Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 132 – September 2011

It’s nice to see that some of the naughty boys and girls who caused such havoc in August are getting just rewards in prison sentences. Prisons are now over stretched and over crowded, but that’s simply because we’ve been too lenient in the past. It has of course been an accident waiting to happen.

For too long parents have been stripped of an important form of education over their children, schools likewise. It’s a crazy world where a child can report a parent for chastisement and the parent can be sent to prison. The youth of today in many cases do not respect their elders. It might be argued that that has been the situation since time immemorial, because youth will always rebel, but what happened with the looting, mugging and the arsonists was completely beyond the pale. No sensible adult would argue otherwise. What many adults might argue with is that this lack of control stems from the withdrawal of corporal punishment in schools; obviously it doesn’t it’s just a very strange co-incidence. That’s right pull the other one.

Another very strange coincidence reared its ugly head in August, and it has to be a coincidence and nothing else when it transpired that Bradford in West Yorkshire, just a few miles from where I live, has the highest proportional number of uninsured drivers in the country. As a result insurance premiums for car drivers in one certain Bradford post code area has shot through the roof to ridiculous proportions. One driver who last year paid £1,000 for his car insurance has just been quoted in excess of £20,000. Another lady, new to driving, was quoted £53,000 for a year’s car insurance! (£145 a day – you could hire a car for substantially less). The strange coincidence here is that the population of Bradford has a very high proportion of Asians; and it was quoted on the television (BBC News – Look North) that over 50% of Asian drivers are uninsured. Now this is not racist propaganda its fact. Horrible coincidence though.

A few years back a distant relative of mine (my wife’s, daughter’s husband’s father – to be exact) was knocked down whilst crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing in Halifax. The driver failed to stop. He was eventually located and strangely he turned out to be an Asian taxi driver. He was insured when apprehended but could not find his insurance for the date of the accident. He had apparently just re-insured the car and had destroyed all evidence of past insurance and could not remember whom he had been with. Now this is not myth, it’s not hearsay, it’s not rumour, it’s not racist, its fact. Another strange unexplainable accident? No, simply another strange unexplainable coincidence.

Some of you might have already heard that Neil Kimber contracted pneumonia in August which caused him to miss our enjoyable trip to Enkhuizen in Holland. At the time of going to press he is convalescing at home and is likely to be missing from our ranks for a few weeks yet. He was very seriously ill, and if I say he was at ‘Death’s Door’ I would not be exaggerating. He did nearly die. I’m sure you all wish him well. He can be contacted through Facebook. He did make it to Shrewsbury at the end of the month and it was lovely to see him on stage with us for one song at our finale with the Wilson Family. You can wish him well through this monthly nonsense as well if you want to.

Interesting piece in the press recently about dolphins. A professor somewhere in America has come up with the theory that in five years time we will be able to talk to them. I do hope this will come to fruition, although I somewhat doubt it will happen in my lifetime, it is of course a possibility. It would be lovely to be able to tell them to steer clear of waters patrolled by the Japanese. Of course, according to American scientists, it might never happen at all if the population of planet earth is liquidated by extra-terrestrial life forms who will be so disgusted by our failure to control global warming that they decide to liquidate us all. This is the latest piece of plausible science to come from the climate change lobby in America as predicted by (yes you’ve guessed it) an American scientist. Did I say they were all mad last month; well this is certainly not proof although it is an alarming coincidence if true.

Brian Preston sent me an interesting You Tube clip regarding a hump back whale……..


Interesting riot footage you might not have seen


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If it arrives in your computer, do not answer it and do not open the web page – you will be opening your computer to fraudsters. Obviously a lot of you will know this already, but this is a clear indication that fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated.

So this is Issue 132 – 11 years of non-stop rambling with some brilliant letters over the years. This month many have arrived from America, all proving that whilst they might be mad they are intelligent nonetheless!

Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead

Sep 3rd (KM) Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe. (Sea Ilfracombe Festival)
Sep 4th (KM) Somerset Arms, Moorend Road, Cheltenham. 3pm.
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 (Joe) 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 13 (Joe) The Victoria Hotel, Great George Street, Leeds. 2pm (Valparaiso)
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
May 4th (KM) Sheepscombe Village Hall, Gloucestershire.
May 5th (KM) Minstead Village Hall, Hampshire.
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.
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 8th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 9th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 8th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival


Dear Joe,
Is this (ABSOLUTELY TRUE, I SWEAR TO GOD) story racist? I was in Tesco's car park waiting for my wife to get back with the shopping (is that sexist?), when a German coach drove up and parked right opposite me. Out piled German teenagers. Most of them went in to the shop. Four of them (three girls and a lad) just hung around the car park, where I observed the following behaviour. They went over to the shelter where you put your trolley. As you'll no doubt know, there are two types of trolley. Deep ones and shallow ones. You know what these teenagers did? They sorted out the trolleys and generally tidied up! 'tain't nat'ral, and no good'll come of it!
And, speaking of isms. I was walking with Paul Downes' 90 year old mother from a car park to a pub, and offered her my arm. She said, "I'm not that old!". I said, "I'm not being ageist, I'm being sexist". She said, "Oh, well that's alright then", and took the offered limb.
Over and out.
Mick Ryan

Hi Joe,
As Fitzgerald wrote in a similar context, “’We’ve got to beat them down,’ whispered Daisy, winking ferociously toward the fervent sun.”

The Norway tragedy leaves me wondering about all the anti-Muslim ranting that’s been going on. In a very real sense, someone took the sweeping generalizations literally and then took action. It was consoling to see hundreds of thousands of variously hued Norwegians taking to the streets and saying “Stop it!”

Poor Britannia: they finally conquer the contemptible Irish “lunatics” they once owned only to find themselves living next to contemptible brown skinned lunatics who not only don’t believe in Jesus but have somehow persuaded themselves they are being exploited, looked down upon and shoved into slums. Ungrateful bastards! Why don’t they go back to where Britannia once owned them?

I remember in 1965-66 some of the British officers I worked with in Germany being relentless in their criticism of America’s treatment of African-Americans. They droned on endlessly about the welcome dark-skinned people received in Britain. Since this was after Watts blew up, we Yanks could only lower our heads.

It’s clear now that many Brits regarded, and continue to regard, the brown skin citizens they formerly owned with the same contempt that many Germans regarded and continue to regard the Turkish non-citizens they systematically exploit. Ditto the French and the way they continue to regard almost everyone who doesn’t live in Paris. Ooops, make that the RIGHT neighborhood of Paris.

For all of our race riots, Palins and wars, we Yanks did vote one of our darkies into the presidency—even if many of the voters were really condemning the horrible war their white skinned president was waging against brown skinned human beings once owned by Britain.

As Pete Seeger made clear, we’re all in this together. As those hundreds of thousands of Norwegians made clear, it’s time to “Stop it!”

Charlie Reilly, Philadelphia. USA.


Sadly, this Machiavellian ruse called Politically Correct Speech has gained a foot-hold in this country and Americans (especially young Americans) are seemingly too blind or ignorant to notice that it is just another form of censorship. In the U.S. these days the answers to your questions about being critical of one entity or another are yes, yes and yes. If one dares to speak one's opinion, it is understood that one is running the risk of being pasted with an undeserved and sometimes villainous label. It is simply the "argument of choice" for many. Fear of social reprisal is a sickeningly powerful tool with which those who wish to do so can shut you up and as I said, sadly, it works like a charm. It does, however, from time to time, present opportunities for a good belly laugh as recently I was labeled a 'shoe hater' because I criticized a friends shoes. Oh silly me.

Gaylan Oliphant, Phoenix, Arizona


Perhaps it was the wording, but you lost me with your reference to Che Guevara. Did you mean that Che wasn’t able to make his own mind heard because he didn’t live in a “free” society (i.e. pre-revolution Cuba), or that those now living in the society Che helped form aren’t able to make their minds heard?

