Tales of Britain

By Jem Roberts

The finest, funniest stories of England, Scotland & Wales, refreshed for the 21st century. By Brother Bernard, as told to Jem Roberts.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Davy Jones & The Yellow Submarine

Avast, ye folksters! And a very maritime Folklore Thursday to ye!

There's a whole plethora of oceanic tales amongst the 77 in our book, of course – The Gift Horse's water sprite in Jersey, The Mermaid of Zennor, and so on. But we'll take a look at one aside which was slipped into the story of The Great Gormula, with reference to the Spanish galleon which sank off Tobermory in the 16th century:

This is actually a fair summary of who Davy Jones came to be, for sailors the globe over – even if the original Jones will remain a mystery, the first mention in literature being Daniel Defoe's 'Four Years Voyages of Captain George Roberts' (my Dad's name, incidentally). Essentially he became yet another of Britain's many water spirits, his first description being of a demon with saucer eyes (well of course), three rows of teeth, horns, a tail, and blue smoke coming from his nostrils (quite a trick if you can do it underwater).

That said, though I've never seen any of the films, I understand to most people these days, Davy Jones means only one thing…

But, with apologies for professional cheek, right now I'm writing about Davy Jones in a very different context, being two-thirds immersed in my next book, FAB FOOLS (Facebook and Twitter) and as I type, I should be proceeding with telling the tale of the creation of one of the greatest feature-length animations of all time, YELLOW SUBMARINE. Well, it is surely legitimate Liverpool folklore...!

Most people are already familiar with the Beatles' odyssey from Liverpool through the seas of Time, Science, Monsters, Holes and Green, but the immensely complicated history of the film leaves many tales untold, and one of the early drafts of the script contained a whole sequence, developed with illustrations, set in 'Davy Jones' Locker', with the Fab Four and Old Fred meeting mermaids and all sorts. Sadly, only anecdotal evidence remains, but it's a tantalising glimpse of what might have been...

If you enjoyed Tales of Britain or any of my previous works of comedy history, please follow FAB FOOLS wherever you can, and pre-order when the book is fully launched at the end of the month.

Peace and love, and shiver me timbers…

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