Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger. Volume Thirty Four – July 2003.

Isn’t it nice when the postman brings you an unexpected surprise? Kimber’s Men have just today been invited to feature on the new Free Reed ‘Transports’ album. The original double LP set with booklet and poster of all artistes was issued 25 years ago and Neil Wayne together with Nigel Schofield have come up with the brilliant idea of re-issuing the original Transports LP’s as a CD together with a second CD of new performers. Others involved in the project include Tony Rose, Debbie McClatchy, Bob Roberts, Shirley Collins, John Kirkpatrick, Damien Barber, Steve Tilston, Cockersdale, Sid Kipper, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Fairport Convention, Dave Webber, Anni Fentiman, Ian Robb, John Tams and Coope/Boyes/Simpson. We appreciate very much the significance of the invitation.

I seem to have travelled the length of the land in just one week. From Maryport in Cumbria on the first w/e in June to St Hellier in Jersey on the second. Two contrasting sea port towns if ever you saw them. Maryport is a sleepy little place caught in a poverty trap, whilst St Hellier and Jersey are buzzing with excitement, posh restaurants, and fast cars all limited by law to not exceed 55mph. The hospitality shown in both places however was incredible. In Maryport, after a wonderful church service, we dined on Cumbrian Pie and salmon all kindly produced by the congregation of All Saint’s Church. In Jersey we were treated like Lords and the local TV channel came down to the port to film me for the local news.

But by the end of the month gigging became similar to the old saying. “After the Lord Mayor’s Show comes the dustcart.” Our last booking of the month was at a club on the southern outskirts of Manchester. We were informed on the morning of the gig by an anonymous person who worked with the club organiser that the gig was off because of problems at the club! This, despite a telephone call only three days earlier confirming the gig was on! Unfortunately Kimber’s Men had a large fan base going that evening and it was not possible to contact them all. It transpired that the club was shut because the organiser was at his retirement do! I’m told quite a large number of people showed that night, but there was no club, no entertainment, just a publican watching his clientele walking back out the door. Is it any wonder that folk clubs get such a bad name?

But live music is an essential part of my life, and hopefully yours too. Roger Gall and my friends at ‘Troubleatmill’ have sent me the following. Whether you are a performer, a fan, a member of an audience or simply a general pub user – then you should read this.

Tenth defeat for 'draconian' licensing bill

Sarah Hall, Political Correspondent - The Guardian - Friday June 20, 2003

One of the government's flagship bills may never become law unless ministers back down after a vote in the House of Lords yesterday.
Opposition peers defeated the government for the 10th time over the controversial licensing bill, designed to liberalise drinking hours to create a more family-friendly drinking culture.
Since the bill began in the House of Lords, the government cannot impose the Parliament Act - a measure to override unruly peers and ensure a bill becomes law.
Instead, it looks set to become embroiled in an ungainly game of "ping-pong", with each chamber overturning the other's amendments. That "game" would - in practice - need to be over by the summer recess, in five weeks, to ensure the bill becomes law.
The risk of the bill being thrown out came as peers voted by 128 to 113 – a majority of 15 - to exempt small venues such as pubs from requiring entertainment licences for live music.
The Musicians' Union, which delivered a 110,000-signature petition to Downing Street this week, has been lobbying hard for the exemption, arguing that small venues will be deterred from holding gigs because of the additional "draconian" bureaucracy.
Peers sought to protect such venues by yesterday voting for the bill to exempt premises where live music is provided to an audience of less than 200 and where entertainment finishes before 11.30pm.
But the government insists that such an exemption is "seriously misguided" and risks public safety. Urging peers not to inflict a defeat, the culture minister Lord McIntosh told them their amendment "exposes the public and particularly children to great safety risks, leaves residents without a voice to protect against nuisance, and strips away the power of the police to control crime and disorder in vast swaths of venues, many of which may be totally unsuitable for the provision of entertainment."
But the Tory culture spokeswoman Lady Buscombe dismissed Lord McIntosh's arguments, saying safety aspects and noise control were already covered by existing legislation. "We have once again managed to defeat the government on this crucially important issue, which matters so much to the musicians and performers and whose contribution is so valuable to the social fabric of the country," she said.
For the Liberal Democrats, Lord Redesdale, a champion of folk music, said: "We're being robust about this because there are implications for human rights and for live music all over the country. It will be interesting to see what the government does with this in a situation of ping-pong. Will they give up now they have seen the degree of feeling?"
A spokesman for the Musicians' Union, Hamish Burchill, said: "Obviously we're very pleased about this but we know it's a long way from the end of the road." The bill will go back to the Commons next week and could be debated until the end of the year. That is unlikely since, if the bill does not go through by the end of July, it will need to incorporate a review of licensing in Wales. It would also not come into effect until after the next general election.
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: "We are considering our position."