Given that my brother-in-law’s family has been personally and strongly affected by the Cuba that Che helped create, I would heartily agree with the latter. His father, after serving in combat in Angola with the Cuban Army, was jailed for many years simply for opining in the presence of a government informant that he didn’t think they should have been there at all. My brother-in-law has no baby pictures of himself, since upon receiving a visa to enter the US the government of Cuba confiscated all their possessions (they left the country only with the clothes on their backs), including the family photo albums, which were burned in the street. His older brother, who stayed in Cuba with his family, was not allowed by the Cuban government to even speak to any of his family members in the US for over a decade. There’s more similar stories, if you have time.

If, however, you meant the former, it seems to be the height of politically-driven disconnect to represent a key architect of the system and government referenced above as a victim of oppression. Did you know that after the revolution Che was in charge of the prisons housing political prisoners, people like my brother-in-law’s father, who were specifically jailed and, often executed based upon their “own minds.” By many accounts, Che was personally responsible for the execution of many prisoners during the revolution and in the purges immediately following. Hardly the paragon of tolerance and freedom the popular culture would have you believe.

If I seem testy on this, it is because I get exasperated hearing know-nothing celebrities living comfortably in the US in their multi-million dollar houses go on and on about the wonderful paradise of equality that is Cuba. Hearing the personal accounts as a common citizen (and not a specially treated visitor) from my brother-in-law and his family I do agree that there is great equality in Cuba: everyone is equally miserable and oppressed.

Best Regards,
David Henry

Hi Joe
A belated happy birthday. I celebrated my 60th last Thursday and among other presents I received 2 tickets for Kimbers Men in Exeter in September.
I reckon it is nearly 40 years since I last saw you perform it may have been Dartford or Downe Folk Clubs or even the gig you did for our senior scout group at West Wickham in Kent.
My abiding memories include Ball o Yarn, Ira Hayes, Bilbo's song side by side and a monologue the titile of which escapes me. I also remember you prancing round the room and creeping up on some chap who wasn't joining in and you pulling his pipe from his mouth and dumping it in his beer, the room fell apart he was not amused.
I don't suppose Kimbers Men get up to these sort of things, not very suitable for a 70 year old and not possible with the no smoking laws.
I look forward to seeing you in Exeter next month.
All the best
Steve Crosswell

Dear Joe,
I got a chuckle out of your poem about the Royal family and the annus horribilis. It turns out, though, that whatever bonking Philip may have been doing it was NOT Lady Romsey (correct spelling), who is his niece – so that’s why they spoke so familiarly on the telephone.
Now, here is something you may already know, but I thought it worth mentioning. I have had a fairly good career singing British Isles traditional folk songs and chanteys as well, and the man who got me started at performing (although I had known many of the songs for years before) was Louis Killen of Gateshead-on-Tyne, who stayed with me for several months in Newport, Rhode Island in 1967. He was so randy he was always stealing my friends’ wives and girlfriends, so I eventually threw him out. He later married a really nice girl, Sally, and settled down in the USA. After a divorce, he had a wretched bout with cancer, and then decided he was the wrong sex, so now he/she in his early 70s is accepting gigs as Louisa Killen (I know of one coming up soon at Saint Augustine, Florida). I imagine all the fellows whose wives & girlfriends he stole would be amazed to learn that!
Incidentally, performing chanteys was one of the factors that got me interested in building in 1969 the full-size, operational copy of the 24-gun Royal Navy frigate ROSE, whose presence in Rhode Island 1774-6 was so annoying that the American Congress founded the Continental Navy on 13 October 1775 to get rid of her. The first ship of the Continental Navy was the 12-gun sloop PROVIDENCE, and I built a full-size copy of her as well in 1974-6. PROVIDENCE has recently been bought by Capt. Thorpe Leeson, and now takes people out for a day’s sail off Newport.
ROSE, under a new name of SURPRISE is now on permanent display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, after having starred with Russell Crowe in “Master & Commander.” More recently, she starred with Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean “ IV, where she had the name “HMS PROVIDENCE” and her fictitious captain’s name was Capt. Rose – it all gets too complicated. Even worse, Disney (or Mauschwitz, as the rest of the film industry calls them) arranged her demise on screen when they had her sunk by a team of mermaids (don’t ask). I am now engaged in building several more copies of 18th-century ships for a sail-training programme: see
Best wishes,
John Millar

Hi Joe
A banjo will get you through times of no money,
But money won't get you through times of no banjo.
I guess with the money you could buy a banjo……….I just did!
Alan Hewson

Hi! You Old Codger,
Good entertainment last night, lot's of memories, and you can't beat the beat of our day. I entertained the forces during the war years as a child entertainer. Now, still working, but just for the old folks. I have retired a number of times after TV became popular, and the theatres closed, -
Sending the feature on me from the Courier two weeks ago. We have done OK for Sowerby Bridgeons haven't we?
Keep me informed if you are entertaining again locally.
Kay. Milon

Aged 18 she married Local boy Gordon Harrison and helped him run a funeral business from Valeson House on the corner of Queens Road. The house meant room for Kay’s pianos, including a second-hand Bleuthner nine-foot grand.
“Old but the best sound a good German piano could produce,” she says.
The couple had a daughter - Georgina Kay.
“We entertained and had lots of musical evenings and among our guests was Gordon Langhorne, better known by his stage name Don Lang, known for his many recordings on the trumpet.”
Kay’s musical career flourished and she made television appearances as well as playing in theatres all over the country, topping the bill at the Halifax Palace Theatre with renowned tenor John Hanson of The Desert Song (Red Shadow) fame, and once taking the place of singer Ruby Murray in Dublin, when the famous singer was ill.
Kay and Gordon were to divorce and Kay was to marry Denis Bourke from a well-known Irish family. It was then her world travels began - Denis’s company Proctor and Gamble sent him out to Puerto Rico and Mexico City.
“We shipped all our furniture out but I was told not to take the piano because the humidity might damage it, so one of the first jobs when I got out there was to set about looking for a new one.”
When her second marriage came to an end, Kay met and married Charles Corn, who built hotels and houses all over California.
“They were real movie star homes. Did I ever get one? Well the trouble was once he’d built one to my specifications, he sold the darn thing before I’d chance to move in.” As Charles’s health began to fail, they moved to Mexico
“It was beautiful. We lived in a place called Mulege, pronounced Moo-lah-hey, very remote and getting there was quite a feat.
The couple had been married for almost 20 years when Charles died in 1981, and two years later Kay was to marry again - French born Pierre Milon who had been a friend of Charles and been in charge of running one of his hotels. Kay describes this whole period of her life as “high society” because of all the people she came into contact with through the hotel business.
“I met Marilyn Monroe and Burt Reynolds once kissed my hand which made me weak at the knees. Even the Kennedys came to stay - although I missed them.”
In 1990, the couple came to live in Sowerby Bridge and were happily married until Pierre died in 2009 after a long illness.


Rupert Murdoch has said he is deeply touched by some of the messages left on Amy Winehouse's voicemail. !!!!!!

CONFUCIUS DIDN'T SAY (But wishes he had)
Man who wants pretty nurse, must be patient.
Passionate kiss, like spider web, leads to undoing of fly.
Better to be pissed off than pissed on.
Lady who goes camping must beware of evil intent.
Squirrel who runs up woman’s leg will not find nuts.
Man who leaps off cliff jumps to conclusion.
Man who runs in front of car gets tyred, man who runs behind car gets exhausted.
War does not determine who is right, it determines who is left.
Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.
It takes many nails to build a crib, but one screw to fill it.
Man who drives like hell is bound to get there.
Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.
Man who fish in other man's well often catch crabs.
Finally CONFUCIUS didn’t SAY. . "A lion will not cheat on his wife, but a Tiger Wood!"


A woman was sipping on a glass of wine, while sitting on the patio with her husband, and she said, "I love you so much, I don't know how I could ever live without you."
Her husband asked, "Is that you, or the wine talking?"
She replied, "It's me ......... talking to the wine."..


A celebrated museum in Austria has fired an employee for washing his hands and face in his own urine!
Alfred Zoppelt said he was sacked after 23 years service as an attendant at the Belvedere, a castle in Vienna which holds a major collection of art.
Mr. Zoppelt said the reason he was given for his sacking was that “You regularly rub urine into your skin particularly the face and hands. With this, you soil your place of work...and threaten the health of co-workers”.
The 57 year-old claims his adherence to so-called “urine therapy” was previously “never a problem”.
A woman answering the telephone in the Belvedere press department confirmed that Mr. Zoppelt had been fired, but refused to comment further.
When police decided to remove a sink full of urine as evidence from the staff toilets, Mr. Zoppelt was overheard to say….”Are you taking the piss?”


A True Story,

Sir David Emrys Evans, Principle of University College Bangor, Sir Edmund Hilary together with mountaineering friend and Dean of Bangor’s Faculty of Science held a reunion on Snowdonia. On a blazing hot June day they were walking up Snowdon dressed in shorts, Aertex short sleeved shirts and Gym shoes. A bizarre man approached, he was dressed in Anorak, heavy trousers, carried a stick and a heavy rucksack. He approached the trio of old friends shouting “Get off the mountain, you should not be up here dressed like that. Get off, Snowdonia does not need you amateurs. Hilary took a deep breath and then addressed himself to Emrys Evans and said “ I say Emrys, I do wish that we had this man’s advice when you conquered Everest don’t you?


Last week, she checked into a motel on her 70th birthday and she was a bit lonely. She thought, "I'll call one of those men you see advertised in phone books for escorts and sensual massages." She looked through the phone book, found a full page ad for a guy calling himself Tender Tony - a very handsome man with assorted physical skills flexing in the photo. He had all the right muscles in all the right places, thick wavy hair, long powerful legs, dazzling smile, six pack abs and she felt quite certain she could bounce a silver dollar off his well oiled bum....

She figured, what the heck, nobody will ever know. I'll give him a call.

"Good evening, ma'am, how may I help you?” . . Oh my, he sounded sooo sexy!

Afraid she would lose her nerve if she hesitated, she rushed right in, "Hi, I hear you give a great massage. I'd like you to come to my motel room and give me one. No, wait, I should be straight with you. I'm in town all alone and what I really want is sex. I want it hot, and I want it now. Bring implements, toys, rubber, leather, whips, everything you've got in your bag of tricks. We'll go hot and heavy all night - tie me up, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything and everything, I'm ready!! Now how does that sound?"

He said, "That sounds absolutely fantastic, but you need to press 9 for an outside line."


E-mail from a blonde.....
Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with that expensive double-pane energy efficient kind, and today, I got a call from the contractor who installed them. He was complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and I still hadn't paid for them. Just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So, I told him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year... that in ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves! Hellooooo? It's been a year, I told him!! There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up. He never called back. I bet he felt like an idiot.


A distinguished grey haired man applied for a job with a well known chain of hardware stores. On interview he explained that he wanted some work that enabled him to work with and talk to people. He got the job as a shelf stacker.
His work was good, store customers liked his polite and helpful ways. Only one problem, he was often late for work. The manager sent for him and drew his attention to his late arrivals in the morning. “You work well” he said “but what did they say to you in your previous job if you arrived late?” The man replied “They said, Good Morning Admiral, are you ready for your coffee now?”

Remember there’s always plenty of room for all God’s creatures.
Right next to the mashed potatoes.

Extreme Fire Hazard.
Don’t even fart in the forest.

Keep singing, keep smiling
Joe Stead.