Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 91 - April 2008

So Harry’s had his 10 weeks in the army. Poor lad, he so much wanted to stay there on the front line and the buggers went and pulled him out! It proves you just can’t trust the colonies to keep a secret. I couldn’t see the problem with him staying where he was. He was probably well out of harms way anyway. I like the bloke. There he was for the first time being a normal human being, for the first time being accepted as a normal bloke and the sods in the ministry hauled him back to England. For my part I can understand him wanting to be normal. It’s all in his jeans you see! I mean I think he looks just like his father. His father was supposed to meet him at Brize Norton Airport when he returned but Prince Charles turned up instead. Of course my opinion is often very wrong; a lot of you tell me so each month. But please tell me if you think Harry looks like Charley, who at the time of the immaculate conception was off shagging that old Gloucester Shire Horse soon to be Queen of England, or does he look suspiciously like the cuckold who kept Diana’s bed warm when Charley was away doing a spot of night visiting. Answers required on a post card in less than ten words please. Not that it really matters that much I suppose; the royal family has enjoyed dipping the wick for many centuries; so there is nothing actually new here.

Oh go from my window my love my dove
Oh go from my window my dear
For the son (sic) is in the west
And the cuckoo’s in his nest
And you won’t get a launching here

Oh go from my window my love my dove
Oh go from my window my dear
For the weather it is warm
It will do to you no harm
And you won’t get a launching here

Oh go from my window my love my dove
Oh go from my window my dear
For the wind is does blow high
And your ship is lying by
And you won’t get a harbouring here

Oh go from my window my love my dove
Oh go from my window my dear
For the wind and the rain
Have brought you back again
And you won’t get a harbouring here

Oh go from my window my love my dove
Oh go from my window my dear
For the devil is in the man
Who cannot understand
And you won’t get a launching here.

It gives this wonderful old night visiting song a completely new meaning doesn’t it? The son is in the west! Brilliant; even if I say so myself. Oh; and yes! Jeans was a play on words. And whilst on the subject of morphology – take a look at this……..

So the poor lamb had to settle for twenty four million! Still she’s apparently off to America (where else?) to get herself a few more million dollars from television deals. She wanted one hundred and twenty five million pounds originally; of which I am told she intended to give about £625,000 to charity. She needed at least £100,000 each year for air travel round the world and a similar sum for helicopters. Amazing how generous she wanted to be with someone else’s dosh. I’m astonished she has the brazen cheek and is so totally unaware that the British public recognizes her as the money grabbing bitch she is. It’s a pity the American media cannot see through her as well. I guess she simply doesn’t care because she really does seem to feel so really sorry for herself that she’s still looking for sympathy. Little surprise then that Paul kicked her into touch. Mind you it is purported Paul does have a fortune of over eight hundred million pounds. Again I’m left to ponder why he needs so much. Surely he could do some real good with that kind of money instead of leaving it wrapped up in bank accounts.

Meanwhile America (along with ourselves here in Britain) is starting to feel the pinch of a right good recession coming on. So Paul will be pretty well cushioned even if his eight hundred million does suddenly become five hundred million overnight.

So I come once again to the Iraq war! Completely unnecessary, absolutely obscene and connived through lies and deceit. Billions of pounds and dollars up in smoke to murder innocent women and children; and all to dethrone one man. No point complaining though unless you marched or spoke out against the war. And if you were daft enough to actually go along with the liars you had better simply lie in the bed you’ve made for yourself. Can’t get a mortgage? Likely to be evicted soon? Pity; go tell it to the Iraqi’s. And Tony Blair? The evilest man to wear a head this century? Well he, along with George Bush, should be tried as a war criminal. Instead he’s free and trying to become the most powerful man in Europe. And the doomed Labour government? Well they even lie in the house now! So what I hear them cry? Well I’ll tell you what! It’ll be a conservative government running the country soon and you’ve brought it all down upon yourselves. Every brick, every little grain of sand. Still I suppose you enjoyed the fireworks whilst they lit up the Baghdad sky. All this misery for a couple of nights of sparklers. I do of course feel sorry for those in Britain who opposed the war and are suffering now because of it. I do feel sorry for the orphaned children of service people who will never know a father or mother; and I feel sorry for parents who have woken one morning to discover their son or daughter has been blown away. At least our Gordon will probably remember to thank them during prime minister question time. He’ll do it with so much sincerity too! At least the relations can appreciate that. I wonder, are their names forever in Hansard? Well there’s conciliation for you! Americans? Four thousand have died in Iraq alone; and Georgie was on the tele just the other day explaining the necessity of the war. Apparently Iraq was responsible for 9/11! Does he think that all Americans are as daft as he is? God help the world if the next American president is as stupid and irresponsible as the present incumbent!