I have to say that I find it astounding that a Labour Party (be it ‘new’ or not) should have this blinkered and obsessive attitude towards live music in pubs. What a caring government we have! They’ve led us into a war we are all now starting to regret and in doing so they’ve cost us billions of pounds that the tax payer will have to meet. Deaths continue to mount and things will surely get a lot worse before they get better. At the other end of the scale they want to abolish live music in pubs unless the publican completes piles of paperwork and pays a fee the size of which is dependent on pub location etc. I understand it is even going to be illegal to sing carols in the street at Christmas! So I’m not surprised Alice Mahon, the Labour member for Halifax, is not standing again next election. I talked with Alice outside the local theatre in Halifax after watching the Christmas pantomime and she said then “This is not a good time for New Labour. This is not as comfortable a Parliament for the government as the last one. I do see movement going the other way. I strongly appose the war on Iraq. The lack of conscience by blowing little children to bits I find hard to understand. Mr Blair has already made up his mind to go to war and frankly I think he is losing touch with reality and will eventually face a backlash”.

I ran into Lyndon Owen, an old pal who sessioned on my ‘Miles from Halifax’ album, the other day who moved away from Sowerby Bridge a few years ago to live in Monmouth. Once ensconced in the city he found himself drinking in the same waterhole as the late Jake Thackray, and they became drinking partners. Jake told him a wonderful little tale about a celebrity cricket match he arranged a few summers ago. Apparently Jake was fielding in close proximity to Mike Harding when a female friend of another celebrity (who I think best remain nameless to you the general public) decided to do a streak and dashed between the pair of them wearing only black gloves and black sneakers. Mike Harding aghast said “What was that?” Jake apparently quickly replied “I think it was the five of spades!”

OK. Fans! This is where Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead can be seen in the foreseeable future:-

July 18th (Joe) Scarborough Festival of the Sea
July 19th (KM) Scarborough Festival of the Sea
July 20th (Joe) Scarborough Festival of the Sea
Aug 24th (KM) The Harbour Festival, Cardiff.
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
Nov2nd (Joe) The Point, Bryn Mawr. Philadelphia. 11am – 2pm. Pa. USA
Nov 7th (Joe) Mom and Pop’s Club, 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 Skylight Exchange, Chapel Hill. NC. USA
Nov 27th (Joe) All Saints Church, Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire.
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.
May 14th (KM) The Grove, Holbeck, Leeds.
July 16th (KM) Scarborough Sea Fest
July 17th (KM) Scarborough Sea Fest
July 18th (KM) Scarborough Sea Fest


I offer you nothing but blood, sweat and tears. If this is acceptable please sign at the bottom in blood… B positive is preferred. If you wish you may keep your soul. We do not want to get into a legal battle with all those people to whom you have already sold it. Fats Waller used to sell the same song to every publisher who would listen. But his songs were worth plenty whereas a hole riddled soul isn’t worth a tinker’s dam. Perhaps you would like to talk about a left hip?
Oscar Brand.

Cher Joe
Here is another reply to your monthly stream of conscience. While I consider your position on the Middle East conflicts to be smuggery from the safety of the sidelines, I do enjoy your reports on the comings and goings of the British folk scene (an area in which you do have some knowledge). I look forward to hearing you when you play Philly. I hope you will be doing that wonderful seafaring program that you recorded and that I reviewed so warmly in TUNE UP. I did mention that CD again in a wrap up column. I'll try to find it and forward it to you. It may well be on Mudcat also. They have been posting my reviews for well over a year. If you like, I'll send you a few. Let me know when you get to town. I'll buy you a beer.
Mike Miller

Hey, Joe!
Wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the newsletter. I have no idea how I got on your mailing list, but I enjoy it. I am a Physics teacher in Michigan (USA). I was in Ireland last year. I have been in contact with a Killarney music store.... maybe they sent you my email.
I am currently enjoying Blue Murder. Should I get Kimber's Men? How about your music? I look forward to your next newsletter.
Merrill Falk,
Milan, Mich.

