phil the Greek
I’ve been trying to phone you now for the best part of a week.
But what with Anus Horribilius I’m seldom ever free
And when I get the chance to phone; in walks Her Majesty.

Liz? Oh she’s just the same, I can’t tell you why
I mean I rant and rave and rule the roost, but never a day goes by
When she’s not on about the country, and can’t someone do us a favour
And see the Tories win the next election and not the flippin’ Labour

And I tell you this, it really wants to make me swear
To think that very soon it’ll be that wretched Tony Blair
With his equal rights and better pay and half his party think it funny
To strap The Family down and keep us short of money

Money? Fergies missing millions! Well what do you think of that?
She flits around the world, the selfish little brat
She spends and spends and spends and spends, doesn’t seem to care
Gets on the front page of the Sun with her tits completely bare.

No I said Tits, not Charles. Oh don’t ask he’s always on the go
Up and down the M4; the randy so and so
And when he’s up in London, he’s always full of scowls
And going on about Camellia Parker’s bowels.

Di? Oh I tell you this, she really makes me curse
As for a princess we couldn’t have done much worse
Gets on Panorama, starts talking out of school
Tells the ruddy nation Charles isn’t fit to rule
Why that’s a family secret for Christ sake.

And then there’s that Will Carling chap, common little bugger
He’d do better if he stuck to playing rugger
And as for that equerry chap who came to try his luck
Even on the Panorama programme she admitted to having had a…….
……….What’s that? Low bridge, high wall, all that sort of thing.

Yes portable telephone, damn fine invention
Caught the kids out once or twice, still they never pay attention
Anyway Rumsey, get the kettle on I’ll be down in time for tea
One thing for certain gal; they won’t catch me!”

Poor old Prince Philip got caught with his trousers down not realizing that mobile phone calls could be intercepted – even in 1995. There can be little doubt in my mind that furtive phone calls to Lady Ramsey were probably followed up with a discreet visit; trousers down or not. So we had Prince Philip with Lady Ramsey, Prince Charles with Camellia Parker (face like a horse) Bowels, Princess Diana with Prince Harry’s father, and Princess Fergie with anybody who had a bit of money and a spare cock between his legs. Meanwhile the Queen was muttering on about the terrible year we were having. Not a good time to be a Royalist; either in or out of the family. And me? Well I support the Royal family believe it or not!

I got the following detail from Clive Bennett in Sussex regarding a really interesting site.

Just put your mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper headlines pop up. Double click and the page gets larger...


Letters this month from Holland and Switzerland and in America from Alaska to Arizona, to Florida. Just lovely to have friends.

Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead

Aug 13th (KM) Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen Festival, Holland.
Aug 14th (KM) Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen Festival, Holland.
Aug 26th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 28th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 29th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 3rd (KM) Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe. (Sea Ilfracombe Festival)
Sep 10th (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 11th (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea

Sep 14th (Joe) Barnsley Probus Club. – Life and times of Paul Robeson.
Sep 17th (KM) Astor Theatre, Deal. (Maritime Festival)
Sep 23rd (KM) Barnfield Theatre, Exeter; with Exmouth Shanty Men
Sep 24th (KM) Aldeburgh Food Festival near Ipswich
Sep 25th (KM) Aldeburgh Food Festival near Ipswich
Sep 30th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 1st (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 2nd (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 12th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge; with Vin Garbutt.
Oct 15th (KM) Oxenhope Primary School, Oxenhope. West Yorkshire.
Oct 22nd (KM) Yeomanry Ball, Ellesmere College, Salop

Oct 24th (Joe) HMP Grendon – Life and times of Paul Robeson – special invite only!
Nov 9th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Martin Simpson
Dec 14th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge, Amazing Mr Smith

Jan 11th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Martin Carthy
Jan 13th (KM) Sixmilebridge Folk Festival, County Clare, Ireland.
Jan 14th (KM) Sixmilebridge Folk Festival, County Clare, Ireland.
Jan 15th (KM) Sixmilebridge Folk Festival, County Clare, Ireland.
Feb 4th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.

Feb 7th (Joe) Brighouse Third Age Forum, Waring Green Centre, Brighouse. Robeson.
Feb 8th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Steve Knightley
Feb 11th (KM) The Rose Youth Theatre, Ormskirk, Lancashire.
Apr 20th (KM) Clee St Margaret Village Hall, Near Ludlow, Shropshire.
Apr 21st (KM) Perranporth Shanty Fest 2012 - Cornwall
Apr 22nd (KM) Perranporth Shanty Fest 2012 – Cornwall
Jun 16th (KM) Music on the Marr, Town Foot Farm, Castle Carrock, Cumbria.
Jun 22nd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jun 23rd (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Jun 24th (KM) Teignmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
Aug 17th (KM) Fano Festival of the Sea – Denmark.
Aug 18th (KM) Fano Festival of the Sea – Denmark.
Aug 19th (KM) Fano Festival of the Sea – Denmark.


