Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 97 – October 2008

I watched Martin Carthy with his daughter Liza recently on television in some hideous pieces of music recorded at Cambridge Folk Festival earlier this year. Included was some black geezer (whom I suppose I should really revere) rapping out a version of Tam Lynn which was nothing short of pretentious crap. Even my wife who has a much more liberal approach to music and the arts agreed with me. Martin (and let’s face it – he should know) seemed very satisfied with the show; and it prompted within my mind the old question. When does a song, be it popular or not, become a folk song? And as Big Bill Broonzy originally pointed out at North Western University in Chicago in the autumn of 1956; “I ain’t never heard a horse sing one”. At some stage in history (pun not necessarily intended) all songs have to be written or composed by someone. Thus all folk songs as we know and/or accept them were originally once popular, or unpopular, songs of the day. So I suppose as some 5,000 people were screaming their heads off in the tent that day in Cambridge the music Martin, Liza and Co were producing was popular, and as it was being presented at a folk festival (although whether Cambridge is still a folk festival is debatable in itself) it must have been folk music, at least in the eyes of the masses. But it was certainly not my kind of folk music and I find myself again examining the ‘Emperors new suit’ syndrome. I’m tempted to add that someone ought to tell Liza that she is a far better fiddle player than she is a dancer, but as she was obviously also enjoying herself immensely to do so would be churlish. I guess I’m just becoming more of an old Codger as I age. But I would far rather watch Martin singing in Ripponden Folk Club to an audience of 60 people than endure the noises that were being emitted from that Cambridge stage; and I would far rather watch Liza play fiddle with two feet planted firmly in one place. Yes! I know; I’m a silly old bugger.

Very soon the world will have a new American President and I very much fear it’s going to endure another Republican. Last year a nationwide poll found that Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats to rate their mental health as excellent; which only goes to prove my theory that most Americans are nuts. (Albeit friendly nuts if you are British). The fact that Bush along with Blair (the biggest liars of the last decade) have lead the world into an incredible recession will not prevent a majority of the ladies of America voting for Palin. I’m not exactly sure that policies will come into it; and clearly not if the Republicans end up winning again. Meanwhile the Labour party blithely inform us here in Britain that it is the rising oil prices that have brought about a recession world wide. They quickly forget Iraq, even though our soldiers are dying there by the week; almost as if the invasion never happened. I don’t know how many millions of dollars America has poured into the war; but I bet a few of those banks now struggling in America could do with them tucked safely away in the American economy and not burnt on a totally unnecessary insane illegal war in a country floating on oil fields with little to no oil production. Will the British public, who now obviously detest Labour and all that it stands for, now turn to the Conservatives? Of course they will. Will the British public remember the mess the Tories made of government and why they lost power? Of course they won’t. There is an alternative party standing waiting in the wings who opposed the invasion of Iraq; and who might have saved us from the miseries we are soon to experience. Will the British public vote for them? Of course they won’t. Why? Because we’re us mad as the Americans – well nearly. It was mooted to me recently by both Nigel Mazlyn Jones and Tim Nicolai that members of parliament who lie should face a jail sentence of not less than 10 years. Not an un-sensible idea. Please name a member of parliament you trust. We had one once in Halifax strangely enough called Alice Mahon. Alice has sadly retired through ill health. Politicians are not in parliament to help the people of this country; they are in parliament to help themselves; and by Christ they do. In handfuls and bucket loads.

Did you know that Houses of Parliament is an anagram of Shameful Operations?!!!!! Speaks for its self.

Laughable, if it was not such a serious matter, is the totally inadequate fine imposed against Croatia by FIFA for the despicable torrent of racial abuse and hatred poured down upon Emile Heskey during England’s recent football game in Zagreb. Apparently fining a football federation £14,920 is going to stop the supporters of that country from acting in a likewise fashion the next time a black man appears on a football field in that wretched country. A massive fine and a points deduction would be the most sensible action and the only way to prevent it happening again. It might make Spain wake up as well!

FIFA is as weak and as motivated by money as is the Premier League here in Britain where a scathing condemnation of West Ham was made by an independent commission regarding the depth of skullduggery, lies and deception that enabled West Ham to acquire Tevez in September 2006 without the inconvenience of a transfer fee. A tale of an illicit deal and persistently unscrupulous efforts typical of East London mentality that demanded swinging sanctions but got only a 5 million pound fine and no points deduction. I am delighted that Sheffield United appear to be making great headway in the £30 million claim against them. Some football clubs, and West Ham are certainly one of them, think they can ride rough shod over anything and anybody that gets in their way. Yorkshire of course, and remember I’m a Londoner, will always take second place to the capital city, so whilst West Ham are allowed to continue making millions in the Premier League Sheffield United must fight once again to get back to a position they have been wrongfully cast from and poor old Halifax Town (this is an aside) have been chucked down 4 leagues for going bankrupt. I hope Sheffield United bankrupt West Ham – of course it won’t happen; but I can always dream. To further confuse non-football fans who are still reading this paragraph I would add that the majority of Charlton Athletic fans have an in bound hatred for Crystal Palace; which I find strange as Crystal Palace came to Charlton’s aid when bankruptcy loomed large over them in 1985; for my part I’ve always despised the Hammers and everything they stand for. The fans are forever blowing bubbles? – Well I know where I’d like to stick ‘em.