Thanks guys. Constructive feed back is always useful.

I was sent quite a lot of funny stories this month. Some are not completely PC of course! But then a PC Joe Stead would be a pretty boring bloke and certainly not the fella that some of you have come to love and more of you have come to hate. So here goes >

Story Number One.
A man sees a sign in front of a house in Luton: "Talking Dog for Sale." He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The man goes into the backyard and sees a black mutt just sitting there.
"Can you talk?" he asks.
"I certainly do." the dog replies.
"So, what's your story?"
The dog looks up and says, "Well, I discovered my gift of talking pretty young and I wanted to help the government, so I told the MI5 about my gift, and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running." "The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. I had a wife, and lots of puppies, and now I'm just retired."
The man is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
The owner says, "Ten quid."
The man says, "This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"
"Cause he's a fucking liar. He's never done any of that stuff"

Story number two
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?".
The shepherd looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers, "Sure. Why not?"
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his AT&T cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response. Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1586 sheep."
"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my sheep." says the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car. Then the shepherd says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?"
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"
"You're a consultant." says the shepherd.
"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required." answered the shepherd. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked; and you don't know crap about my business... now give me back my dog."

True Story Number 3.

An editorial entitled "Banjos as a Controlled Substance" from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

Charles Gordon
The Ottawa Citizen
Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Canadian Federal Government has put forward legislation that decriminalizes possession of marijuana but toughens penalties for growing it, the proposed legislation being so perfectly Canadian that it is being attacked both for being too harsh and too soft.
The next step is clear: the decriminalization of banjo-playing! In Provincial Offences Court this week, 33-year-old Carl Beaupre attempted to defeat a soliciting charge that he picked up playing his banjo on the ice of the Rideau Canal in January. A National Capital Commission officer had charged him with soliciting without a permit.
Beaupre, along with other street musicians, has come into conflict with the NCC before. Although he has acquired permits in the past, he believed that he didn't need one this time, that there was a difference between soliciting and busking, and that there was a precedent, in a case involving a violinist in the Toronto subway.
He was charged anyway and decided to contest it. His legal agent, Kevin Kinsella, explained why: "To be honest," Kinsella said, "we were hoping that by winning this case we would open things up for buskers not only on NCC property but elsewhere."
So off to court they went. The NCC officer testified that, arriving on his all-terrain vehicle at 3:15 Sunday afternoon Jan. 26, he found Beaupre playing his banjo "in a standing position with a case open" on the ice on the west side of the Rideau Canal, north of the Mackenzie King Bridge. The case had $7.52 in it, consisting of two toonies, three loonies, two quarters and two pennies.
Beaupre, the officer noted, "failed to produce a valid permit." Kinsella, the legal agent, cross-examined. Was Beaupre displaying a sign? No. Was he asking for money? No, but his instrument case was open. Was he inconveniencing the public? No, but people were stopping to listen.
Beaupre took the stand and was asked to give his account of the events of that day. He added some details -- "I believe I was on skates at the time," he said -- and denied that he had asked anyone for money.
He said he had been busking for 10 years, from St. John's to Victoria, and in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and had never had any problems except on NCC property. "I've generally been well-received pretty much everywhere," he said.
Beaupre was asked by his legal agent to read from the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of busking. A photocopy was passed around with the relevant section -- "perform (esp. music) for voluntary donations, usually in the street or in subways" -- highlighted in pink.
He talked about the wandering minstrels and troubadours in Europe, the tradition of busking that predated the existence of Canada. When asked why he had a permit last July but didn't get one this time, he said: "I firmly believed that what I was doing didn't require a permit." This is when his legal agent brought up the case of the violinist in the Toronto subway, whose prosecution was thrown out on appeal.
The whole case didn't take more than 20 minutes. The gist of Beaupre's argument was that he should not have been charged because busking is not soliciting. The justice of the peace noted that Beaupre's instrument case was open and there was money in it. "He's clearly soliciting money," he said. "You can't do it on National Capital Commission property." He found Beaupre guilty of the offence and fined him $80 with 90 days to pay it.
Since the offence, Beaupre has been playing and singing on Elgin and Bank streets, making $10 to $15 a day. He does bluegrass, folk and Celtic music and is working on a CD. His legal adviser is thinking about appealing.
Should the NCC have the power to prohibit or even regulate banjo-playing? Away from NCC property, buskers will be appearing next month as part of the Fringe Festival. They have appeared on Sparks Street, officially sanctioned as part of a buskers' festival. Last year's was in August and was well-received. Available database
information does not indicate whether banjos were played, but it is well within the realm of possibility.
All legal ambiguity could be eliminated by the federal government acting decisively, as it has with regard to marijuana. It is possible to see the day when banjo-playing, anywhere in our country, on National Capital Commission property or not, will be decriminalized.
The manufacture of banjos, however, will be subject to severe penalty.
(c) Copyright 2003 The Ottawa Citizen

