Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 96 – September 2008

Its official then! Senility has struck. I no longer know a George from a Gordon when I see one! Does this mean I wonder that I wouldn’t recognise a Gordon from a George either? Of course I could claim that I mixed the names up on purpose to generate some letters. But I would only be lying if I did, and what’s worse you would know it too. It’s more likely that having written this drivel non stop each month for 8 years that my brain is now functioning on a level somewhere near my feet and I probably wouldn’t recognise my arse from my elbow either; and I can tell you now that having my bottom stuck half way up my arm is an abnormality I could do without! I can’t wear short sleeved T shirts in Tesco’s for a start. Yes; this is issue number 96 and the proof that 5 of you who put pen to paper (or finger to board to be more precise) are still reading this nonsense is proof enough to me that I should probably continue. Five letters (of which I have to say Oscar Brand’s is by far the cleverest) and all from fellas! Now somewhere there is a quantum theory here that I would like some of you to answer. Does this mean that only men read my ramblings, or does it mean that women don’t recognise a Gordon when they see one either, or does it mean that women are too intelligent to bother to reply? And, more importantly possibly, what is the proportion of readers who actually read this stuff if 5 people are moved to rightly criticize me? Is there a proven percentage here? I mean if I send this out each month to approximately 1,000 people and five respond, does this mean that my readership has now reached double figures? Too many imponderable questions I suppose.

Another question bothering me as I write is should I respond to the sixteen year old American who has posted inflammatory profanity on the youtube film of the Peekskill Outrage? My initial reaction was to respond with….
Absolutely brilliant!
Can I ask you two small questions?
Would you, if old enough, have voted for George Bush and do you think the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Be careful how you answer; remember you’ve already proved your point.
But I’ve been thinking long and hard about it and I’ve decided it would be a lot better if some of my dozen or so readers responded instead. So if you don’t think that Paul Robeson was ‘A stupid f*cking knuckledragger’ perhaps you would be kind enough to tell him so. Simply click onto Condemnation from somebody other than me, and one comment has already been made, would hold a lot more weight.

Summer is nearly over, just one more festival this year. Next year is already filling up with more gigs than I can remember having in my diary for many years. Probably I’ve not been so busy since the 60’s. I find myself in the twilight of my career, busier than I’ve been in 30 years. I just hope I’m in a summer twilight and not a winter one.

I’m sure there won’t be many football fans saddened by the departure of Barmy Brian Barwick from the Football Association. Barmy Brian was responsible for the appointment of Steve MacLaren as manager of the England team when nearly every supporter understandably scoffed at the idea. I for one certainly won’t miss him. He also appointed Mr Scolari as well of course. Time will tell how the Italian will fare as England manager; but he certainly can do no worse. Meanwhile, Adrian Chiles, for no other reason that he is incredibly ugly, and has an awful Brummie accent, continues to annoy me to the point that I refuse to watch him. It’s not the Brummie accent I abhor so much as the whole personality of the man and his incredibly ugly mug. Ah well I suppose he fits into the percentage of people the BBC are compelled to employ who have afflictions in some way or another. I can always use the ‘off’ switch and invariably do.

I do seem to be getting incredibly intolerant in my twilight.

You can watch and listen to the boring intolerant twilighting old fart as follows…………

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

Sep 5th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 10th (Joe) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival
Sep 11th (Joe) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival
Sep 12th (Joe) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival
Sep 13th (Joe) Restronguet Sailing Club, Falmouth – Valparaiso round Horn.
Sep 18th (KM) The Murgatroyd Arms, Skircoat Green, Halifax.
Oct 25th (Joe) Nordby – Denmark
Nov 15th (KM) Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge. (Get there early).
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
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 folk friends,
Can anybody help me?
I woke up this morning to discover with horror that somebody had stolen my lorry; it had in excess of 100 coats and waistcoats in the back.
If you should hear of any such items being offered unusually cheaply could you please get in touch?
I wouldn't ask, but they are made of a new experimental material that self ignites when in a damp climate, the fumes of which have been found to cause susceptible people to take up the Banjo.
As a result they have been condemned by Health and Safety, and were on their way to a special laboratory for disposal.
Any information leading to the arrest of those involved will be treated in the strictest confidence, and your anonymity will be protected, .............subject to my accidentally leaving the floppy disc on the next train.
Many thanks,
Steve O’Kane

The present prime minister is Gordon Brown, not George Brown.
George Brown was a very honest politician, who IMO would have made a better prime minister, than Wilson, Callaghan or Blair or Gordon Brown.
George Brown was someone who came from a very poor background, unlike most politicians, and understood poverty first hand, he was the only politician who had the balls to stand up to Kruschev and question him about soviet policy towards Latvia and Lithuania.
I did not always agree with him, but he deserves respect, please don’t confuse him with someone whose only concern is/was power, but not power to change things, but power just for its trappings. We won’t see George Browns like again. More is the pity.

When I receive your Email I call my sister Edythe and read the rhymes to her. My father had a favorite joke....He would say, "Call your sister Edythe" and we would oblige by asking, "Why should we call our sister Edythe?" And he would answer laughing, "Because that's her name".

Are you losing your last few remaining marbles? It is Gordon Brown not George Brown.
Just been over to Ireland to do some family research. You can get so far, using the Mormons research centres (any one is welcome not just members of their church) but every now and then I need to see certain Birth or wedding certificates. My great, great grandmother recorded her sons birth, I know I am Irish but the next column records one the funniest lines I have ever heard. The next column records the name of the person recording the birth, but under that is a comment “Absent from Birth”. Noel Murphy in his wildest flight of imagination could not dream up that joke!
Tim Justice

Hello Joshua
Long time no speak - you seem so busy these days - you leather jacket buying jetsetter!!!
I hope that you don't mind me calling you Joshua, but as you called comrade Gordon - George, I though that you maybe having a name change week so I'll join in
Anyway what is it with George ?
It seems to me that he always wanted to be Prime Minister - like a little boy wants to be a bus driver when he grows up.
You see, everybody loves the bus driver, they all wave and say "Good morning, and how are you today?"
And the bus driver smiles and drives the bus - and the bus goes Bruummmmm Brummmmmm - exciting!
" Bye Bye." They say as they leave the bus, "We like you, you are a nice man"
"Thank you." says the bus driver to the mummies and the children & the old ladies with their dogs and shopping trolleys as he waves & moves away.
"I want to be a bus driver when I grow up." Say the little boys.
"And me!" Say the little girls.
"That would be nice." say the mummies and the old ladies with their dogs and shopping trolleys
I think Gordon thought being Prime minister would be the same
He would do what other prime ministers do, or have done. He would be on tele, have a big desk and a big chair, go to the parliament and share lively banter & quick fire quips aimed at opposition politicians & he would make all his party members and friends laugh with his witty retorts.
He would meet the Queen and other famous people (he used to say that he had no time for the monarchy & celebrity piffle & white tie dinners but that would be behind him now) - and lots of other folk & children in schools in towns around the country would go to meet him and wave & smile and say "Hello Prime minister we like you." and he would go Bruummm Brummm as he travelled on his way.
What little children quite often never take into consideration when they want to be a bus driver is:-
That the bus driver must know what route he is driving so he must study a road map so he knows where he is going & not to get lost.
He must stop at the stops and make sure his passengers get on and get off safely
He must also take into account some passengers may be difficult or slow - so he must never loose his temper or get agitated and drive erratically
He must always be on time - for other companies are always looking to take his place
He must make sure that his bus is clean on the inside for his passengers & on the outside, so it looks good and also so he can see through the windows
He must make sure that the bus is always oiled and fueled or it will just stop and then everyday he must check to see if his route has changed, due to road works etc - for he must never loose sight of where he has to go.
Poor George
No route, no thought, out of touch with those around him - no fuel in his tank and a direction that takes him around the houses daily - and a bad temper too !
This government, and he has been part of it from the start has :
Lied to take us to war
Closed down post offices
Robbed pensioners
Taken away the 10 pence tax rate
Given pupils and teachers impossible targets and failed to mark examinations properly - and lied about their reasons
Failed to protect or to look after the servicemen and women when they return from combat - they even have to buy their own personal television licenses for their rooms in barracks and to add insult to injury even service training has been farmed out to the private sector.
Given us back door stealth taxes by the dozen - hips, insurance etc etc and now George’s prudence with the exchequer is showing a few cracks, mortgages, credit crunches and no gold reserves!
Fuel companies making Zillions and no structure in place to make them channel any of it back to the country
I think everyone knew that being Prime minister would not be easy --- except George
Ding a ling ding a ling - move a long move along Hold tight!
The wheels on the bus ................................................
"Don't do that George!" was that Joyce Grenfell or was it the Ghost of John Smith ?
Lots of love see you behind the boom stand.
John Thomas. (Portsmouth).