And whilst in the malevolent mood, having last month condemned Adrian Chiles to much criticism for his ugliness and accent (which only one of you picked up on), might I add another name to a face I would gladly see obliterated (not only from our television screens – but from life itself) – namely Hazel Blears the Right Honourable Member of Parliament for Salford. That stupid grin! I could gladly kick it from here to eternity. There I feel better now.

At least I hope to see Martin and Liza Carthy on our TV screens again, and not just once, but many times.

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

Oct 18th (Joe) Masonic Hall, Barnsley (Private Dinner) - Valparaiso
Oct 25th (Joe) Nordby – Denmark
Nov 7th (KM) Bingham Folk Club, Nottingham.
Nov 15th (KM) Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge. (Get there early).

Nov 18th (Joe) Private Function in Sheffield – Valparaiso round the Horn
Jan 12th (Joe) North East Leeds Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Jan 16th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare
Jan 17th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare
Jan 18th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare
Feb 7th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.

Feb 25th (Joe) Durham, North Carolina. US
Feb 26th (Joe) Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland.
Feb 27th (Joe) Pickers Supply Concert Hall, Fredericksburg, Virginia, US.
Feb 28th (Joe) Washington Folk Song Society. US
Mar 1st (Joe) South Street Seaport Museum, New York. US.
Mar 7th (Joe) Philadelphia Folk Song Society. US.
Mar 10th (Joe) Montgomery College, Bluebell Hill, Philadelphia US (Lunch time).
Mar 10th (Joe) The Mermaid Inn, Winston Road, German Town, Philadelphia. US
Mar 14th (Joe) Portsmouth, New Hampshire. US.
Mar 15th (Joe) House Concert, Boston, Ma. US
Mar 16th (Joe) The Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Boston, Ma. US
Mar 17th (Joe) World Performance Center in Essex. Ma
Apr ? (Joe) Fiddlers Dream Coffeehouse, 1702 East Glendale, North Phoenix, Arizona.
May 2nd (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 3rd (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 4th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 6th (Joe) North Bradford Men’s Forum. - Valparaiso
May 8th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 9th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 10th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland

May 11th (Joe) Leeds
May 20th (Joe) Menston Retired Mens Forum, Kirklands. (Paul Robeson)
Jun 12th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 13th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 14th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Aug 28th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 29th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 30th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 31st (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 4th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea - Provisional
Sep 5th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea - Provisional
Sep 6th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea - Provisional
Sep 11th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 12th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 13th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 18th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival - Provisional

Sep 19th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival
Sep 20th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival
Oct 25th (KM) Scrag End Folk Club, Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe, Leicestershire
Sep 25th (KM) The Castle Inn, Combe Martin, High Street, North Devon.


Dear Joe,
Enjoyed latest ramblings. Re George Brown later Lord George Brown:-
I agree that he was a politician who deserved respect although apart from his drinking he did demonstrate an alarming lack of comprehension on some aspects of Government. In a speech one day he proclaimed "I am very worried about our children, I have just learned that as many as 50% are below average height". It is about as daft as this government’s definition of child poverty. This is a child in a family with an income less than 60% of average income. Any mathematician or statistician knows that using this definition poverty cannot be eliminated. No matter what the average income is, there will always be 60% who are below the average. Misuse of statistics is sometimes deliberate but often is a consequence of ignorance of basic mathematics. Percentages are the easiest numbers to mislead with. For example when Margaret Hewitt was Minister for Health in Blair's Muddlement she proudly boasted that a poll of patients using the Brit ish Health Service had revealed that 90% were very satisfied with their treatment. Impressive? Well what were the feelings of the 10 out of every hundred who were not satisfied? 1 out of ten let down is an apalling figure. Is this an issue? No it is a problem. The misuse of the word 'issue' is another political load of bollocks.
Eric Cowell

Don’t worry, old age has its fun days. I unfortunately spend a lot of time in hospital, the ward I usually stay is one dedicated to people who enjoy more of the demon booze than is considered wise. On a recent visit, a young lady approached me and started asking me questions, ie What day is it? I told her to buy a paper or look on a calendar. She asked if I could name the Prime Minister, I could, but I was grateful that you weren’t in the next bed!!
She finally asked if I new the Monarch’s name, I told her to look it up on a penny! She’s not having a good time with me, so far. The joys of old age! I was really enjoying it!!. After about 6 stupid questions I asked her politely to go away and leave me to the Saturday Telegraph’s General Knowledge crossword. When I completed it I asked one of the nurses to leave the completed grid on the Shrinks desk. The nurses were delighted at my initial response to the lady in question, but were ecstatic with the delivery of the crossword grid!!
I decided, a long time ago, that there were two options open to me! Grow old gracefully or disgracefully, I chose the latter and don’t regret the decision at all.
I read with some laughter the story about the self igniting coats, driving people to the pursuit of the banjo. As a very bad player myself, I sort of laughed. Billy Connelly’s wife, Dr Pam, writes one funny line in the biography of her husband “What’s the similarity between you (Billy) playing banjo and peeling onions? They both make people cry! Don’t get me wrong I think Billy is a competent exponent of the banjo, but I do know of divorces where a partners unmerciful playing of the banjo have been cited as an act of mental cruelty!!
Fond regards
Tim Justice

I like Adrian Chiles. However, I *cannot* watch that 'cheap as chips' antiques fellow whose name my brain is stubbornly refusing to remember (a seriously senior grey moment) or John McCririck (don't know if I've spelled that correctly, but he's the horse racing chap). Just as well we're all different - my husband cannot watch Cilla Black or Janet Street-Porter.
Loved your funnies this time (as always)
I am definitely a reader
Stephanie Marriott

Hi Joe,
Hit 65 last week and decided that I'd carry on working but would slow down a bit and have a bit more fun. So, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and I said, 'Come on mate, how about giving a senior citizen a break?'
He ignored us and continued writing the ticket.
I called him a dumb bastard. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tyres. So my wife called him a shit head. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. The bloody fascist then wrote a third ticket!
This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more he wrote.
Just then our bus arrived and we got on it and went home.
We try to have a little fun each day now that we've reached retirement age.
Derek Jones (New Zealand)


1. Innovative
2. Preliminary
3. Proliferation
4. Cinnamon

1. Specificity
2. Anti-constitutionalistically
3. Passive-aggressive disorder
4. Transubstantiate

1. No thanks, I'm married.
2. Nope, no more booze for me!
3. Sorry, but you're not really my type.
4. Kebab? No thanks, I'm not hungry.
5. Good evening, officer. Isn't it lovely out tonight?
6. Oh, I couldn't! No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
7. I'm not interested in fighting you.
8. Thank you, but I won't make any attempt to dance, I have no coordination. I'd hate to look like a fool!
9. Where is the nearest toilet? I refuse to pee in this pub car park.
10. I must be going home now, as I have to work in the morning.


That’s when the fight started!

1) After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and Realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later. The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'. So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me and she processed my Social Security application. When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office.
She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too. And that's when the fight started.....

2) My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.
My wife asked, "Do you know her?" "Yes", I sighed, "She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since."
"My God!" says my wife, "Who would think a person able to go on celebrating that long?"
And that's when the fight started.....

3) I rear-ended a car this morning. So, there we were alongside the road and slowly the other driver got out of his car. You know how sometimes you just get soooo stressed and little things just seem funny? Yeah, well I couldn't believe it....he was a DWARF!!! He stormed over to my car, looked up at me, and shouted, 'I AM NOT HAPPY!!!' So, I looked down at him and said, 'Well then, which one are you?'
And that's when the fight started...

4) A woman is standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, 'I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment. '
The husband replies, 'Your eyesight's damn near perfect.'
And that's when the fight started......

5) A man and a woman were asleep like two innocent babies. Suddenly, at 3 o'clock in the morning, a loud noise came from outside. The woman, sort of bewildered, jumped up from the bed and yelled at the man, "Holy Crap! That must be my husband!" So the guy quickly jumped out of the bed, scared and naked he jumped out the window like a crazy man. He smashed himself on the ground, ran through a thorn bush and then started to run as fast as he could to his car. A few minutes later he returned and went up to the bedroom and screamed at the woman,
"I AM your husband!" The woman yelled back, "Yeah, well then, why were you running?"
And that's when the fight started......

6) When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her someplace, I took her to a petrol station.....
And that's when the fight started......

7) I tried to talk my wife into buying a case of Miller Light for $14.95. Instead, she bought a jar of cold cream for $7.95. I told her the beer would make her look better at night than the cold cream.
And that's when the fight started..........


1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders you financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the Person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.) : The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido: All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 in the morning & cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.


A Jewish woman says to her mother, 'I'm divorcing Sheldon ! All he wants is anal sex and my ass is now the size of a 50 cent piece when it used to be the size of a 5 cent piece.'
Mother says 'You're married to a multi-millionaire businessman, you live in an 8 bedroom mansion, you drive a Ferrari, you get $10,000 a week allowance, you take 6 vacations a year and you want to throw all that away for 45 cents?

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead