The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4029363
Posted By: Brian Peters
21-Jan-20 - 04:54 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Back for a moment to the Coppers and Kate Lee...

"The determiner 'any' usually means 'some' or 'a bit' or some such."

I'm sorry, but this is incorrect. The word 'might' in the sentence makes the sense subjunctive.

Bob Copper was a remarkable, generous and delightful man, blessed with great intelligence, articulacy and powers of observation. In this context, however, he is a 'mediator', for those that like the term. Brasser and Tom Copper met Kate Lee in 1897, 18 years before Bob was born, and when his father Jim was 17. Bob stated in an interview in the 1980s that the meeting had never been mentioned within the family until 1950, when Francis Collinson - who was collecting songs from them - brought it up. At which point Jim broke in with [to quote Bob] “Oh yes, I remember my old dad and uncle Tom going to old Teddy Carson’s house, and there was some woman up there that put a bottle of scotch on the table, a decanter of water and two glasses, and she wouldn’t let ’em go until they’d finished the scotch.”

There's no mention of embarrassment or discomfort here, in fact the reference to "old Teddy Carson's house" conveys the opposite impression. However, when Bob wrote up the story in 'A Song for Every Season', he clearly used his mastery of story-telling to embroider the tale with some speculation of his own about how his forebears might have felt, guessing that if they'd felt any embarrassment, this would soon have been dispelled by the prospect of alcohol - which, it has to be said, features prominently in much Copper Family lore.

Does this matter? Well, I raised it because it seemed important to Dr Cole's argument in one of three real-life examples he chose to illustrate his theoretical position, and his interpretation of the story looks a lot like bending the facts. There is simply no evidence in the above that the two Copper brothers were 'uncomfortable' during their meeting with Kate Lee, or that this affected what they sang.