Hi Joe
I couldn't help noticing that you talked about George Brown, the well known alcoholic of the Wilson era, and not Gordon Brown who I think you meant to refer to in your Ramblings.
Hope you Nerjed well.
John Bromley

Hello there,
I’m sending this email because at some point over the last six years I have had contact with you in one way or another with reference to my Dad’s website (This is being sent to about 50 email addresses!).
With the improvement of technology, I thought I’d let you know that I have added a ‘music player’ to the site, meaning his music can now be enjoyed with ease. (Perhaps that is stretching the truth a little!).
Simply go to and click the link for “Jon Isherwood’s Polkbox”.
Also- Nigel Grundy, a photographer and artist from Portsmouth (Now Newbury), has unearthed a rare 1967 LP, of which I had assumed to be a myth. This now gives a chance to hear a folk performance from a time before other influences took over his life.
This LP is there, with the others “A Laughing Cry” and “A Bellyful of Isherwood”.
If you will take time out to have a listen, I thank you, and I hope you will enjoy.
Jonathan Isherwood



Last night my mother and I were sitting in the living room chatting about things and... then, we talked about living and dying.

I said to her: ' Mum, If ever I end up in a vegetative state when you are alive, please never let me go on like that.....totally dependent on machines and liquids from a bottle. If you see me in that state I want you to disconnect all the contraptions that are keeping me
alive. I'd much rather die'.

Up went my mum from the sofa, with this real look of admiration towards me...and proceeded to disconnect the TV, the Cable, the Dish, the DVD, the Computer, the Cell Phone, the Ipod, and the Xbox, and then went to the fridge and threw away all my beer!!

Why Parents Drink

The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent but had not phoned in sick one day. Needing to have an urgent problem with one of the main computers resolved, he dialled the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper. ' Hello ? '

'Is your daddy home?' he asked.

' Yes ,' whispered the small voice.
May I talk with him?'

The child whispered, ' No .'

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, 'Is your Mummy there?' 'Yes '

'May I talk with her?' Again the small voice whispered, ' No '

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, 'Is anybody else there?'

' Yes ,' whispered the child, ' a policeman. '

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, 'May I speak with the policeman?'

' No, he's busy , ' whispered the child.

'Busy doing what?'

' Talking to Daddy and Mummy and the Fireman , ' came the whispered answer.

Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background through the earpiece on the phone, the boss asked, 'What is that noise?'

' A helicopter ' answered the whispering voice.

'What is going on there?' demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive. Again, whispering, the child answered,

' The search team just landed a helicopter '

Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked, 'What are they searching for?'

Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle...

' ME . '

Also entitled ,"Why Can't I Own Canadians?"

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is purported to be an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by an east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. Hopefully funny, and informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,

It's the summer of 1957, and Harold goes to pick up his date, Peggy Sue. Harold's a pretty hip guy, with his own car and a 'Ducktail' hairdo.
When he goes to the front door, Peggy Sue's mother answers and invites him in. 'Peggy Sue's not ready yet, so why don't you have a seat?'
Peggy Sue's mother asks Harold what they're planning to do.
Harold replies politely that they will probably just go to the malt shop or to a drive-in movie.
Peggy Sue's mother responds, 'Why don't you kids go out and screw? I hear all the kids are doing it.'
Naturally this comes as quite a surprise to Harold, and he says, 'Whaaaaat?'
'Yes,' says Peggy Sue's mother. 'We know Peggy Sue really likes to screw; why, she'd screw all night if we let her!'
Harold's eyes light up and he smiles from ear to ear. Immediately he has revised his plans for the evening.
A few moments later, Peggy Sue comes downstairs in her little poodle skirt with her saddle shoes and announces that she's ready to go.
Almost with breathless anticipation, Harold escorts his date out the front door while Mom is saying, 'Have a good evening kids!' with a small wink for Harold.
About 20 minutes later, a thoroughly disheveled Peggy Sue rushes back in to the house, slams the door behind her and screams at her mother......
'Dammit's the Twist!...... It's called the Twist!'

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead