Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 51 – December 2004.

I don’t normally enclose photographs with ‘Ramblings’. But I thought the enclosed photograph of George and Bert Costello (two very suspicious characters from Heartbeat) was just too good to miss this month. Filmed in Goathland November 9th to be screened sometime early in 2005 I assume. Only those with strong stomachs should tune in. No prizes for guessing who stole the clock. It certainly wasn’t me! Perhaps it was that Bullfrog from Bolton! Open up the accompanying file and have a look.


The two words ‘insurgent’ and ‘rebel’ have been used constantly in the media during November, and they’ve both been troubling me. So I decided to look them up in my dictionary.
INSURGENT: Rising in revolt: One who rises in opposition to established authority.
REBEL: To renounce the authority of the laws and government, or to take up arms and openly oppose them.

Now I need help with these two words ‘insurgent’ and ‘rebel’. Perhaps someone can help me.

A couple of months ago I painted a brief picture of life, albeit somewhat lurid, after WW2 had Germany been victorious. So let us assume, just for a moment, that England had fallen to Germany in 1941. London, the south east of England and Britain generally is under Nazi control. But Manchester has withstood the onslaught. In Manchester brave English men and women are fighting from street to street, battling against the German tanks and everything the German forces can throw at them. Are these English people insurgents and rebels, or are they foolish historic freedom fighters?

The whole thing depends upon which side of the fence you stand. In Iraq, Britain and America have jointly started an illegal war and forced upon the occupants of the invaded country a government that some, perhaps even many, Iraqi people do not want.

In Britain in 1941 there were followers of fascism who would have welcomed Hitler with open arms. There was an ex-king living in exile who would have gladly jumped back into the seat of sovereignty had he been invited. I don’t know exactly how many people would have collaborated with the enemy, obviously it is impossible to determine – but some certainly would. A lot of people would have simply shrugged their shoulders and got on with a new kind of life. The Jews would have suffered and a lot of people would have said that was a ‘great shame’ (as many Americans said to me when their colleagues were supplying finance and arms to the IRA). But little would have been done to prevent this suffering in places where the country was overthrown. Except in Manchester “Where there are these damned insurgents”! “How dare they ‘rebel’ against the new elected government”? “How dare they stand up for their religion”? “All Jews are evil! Kill, kill, kill”.

Recently we witnessed the execution of an unarmed Iraqi freedom fighter lying wounded in a Mosque by a wounded American soldier, all filmed by NBC. Thus in one quick second America opens its doors to huge criticism and enflames the Muslim world hastening and increasing terrorism. Well what do you expect? Only America could be so stupid. Bin Laden laid the trap 4 years ago and Bush has taken the bait.

But this sort of thing goes on all the time. Both sides do it. It’s called war. What do you expect a raw shell shocked rookie soldier to do in such a situation? It’s a question you cannot answer yourself unless you are that shell shocked soldier who might have seen a couple of pals blown away by a booby trapped corpse. But do you show it on TV? Does America not have an official secrets act?

Of course I condemn it, just as I condemn this awful illegal war we are still fighting. But do you think the friendly Iraqi citizens really want American and British troops rampaging around the country? Imagine it was rural Hampshire, or the Norfolk Broads and Hitler is steamrolling Manchester down, simply because he can.

Every day we dig ourselves deeper and deeper into trouble and each and every day Blair and Bush tell us that it’s going to be a long battle against these insurgents; these rebels of the night. But by gum its all justified!

So it’s all OK then.

What we are doing is justified!

But justified by whom? Oh yes that right, it’s been justified by a war crazy American president and an egocentric British Prime Minister who has turned our democracy into a Presidency. We simply do as he says. He says “We go to war! They have weapons of mass destruction”. Whilst most of the population says “Hang on a minute are we really sure”, its too late, the deed is done.

So, this is what we’ll do. “We’ll prove to the world how honest we are by showing everybody a poor shell shocked wounded American soldier murdering an Iraqi freedom fighter as if it was simply just another trigger pulled. By gum it’s a brilliant idea”.

Only in America! Great viewing figures!

Well guys, you voted him back in! I’m not saying Kerry could have prevented this, but it’s all been sanctioned from the top, so I guess we can expect a lot more of this ‘damned insurgency’.

And what about the infamous murderer? The poor sod. Where does he go now? Well the firing squad that dismissed so many bemused deserters in World War One has thankfully moved on. But will he get psychological help? Watch this space!

I’m left speechless in the case regarding Margaret Hassan, other than to say this has to be one of the most cowardly murders ever committed. Bush must be grateful to them, it gives him more credence.

It was such a good idea to attack Iraq.



(Article in Halifax Courier)
Kimber’s Men – Square Chapel Theatre

Sowerby Bridge folk singer Joe Stead was again reunited with three fellow enthusiasts from this area who perform songs from the sea as Kimber’s Men.
And after a previous successful appearance at Square Chapel in January with school-children from Calderdale, were joined for two more performances by groups of young singers from Halifax.
Kimber’s Men and all the youngsters had the audience on their side when they came into the auditorium singing the title track from one of Stead’s albums, ‘Valparaiso round the Horn’. They also ended the concert in similar fashion singing ‘Leave her Johnny leave her’ as they went down the steps.
The children, from Crossley Heath School and Siddal and St Joseph’s junior schools, were coached by Stead and had not previously sung unaccompanied.
The schools had their own spots as well as joint efforts.
The concerts were based around a sea journey from Liverpool to Valparaiso in Chile in 1860 which was to take about four months.
It seemed at the afternoon performance as if it was never going to end as it lasted for nearly two and a half hours (interval included). Narrators were James Sykes and Erin Hill, from Crossley School. The shanties are usually sung only on board and represent different jobs.
Stead was supposedly the ship’s doctor in the group. Roger ‘Tonky’ Hepworth, who played some fine accompanying guitar when required, was the cabin boy, Neil Kimber the hard man bosun and John Bromley the cook. It was an appropriate role for Bromley, who is a chef as well as a classic singer. His CV includes appearances with Halifax Choral Society and Opera North and he is also a member of Bradshaw Mummers. His rendition of Shenandoah from Kimber’s Men CD, (sales of which help the Royal National Lifeboat Institution) was very much in the Paul Robeson mould.
Kimber’s Men performed individually as well as collectively, much of it a cappella. Kimber, a former diver, and his wife Roz wrote two emotive songs about lifeboat crews’ bravery which he performed – ‘The Robert Whitworth’ and ‘Don’t take the heroes’.
Kimber’s Men, formed in 2001 and in demand for maritime as well as folk festivals, sing mainly shanties. Audience participation is encouraged, ‘Shantyman’ being a fine example.
Gordon Sampson.


Joint Fixture List
Dec 14th (Joe) Barwick in Elmet Probus Club- Valparaiso Round the Horn 10am!
Dec 15th (Joe) Savile Probus Club Christmas Luncheon, The Cricket Club, Elland.
Jan 10th (Joe) Todmorden Ladies Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Jan 13th (Joe) Topic Folk Club, Bradford – Life and Times of Paul Robeson
Jan 18th (Joe) The Howcroft Inn, Poole Street, Bolton
Jan 19th (Joe) Sowerby Bridge Probus Club – Life and Times of Paul Robeson (10am)
Jan 22nd (KM) "Valparaiso around the Horn" in Clitheroe.
Jan 26th (Joe) The Cross Keys, Uppermill
Feb 5th (KM) The Square Chapel Halifax
Feb 7th (Joe) The White Lion, Swinton.
Feb 10th (Joe) The Square Chapel Halifax – The life and times of Paul Robeson
Apr 1st (KM) The Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge
May 28th (Joe) Captain Cook Festival 10th Anniversary Celebration in Whitby.
May 29th (Joe) Captain Cook Festival 10th Anniversary Celebration in Whitby.
Jun 1st (Joe) Sowerby Bridge Concert Hall – Valparaiso round the Horn 10am!
Jun 17th (KM) Joe’s Birthday Party, Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge (Evening) Free
Jun 18th (KM) Joe’s Birthday Party, Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge (All day) Free
Jun 19th (KM) Joe’s Birthday Party, Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge (All day) Free
Jun 29th (KM) The Cross Keys, Uppermill.
Sep 2nd (KM) Hull Sea Fever Festival
Sep 3rd (KM) Hull Sea Fever Festival
Sep 4th (KM) Hull Sea Fever Festival
Sep 24th (KM) Halifax Traditions – All day
Oct 10th (Joe) Harden WI., St Saviour’s, Harden, Bradford – Valparaiso round the Horn
Oct 13th (Joe) Notton W.I. – The life and times of Paul Robeson
Nov 18th (KM) Walton on the Naze Festival of the Sea
Nov 19th (KM) Walton on the Naze Festival of the Sea
Nov 20th (KM) Walton on the Naze Festival of the Sea
Nov 23rd (Joe) Whitkirk Probus Club, Leeds (10.30am) – Valparaiso round the Horn
Dec 5th (KM) The Square Chapel Halifax
Apr 29th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
Apr 30th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester



Hi Joe,
Well, for the first time in my life, I did not vote Republican. Not that I like Kerry, I don't, but I sure don't want 4 more years of Bush. Unfortunately, it didn't matter. Four more years we are stuck with. I am afraid that the "Religious Right" carried this election and we will all have to pay the price. God, it seems strange to agree with you on politicsJ
Football and folk music make a lot more sense!
Walt Manning – Florida.

It was a sad day for America, as well as the world. We have a war with no exit strategy, a sinking economy, no health care plan, illegals getting benefits, and a president without a clue. I'd like to see him have to hold down two jobs, with no health insurance, trying to make ends meet. Just once, I'd like to see him try to claw his way through the day, with no limo and no chauffeurs and no maids and no advisors to program him and get him from home to office and back.
On behalf of those Americans who voted for Kerry, I apologize to the rest of the world for the unseen horrors of war and stupidity that you're going to have to endure for the next four years.
The good news is that he can't be elected again.
Hang in there...
Caryl P Weiss.

Well there you go. Another 4 years of Bush. Does the world have the patience to wait four years, and to hope that then some form of civility will be restored?
It's not so easy for us to get up and get out of here. And just what would we accomplish by that, anyway? We're probably better advised to watch the guy like a hawk and call him on his every move.
On the other hand, do you have a spare room upstairs?
Dave Fishken. (Boston)

I think I must have been one of the 5 or 6 people in the world that went along with Bush, Blair and Aznar about the WMD in Iraq. At least 2 of the other people were my children. They were obviously totally influenced by me and I feel very guilty about it indeed. For this reason alone I hate the aforementioned gentlemen with a vengeance. My children also hate them too. They don't bare me a grudge though. Aren't I lucky?
I haven't been watching television for ages. Haven't even been watching the Spanish news. I am finding out about the odd world event from time to time though like for example that Arafat died. I returned our satellite box thing because the monthly fee kept going up and up and they put more and more football on and took off BBC World which was really the only channel I was interested in. They were however kind enough to give us an English speaking news channel. Fox News it's called. Have you ever seen it? Apparently an awful lot of Americans watch it. It gives you the idea that the USA is saving the world. It's terrifying. I don't know anything at all about the American elections. Didn't follow it at all. The only thing I can tell you is that the other 'bod' was called Kerry and he didn't win. An old friend of my family reckons that it was best that Bush won because he's the "Best of a bad bunch". That's pretty freaky isn't it?! Let's praise the Lord that we didn't get Kerry then eh?!
Rhonda Tauman – Tenerife.

Greetings from USA:
I voted for John Kerry.
Having said that, I'm emailing to ask if you've stopped your wonderful email newsletter, or if through some glitch in technology I've been dropped from your fan list? If the latter is true, would you please add me to your mailing list?
Thank you,
Merrill Falk - USA

The Prophesy Comes True
"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." (H.L. Mencken. 1880 - 1956)
Richard M Weed. Trenton, NJ.

Dear Joe,
Loved the pumpkin! I really liked the story about singing to the kids. I have been a traditional folk person since I was a kid. I have sung folk songs to my kids all their lives but I love the idea of professionals singing to school children. I live in a village just outside Doncaster. How much would it cost for you to do that thing down here at a primary school and if you could manage it, a special school on the same day?
Thanks for you ramblings, I look forward to your monthly output!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Olive Jennings

FUNNIES (Beware - not always PC!)

"A train station is where a train stops.
A bus station is where a bus stops.
On my desk I have a workstation..."

I realised I was dyslexic when I went to a toga party dressed as a goat.

Got a phone call today to do a gig at a fire station. Went along. Turned out it was a bloody hoax.

The right to bear arms is only slightly less ludicrous than the right to arm bears.

My dad is Irish and my mum is Iranian, which meant that we spent most of our family holidays in Customs.

It's easy to distract fat people. It's a piece of cake.

I enjoy using the comedy technique of self-deprecation - but I'm not very good at it.

I went out with an Irish Catholic. Very frustrating. You can take the Girl out of Cork ..…’


WORLD'S EASIEST QUIZ (Passing requires 4 correct answers)
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

All done?
Check your answers below!

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
*116 years
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
*Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
*Squirrel fur
6) The Canary Islands are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What colour is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
*New Zealand
10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane?
*Orange, of course.

At least some good things are coming out of the US these days!
Once again, The Washington Post published its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for various words. I’m indebted to Jon Scaife for informing me that the winners are…
1. Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavoured mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.
13. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
14. Pokemon (n), A Jamaican proctologist.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your Soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts.
From Mick Tems


Government Job
A guy goes into a government agency to interview for a job.
The Interviewer asks him, "Are you a veteran?"
The guy says, "Why yes, in fact, I served two tours in Vietnam."
"Good," says the interviewer, "That counts in your favor. Do you have any service-related disabilities?"
The guy says, "In fact I am 100% disabled. During a battle, an explosion removed my genitals so they declared me disabled...but it doesn't affect my ability to work, though."
"Sorry to hear about the damage, but I have some good news for you. I can hire you right now! Our working hours are 8 to 4. Come on in about 10! And we'll get you started"
The guy says, "If working hours are from 8 to 4, why do you want me to come in at 10?"
”Well, in the government we don't do anything but sit round and scratch our balls for the first two hours. No point of your coming in for that”.


I suspect most of us can relate to some of this…
Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, "Windy, isn't it?"
Second one says, "No, it’s Thursday!"
Third one says, "So am I. Let's go get a beer."

A man was telling his neighbour, "I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but its state of the art. It's perfect."
"Really," answered the neighbor. "What kind is it?"
"Twelve thirty."

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, "You're really doing great, aren't you?"
Morris replied, "Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'"
The doctor said, "I didn't say that”. I said, “You've got a heart murmur. Be careful.'"

A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlor and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool. After catching his breath he ordered a banana split.
The waitress asked kindly, "Crushed nuts?"
"No," he replied, arthritis."

A 90 year-old gentleman, very well dressed, hair well groomed, great looking suit, flower in his lapel smelling slightly of a good after shave presenting a well looked image, walks into an upscale cocktail lounge. Seated at the bar is an elderly looking lady in her mid eighties. The gentleman walks over, sits along side of her, orders a drink, takes a sip, turns to her and says, "So tell me, do I come here often?"


Dr. Calvin Rickson, a scientist from Texas A&M University, has invented a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling and prevents the nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.
At a news conference announcing the invention, a large group of men took Dr. Rickson outside and kicked the shit out of him.


A passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and tapped him on the shoulder.
The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb, and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window. For a few moments everything was silent in the cab.
Then the still shaking driver said, "I'm sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me."
The frightened passenger apologized to the driver and said he didn't realize a mere tap on the shoulder could frighten him so much.
The driver replied, "No, no, I'm sorry, it’s all my fault. Today is my first day driving a cab... for the last 25 years I've been driving a hearse."


A bloke walking down the street sees a woman with the most beautiful, perfect breasts.
He says to her "Hey Miss, would you let me bite your nipples for 100 quid?
"Are you nuts?", she replies. And keeps walking away.
He turns around, runs around the block and gets to the corner before she does. "Would you let me bite your nipples for 1,000 quid?" he asks again.
"Listen sir, I'm not that kind of woman. Got it?"
So the bloke again runs around the next block and faces her again: "OK, would you let me bite your nipples just once for 10,000 quid?"
She thinks about it for a while, "Hmmm 10,000 quid, eh? OK, just once, but not here. Let's go to that alley over there"
So they went to the alley and she takes off her blouse to reveal the most beautiful breasts he'd ever seen. Immediately he leaps at them and starts caressing them, fondling them, kissing them, burying his face in them.........
Finally the woman gets all annoyed and asks: "Are you gonna bite them or what?"
"Nah", he replies. "Costs too much."

Keep smiling, keep singing.