First and foremost, good on you for another year on this Earth!
Secondly but not as important in any respect, I hope you get to come to Alaska as our tourist motto is "Come before you die" but we are thinking of changing that. Also, plenty of us are not real excited about Sarah Palin but would still enjoy having Michael Palin.
Not all of us are nutters, but it can get close.
Suffice to say, be well and hopefully we can see you one day.
Chris Berg
Anchorage, Alaska

You say: "Because if calling Pakistani’s cheats and liars is racist how bad is it to accuse Americans of being lunatics? No difference at all as far as I can see."
Both are racist, in my view. You and I know countless Americans who are fine, upstanding folk. (And, by the way, can we stop using "lunatic" as a term of abuse? As someone with mild but chronic mental health problems, I think we've got to stop using any health issues in this way. And, incidentally, I don't believe GW Bush is stupid. He knows stupidity plays well with his middle America constituency. He's no more stupid than Maggie Thatcher, that wavering, petulant bully, was an "Iron Lady".) I attach some songs I have written (plus one I didn't write) for today's big demo's. If anyone wants a copy of the set they can get it from my website,
Karl Dallas

Dear Joe
Congrats on your 70th! Glad to see you're up to the usual and hope you continue to do so for a long time to come. As for myself I'm doing the same being a crazy American from the craziest part of America: California (of course). Just returned from a tall ships festival in Oxnard, Ca. Fest. went really well. Seems to me there are fewer and fewer folks doing traditional music. Did some strolling when I was there and it was wonderful! People really enjoy traditional music they just don't get to hear it very often.
Anyhow I'm to go surfing!
All the best to you.
Bill Dempsey. Ca. USA.

Hi Joe,
In Palin's defense, she has great legs. I notice that when mentioning our "nutters' you failed to mention the biggest of all, Obama. I know over there socialist is not a dirty word but here in the colonies it is. And Obooba is one.
Congratulations on your 70th! May you have many more.
Your right wing friend,
Walt Manning. Florida.

Hi Joe,
It is good to hear that someone else feels and thinks. 'Keep On Keeping On'
It’s been a while since we sailed on the 'Stavros'; must come and enjoy your music.
Howard Hughes.
PS Don't Politians come out with so much BS especially at the moment..

We had the great pleasure of hearing you perform in New York State many years ago, including in the very tiny room at the library in Goshen, NY) and the CDs we bought are still among our favorites...(had the whole neighborhood singing "Shanty Man" one night at a party!)... Any gigs booked back in NY this year or next?
Still listening...
Chris and Kathy Ashman.
Orange County Department of Mental Health. US.

A huge happy birthday to you... Wow 70, man I thought you were around 60... keep it up and here, super, you are playing at dad's folk festival this year can't wait to see you and hear you again....
Brendan Walsh. (Switzerland).

Hi, Joe
Congratulations with your 70th birthday, 70 years not bad for my older brother. One day after you on the 18th I became 60 and received a lot off attention from the whole shanty world. Since I’m the “leader” from shanty-nederland I have so many contacts with choirs and shanty groups.
Sorry not to play soon together somewhere, when you are here in Holland, then we are in Paimpol, but one thing is for sure we will be together again on Fano 2012. I saw that you have a busy schedule, and so are we.
SO.........have a lot of fun in Holland, Hans Weehuizen en Zeegers Postma are really nice guys and they always organize great shanty events.
Bert Hobo
Paddy’s Passion. (Holland)

Hey Joe.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Looks like you had a good time. Good to see my buddy Paul Downes is still alive an kickin'.
Regards to all and...........
Gaylan Oliphant. Phoenix Arizona


Question 1:
If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?

Question 2:
It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three candidates.

Candidate A:
Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 Martinis a day.

Candidate B:
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whisky every evening.

Candidate C:
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never committed adultery.
Which of these candidates would be your choice?

Answer at the end


Nurses are not supposed to laugh

"Of course I won't laugh," said the nurse. "I'm a professional. In over twenty years I've never laughed at a patient."

"Okay then," said Fred, and he proceeded to drop his trousers, revealing the smallest male part the nurse had ever seen. It's length and width was almost identical to a AAA battery.

Unable to control herself, the nurse tried to stop a giggle, but it just came out. And then she started laughing at the fact that she was laughing. Feeling very badly that she had laughed at the man's part, she composed herself as well as she could. "I am so sorry," she said. "I don't know what came over me. On my honour as a nurse and a lady, I promise that won't happen again. Now, tell me, what seems to be the problem?"

"It's swollen," Fred replied.

She ran out of the room.


Jim and his wife Natalie went to the state fair every year,
And every year Jim would say,
" Natalie, I'd like to ride in that helicopter "
Natalie always replied,
" I know, Jim, but that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, and fifty bucks is fifty bucks! "
One year Jim and Natalie went to the fair, and Jim said, " Natalie, I'm 75 years old.
If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance "
To this, Natalie replied,
" Jim that helicopter ride is fifty bucks, and fifty bucks is fifty bucks "
The pilot overheard the couple and said,
" Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and don't say a word I won't charge you a penny!
But if you say one word it's fifty dollars. "
Jim and Natalie agreed and up they went.
The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers, but not a word was heard.
He did his daredevil tricks, but still not a word...
When they landed, the pilot turned to Jim and said,
" By golly , I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed! "
Jim replied,
" Well, to tell you the truth I almost said something when Natalie fell out, but you know, Fifty bucks is fifty bucks! "


Notices from around the world.

In a Bangkok temple:

Cocktail lounge, Norway:

Doctors office, Rome:

Dry cleaners, Bangkok:

In a Nairobi restaurant:

On the main road to Mombassa, leaving Nairobi:

On a poster at Kencom:

In a City restaurant:

In a cemetery:


Answers to earlier questions

If you said YES to Question 1, you’ve just killed Beethoven.
Question 2
Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolf Hitler.

Keep smiling, keep singing.