Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger. Volume Eleven - August 2001.
I’ve had a busy July. The birthday party cd is underway and will hopefully be released by September. It has been great fun transcribing it from tape, to the computer, to a compact disc. The finished article is better than I had dared hope and I am extremely grateful to Hugh Evans for the initial work he did recording it through the PA. I’m also very grateful to Karl Dallas who has shown me the ropes. The cd features Karl Dallas, Rahel Guzelian, Jon Harvison, Sumuvus, Pete Coe, Danny+Joyce MacLeod, Matt Armour, Mary Humphreys and Anahata, Kimber’s Men, The Amazing Mr Smith, The Mollyhawks, Chris Manners, Gina le Faux, The Wilson Family, Paul Downes and Archipelago.
I’ve decided to go back gently into artiste management! Tim Nikolai and Namaste Lochrie have formed the duo ‘Archipelago’. At the birthday bash they just about knocked out all who heard and saw them. Tim is an alarming mix of Russian Jew, Belgian and English. He provides a dynamic and sexy stage presence. He has been playing guitar for 40 years and has shared stages with luminaries such as Woody Mann, the late Marcel Dadi, Steffan Grossman, Duck Baker, John Renbourne, Happy Traum, Ralph McTell, Eartha Kitt and Los Paraguayos. (He has also shared a stage with me, but he doesn’t boast about that!) He has recorded several albums with Kicking Mule Records and is recognised as one of the worlds foremost acoustic guitarists. He has also recorded two albums with Taquile a French based band that plays Bolivian and Columbian music. Playing alongside Tim is Namaste who is an interesting melange of Scottish, French and East European Jew. She has a huge stage presence despite her slight size and at 27 has been playing the violin since very young. She has played in concert venues extensively in Europe and America, recorded two albums with the ‘Bucket Band’ and one album with ‘ Blue Horses’. She is constantly in demand as a session player. In 1997 she was approached by French film director Charles Matton to compose music for his latest film ‘Rembrandt’. This project was undertaken very successfully and the movie is presently on general release in France starring Klaus Maria Brandauer and Jean Rochefort. Namaste also made a cameo appearance in the movie herself.
This amazing duo have just released a cd on my own ‘A Private Label’ label and it is available @ £14 including post and package. If you live anywhere near Cardiff where the duo are based I urge you to keep your eyes open for their names and pop along and see them. They are joining me, (and a lot of others), to play at The Mick Tems Benefit weekend in Llantrisant on the 18th and 19th of August. Archipelago are playing in mid afternnon, I’m kicking off the evening concert. Both on Saturday. I believe I’m also doing my Valparaiso Round the Horn workshop on Saturday lunchtime too. I do hope Mick is well enough to attend himself it will be wonderful to see him out and about again. I have a sneaking feeling however that he will still not be well enough to leave hospital yet. He has had a very severe stroke.
In August (10,11,12) I’m travelling up to Maryport to play the sea festival there. I will be looking forward to meeting Andrew Twentytman with whom I co-wrote ‘As we wait for a turn in the tide’, and I will enjoy singing the song to the good people of Maryport. Maryport is caught in a sort of time warped poverty trap in Cumbria just beyond the Lake District. The song is printed later in this newsletter. It’s really weird meeting someone for just 10 minutes and then suddenly find that you have co-written a song with them. You feel you really should know them a bit better than that.
I played Cleckheaton Folk Festival in July again performing the Valparaiso workshop and making a cameo appearance on the folk club stage. My old pals Diz Disley and Johnny Silvo were also on the bill. I spent a good couple of hours with Johnny reminiscing about the 50’s, 60’s,70’s, 80’s and 90’s. When two old pros get together it’s amazing what the memory drags up. Johnny has been performing now for over 40 years, whilst Disley goes even further back. I thoroughly enjoyed the set they did in the bar on the Sunday morning. I missed their concert spot as I was performing elsewhere myself. I remember in 1966 booking Disley to play at my folk club in Dartford. Disley turned up without a guitar assuming he would find one at the club to borrow. I play banjo, not guitar, and my co-organiser at the time, the late Roy Duffin, sung unaccompanied ballads. Eventually a young chap did turn up with a guitar which he bought in Woolworths for about £10. A guitar really only fit for a bon-fire. But Diz made that guitar sound like a million dollars.
Meanwhile Kimber’s Men have been rehearsing every week since the birthday party with a view to recording a cd of sea shanties with Brewhouse Records in the autumn. We are getting good responses from the few public appearances we have made together. The boys kindly backed me at Cleckheaton Festival and it was just great to feel their presence behind and around me. In John Bromley we have the finest shanty singer in the Queendom, possibly the world. If you don’t believe me, come and hear us some place. A local judge who heard us at the benefit night we did together for Mick Tems in Ripponden, again in July, said that the power of the four voices together was overwhelming indeed almost too powerful for comfort. (And that was without a PA!). That was a fun concert to do too. Also on the bill was Gina le Faux, Tania Opland + Mike Freeman, Brian Peters, Derek Gifford and Graham + Eileen Pratt. I understand from Pete Coe that the concert raised a further £260 towards the funds.
Three appearances on TV as a supporting artiste too. I’ve been a prisoner in ‘Mersey Beat’, a weird school teacher in ‘My parents are aliens’ (look out for a vivid orange jacket I bought in a second thrift shop in Philadelphia in 1981 for 50 cents) and a concert goer in ‘Blood Strangers’. Nora was also involved in Blood Strangers which stars Paul McGann. Look out for me too any day now on an earlier instalment of Mersey Beat crossing a footbridge shortly after a drugs deal. (Filmed in March).
Rod Shearman passed away in July. Rod wrote some great songs – perhaps his best was ‘London River’ which has been recorded by quite a few performers including Fairport. I got the following letter from Jim Mageean…..
Sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings but our good pal Rod Shearman passed away yesterday at a hospital in London around 10 am. He had been very ill with cancer for some time and fading away rapidly over the last few days with his two sisters Nina and Greta at his bedside. There is to be a humanist cremation, probably next Friday afternoon, I'll let people know as soon as I have more details. I'm sure we'll all carry on playing his music and singing his songs for many years to come. He was a lovely bloke and will be a great miss to us
Here's to a Friend,
I also got an e mail in July to which I simply had to act positively. I will get no financial remuneration from this – but that is not important and the thought of my voice infiltrating the Andean Jungle was just too much to pass up. God help ‘em if they have to listen to me as well as contend with jungle life.
Dear Sirs Joe Stead,
We have a free station broadcasting from somewhere in the South American Andes. We broadcast in our main frequency of 6950 khz, 43 mb, mostly, on Saturdays & Sundays during the local weekends, and also, on this days we will start our transmissions also on the frequency of 11.440 khz. Our target is all the South American countries, but also our signal also is heard in USA, Canada, Europa, South Africa & Australia, this, according to genuine reports & letters received in our station from our listeners. Thanks to the shortwave frequency, we reach to several countries outside of our primary target. We will acknowledge you very much if you can help us send us promotional music from your label. Our programmes are with Andean music, but in the last years, we are broadcast also world music, this, thanks to the help from some labels from the World. We understand that may be difficult for you, but, if you have some old tapes or CD's, this material will be very valuable and appreciated by our DJ's.
Our postal address is:
We request please your help, dear Sirs, and we will promote also in compensation, to your label in this area of the World. We acknowledge you very much for your fine attention in read this message, and thanks a lot for your time in help to our free station.
DJ of Radio Cochiguaz
Meanwhile Paul Downes rebuked me gently for my piece in last month’s news letter about drugs. I have to confess he’s right! Indeed he frequently is.
I’m surprised. Joe you have fallen into the 'lying statistics' trap. You state that you "accept that every user of class A drugs started with cannabis”. What nonsense. They started with alcohol. "Oh, but that's not illegal." It IS at the age of 12 or 13 and, sadly more and more younger, when we see kids out of their heads on strong cheap cider and alcopops. Get real, cannabis is barely part of the equation. Its availability to the young is probably doing more good than bad when they realise that being "mellow" is better than being drunk. Also, as you rightly said, it is not physically addictive, you can't OD and the world seems a better place, although we all know it isn't.
As regards Mssrs Venables and Thompson, everytime I have an argument or discussion on the subject I always end with the same conclusion: they were 10. Not even the least civilised countries in the world execute 10 year-olds....which, by popular demand, we seem to have done.
God Bless Britain.
John Anderton meanwhile wants more stories that can be transcribed into toasts.
I read your last missive, and was quite impressed. What I really liked was the story at the end about the rocks pebbles and sand. I collect 'toasts' because in Russia, I am always called upon to make a toast, and if I turn the ale into vodka, this is going to be excellent. If you have any more good toasts, please send them over.
