M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D
The Bloody Newsletter
Issue #179 February 2019
Dick's Toolbox mmmWazzer's Trans-Tasman Tales mmmMeet the TBN crew
Mike's Pith & Wind - The loneliness of a long-distance plucker
I was in a vast cathedral. I was lugging my too-heavy Hot-Rod amplifier when I came across an area that appeared to be reserved for musicians. I was naked.
I put the amp down and seeing a microphone sought to explain to the distant audience / congregation why I thought I needed an amplifier.
‘God hears all,’ (laughter) ‘but I am deaf.’(More laughter).
(This going well,’ I’m thinking to myself, ‘but where am I getting this from?)
‘I’m going to go and get my guitar now’ I concluded to general applause.
The public relations chat had gone well but I had a suspicion that the actual getting of my guitar could be more problematic. It always is.
Now I'm scaling yet another ladder in the dusty upper realms of the cathedral in search of my guitar, but I’m running out of space and finding it difficult to move my arms and legs – which is when I woke up.
I was relieved. Sometimes the search goes on endlessly. Occasionally I do find my guitar, but then there’s the problem of finding my way back. Sometimes I struggle back to the stage with my guitar in hand, only to find the audience has gone home. These sorts of dreams are typical when gigs are sparse. The variations on dismal failure are infinite.
I was at my good friend Peter Lamont’s place recently. Peter had visited us at Mt Evelyn and on seeing the parlous state of my music PC had volunteered to update it for me. We were waiting for the new program to download when Peter mentioned he had some vision he’d recorded of Tommy Emmanuel running through a few tunes at a sound check.
I gulped. Don’t get me wrong. I think Tommy is an astonishingly accomplished guitar player whose ability transcends musical genres, but he leaves me confused - not to mention dismayed at my own guitar-playing shortcomings.
Before I could demur however the video was up and Tommy was in the frame and chomping at the bit to PLAY.
And so it began - a headlong rush of notes cascading and catapulting in patterns that playfully appeared and dissolved before unexpectedly coalescing again, Tommy nodding his head and grinding his teeth in pleasure while casually referencing the improbable and gleefully flirting with the impossible. I wanted Peter to stop the tape on numerous occasions to try and work out what he’d just played but in the end I had to simply suspend my disbelief and just let it wash over me.
The inevitable result of this gratuitous exposure was that on the way home I was questioning my own involvement in music - how can you not when confronted by such unbridled ability? While I’m not a great technician on guitar, sometimes struggling even to be an average technician, I’ve got a good ear, which unfortunately has encouraged me to be lazy at crucial periods in my life. (For example, I don’t read (music) although it was compulsory to read when I was a chorister and I never learned to play piano despite two years of lessons. It goes without saying that I would dearly love both those capabilities today).
I can sing a bit (although I’ll concede I’m an acquired taste) but I don’t think I could justify being involved in the music game at all without the added dimension of dabbling in song writing, not to mention that early on in the course of which, I wrote The Song.
I didn’t set out to be a songwriter. I think I co-wrote a song or two for my first band, the Chants and then a couple more for Ross Wilson’s Party Machine (Hold on to My Heart and Little Red Jeep), but it wasn’t until the inception of Spectrum that I felt that I absolutely had to write. My initial song writing MO wasn’t elaborate – I just brought the nucleus of an idea to the band to flesh out and bring an arrangement to bear, giving the other musicians in the band the opportunity to add their musical input to the songs.
That’s the way it was in the ‘70s. The band and the character of the band was the thing – in fact that’s what I still enjoy most about being in a band - the mutual give and take and occasionally developing songs on the run.
Most of my early songs, as heard on Spectrum Part One for instance, developed this way and
performing some of these songs today as a solo artist has been an exercise both in deconstruction and reinvention as most of them rely so much on what the band contributed. Nevertheless it’s been a fascinating process and I can identify certain characteristics in the writing style that are dictated by the weaknesses in my guitar-playing and that ironically help make it unique.
So, here I remain. Daunted but unbowed. Thanks to Peter Lamont the music PC is (almost) back in business and ten years-worth of unfinished songs stand a chance of being completed. About time too.
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Dick's Toolbox - Mrs Caroline Rudd
It’s humbling to know that the family name isn’t always covered with glory.
‘In forgery and perjury owned such art,
She palmed the Gold, while others paid the smart.'
I was introduced to Mrs Caroline Rudd courtesy of Simon Schama’s densely daunting book ‘Belonging – the Story of the Jews 1492 – 1900’ where on page 336, a point where you still have around four hundred pages to go, there were a few cryptic sentences the first fragment originally written by Meyer Schomberg in 1746 in London. '…. they reject the kosher daughters of Israel who are our own flesh and blood.' Schama continues ” '…He was almost certainly thinking of Joseph Salvador, one of the leaders of the Sephardi community, but notorious for patronising famous courtesans like Kitty Fisher and Mrs Caroline Rudd.'*

You may have heard of Kitty Fisher and perhaps seen one of the eleven portraits of her, the most famous being in the National Portrait Gallery painted by Nathaniel Hone. She is features in the rhyme
' Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
But ne'er a penny was there in't
Except the binding round it.'
This may need some explaining. Apparently, Lucy Locket sent her boyfriend away after he had spent all of his money on her. Broke, but not broken hearted, he fell into the arms of Kitty Fisher. Strangely enough the word locket was a euphemism for the vagina, and boyfriends were the “pocket” or means of cash. And of course you knew that prostitutes were known to tie their pockets round their thighs with ribbon.
But back to Caroline, whom I have to state was only a Rudd by marriage, and therefore not a stain on the escutcheon. Caroline was born Margaret Caroline Youngson in 1745, in Northern Ireland. She was infatuated with the idea of belonging to nobility and claimed Scottish ancestry when she was young, and even acquired a certificate to prove it. An only child, her parents both died when she was young. She was placed under the care of her uncle, John Stewart, who raised her to be an upstanding young woman – though this was one of the few moments in her life that this could honestly be said.
She was expelled from boarding school, and her uncle refused to have her back so she was sent to live with her grandmother who couldn't control her wild behaviour. Young Margaret Caroline was had already been involved with a number of young men from the age of fourteen. She was not highly regarded in the town except as a means of local transport.
Her chance to leave home happened when she met her future husband, Valentine Rudd about whom we know little except that he was a Lieutenant in the 62nd Regiment of Foot, of a reasonably wealthy family who had bought his way from promotion to promotion. Which if he was only a Lieutenant meant that not too much money had been spent.
They were engaged a mere ten days after he arrived and, after a year, already considerably in debt. They moved to London where the debt was enthusiastically increased by the now Mrs Rudd. Being a somewhat fickle lass she soon she moved in with another man and increased young Valentine’s debt even further by making use of his accounts. This led to debtor’s prison. When he was released he sensibly fled the country but not as far as we know to the Antipodes.
After this promising beginning she discovered that she was quite good, at least some of the time , making a living in a horizontal position. Boswell, the Scottish biographer and diarist wrote “her eyes did not flash defiance, but attracted with sweetness, and there was the reason of the difference of effect between these eyes and those of more insolent or less experienced charmers. She was not a robber but a thief".
At some stage young Margaret Caroline Rudd met the Perreaus, identical twin brothers. Robert was an enterprising apothecary and businessman, and was happily married with children. Daniel was more of a gambler than a worker, and was also in great debt with little money and appropriately he and Margaret Caroline met at a masquerade in April 1770. Margaret moved in with him, started calling herself Mrs Perreau, and had three children. Their relationship was serious, but they had never married; she was still legally married to Valentine Rudd. Divorce was not an easy legal option, but an annulment could be granted by the court. A complicated process and most couples chose to just separate and have affairs.
Margaret Caroline had tastes and social ambitions beyond her means - as did Daniel. Quite why Robert got involved is not so clear since he was an established apothecary with a flourishing business and a wife and family. But houses were expensive - especially if you wished to live on Harley Street - and it all seemed so easy: to forge a note that secured you a loan with the promise that it would be paid back by your (fictional) guarantors. But forgery was a capital offence, and the trouble with threesomes is that they always fall apart - usually acrimoniously..
They were caught out as a forged note for around $1,200,000 in today’s money does attract attention
Margaret's trial attracted a large audience. She had an advantage over the Perreaus; her skilful lawyers and the fact that she was a woman. Her gender made her vulnerable in the eyes of the court, and appear less capable of composing such a devious scheme. Her story of being the victim was also deemed more plausible. The Perreaus didn't gain much sympathy for their story; the idea that a mere woman had outsmarted them only put them in a worse light.
Robert pleaded his innocence by saying 'his only mistake was believing everything Daniel and Margaret had told him.' Daniel had done the same, saying that "his love for Margret had led him to place his entire trust in her."
In her own defence Mrs Rudd addressed the jury in a short, but sensible speech, and concluded in these words, 'Gentlemen, ye are honest men, and I am safe in your hands.'
The jury, after a short consultation, gave their verdict in the following singular, and perhaps unprecedented, words: 'According to the evidence before us, not guilty.'
Now I don’t want Margaret Caroline to appear in a bad light but then she did a rather nasty thing.
With the Perreaus condemned to hanging she wrote to Viscount Weymouth, the secretary of state who might have asked the king for a pardon. Was this begging forgiveness for her ‘husband’ and his brother? Exactly the opposite. She further incriminated them making them appear as deeply indebted money hungry gamblers. Hers was the only petition that argued for the execution and so there was no mercy for the father of her three children.
The brothers died well on a freezing day in January 1776 - dressed soberly in black, they stood poised on the cart, kissed and 'crossed their hands, joining the four together, and in this manner were launched into eternity.'
After ruining the lives of many, she Margaret Caroline finally died in obscurity on 4 February 1797.

* William Combe, The Diablo-lady, 1777 
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Wazzer's Trans-Tasman Tales - Maybe next month
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