Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 99 – November 2009

So, with yet another Christmas just a few days away, we turn our attention once again to Christmas presents, and with a credit crunch and depression on the way we better all start to draw our horns in. So you might care to take a look at the RNLI music division; remember if you buy a present from them you are also helping a worth while charity. Buying a present this way will also avoid hours of tramping round crowded shops looking for that little something which you can’t quite put your fingers on. (Apologies to those still living in middle ages who do not have broad band. I hope this attachment has not caused a great delay in downloading the Ramblings). Anyway, open the attachment and you might find a pleasant surprise.

A pleasant surprise is more than can be expected by children in a similar position to Baby P whose plight this last month has rightly been bandied about in the media. And make no bones about it, Baby P is but the tip of an enormous iceberg. We should all be observant and be prepared to report anything unusual with regard to young toddlers and any injuries they might be carrying. Of course it can be argued that if an already heavily investigated body like the London Borough of Haringey can find over 60 instances of possible child abuse in a household littered with dog excrement where the male is already known to the RSPCA for cruelties to animals and still do nothing about it despite the pleas of the care worker involved then nothing we say or do will make one iota of difference. It beggars belief of course that the child can also be taken to hospital with several broken ribs and a broken back to have a doctor not properly investigate the problem because the child was grumpy! Baby P certainly had the cards stacked against him in all directions from the word “Go”. It is difficult to imagine the pain that poor little child was in for many, many months whilst absolutely no help came whatsoever from any quarter. Almost unbelievable too that Sharon Shoesmith (who was once Nora’s very moody boss here in Calderdale in charge of children with special needs) should find no reason to even apologize or show any form of remorse. The whole episode beggars belief, but unfortunately we must be prepared for the same thing to happen again. Indeed I would bet my house on the fact that it is happening somewhere even as I type; and even as you read. Sheffield and the sexual abuse of two daughters for 25 years springs to mind immediately.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Jonathan Ross must be a Mason; it’s the only way he could possibly have retained his job with the BBC. Certain people, Sir Ian Blair is another, seem to be able to hold on to high power jobs despite what ever balls up they manage to contrive to make. (And it is unlikely you will find any high powered policeman in this country who is not a Mason). All the females involved in the Ross episode were fired or forced to resign. But Ross, whilst his contract is highly unlikely to be renewed, will continue to leer at us out of our television screens on a Friday night; probably to a reduced audience. I certainly won’t be watching; but I seldom did anyway before this whole unfortunate episode broke. At least there will be four puffs and a piano back in employment.

In America they can celebrate, and we can join them, with the election of Barack Abama as the new president. Of course, as usual, there have been many jokes about the presidency; most of which have been racial and totally unnecessary. Another little joke however, which most Americans will probably have heard, is “What do President Johnson, John Lennon and Barack Abama have in common?” The answer is “Nothing yet!” This is a worrying conundrum to be sure and something we have all surely thought of. It’s not really a question of; will there be assassination attempts? More the question “How many assassination attempts will there be?” Or more worryingly “Will the last assassination attempt be successful?” In America unfortunately anything is possible and there are a lot of loonies out there ready to do it. I understand there is a bookmaker taking bets on bets on whether he will be killed before he takes office.

The fight back begins tomorrow with launch of Campaign to Save the Pub - please support the campaign at
Tomorrow the BBPA in association with Camera will be launching a campaign to Save the Pub and oppose plans to increase beer tax.
As you know, the British beer and pub industry is under severe and sustained pressure. Sales of beer in pubs are now at their lowest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and 36 pubs are closing every week. More than 44,000 jobs were lost from the industry between 2000 and 2005 – and further redundancies are inevitable.
The situation is being made worse by the impact of the wider economic slowdown, and the Chancellor's announcement of yet another increase in duty this week - on top of plans to increase the tax on beer above inflation next year and for the next three years.
With tax already taking up a third of the price of a pint of beer, further hikes can only accelerate the decline of the pub and hit the pockets of ordinary hard working people.
Its time to stand up for a Great British tradition and save the pub.
The “Axe The Beer Tax” campaign aims to give a voice to ordinary British pub-goers and consumers, and send a strong message to Whitehall and Westminster that we've had enough.
Please join our campaign. Go to and sign up as a supporter.
The campaign is being promoted by both industry and consumers - the British Beer and Pub Association represents the pub and brewing industry and CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, champions consumer rights.

