Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 117 – June 2010

The summer season has started well for Kimber’s Men. The Clennell Hall Festival is a lovely way to start the summer. High in the Northumberland hills on the Scottish border it’s a friendly festival run by the amiable Dave Forshaw. The Amazing Mr Smith was just Amazing, The Dealers excelled and Tracey Curtis was just lovely with some excellent songs. So too the Ukulele All Stars.
Take a look at……….

This month Kimber’s Men are at the Southwell Folk Festival over the weekend of June 11th -13th

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
4 Men and a Dog
The Demon Barber Road Show
Julie Fowlis
Vin Garbutt
Rory McLeod
Tom McConville Big Band
Benny Gallagher
Old Swan Band
Peeping Tom
Mick Ryan and Paul Downes.

Looks good to me

Kimber’s Men, in the wake of all those ‘Friendly Fishermen’, have been offered two record deals. Sea shanties appear to be the flavour of the month right now. Unlike our friends in Cornwall we are not on £100,000 each advance. More like £100 each if I’m honest. But who needs money when you have good health? I’ll tell you more when all the contracts are signed. So that’s another reason the summer has started well for us.

As expected we have a different government for the next 5 years (or perhaps less). The coalition seems a good alternative to me. Let’s hope it works. Some people are complaining that they’ve voted and not got the government they voted for! Well that’s happened to me for years voting Lib-Dem! We’ve got exactly the government we voted for. Remember if you didn’t vote you have no right to complain.

This is going to be a shorter ‘Ramblings’ than usual. I’m up to my ears in a new project for the Shrewsbury Folk Festival who have suggested I do a workshop on the Life and Times of Pete Seeger.


Here’s our fixture list………………

Joint Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead.

Jun 11th (KM) Southwell Folk Festival - Nottingham
Jun 12th (KM) Southwell Folk Festival - Nottingham
Jun 13th (KM) Southwell Folk Festival - Nottingham
Jul 3rd (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 4th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 9th (KM) Stonehaven Folk Festival, NE Scotland
Jul 10th (KM) Stonehaven Folk Festival, NE Scotland
Jul 16th (KM) Hebden Bridge Folk and Roots Festival
Jul 17th (KM) Hebden Bridge Folk and Roots Festival
Jul 18th (KM) BBC Radio Leeds (In the evening).
Aug 20th (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 21st (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 22nd (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 28th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 29th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 30th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 3rd (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 4th (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 5th (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 11th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 12th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 24th (KM) Blackmore Theatre, Exmouth, Devon. with Exmouth Shanty Men
Sep 25th (KM) The Pack o’ Cards, High Street, Combe Martin, North Devon
Oct 8th (KM) The White Horse Inn, Edwardstone, Suffolk
Oct 9th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Oct 10th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Oct 16th (KM) The Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.
Nov 12th (KM) St. Michael All Angels School, Meadow Close, Shelf, Halifax HX3
Jan 11th (Joe) Burley in Wharfdale Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 5th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. – Valparaiso round the Horn


...I have spent three hours trying to calm our cat who freaked out at the beginning of the Shanty programme when she saw an old, white haired guy with a beard filling half the television screen <cough>.
I really enjoyed the programme.
I thought that having a kid who was barely out of his teens and who was genuinely asking uneducated, uninformed questions was great (as opposed to Tony Robinson who's well informed but who asks ignorant questions so the watchers can be informed). I thought he suited the programme very well.
The overall subject matter was fairly well balanced, too (what can you do with an hour?!) with not just shanties but sea song traditions being included.
And, yes, Kimber's Men came across really well - I bet the price of booking you has gone up now, huh?
Lee Smith

Hi Joe,
I really enjoyed the BBC4 programme and was very impressed by the contribution made by you and your mates.
I was distressed however, to hear my missus declare that she fancies you like mad, and wants to have your children .....
Please warn me in advance of your next appearance on TV. I have a feeling that our house will be conveniently hit by a power cut ......
All the best,
Phil Angold
( "Cutty Sark" and the Great Wave, 1890 )

Thanks again for ‘The Ramblings’. A great read.
I had the pleasure of sailing with yourself and Kimber’s Men on a tall ship out of Portsmouth about 3 years ago.
We had a great time learning to sing shanties which culminated in a show at Brixham upon our return.
In your Jan ramblings you said you were going to be at the Falmouth Sea Shanty festival in June. However I note you are no longer listing this. Have you decided not to attend or is this just an omission.
I had been looking forward to meeting up with you all again.
Kind regards
Andrew (Postlethwaite)