Here’s one for you.
Lets pretend we are in the Puzzle (Pub) and have had a few wets, and I am going to toast you. 'Joe, I want to drink to your coffin. It will have linings of pure silk, and a little satin pillow for your head. Around the outside will be handles of pure silver, and on the top your name will be written on a gold plate, which is let into the wooden top, which is made from a hundred-year old Cedar tree, which I will go out and plant tomorrow!
Perhaps your next newsletter could ask for some good toasts?
Here are a few more letters that have arrived in response to the July Ramblings.
Sorry I couldn't make the party and if the Ramblings are getting up some noses then my advice is simply keep rambling away bonny lad.
All the best
Well, I don't mind your Ramblings. When I'm too busy, I just don't read them and when I'm not, I enjoy it a lot, although it is a bit long winded sometimes... I was a good friend of John Hartford's BTW, and was one of those who drove down to be near him in his last few weeks of life, and then back again for the funeral. I knew John some 29 years. To meet your heroes is a great thing, to make friends with them is really special. He was my Mentor most of that time, and only a phone call away. I didn't call him much, but knowing I could, gave me a lot of strength over those years. John always had time for us, his Bluegrass Children, as Tim O’Brien calls us. Once I said something to him about not having the skill of other players, and he said, "OK, then look for something you CAN do. Something they don't or can't do..." and that is what I did.
John was an innovator. Always trying new things, coming up with new ideas. He could take something he learned or some concept from one field of endeavour, and apply it somewhere else where you would least expect. Sometimes it didn't always work out, but he would try everything at least once. One time I stopped by his house, and he was practising the fiddle at the Dinning room table with a metronome, as he often did, but it didn't sound right. I asked, "What are you doing John?"
“I'm practising to play the fiddle "Out of Scale, "” he said.
"Out of Scale? What the hell's that?" I said.
He took me into the other room and put on this progressive jazz Saxophone recording. The guy was playing in the cracks. "Oh," I said, " I get it, but where did you hear the term "Out Of Scale?"" "I made it up..." He said," Because if I told any one I was practising to play out of tune on purpose, they'd think I was nuts!"
Another time, I was at one of his Birthday Parties. They were very large Jam Sessions. This particular year, it was very warm in Nashville. Like 70 Fahrenheit in December. The house sits on a high bank overlooking the River. The huge General Jackson Steamboat came around the bend from Opryland. In all the years I had known John, I never saw a real Steamboat before, so I climbed down the bank through the bushes to the waters edge, just as Captain Poe blew the Horn for John, as it passed his house. The band on the Porch started playing the General Jackson Theme Song John had wrote for the Opryland TV show. Suddenly, I heard a deep voice beside me. John had climbed down the bank and was standing beside me. Telling me the Cubic Feet of the Boat, how much water she displaced, and told me it was Bad Luck to watch the Steamboat go round the bend....
Ted The Fiddler. Here in America outside Philadelphia...
Just so's you know: I really enjoy reading your Ramblings. I'm not quite sure why I see them; I handle websites - and thus mail - for quite a few US performers so I assume it comes thru those channels.
In any case, as a Yank of English descent I love reading your local news (of course I also watch your Parliament on the tube) - but like it even more when you come thru with your dead-on-target ruminations about GW Bush and the "entrenched meander" (I seem to recall the latter was a geological term I learned briefly .. seems appropriate).
Keep it up and keep it coming. IF it ever gets in my way, I'll let you know gently. Thanks for your insights.
I don’t know about you – but I frequently get letters from people advising me to beware various viruses that are floating about. I always reckoned that most were actually hoaxes. I’ve subsequently found out that there is a web site called www.vmyths.com which lists all known virus hoaxes. If you don’t know about this site then you might like to make a note of it. It will save you a lot of anxiety attacks and also save you passing duff information onto others.
However I have recently been notified of a virus or worm that is apparently genuine and on the move especially around the folk scene. It is not listed at www.vmyths.com. The following warning came from Trevor Gilson of Southern Counties Folk Federation …and also advises help to check and remedy the situation. I understand this has nothing to do with RED ALERT the world wide virus/worm which is supposedly presently attacking Windows 2001.
Rupert Redesdale of EFDSS has been infected by a computer virus which has sent itself (several times) to everyone on his e-mail address list. These infected files will undoubtedly turn up all over the folk world as unfortunate recipients unknowingly pass them on (you won't get them from me (Trevor Gilson) because my 16 bit operating system doesn't recognise the code).
E-MAIL VIRUSES CANNOT INFECT YOU IF YOU DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENTS CONTAINING THEM. DO NOT EVER OPEN ANY ATTACHMENT FROM ANYONE UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT IS AND ARE EXPECTING IT.
IF YOU ARE INFECTED REFER TO YOUR USUSL ANTIVIRUS SUPPLIER OR CONTACT EFDSS.
NEVER SEND RAW 'WORD' OR 'EXCEL' FILES AS ATTACHMENTS WITHOUT EXPLAINING TO THE RECIPIENT WHY IT IS NECESSARY TO DO SO (MOSTLY IT IS NOT).
The e-mails which I have received, purportedly from Rupert, are as follows, DELETE ANYTHING LIKE THIS IMMEDIATELY:
1) Subject: Annual Rpt 2001 - educ
Attachment: Annual Rpt 2001 - educ.doc.bat
2) Subject: sysadmingrid
3) Subject: Notification:PeopleCurrentJune1
Attachment: (don't know - I deleted all these on the server!)
Note the give-away '.bat' extensions to the files - this should alert you to something fishy.
Sircam virus FAQs
Sircam is the virus (really a 'worm') unwittingly spread by the EFDSS last Friday. I hope you'll forgive me for taking up your time and trying to help nip it in the bud, as well as making a few general points. Most of the information here comes from Sophos, and you can find the full report by going to http://www.sophos.com and searching for "sircam" (don't put in the '32' in the alias used by EFDSS). I thoroughly
recommend the Sophos website as an easily understood and quick-to-find source of virus information, and also strongly recommend you read the background information in the so-called 'white paper' at
How can I find out quickly whether I am infected (if my anti-virus is out of date)?
On standalone machines (not part of an office network) look for the file scam32.exe in the Windows System directory (ie c:\windows\system on a normal machine). You can certainly delete this file straightaway, although doing so will not be enough to disinfect you. If you're on a network and your anti-virus software is out of date, shoot the IT manager, then search on Sophos for details as above.
What should I do if I am infected?
If you missed the bulletin issued by Annie and passed on by both Jacey and Valmai, there is a downloadable utility specific to this virus/worm on the Symantec website at http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/FixSirc.com (also a similar product for Sophos customers obtainable from their Customer Services). You may prefer to get a friend to obtain it and pass it over on a floppy, to avoid further internet connection whilst infected.
How dangerous is it?
On 16 October there is a 1 in 20 chance that the worm will attempt to delete all files from the hard drive - so get rid of it before then! Not particularly awful in ordinary circumstances on standalone PCs - more of a nuisance to your friends (and some others) and for networked offices with permanent internet connections. "The worm contains its own SMTP routine which is used to send email messages to email addresses found in the Windows address book and the temporary internet folder, where cached internet files are kept" (Sophos) - so it will find any e-mail addresses in the last set of web pages looked at, as well as your address book. NB what does it do if you attempt to disconnect from the internet whilst it's sending out an infected file (often very long)? Can anyone tell us about this, perhaps another way of detecting infection?
Warnings that such-and-such a virus 'will delete your hard drive' are usually hoaxes (how would it reproduce itself)? Selective destruction as with Sircam is much more believable.
How can I recognise when a Sircam infected e-mail arrives?
1) It only comes as an attachment;
2) The attachment will be accompanied by a short variable text message, but the opening and closing greetings from an English-language machine will always be "Hi! How are you?" and "See you later. Thanks" (when sent from a machine set for another language, the greetings say roughly the same thing in that language);
3) The Subject, and Attachment Filename, are the same and are randomly chosen from the filenames on offer on the sending machine. The subject will be without any extension, whereas the file name always has TWO extensions, as in '.xls.bat' on one of the EFDSS examples. The second of these is always an indication of executability, ie it either is or can call a programme. This advice is general and supersedes my previous comments on not opening anything with .exe as the last extension. They've got cleverer and the list you should now shun includes executables (.exe), batch files (.bat), programme information files (.pif), command files (.com), visual basic (.vbs) and even screen savers (.scr) which of course call an executable as well.
What should I do if I get such an e-mail?
Warn the sender (DON'T enclose the original message!) and then delete it. It cannot infect you if you don't open the attachment (always true). NB make sure to send the warning to the originator, not to the 'reply to' address if different.
Although it doesn't apply to Sircam, the commonest viruses are now application macros, particularly infecting Word and Excel, so .doc and .xls are equally suspect (which is why I suggested not sending them if you don't need to, in my last, and if you do, explaining why in such a way that the recipient can be sure it's you). These viruses do not send spurious e-mails, they simply pass any Word or Excel infection you may be harbouring on to the recipient. See below for .dll files.
Infected Dynamic Link Library (.dll) files don't come in directly by e-mail, but virus executables often replace certain of them, particularly wsock32.dll, with infected versions. Sometimes they save you the original version under a different name (big of them). Hence advice to look for a certain .dll file is misplaced - a file of that name is usually part of the operating system, the question is, is it infected or replaced or genuine? Only up-to-date antivirus software is reliable here, although you can check the date of the .dll file.
Rich Text Format and html
Microsoft are well-known for being more interested in profits and innovation than in security (you may have heard the furore over shallowly encrypted passwords stored in early versions of Windows 95). In fact they invented a potentially excellent way of passing around formatted text on the internet without danger - Rich Text Format or 'rtf', another markup language like sgml (of which html is a special case). Modern Word Processors are all able to output such files and it is either those or html that you should attach to e-mails if you really need the formatting - Bill Gates got so excited about MAPI (sending e-mails direct from the 'File' menu of the application) that he then forgot all about rtf, but it is well-worth the small extra effort for peace of mind and the files are generally MUCH shorter, despite being restricted to 7-bit (text only) encoding (which makes it easy to examine them in a text editor for suspicious, ie unreadable, code). The .rtf file can be read back into any other modern Word Processor/DTP package or converted to html for viewing in your browser.
If you are at all technical, I can recommend ditching Outlook Express etc and going over to Pegasus Mail, available at http://www.pegasus.usa.com/ - I haven't been able to get yahoo smtp to accept this (although it's OK for collecting yahoo mail), but it sure fools viruses! It also becomes very easy to delete unwanted e-mails on the server, ie without ever wasting time downloading them. Multiple identities and mailmerge are a doddle.
If you've found this helpful, you might want to print it and display it near your machine. Sent in good faith and with due care, but limited responsibility accepted for misleading anyone!
Southern Counties Folk Federation, SCoFF
http://SCoFF.welcome.to (including online news page).
Sender: Trevor Gilson. firstname.lastname@example.org
So now you know what to do! As an old Codger at the computer game I don’t know how much of this is true or how much of it is simply bull-shit – but if the EFDSS are worried then there must be some substance to the problem. If anybody can keep me further posted – please do.
Ah well. It’s time to sign off. Here comes that song I told you about on Page 1! If you would like the tune - drop me a line – I’ll send you a simple demo cd of it, and if you run a folk club or book for a festival I’ll happily include Kimber’s Men as well. When you book Kimber’s Men you get four acts in one! You get the group, the duo (Sumuvus) and two solo artistes John Bromley and yours faithfully.
‘As we wait for the change of the tide’.
It's another Maryport springtime
The blossom is fresh on the trees
We open our hatch to a half-empty catch
Brought home on a half empty breeze
And it’s hardly surprising so little’s been caught
With a fleet of Dutch beamers way off on the port
And the Spanish and French, aye they’re still around
As together we harvest the same barren ground
In another Maryport springtime
It’s another Maryport summer
The children all swim in the dock
And out on the strand, by the long golden sands
We sit and we stare at the clock
For our quota’s been cut now almost to nought
They’ve sold all our fish before they’ve been caught
They turn a deaf ear to our cries for help
If you can’t catch the cod change tack for the kelp
In another Maryport summer
It’s another Maryport autumn
With the mist drifting in with the neap
With the rate of the pound why we’re all run a ground
With our hopes piled like nets in a heap
For I can remember a far better time
With such a rich harvest way out on the brine
And though boats still go out come sun snow or rain
I fear that those good times might not come again
In another Maryport autumn
It’s another Maryport winter
And my anger is hard now to hide
These long wasted years how they drive me to tears
As we wait for a turn in the tide
Yet hope springs eternal that’s what they say
And as gulls circle round at the end of the day
They swoop and they dive as in chase of the sun
Let us pray there is hope while the Ellen still runs
In another Maryport winter
In another Maryport winter
As we wait for the turn of the tide
© Joe Stead + Andrew Twentyman, Fore Lane Music, September 2000.
Keep smiling and keep singing.