So with beer on our mind here’s a little conundrum for you dreamed up by David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. You might have seen it before. I include it only as it is an interesting little piece in light of today’s world-wide financial problems……….

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to £100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay £1.
The sixth would pay £3.
The seventh would pay £7.
The eighth would pay £12.
The ninth would pay £18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers, he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by £20. Drinks for the ten now cost just £80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that £20 divided by six is £3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid £2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay £5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid £9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid £14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid £49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

‘I only got a dollar out of the £20,’declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got £10!’

‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!’

‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get £10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

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

Jan 12th (Joe) North East Leeds Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Jan 16th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare, Ireland
Jan 17th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare, Ireland
Jan 18th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare, Ireland
Feb 7th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.

Feb 25th (Joe) Durham, North Carolina. US
Feb 26th (Joe) Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland. US
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) South Portland, Maine. 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) World Performance Center in Essex. Ma
Mar 28th(Joe) Fiddlers Dream Coffeehouse, 1702 East Glendale, North Phoenix, Arizona.
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) Leeds
May 20th (Joe) Menston Retired Mens 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 Festival of the Sea
Jun 13th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 14th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
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 - Provisional
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 19th (KM) The Bridge Folk Club, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Oct 25th (KM) Scrag End Folk Club, Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe, Leicestershire
Sep 25th (KM) The Castle Inn, Combe Martin, High Street, North Devon


I feel a bit remiss at writing about the least important aspect of this month's Ramblings, but it has once again been a fascinating time in the British psyche. As with the Diana nonsense, it has been far more intriguing to watch the mass British hypnosis over this event than the event itself. Jeremy Hardy summed it up perfectly on the Newsquiz on Radio 4. He said that this week he'd listened to the BBC World Service to discover the wars, famines, disasters etc that happen all over the world, whilst we at home indulge in some bullshit moral outrage over a few words. I am the first to admit that what was said was wrong and offensive - but it was offensive to the people it was directed to and no more. The secret as you rightly pointed out, is to not listen. The public apology is for more shaming to the people involved than this silly tirade for resignation. Ignore Ross and he will go away. His contract will not be renewed because he will not be wanted. However, what I don't want is to be governed by another dose of media hysteria. I read the Daily Express over lunch the other day ( I didn't buy it - I wouldn't give these bastards my money anymore than I would ever Rupert Murdoch - be it The Sun or Sky TV) to see what it had to say on both this topic and the world in general and I have to say i was far more offended by this vile piece of verbal excrement than anything that the event it was commenting on itself. If we learn anything from events like this, I hope it is to think for ourselves rather than be the media sheep of 1984. I find it far more intriguing to watch the media and how it performs and groups around itself to defend it's vileness than what it actually ever has to say. One of my favourite Roy Harper lines, of which I have many, is - "The gorgon headed scandal sheet presents it's daily bight, feeding righteous newsbleeders drugs to keep them white" - from "I hate the white man".
Elliot Smaje

Thanks for providing me with the facts that everyone in the media have been skirting around. I don't mind Jonathon Ross but he can be rude, and is definitely overpaid. I find Russell Brand totally obnoxious. He's a scruffy, dirty, loud mouthed oik. His voice grates on me. Can't understand why so many, obviously younger people love him. Trouble is, having said he'll probably never work for the BBC again, he'll no doubt, like Kenny Everett, return in a blaze of glory after working for Sky, Virgin, and U.S. t.v.
Sue Tuckey

Hi Joe,
Thanks for your (as usual) riveting outpourings dear boy - wonderful! Thought you might like to be made aware that the two clips you included (Pete Seeger and Oscar Brand) appear to have been removed (it says - by the user - whoever that means) but it all sounds a bit fishy to me - I can't believe that there'd be anything to motivate self removal of these clips - any ideas?
By the way - I absolutely love the 'Terrorist' (Maths) rambling...marvellous - though I completely agree with Elliot Smaje, Rhonda Tauman and Jill Fielding's reply letters......:-
Finally - would you be willing to pass Steve Rostron's email address on to me - we've lost touch since email became the main means of communication and I forgot to ask him for it when I saw him just a few years ago at Doug's funeral.
Gawd bless yer
Keith Kendrick

Dear Joe
I am somewhat alarmed as to the performance of my iPod of late and I am beginning to wonder if it may be haunted! It would seem that each time I use it in 'shuffle mode', a track by Joe Stead seems to be selected. How can this be possible, when there are over 8,000 tracks on my iPod but just over 20 by your good self? The chances of this happening are around 400 to 1!
Not that this is such a bad thing, as it has given me a chance to remind myself just how good 'Miles from Halifax' and 'Hearts on Fire' really are. I really must upgrade from cassette to CD format to make the most of the extra tracks!
On another matter, I think the reason that you receive so few letters to your 'Ramblings' these days is perhaps, that all your readers now agree with and appreciate your down to earth, logical opinions and realise that there is no point putting forward any other comment!
Please keep those 'Ramblings' coming.
Paul Muggins

I would advise this gentleman, David Sampson, to contact Panorama, Watchdog, Dragon's Eye and any other "justice based programme on TV.
I would also suggest that he contact all the major newspapers. If the horrible tabloids can remove the head of Radio 2, they might be able to bring their clout and money to bear on investigating this.
And do some good, for once.
Susie Stockton

Hi Joe,
The David Sampson story is truly harrowing. I would urge you strongly to show it to Private Eye and one or two proper newspapers, who would be better placed to make waves than a scabby tabloid like The Mail on Sunday.
All the best,
Ray Black.

Sarah Palin…yeah, scary thought but two words put can it in perspective…Dan Quayle ;-D
After all we *are* talking about Republicans here…choose a complete f**king moron as VP and no one would dare shoot you, right?
David de la Barre
Gloucester, MA

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Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 12:30 PM

A young blonde Aberdonian girl, down on her luck, decided to end it all one night by casting herself into the cold, dark waters off Aberdeen docks.
As she stood on the edge, pondering the infinite, a young sailor noticed her as he strolled by. 'You're not thinking of jumping, are you babes?' he asked.
'Yes, I am.' replied the sobbing girl.
Putting his arm around her, the kind sailor coaxed her back from the edge. 'Look, nothing's worth that. I'll tell you what; I'm sailing off for Australia tomorrow. Why don't you stow away on board and start a new life over there. I'll set you up in one of the
lifeboats on the deck, bring you food and water every night and I'll look after you if you look after me- if you know what I mean. You just have to keep very quiet so that you won't be found'.
The girl, having no better prospects, agreed, and the sailor sneaked her on board that very night. For the next 3 weeks the sailor came to her lifeboat every night, bringing food and water, and making love to her until dawn.
Then, during the fourth week, the captain was performing a routine inspection of the ship and its lifeboats. He peeled back the cover to find the startled blonde, and demanded an explanation
The girl came clean, 'I've stowed away to get to Australia . One of the sailors is helping me out. He set me up in here and brings me food and water every night and he's screwing me.'
The captain stared at her for a moment before he replied, 'He certainly is love. This is the Orkney Ferry .'


WHEN READING THIS SAY IT OUT LOUD .......IT IS MUCH BETTER THAT WAY................................
A refuse collector is going along a street picking up the wheelie bins and emptying them
into his dustcart. He goes to one house where the bin hasn't been left out, so he has a quick look for it, goes round the back of the house, but still can't see it. So, against the rules of the refuse collector's code but in the spirit of kindness, he knocks on the door.
There's no answer.
Being a kindly and conscientious bloke, he knocks again - much harder.
Eventually a Japanese bloke comes to the door.
'Harro!' says the Japanese chappie.
'Gidday, mate! Where's ya bin?' asks the collector
'I bin on toiret' explains the Japanese bloke, a bit perplexed.
Realising the little foreign fellow had misunderstood him, the bin man smiles and tries again.
'No mate, where's your dust bin?'.
'I dust been to toiret, I toll you!'' says the Japanese man - still perplexed.
'Listen,' says the collector. 'You're misunderstanding me. Where's your w h e e l I e bin?'
'Ok. Ok ' replies the Japanese man with a sheepish grin.
' I wheelie bin havin sex wirra wife's sister..........!'


You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away…

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two female giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of Democracy….

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

Keep smiling, keep singing.
The next Rambling’s is number 100!

Joe Stead