I saw it! I told a couple of friends to look out for you and described you as having white hair and a white beard, but was slightly alarmed to observe that everyone who appeared seemed to have a white beard & white hair! They were confused! It is obligatory?
Great programme. I thought little Gareth did a grand job and it was v interesting - with all the stories along the way!
Take care!
Susan Head xxx

I enjoyed the Kimber's Men bit, but it was much too short!
The whole show was great and gave us a taste of English seafaring music.
I watched some of it with my daughter (who's almost 10) and she really dug it.
So- thanks again. It's very appreciated. I'll be watching again this weekend.
Chuck Dube (USA)

Enjoyed your Sea Shanty singing on the BBC3/4 the other day. Just thought I'd let you know all sorts of people (undesirables included) are watching.
Bibs Ekkel


This'll test your geography

This first one is dreadful; don’t read it.

A woman goes into Discount Fishing Supplies to buy a rod and reel for her grandson's birthday.
She doesn't know which one to get, so she just picks one and goes over to the counter.
The salesman is standing there, wearing dark glasses.
She says, "Excuse me. Can you tell me anything about this rod and reel?"
He says, "Madam, I'm completely blind; but if you'll drop it on the counter, I can tell you everything you need to know about it from the sound it makes."
She doesn't believe him, but drops it on the counter anyway.
He says, "That's a six-foot Shakespeare graphite rod with a Zebco 404 reel and 10-lb test line. It's a good all around combination, and it's actually on sale this week for £44."
She says, "That's amazing that you can tell all that, just by the sound of it dropping on
the counter. I'll take it!"
As she opens her purse, her credit card drops on the floor.
"Oh, that sounds like a Barclays Visa card," he says.
Now she's really impressed! As the lady bends down to pick up the card, she accidentally farts.
At first she's really embarrassed, but then realises there is no way the blind salesman
could tell exactly who had farted.
The man rings up the sale and says, "That'll be £58.50 please."
The woman is totally confused by this and asks, "Didn't you tell me it was on sale for £44? How did you arrive at £58.50 ?"
He says: "It's an extra £11 for the Duck Caller, and the Fish Bait is £3.50."


My Dear Wife,
You will surely understand that I have certain needs that you, being 54 years old, can no longer satisfy. I am very happy with you and I value you as a good wife. Therefore, after reading this letter, I hope that you will not wrongly interpret the fact that I will be spending the evening with my 18 year old secretary at the Comfort Inn Hotel.
Please don't be upset----I shall be home before midnight.

When the man came home late that night, he found the following letter on the dining room table:

My Dear Husband,
I received your letter and thank you for your honesty about my being 54 years old. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that you are also 54 years old. As you know, I am a math teacher at our local college. I would like to inform you that while you
read this, I will be at the Hotel Fiesta with Michael, one of my students, who is also the assistant tennis coach. He is young, virile, and like your secretary, is 18 years old.
As a successful businessman who has an excellent knowledge of math, you will understand that we are in the same situation, although with one small difference - 18 goes into 54 a lot more times than 54 goes into 18.

Therefore, I will not be home until sometime tomorrow.


A man and his wife were awoken at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door.
The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.
"Not a chance," says the husband, "it is 3:00 in the morning!"
He slams the door and returns to bed.
"Who was that?" asked his wife.
"Just some drunk guy asking for a push," he answers.
"Did you help him?" she asks.
"No, I did not, it is 3:00 in the morning and it is pouring rain out there!"
"Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. "Can't you remember about three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!"

The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain.
He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?"
"Yes," comes back the answer.
"Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband.
"Yes, please!" came the reply from the dark.
"Where are you?" asks the husband.
"Over here on the swing," replied the drunk.


Lots of folkies are technophobic, but those that aren't might find this funny:
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.”
In response to Gates’ comments, General Motors issued the following press release:
If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation” warning light.
7. The airbag system would ask “Are you sure?” before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10. You’d have to press the “Start” button to turn the engine off.

I have a Renault Megane – and strangely I do press the start button to turn it off!
But then again it is a Renault.

Keep smiling, keep singing.