Aglow with the honour of being described as “online crack” by the thriller from Manila Bryanboy, THE LOOK today unveils another exclusive on the plundering of imagery from the despised counter-culture for the purposes of prime punk provocation.
//Goldfrapp in Snow White muslin//
Having tracked the SEX shop “tits tee” to a novelty item originally produced by American hippies in the late 60s, today we turn to the eye-popping Seditionaries’ design featuring the debasement of Snow White by her seven pals of restricted growth.
This was one of a number of graphics introduced into the historic store at 430 King’s Road early in 1978 by Malcolm McLaren, following his return from the Sex Pistols‘ disastrous tour of the US (which had culminated in the band’s implosion). Among those who have worn the design in recent years is Alison Goldfrapp.
//430 King’s Road SW3 1978//
The Snow White scenario had actually first appeared as part of a much bigger illustration featuring 64 Disney characters more than a decade earlier in Paul Krassner’s satirical US publication The Realist.
//Cover of the May 67 issue//
Originally published out of the offices of Mad, The Realist lays serious claim to being the world’s first and longest surviving underground magazine, running from 1958 to 2001.
Just last year, Krassner recounted to The Guardian how he was inspired to commission the drawing by Disney’s death in 1966:
“I decided to visit Disneyland for the first time. I asked the head of security if there was any special ceremony to mark his death.
//The double-page spread as it appeared in May 1967//
“‘No,’ he replied. ‘We kept the park open. We felt that Mr Disney would have wanted it that way.’ This was the moment I realised that, although Disney had served as the Intelligent Designer for a whole stable of imaginary characters – repressing their libidos in the process – they were now mourning for him in a state of suspended animation.
“When I got home, I called Wally Wood, a staff artist for Mad magazine, and assigned him to create a black-and-white montage for the middle two pages of the May 1967 issue.”<
//Colourised detail of Wally Wood’s drawing//
Amid such depictions as Pluto pissing on Mickey Mouse’s portrait while Mickey shoots himself up is the image of the startled Snow White and her enthusiastic chums going at it hell-for-leather.
With the added scrawl “Snow White & her Sir Punks”, this and the other new “cartoon-y” images sold in Seditionaries in 1978 – such as Mickey & Minnie enjoying congress – helped maintain the shop’s previous levels of outrage at a time when the incendiary impact of punk had fizzled out along with the Pistols. It’s arguable that the basic nature of these designs did not convey the complex messages of previous triumphs such as the Destroy artwork.
//Pippa Brooks models a Mickey & Minnie muslin for THE LOOK. Pic: Vic Singh//
Once, after complaints from locals, Chelsea police impounded all the Snow White stock. “I received a frantic call from Vivienne (Westwood) and went down to the police station to sort it out,” lawyer Nick Pedgrift says in THE LOOK. “I sweet-talked the desk sergeant into dropping the charges and handing back the shirts. When Vivienne arrived she was furious and complained that I had spoiled her chances of appearing on the six o’clock news.”
//Takashi in BOY version. Pic: Vic Singh
When rival King’s Road punk boutique BOY licensed the Seditionaries designs in the 80s, the Snow White image was enlarged to cover the entire shirt-front, as modeled above by Takashi at THE LOOK event at Central Saint Martin’s last year.<
Certainly the impact of the Disneyland Memorial Orgy has been lost in the 40 years since publication, though McLaren and Westwood’s isolation and amping up of Snow White and her friends a decade later should be judged in the context of the rest of their subversive work, where sacred cows of all sorts were attacked, scores were settled and the commodification of culture in general and childhood in particular was examined.
You can buy Disneyland Memorial Orgy posters for $35 a pop from Paul Krassner himself. He’s also got copies of his book One Hand Jerking: Reports From an Investigative Satirist.