The Walt Disney Company, looking to cash in on the lucrative post-punk-lost-in-the-theme park demographic, have unintentionally incensed music fans around the world after it was discovered that they had used Joy Division’s famous Unknown Pleasures artwork on a t-shirt and ‘Disneyfied’ it.
The t-shirt is black and features the famous wave-like image cut-out to appear in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. We actually think it’s pretty cool but we have to wonder whether ‘The Mouse’ want to associate their squeaky clean image with a band who’s frontman hanged himself.
Mouse executives may also want to look up where the iconic British group got the name ‘Joy Division’. Regardless, according to Pitchfork the t-shirt is currently for sale in Disneyland and Walt Disney World and is listed online as ‘sold out’. Disney were able to use the image as it is in the public domain and was never actually owned by the band.
The blurb on the order page read “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!”
Peter Saville, who was a co-founder of Factory Records, spoke to The Guardian in May last year about the artwork saying “This was the first and only time that the band gave me something that they’d like for a cover. I went to see Rob Gretton, who managed them, and he gave me a folder of material, which contained the wave image from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy.”
“They gave me the title too but I didn’t hear the album. The wave pattern was so appropriate. It was from CP 1919, the first pulsar, so it’s likely that the graph emanated from Jodrell Bank, which is local to Manchester and Joy Division. And it’s both technical and sensual.”
“It’s tight, like Stephen Morris’ drumming, but it’s also fluid: lots of people think it’s a heart beat. Having the title on the front just didn’t seem necessary. I asked Rob about it and, between us, we felt it wasn’t a cool thing to do. It was the post-punk moment and we were against overblown stardom. The band didn’t want to be pop stars.”
Bassist Peter Hook will be travelling to Australia to play ‘Closer’ as well as a slew of other Joy Division songs in April. His other former bandmates will be here as New Order in March as part of the Future Music Festival lineup.
So let us know what you think, is this awesome or totally outrageous? Vote in our poll and sound off in the comments. Also don’t forget to check out our slideshow of the most outrageous band merchandise ever.