Meanwhile in Britain in order to regain funds spent on Iraq the Labour government has greatly increased tax on booze. This they tell us is to deter under age binge drinking and save our cities from drunken louts. Just what planet are Mr Darling and Mr Brown living on? Increasing tax on drinks will not deter the youngsters who have more money than they know what to do with from enjoying themselves; it simply hits the older brigade further in the pocket. Again the Labour party is shooting itself in the foot feeding us further misleading statements. Do they think we are all as daft as George W?

Finally this month I’m left to ponder on the Olympics and China. A bad selection when times were good the Olympics are again heading towards choppy seas. The problems in Tibet will leave our Chinese hosts with a huge problem. Do they execute the militant Tibetan protestors; or do they act very unlike all Chinese governments before them and simply imprison those who are protesting about their overlords. I’m watching this space with great interest. The world wants to befriend China and to an extent the Chinese want our friendship. The Olympics was originally a wonderful tool for this partnership. A few executions of innocent Tibetan monks might change this status-quo quite considerably. The Chinese government does not want America and her allies pulling their athletes out. Time will tell on this one!

But in the meantime you might care to read this letter from the ‘Avaaz Team’ and sign the petition. You never know it might help.

Dear friends,

We reached our target! In just 7 days over 1 million of us have signed the petition calling for human rights and dialogue in Tibet--the fastest growing internet petition in history. As the crisis continues, it's time to deliver our petition and make sure Chinese President Hu Jintao hears our voices.

An International Day of Action has been declared for Monday, March 31st. On Monday, thousands of people in cities across the world will march to Chinese embassies and consulates, and stack hundreds of boxes containing our petition outside them. 1 million signatures makes a mountain of boxes--it will send a powerful global message.

We have just 4 days left until the petition delivery. Could we get to 2 million signatures in 4 days? We can do it--if every one of us recruits at least one more friend to sign the petition by forwarding the email below.
Dear friends,

After decades of repression, the Tibetan people are crying out to the world for change. The Olympic spotlight is now on China, and Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama is calling to end all riots and violence through restraint and dialogue.

China's hardliners are lashing out publicly at the Dalai Lama--but many Chinese leaders believe dialogue is the best hope for stability in Tibet. The government is right now considering a crucial choice between repression and dialogue that could determine

Tibet's--and China's--future.

We can affect this historic choice--President Hu Jintao values China's reputation, and he needs to hear from us that the 'Made in China' brand and the upcoming Olympics in Beijing will succeed only if he chooses dialogue over the hardliners' repression. An avalanche of global people power is moving to get his attention. In just one week, over 1 million people have signed our petition, which will be delivered in rallies at Chinese embassies worldwide on Monday--click below to join the global outcry, and then forward this email to friends and family right away:

China's economy is dependent on "Made in China" exports that we all buy, and the government is keen to make the Olympics in Beijing this summer a celebration of a new and respected China. China is also a sprawling, diverse country with much brutality in its past, so it has good reasons to be concerned about stability--some of Tibet's rioters killed innocent people. But President Hu must recognize that the greatest danger to Chinese stability and development today comes from hardliners who advocate escalating repression, not from those Tibetans seeking dialogue and reform.

The Tibetan people have suffered quietly for decades. It is finally their moment to speak--we must help them be heard.

With hope and respect,

Ricken, Pascal, Graziela, Iain, Paul, Galit, Milena, Ben and the whole Avaaz team

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

Apr 3rd (Joe) Bishop Stortford Folk Club, All Saints Church Hall, Bishop Stortford.
Apr 6th (Joe) Walthamstow Folk Club, The Plough Inn, Walthamstow. (Robeson lecture)
Apr 15th (Joe) Huddersfield Probus Club
Apr 17th (Joe) Lee Mount Primary School, Halifax.
Apr 18th (KM) St Michael’s Church, Shelf, Halifax.
Apr 20th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge. 6pm
Apr 26th (KM) Halifax Playhouse Theatre – recording ‘live’ album.

May 3rd (Joe) Sweeps Festival Rochester
May 4th (Joe) Sweeps Festival Rochester
May 9th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 10th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 11th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.

May 14th (Joe) North Bradford Retired Men’s Forum - Life + Times Paul Robeson
May 15th (Joe) Bramley History Society, Bramley, Leeds. - Life + Times Paul Robeson
Jun 13th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 14th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 15th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jul 4th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 5th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 6th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 10th (KM) Darlington Arts Centre

Jul 16th (Joe) Harrogate Soroptimist Club, White Hart Hotel, Cold Bath Road, Harrogate.
Jul 17th (KM) Gregson Lane Folk Club, Village of Gregson Lane, Preston.
Aug 22nd (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 23rd (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 24th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 25th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 5th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 8th (Joe) Leeds North East Probus Club, Oakwood – Valparaiso round the Horn
Sep 9th (Joe) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival – Provisional
Sep 10th (Joe) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival – Provisional
Sep 11th (Joe) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival – Provisional
Sep 12th (Joe) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival – Provisional
Sep 13th (KM) Falmouth Tall Ships Festival – Provisional
Jan 9th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare
Jan 10th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare
Jan 11th (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) Cameron’s, Elm Street and Main, Gloucester, Ma. US
May 8th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland – Provisional
May 9th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland – Provisional
May 10th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Fest, Alwinton, Northumberland – Provisional
Oct 25th (KM) Scrag End Folk Club, Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe, Leicestershire
Sep 25th (KM) The Castle Inn, Combe Martin, High Street, North Devon.


Salutations Joe,
In looking at your calendar in your January Ramblings I see you have a March 1, '09 gig in New York and March 15, 16 & 17 in MA. Shall I see if I can scare up something in CT near those dates?
I read your thoughts about Pete with sympathy for both him and you (and me). I produced a concert with him and a chosen set of accompanying singers (Kim & Reggie Harris, Pat Humphries & Sandy O, Hope & Janice Johnson [UU ministers in NYC] and myself) at the UU General assembly in Ft. Worth, TX in June of 2005 and he was still magic. He knew he couldn't sing as he had in earlier years, which is why he wanted the rest of us on stage for vocal support (and he of course insisted that we all sing our songs as well - he did not want the event to be a tribute which of course it was), but he still was magic, and that concert was one of the highlights of my career. Pete has been an enormous inspiration to me, from my days of singing with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Sloop Singers in the late '70's on, but he is certainly fading now, quite markedly in the last couple of years. He said on the phone about two months ago that he wasn't singing anymore except for an occasional, very local appearance. Those of us who glory in what he has passed on to us should simply remember him for all his inspiration and grace and uncanny understanding of how the world really turns.
And everyone including the uninitiated should without fail see Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. I was lucky enough to catch it in New Orleans during its all too brief and limited release to cinemas across the country last October. At least we have this marvelous documentary, and his recordings, and his books, and our personal memories to enshrine the man who so richly deserves, but always eschewed, our admiration.
Geoff Kaufman
New London, CT. USA.

The thing about money is that you can never have enough of what you really don’t want … love!
Marcy Brenner & Lou Castro
P.O. Box 734Ocracoke, NC 27960. USA

Wow! A whole year early! You surely deserve the worm, or perhaps I went to sleep for a year.
Rip van Winkle

Hello old codger,
Hope you are in rude health, and doing good stuff,
Clennell Hall Fest 2009 is May 8th - 10th, should you wish to add it to your gig list! Thanks for the Mr Amazing Smith link, thoroughly enjoyable.. working on booking him for 2009! (Who was the old geezer in the other link?) :)
Please give the festival a plug, whenever you can, (Club/group discounts directly through me!)
Did you see transatlantic Sessions on BBC 4TV? Really great stuff, dunno how I have missed it thus far (thank goodness for BBC i Player!)
See you soon old mate,
Best Regards Aye!
PS, Are you gonna publish the Ramblings in volumes before you pop off this mortal coil? I look forward to the chapter "Nearly Cap'n Birdseye"!


Another excellent contribution from Alex Mogieleff and Stephan Grossman's Woodshed Forum
• All folksongs begin with the phrase: ''I asked my love to take a walk'
• The walk should be:
o Down by the riverside
o Past the prison
o Into the valley
o Over the sea and far away.
It should NOT be:
o To the store for a loaf of bread
o To Asda
o Along the Champs-Elysee, Park Avenue, or Pennsylvania Avenue
o On rollerblades.
• The conversation along the way should be about:
o Your racehorse
o The perfidious British
o The revelation that you are her/his longlost brother/husband/blacksmith/Lord
o The inevitable baby
o Murder
• Places to be mentioned include:
o Botany Bay
o The Mountains of ...
? A Land called Honalee
? Carrickfergus
? The valley
? The fair
o All of the above in reverse order, Botany Bay always coming last.
• All folk songs repeat the same words in each verse, but move them around until one person is killed or the ghost appears. If the ghost appears, it repeats the original verses and the process begins all over again. This is known as revenge.
• The chorus of all folk songs is half of the words of the verse moved around some more, and with the addition of some poignant nonsense syllables, all in a minor key. No new information is provided.
• References to work in folk songs should include:
o Hammers (visionary or steam)
o Railroad trains, preferably on the same track hurtling towards each other
o Lots of whales
o Sowing, reaping, harvesting, babies dropped in furrows, etc.
o Job categories allowed in folk songs include:
? Circus work
? Lighthouse keeping
? Mourning
? Gypsying (especially kidnapping)
? Blowing up British buildings.
o References to work in folk songs should avoid the following job categories:
? Insurance
? Work for any government agency except prisons
? Re-insurance
• Words that can be sprinkled at random over folk songs:
o gather,
o farewell,
o thee,
o dead,
o twa,
o alas,
o true love,
o bonnie, dagger,
o do Lord.
and so on.... These apply mostly to ballads:
• True loves are always either:
o Missing (gone for seven years)
o Dead (see Necrophilia element)
o In disguise
o Your brother/sister (either known or unknown)
o False (off chasing/married to another)

If it's a happy ending, it's a very rare folksong...
• If your true love is dead, you must:
o Long to kiss his/her dead lips or other portions of the anatomy (The Tradition of Necrophilia)
o Never love again
o Have done her in yourself after spending all night diggin' of her grave
o Have done him in yourself because he done you wrong
• If you are a sailor, and you meet a fair young lady, you will:
o Wind up with no money and no clothes, wearing a dress (the Transvestite Element)
o Get laid after pulling her string
o Acquire a painful and unpleasant social disease
o Get shot after she dresses in men's clothing and finds you've been false
(see Transvestite Element)
• If you are a young lady, and you meet a sailor, you will:
o Turn him down because he's dirty
o Turn him down because you don't recognize him
o Change your mind when you find out he's got money
o Change your mind after experiencing his sexual prowess
o Dress up in man's clothing (the Transvestite Element, yet again)
• And LOTS of metaphors!! Refering to various actions, body parts, etc., should be as circumspect as possible. Birds,flowers,alcoholic beverages,(blud red wine, etc)... may be freely substituted for lips, breasts etc.

And for Male Parts...anything is ok as long as it is longer than it is wide.
• Women who are NOT active heroines in the song may be given away as prizes to men who achieve some goal...such as killing villians, saving ships, etc.
• You are a bona fide folk singer if:
o you have nine different guitar capos, including a semi-automatic flipoff
o our first name is one syllable long, or at most is two syllables that end in a vowel, e.g. Doc, Pete, Woody, Joan, Judy
o you learned the song on a porch, preferably one with a sofa with the insides sprung out
o you refuse to make an anatomical pun about “The Londonderry Air”
o you have ''This X fights Y'' inscribed somewhere on your instrument,

e.g.''this E string fights sexism''.
o you have a dog named after a color.
You are not a bona fide folk singer if:
o you play the Hammond Organ
o your first name is Brittany (unless you are a boy)
o your last name is Rockefeller or Windsor
o you learned the song from your chauffeur or housekeeper, unless her name is Elizabeth Cotton
o you have a sticker on your guitar that reads: “Baby On Board”
o you have a cat (whether it comes back or not) or goldfish (see Entry under whales). You can have a horse as long as you race it in England or France.


On the first day, God created the dog and said:
'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'
The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'
So God agreed.
On the second day, God created the monkey and said:
'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'
The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'
And God agreed .
On the third day, God created the cow and said:
'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer 's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.'
The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'
And God agreed again.
On the fourth day, God created humans and said:
'Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'
But the human said: 'Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'
'Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'
So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.


These were posted on an Australian tourism website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humour.

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? ( UK).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? ( USA )
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q : I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? ( Sweden )
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia ? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK )
A: What did your last slave die of?
_____ _____________________________________________

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ?
( USA )
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not ... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? ( USA )
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.


Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? (UK )
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? ( USA )
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is ... oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? ( UK )
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? ( Germany )
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. ( USA )
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia , but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. ( USA )
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia ? ( USA )
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? ( Italy )
A: Yes, gay night clubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ? ( France )
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to conta ct the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross*. Can you help? ( USA )
A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first

Keep smiling, keep singing,

Joe Stead.