True Story Number 4
Scientists at Roll Royce built a gun specifically to launch dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, and military jets, all travelling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields. American engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the American engineers. When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's back-rest in two and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow. The horrified Yanks sent Rolls Royce the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the British scientists for suggestions.
You're going to love this......
Rolls Royce responded with a one-line memo:
"Defrost the chicken."
Having worked for Rolls-Royce, and actually USED that gun, and, when the engines broke down, fed off the free pigeons and chickens that became available, I can verify that story! It was really more regularly used to fire birds into running engines to simulate bird strikes on airports which is why RR built it rather than Boeing or Airbus Industrie
Keep em coming

PS. Further to the Rolls - Royce saga......
You are doubtless aware that Henry Royce started out as a clock maker, and when one of his customers for his motor cars praised its silence to him by saying "it is so quiet you can hear the clock ticking.." - he really did rush out into the factory and instruct someone to "fix that clock"
Did you know that if you took an old fashioned galvanised steel watering can and turned it upside down (so that all the water basically fell out of the top, rather than poured out of the spout) - that flow of water is the same as the rate that EACH engine on a 747 (Jumbo Jet) is using fuel at takeoff power - the plane is nearly 4 tons lighter by the time it leaves the ground than when it started its takeoff roll - mind you, it was said that the only reason a 747 got off the ground at all is because the earth is curved!!!
Dave E<

Story Number 5.
A ship sank in high seas and the following people got stranded on a beautiful deserted island in the middle of nowhere:
A. 2 Italian men and 1 Italian woman
B. 2 French men and 1 French woman
C. 2 German men and 1 German woman
D. 2 Greek men and 1 Greek woman
E. 2 Polish men and 1 Polish woman
F. 2 Mexican men and 1 Mexican woman
G. 2 Irish men and 1 Irish woman
H. 2 American men and 1 American woman
I. 2 Indian men and 1 Indian woman
What a Crazy coincidence!
One month later, on various parts of the island, the following was observed:
A. One Italian man killed the other Italian man for the Italian woman.
B. The two French men and the French woman are living happily together.
C. The two German men have a strict weekly schedule of when they alternate with the German woman.
D. The two Greek men are sleeping together, and the Greek woman is cooking & cleaning for them.
E. The two Polish men took a long look at the endless ocean and a long look at the Polish woman, and started swimming.
F. The two Mexican men are talking to all the other men on the island trying to sell them the Mexican woman.
G. The two Irish men began by dividing up their part of the island into Northern & Southern parts, and by setting up a distillery. They do not remember the Irish woman because it gets sort of foggy after the first few litres of coconut whiskey but at least the English are not getting any.
H. The two American men are contemplating suicide. The American woman is bitching about her body being her own, the true nature of feminism, how she can do everything that they can do, about the necessity of fulfilment, the equal division of the household chores, how her last boyfriend respected her opinion and treated her much better, and how her relationship with her mother is improving.
I. What happened to the Indians??????
The 2 Indian men are still waiting for someone to introduce them to the Indian woman.

Story number 6 – which I got from my daughter Dominique
Subject: Women
A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer. All of a sudden, he said out loud, “Lord grant me one wish." Suddenly the sky clouded above his head and in a booming voice the Lord said, "Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish."
The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I want."
The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take! I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for such worldly things. Take a little more time and think of another wish, a wish a little less materialistic." The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, "Lord, I wish that I could understand women. I want to know how they feel inside, what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say 'nothing', and how I can make a woman truly happy."
The Lord replied, "You want two lanes or four lanes on that bridge?

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead