Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 156 – September 2013


So where do we start?  Hedgehogs, or Bongobongo Land? 


Perhaps first an apology to David Buckley is in order for the comments made in the initial copy of these Ramblings.  I realise now that they were totally out of order and I have issued David with a full apology.  Sometimes I get a little bit too far carried away trying to be clever, and this time I have been too clever for my own good.  I have issued this ridiculous piece of literature for exactly 13 years and I think it is now time I stopped.


So to David Buckley I offer a public apology.


To the rest of you - well thanks for your support over the years.  This was never meant to be a vehicle for Kimber's Men merely a way to let my 29 fans world wide know what I was doing.  This number has now probably become less.  The editorial was all always my own work unless I quoted somebody. 


I did of course list Kimber's Men dates so you will now have to refer to our Facebook page for this information.


The offensive piece, as requested by David, has been removed and should never have been included.


Let's move on into Bongobongoland where the anniversary of the death of Princess Diana looms large on the horizon with Scotland Yard apparently investigating an anti royalist rumour that the whole affair was at the direction of the Duke of Edinburgh.  So again there is suspicion that it wasn't an accident and now it is the SAS who are coming under scrutiny.  Well good show I say.  Have a go.  You'll get nowhere of course.  But please go ahead and waste more of our money.  Anyway we can't be packing poor old Prince Phillip off to jail at his age, he's far too old.  And if it very possibly wasn't Philip.  Who then really is to blame?


I wrote all but one verse of the following about a week after she died.  The Tony Blair verse has been added following the illegal war against Iraq.  The poem might help the Scotland Yard with their investigations because investigating this is a waste of time and will be at a great cost to the tax payer.  And let us be honest for a minute.  No one person is responsible.  We all are.


Who killed Princess Di?


Who killed Princess Di, how come she’s gone and where’s the reason why?


Not I barked the paparazzi, sure we made her run

And of course we got good money, well what would you have done?

Anyway she loved it, we were courted from afar

It was us who made her famous, thanks to us she was a star

And as for all those pictures well we only fuelled a need

You can’t blame us for someone else’s greed

So, who killed Princess Di, how come she’s gone and where’s the reason why?


Not us said the public, piling up the flowers

You can see that we all loved her, we’ve been queuing here for hours

OK, OK, It’s true some of us bought The Sun

But after all those pictures were just a bit of fun

Part of life’s rich tapestry, the good comes with the bad

How could we have killed her when we all look so sad?

So, who killed Princess Di, how come she’s gone and where’s the reason why?


Not I sighed old Queenie, sitting on her throne

If she’d been more realistic, she could have stayed at home

It was just an ultimatum, she didn’t have to leave

And in that week of silence who said I didn’t grieve?

In situations such as this the upper lip is vital

Anyway I loved the girl……..I offered back her title

So, who killed Princess Di, how come she’s gone and where’s the reason why?


Now Tony Blair looked very grave but only for a while,

And then he flashed those wicked eyes, we saw that evil smile

Me kill Di?  Me?  Well why?

Listen you’ve seen nothing yet, there are bigger fish to fry

This Paris thing, it might look bad, but it’s really not that black

I can tell you, in a year or two, I’m gonna bomb Iraq

So, who killed Princess Di, how come she’s gone and where’s the reason why?


Not I moaned the ghost who drove her on that night

The paparazzi I was told…. “Leave ‘em out of sight”

Alright it’s true, I’d had a drink, but I mean who’s not done the same

I’m not the guilty one, it’s not me that you should blame

I mean an order is an order, I’m sure you will agree

So don’t go pointing any fingers at me

So, who killed Princess Di, how come she’s gone and where’s the reason why?

Well don't look at me!

© Joe Stead - Fore Lane Music September 1997



Now I'm quite happy to be contradicted, but to my knowledge I've never met an American who knew what a hedgehog was.  I think they are a very British species, although I wouldn't be surprised to find them on the continent of Europe.  I don't think you will find many in America.  The terrible truth about hedgehogs however is that they are very much on the decline, indeed hurtling towards extinction.  They've been around on this planet earth since before the saber-toothed tiger.  In 1950 we had in excess of 50 million hedgehogs trolling through our countryside happily eating slugs, snails and worms.  Today there are less than 1 million.  The decline can be attributed to the demolition of the countryside together with poisons (a dead poisoned slug will kill a hedgehog), hedge trimmers and general farming machinery.  Where many wild animals make a hasty retreat when humans approach the dear old hedgehog simply rolls itself into a ball of spikes, which might deter a dog but has no protection against a machine.  The exact number of hedgehogs still alive in Britain is of course a guesstimation it could be as large as 2 million or as low as five hundred thousand; the people who determine these figures can really only go by the number of dead hedgehogs we see flattened on our roadside by passing traffic; and that number I know from my own experience gets less as the years roll by.  Twenty odd years ago we had a whole family of hedgehogs living in our garden, but now I don't remember when I last saw a living hedgehog.  So for Americans who have not the slightest notion of what I am talking about - here is a picture of a hedgehog.






