Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 103 – April 2009


So here I am back from 8 weeks in the good old US of A. A fantastic trip so where do I start? Well perhaps I'll start at the end!

Bob Shane walked in carrying an oxygen tank and a great big packet of freshly cooked Brownies packed with that special ingredient for which he is apparently well renowned. I suddenly realised I was back in the West!

Bob Shane (for my less well read British readers) is the only living remnant of the original Kingston Trio and he kept Nora and myself amused until 8 into the night with stories and tales of life on the road with the band. Phoenix Arizona, home of Bill and Jo Zorn, was to be a fine climactic two weeks of a trip that took in Madeira Beach Florida, Savannah Ga, Durham NC, Solomons Md, Fredericksburg Vi, Washington, New York, Cape May NJ, Philadelphia Pa, Mystic Seaport Ct, Boston Ma, Gloucester NH, and South Portland in Maine. Everywhere we went we were greeted with great friendship; Americans are wonderful hosts; and apparently according to everyone we met, this is not to be my last trip to America. I rubbed shoulders with so many wonderful musicians and singers it's hard to list them all; but just try this as a roll call. Bob Gramman, Gene Mills, Barbara Martin, Karen Collins, Oscar Brand, Judy Cook, Frank Hendricks, Norm Pedersen, Bob Conroy, Jan Christiensen, David Jones, Alison Kelly, Frank Woerner, Heather Woods, Bob Cohen, Saul Brody, Charlie Miller, Theresa Pyott, Ted the Fiddler, Geoff Kaufmann, Charlie Ipcar, David Fishken, Brad Meyer, Geof Bartley, Pete+Joanne Souza, Gaylan Taylor, Bill Zorn, Bob Shane, Travis Edmonson and a lot more whom to my shame I’ve temporarily forgotten.

The snow was so deep by the time I got to New York that my proposed television appearance on ‘Horses sing none of it’ was cancelled. Great pity that because I was greatly looking forward to it.

I heard the news of the demise of Jade Goody whilst I was in Phoenix with mixed emotions. There are few people on this earth that I would wish to be dead and Jade I would emphasize was not amongst them. But a more dreadful representative of the female gender I find hard to imagine and I'm delighted that I will not have to listen to any more of the awful diatribes that were emitted from her very ugly mouth. I suppose there will be re-runs of some of her TV appearances, but as most of them were un-sanctimonious nonsense the chances are that even Television 4 producers will have the common sense to realise that further screenings will only further demean her; and she certainly doesn't deserve that. The Sun and the Daily Sport will have to look elsewhere for their headlines; we will indeed all miss Jade Goody - some of us with some satisfaction. Goodbye Jade, I'm sorry you died; but I'm more saddened that you made such a dreadful mess of being a human being. I hope your children, who certainly did not deserve to be motherless, will learn from your mistakes of which there were indeed many.

I am informed there recently was a death of a 98 year-old lady named Irena. During WWII Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ' ulterior motive ' ... Being German she knew what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews, and she smuggled infants out of the ghetto either in the bottom of the tool box she carried in the back of her truck or a burlap sack for the larger children. She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered any noises. It is reported that she managed to smuggle out and save 2,500 children. The story goes that she was eventually caught and the Nazis broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived to reunited the family. Most of course had been gassed. The children she helped were placed into foster homes or adopted.
Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize ... She was not selected; but Al Gore was not only selected but actually won the prize for a slide show on Global warming. Strange old world? Or perhaps, a strange old selection committee. Will Pete Seeger be nominated this year? Well he bloody well should be!

Finally. Did you know that male masturbation encourages longevity? Well you could knock me down with this month’s copy of Playboy! The notion was put to me whilst in America by an aging American pop star. So, upon arriving home, I put the idea to one of Britain’s leading, but retired, bio chemists; and apparently it helps to prevent prostate cancer. So with this little gem of information, which for some reason has been kept secret from me for nearly 68 years, I’m off into Halifax to buy the biggest handkerchief I can find. Talk to you next month. Oh! And send me some letters you lazy buggers.

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

May 2nd (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 3rd (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 4th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 8th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 9th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 10th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland

May 11th (Joe) St Theresa’s Retirement Club, Leeds. (Paul Robeson)
May 16th (KM) Ryburn Golf Club, Sowerby Bridge
May 20th (Joe) Menston Retired Men’s Forum, Kirklands. (Paul Robeson)
May 23rd (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
May 24th (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
May 25th (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
May 26th (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 12th (KM) Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
Jun 13th (KM) Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
Jun 14th (KM) Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
Jun 18th (KM) Topic Folk Club, Bradford.
Jul 24th (KM) Warwick Folk Festival
Jul 25th (KM) Warwick Folk Festival
Jul 26th (KM) Warwick Folk Festival

Aug 21st (Joe) Moira Furnace Folk Festival Leicester - Provisional
Aug 22nd (Joe) Moira Furnace Folk Festival Leicester - Provisional
Aug 23rd (Joe) Moira Furnace Folk Festival Leicester - Provisional
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
Sep 5th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea
Sep 6th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea

Sep 9th (Joe) North Bradford Men’s Forum. - Valparaiso
Sep 11th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 12th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 13th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 18th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival
Sep 19th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival
Sep 20th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival

Sep 29th (Joe) Leeds Elmete Probus Club, New Inn, Eccup Lane, Bramhope. – Valparaiso
Oct 9th (KM) Clarinbridge Community Festival, County Galway, Ireland.
Oct 10th (KM) Clarinbridge Community Festival, County Galway, Ireland.
Oct 11th (KM) Clarinbridge Community Festival, County Galway, Ireland.
Oct 19th (KM) The Bridge Folk Club, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Oct 25th (KM) Scrag End Folk Club, Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe, Leicestershire

Nov 14th (Joe) The News from Nowhere Club, Waltham Forest. – Robeson Lecture.
Aug 20th (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 21st (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 22nd (KM) Fano – Denmark
Sep 25th (KM) The Castle Inn, Combe Martin, High Street, North Devon

I hope I’ve been more controversial this month! This situation cannot go on.


Voted Best Joke in Ireland 2007

John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said, 'Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!'

That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night!

He went home and told his wife, Mary, 'I won the prize for the Best toast of the night.'

She said, 'Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?'

John said, 'Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife.'

'Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!' Mary said.

The next day, Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies on the street corner.

The man chuckled leeringly and said, 'John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary.'

She said, 'Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come.'

And some that were not!

Two men were sitting next to each other at a bar.

After awhile, one guy looks at the other and says, 'I can't help but think, from listening to you, that you're from Ireland.'

The other guy responds proudly, 'Yes, that I am!'

The first guy says, 'So am I! And where about from Ireland might you be'?

The other guy answers, 'I'm from Dublin, I am.'

The first guy responds, 'So am I!'

'Sure and begorra. And what street did you live on in Dublin ?

The other guy says, 'A lovely little area it was. I lived on McCleary Street in the old central part of town.'

The first guy says, 'Faith and it's a small world. So did I! So did I! And to what school would you have been going'?

The other guy answers, 'Well now, I went to St. Mary's, of course.'

The first guy gets really excited and says, 'And so did I. Tell me, what year did you graduate'?

The other guy answers, 'Well, now, let's see. I graduated in 1964.'

The first guy exclaims, 'The Good Lord must be smiling down upon us! I can hardly believe our good luck at winding up in the same bar tonight. Can you believe it? I graduated from St. Mary's in 1964 my own self!'

About this time, Vicky walks into the bar, sits down and orders a beer.

Brian, the bartender, walks over to Vicky, shaking his head and mutters, 'It's going to be a long night tonight.'

Vicky asks, 'Why do you say that, Brian'?

'The Murphy twins are pissed again.


A man is in a restaurant with his son. The young man is demonstrating how he can catch a pound coin with his mouth after flipping it in the air. Suddenly, he starts choking, going blue in the face. His father realizes he has swallowed the coin and starts panicking, shouting for help.
A well dressed, attractive, but serious-looking woman in a blue business suit is sitting at a coffee bar in the mall, reading her newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee. At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down on the saucer, neatly folds the newspaper and places it on the counter, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the restaurant.
Reaching the young man, the woman carefully unzips his pants takes hold of his testicles and starts to squeeze, gently at first and then even more firmly. After a few seconds he convulses violently and coughs up the pound coin, which the woman deftly catches in her free hand.
Releasing the lad, the woman hands the coin to the father and walks back to her seat in the coffee bar without saying a word.
As soon as he is sure that his son has suffered no lasting ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her saying, "I've never seen anybody do anything like that before, it was fantastic. Are you a doctor?"
"No," the woman replies," I work for the Inland Revenue.


Two French paratroopers were seconded to the British SAS for special training. After the first day they met up in the bar.

"Ah, Pierre ," asks one, "ow 'av you been doing?"

"Merde!" answers Pierre . "I 'av 'ad ze most terrible day..... Terrible! At seex zis morning I was woken by zis beeg 'airy sergeant. 'E dragged me out of bed and onto ze parade ground."

"And zen what 'appened?" enquired his mate.

"I will tell you what 'appened! 'E made me climb urp zis seely leetle platform five ft off ze ground and zen 'e said "Jurmp!"

"And did you jurmp?" asks his mate.

"I did not. I told 'im - 'I am a French paratrooper. I do not jurmp five feet. Eet is beneath my dignity'."

"And zen what 'appened?" asks his mate.

"Zen 'e made me climb urp zis seely leetle platform ten feet off ze ground, and 'e said "Jermp."

"And did you jurmp?" asks his mate.

"I did not. I told 'im - 'I am a French paratrooper. I do not jurmp ten feet. Eet is beneath my dignity'."

"What 'appened zen?" asks his mate.

"Zen 'e made me clim urp zis rickety platform un'undred feet above ze parade ground. 'E undid 'is trousers, took out zis enormous weely, and 'e said 'If you do not jurmp, I am going to steek zis right urp your burm!"

"Sacre Bleu, mon ami" says his mate. "And did you jurmp?"

"A leetle, at ze beginning."

Keep smiling, keep singing

Joe Stead