Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lookalikes #19: Mickey Mouse & Joy Division

Atrocity exhibition: Mickey's Unknown Pleasures T-shirts, top and above, right; Peter Saville's original cover, 1979, above left

I'm still not entirely convinced this isn't a hoax but Disney have apparently starting selling Mickey Mouse T-shirts based on Peter Saville's iconic Joy Division album cover, Unknown Pleasures (according to Pitchfork and Rolling Stone). This is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start.

Joy Division's name comes from the areas in concentration camps during World War II that operated as brothels where female prisoners were forced into prostitution for Nazi guards. Joy Division made great but depressing music. Lead singer Ian Curtis killed himself in 1980, aged 24. There is nothing remotely child-friendly or Disney-like about Joy Division.

The cover, designed by Peter Saville (who also designed all their subsequent releases), was taken from an image of the first radio pulsar discovered in 1967. I guess in this post-ironic and post-postmodern world, Disney appropriating Saville's appropriation is, well, appropriate. Besides, like with most works of art more than five minutes old, it loses its original meaning and simply become iconic and harmless.

Here's what Disney have to say:

Inspired by the iconic sleeve of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album, this Waves Mickey Mouse Tee incorporates Mickey's image within the graphic of the pulse of a star. That's appropriate given few stars have made bigger waves than Mickey!

You know what's worst of all, though? I want one!

UPDATE: Disney has seen some sense and withdrawn the T-shirt; one recently sold on eBay for over £200; some bright spark is already selling fake ones on eBay for £12. Bargain.

1 comment :

Caspar said...

Insane, brilliant, disturbing. That's all I have to say about this.