Finally.  Wonderful statement by Steve Cramm on the Opening morning of the World Athletics Championships in Moscow  "This is a massive stadium so it's not as empty as it actually looks". - Steve Cramm.




Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead



Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 8th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival

Sep 11th (KM) Works, Sowerby Bridge with Damien Barber and Mike Wilson

Sep 20th (KM) Berties Bistro, Elland.

Sep 21st (KM) The Astor Theatre, Deal Festival of the Sea.

Sep 22nd (KM) Deal RNLI Sing. The Lifeboat Shed.  11am.

Oct 4th (KM) Portmagee Festival of the Sea

Oct 5th (KM) Portmagee Festival of the Sea

Oct 6th (KM) Portmagee Festival of the Sea

Oct 9th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Stephan Grossman

Oct 11th (KM) Banbury Folk Festival

Oct 12th (KM) Banbury Folk Festival

Oct 13th (KM) Banbury Folk Festival

Oct 19th (KM) Leigh Social Club, 389 Padiham Road, Burnley BB12 6SZ

Oct 25th (KM) Lichfield Arts Centre, Lichfield, Staffordshire

Oct 31st (KM) Royal National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Oct 31st (KM) The Birds Nest (originally the Oxford Arms) Deptford.

Nov 1st (KM) Plaza Theatre, 40 Winchester Rd, Romsey. SO51 8JA

Nov 2nd (KM) Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

Nov 8th (KM) The David Hall, Roundwell Street, South Petherton, Somerset.

Nov 9th (KM) Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL

Nov 12th (Joe) Thorner Probus Club, The Fox, Main St.  LS14 3DX

Nov 13th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge with Chris Wood.

Nov 25th (Joe) Ilkley Probus club.

Nov 29th (KM) Daglingworth  Village Hall, Gloucestershire.

Nov 30th (KM) Dumbleton Village Hall, Gloucestershire.

Dec 11th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge. Christmas Party.

Dec 12th (KM) The Red Deer, Pitt St., Sheffield. S1 4DD 




Jan 17th (KM) Sheepscombe Village Hall, Gloucestershire.

Jan 18th (KM) Oxenhall Village Hall, Gloucestershire.

Jan 31st (KM) The Grand, 18 York Street, Clitheroe

Feb 21st (KM) Duntisbourne Abbots, Village Hall, Gloucestershire.

Feb 22nd (KM) Kempley, Village Hall, Gloucestershire.

Apr 4th (KM) Gloucestershire

Apr 5th (KM) Gloucestershire

Apr 20th (Joe) Gosport Folk Festival

Apr 21st (Joe) Gosport Folk Festival

May 17th (KM) Charlbury Village Hall, Oxfordshire.

May 23rd (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium

May 24th (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium

May 25th (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium

May 26th (KM) Ostend Shanty Festival, Belgium

Jun 27th (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jun 28th (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jun 29th (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jul 3rd (Joe) Groundlings Theatre 42 Kent Street Portsmouth PO1 3BT

Sep 27th (KM) Victoria Theatre, Halifax with Skelmanthorpe Band.





Louisa Jo Killen


I only met Lou Killen on two occasions.  The first time was back stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in the early 1980's and then about 10 years later when he had accompanied Peter Bellamy to a venue somewhere near Stockton to watch Martyn Wyndham Read

The decision in 2010 to live as a woman came as a surprise not only to me but also to the wider folk music scene in Britain  Apparently he had first lived as a transgender person while based in the US in the 1990s.  For a couple of years, Louisa Jo Killen, who has died at the age of 79, continued to sing as before, although illness increasingly reduced her ability to travel around the country.

Louis was born in Gateshead, to a working-class Catholic family. Singing was a natural part of family life – everything from hymns to Irish ballads, light opera and cowboy songs. One older brother brought home jazz records, which encouraged the teenage Louis to go to the Newcastle Rhythm Club, while another brother, who died young, played the English concertina, which Louis later used to accompany folk songs. After working as an apprentice cabinet maker, Louis moved to study at the Catholic Workers' College in Oxford when he was 21. By this time, he was singing a mixture of American, Irish and British folk and popular songs, but Oxford University's Heritage Society exposed him to a more traditional repertoire, which led him to the Ballads and Blues folk club in London, run by Ewan MacColl and AL Lloyd.

Louis had learned traditional songs from Alan Rogerson, a Northumbrian sheep farmer, and impressed MacColl when he sang these at the club. Back in Tyneside, Killen met Johnny Handle in a jazz club and in 1958 they established the region's first folk club, Newcastle Folk Song and Ballad; by 1961, they had adopted MacColl's folk club policy that singers should sing only songs from their own country.

MacColl invited Killen to sing on several of the acclaimed BBC Radio Ballads, made with the producer Charles Parker. For The Big Hewer, about coal mining, Killen introduced MacColl to the Elliotts from Birtley – a family of miners and singers, whose experiences were crucial to the success of the resulting programme.

As folk music grew in popularity throughout the 1960s, Killen became a regular guest singer in folk clubs and concerts all over the country. He was the leading figure in the wave of younger singers who emerged from behind the founding fathers, MacColl and Lloyd. He studied the style of the older traditional singers, was a fine interpreter of folk ballads, including the monumental sea song The Flying Cloud, and popularized songs that became folk club standards, such as The Leaving of Liverpool, Pleasant and Delightful and The Wild Rover.

With Handle, he recorded three EPs of north-east songs for Topic Records, which were later re-released on an LP, Along the Coaly Tyne (1966). He also featured on compilations, including The Iron Muse (1963) and the album of sea songs Farewell Nancy (1964). In 1965 came his first solo album, Ballads and Broadsides; the novelist Angela Carter wrote the sleeve notes, commenting on Killen's "unusually subtle and sensitive accompanied singing style".

The early interest in cowboy songs and jazz had given Killen a lifelong fascination with America. In 1966, he visited the US for three months, returning there to live in 1967. As he later said, he had the classic emigrant's motives: opportunity and freedom. His repertoire of British and Irish traditional songs found an eager audience and regular visits home helped to recharge his musical roots. He already knew the Irish-American singers the Clancy Brothers, and in 1971 replaced Bobby Clancy in the family group, recording four albums with them, including Live on St Patrick's Day (1973).

In 1974 he resumed his solo career, also performing briefly with his then wife Sally. His interest in ships and sea songs led to him building and sailing boats: he was a crew member on Pete Seeger's sloop Clearwater which spearheaded the clean-up of the Hudson river, and he sang at the Maritime Museum in San Francisco. Trips home become less frequent, but a major tour in 1991 drew audiences which confirmed that his fine singing had not been forgotten.

Killen returned to live in Gateshead 10 years ago; he resumed his British-based singing career, performing in concerts and festivals, sometimes in a duo with Mike Waterson, and he tutored on the folk music degree at Newcastle University.

Louis, later Louisa Jo, Killen, folk singer, born 10 January 1934; died 9 August 2013.







Hi, Joe,


While I would have to say that equal prize money for less work (men go five sets, women three) is questionable, I was totally enthralled by the Women's tennis at both the French Open and at Wimbledon and gave the Men's Championship a miss (with one or two exceptions).


As I'd backed Sabine Lisicki for Wimbledon to both win and to get in the Final, I guess I was kinda drawn in. More so when I backed Lisicki to beat Williams - and, according to Inverdale, as no one believed that Lisicki would beat Williams, I must've not backed her at all and backed Williams instead. But Ladbrokes still paid me out, bless 'em, at odds of nine to one.


Yes, Inverdale.


He is inaccurate. I frequently had a match on the Internet with no sound while watching a televised match on the Beeb (with sound) and just one example will suffice (although this happened repeatedly).


First set is 4-3 on the Internet coverage. First two games have gone with serve, the next five have all been breaks. What does Inverdale say when they go round the courts on the Beeb?


'Well, that one's 4-3 and has gone with serve...'


Obviously, he seems to pay no attention to what's going on and just assumes that scores are what he wants them to be. Why doesn't someone tell him? Time and again he comes out with such gibberish.


And have you noticed how everyone who wins has played 'excellently'? When Lisicki beat Williams, she had played magnificently, excellently and so on. I think they forgot that she'd got annihilated in the second set.


Why do they use superlatives devoid of reality? As you were wont to say from the front at the Tramshed - 'Daft B*ggers!'

Lee Smith




Hello Joe,

Agree with your comments about Yorkshire`s latest prodigy Joe Root: but I`m uncertain about the booing you refer to.  Although I only see the cricket highlights, the Engkish crowd have taken to the youngster-and when he took a wicket they  were chanting `ROOOOT` (similar phenomena at Bruce Springsteen concerts -the uninitiated can`t understand why people boo when he comes on stage-it`s of course `BRUUUUCE`: I suspect the same might be happening with young Joe (with a first name Joe how can he fail?)


Terry Smith







Farmer’s Delight


Two farmers are in the pub enjoying a pint after a long day’s work in the hot sun. One says, “Jethro, I see ee’s bin a-mowin’ four acre field today.”


Jethro answers, “Ar, Tom, been ‘ard it right enough.”


Tom says “I notices over the last twenty years that ee allus leaves south-west corner of four acre field unmowed, why be that, Jethro?”


“Ar, I couldn’t mow that there corner, it ‘avin’ sentimentical mem’ries for I.”


“Oh ar? What be them there sentimentical reasons, Jethro?”


“Well, seein’ as thee asks, it’s where I ‘ad me end away the first time, like.”


“Giddon! But I noticed also that ee allus leaves north-east corner of ten acre field, what be adjacent to four acre field, unmowed, do that ‘ave simbular reasons fer thee, then Jethro?”


“No, but tha’s the place where ‘er mother stood an’ watched us, she came up quiet-like and then ‘er wuz peerin’ over the hedge as we was doin’ it.”


“Giddon! Didn’t ‘er ‘ave nothun to say ‘bout un?”


“Ar, ‘er certingly did, ‘er made a right fuss an’ all.”


“What did ‘er say?”


“’Er said, baaaaaaaaaaa!”








The good Catholic boy was in the Confessional, working his way through a long list of pinching apples, disobedience and educational shortcomings. Finally, he added “And Father, I dreamed about spanking one of the village girls.”


“In your dream was it Mary O’Reilly?” asked the priest.


“No, Father.”


“Was it Bridget Murphy?” asked the priest, more severely.


“No, Father.”


“Well then was it Sally O’Rafferty?”


“No Father, but to be honest I didn’t see her face at all, I can’t be sure who it was.”


The priest gave up. “Say ten Hail Marys and cut the churchyard grass for a month.”


“Thank you, Father.”


Outside the church his mates are waiting for him.


“Did you cop for much penance?” asked one of them.


“No,” said the lad, “ten Hail Marys, and I’m stuck with cutting the grass for a month, but I got three hot tips.”





How the Internet Started (according to the Bible)...

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a healthy young wife by the name of Dorothy.
And Dot Com was a comely woman, Large of breast, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.
And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"
And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"
And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."
Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.
And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the
goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.
To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).
And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.
And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist
on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.
And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."
And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known.
He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."
And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."
"YAHOO," said Abraham.
And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using
Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.
It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything
That is how it all began.




My mother was holding on to a pole while riding a bus.

She noticed that a young man, who was holding on to the same pole, was staring at her. Eventually he said, "Excuse me.

This is my stop."


Since she wasn't blocking his way, she was confused. "Well,"

she said, "go ahead."


"And this is my pole," he said.


My mother was completely perplexed until the young man added, "I just bought it at the hardware store to hold up my shower curtain."


And with that, he picked up his pole and carried it off the bus.






Male Logic


Woman: Do you drink beer?

Man: Yes

Woman: How many beers a day?

Man: Usually about 3

Woman: How much do you pay per beer?

Man: $5.00 which includes a tip

Woman: And how long have you been drinking?

Man: About 20 years, I suppose

Woman: So a beer costs $5 and you have 3 beers a day which puts your spending each month at $450. In one year, it would be approximately $5400 …correct?

Man: Correct

Woman: If in 1 year you spend $5400, not accounting for inflation, the past 20 years puts your spending at $108,000, correct?

Man: Correct

Woman: Do you know that if you didn't drink so much beer, that money could have

been put in a step-up interest savings account and after accounting for compound interest for the past 20 years, you could have now bought a Ferrari?

Man: Do you drink beer?

Woman: No

Man: Where’s your Ferrari?





Keep smiling, keep singing.


Joe Stead