Snow White II – they’re back, and this time they’re angry. And sexy. And kinky…etc.

13-Feb-09

For the past few weeks, as those so favoured as to enjoy my company on a regular basis will know, my mind has been occupied with a question of paramount importance. This unwonted intensity of thought has led my forehead to resemble the carefully ploughed acres of Gordon Ramsay’s frontal lobe, and has meant that my nails have been chewed clean to the wrist.

The issue that has been causing the cogs in my mind to revolve at these superluminary velocities is a simple one. If the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves were to be updated to the 21st Century, what would be appropriate names for the raven-haired beauty’s diminuitive companions? Much head-scratching has followed, and after prolonged consultation with my flatmate, my girlfriend and my lab partner, I was politely advised to give up searching and sit quietly in a padded room until the coloured spots faded from the inside of my eyeballs. After cajoling them into letting me have a sheet of paper and a blunt pencil, I was finally able to produce the following line-up: Sexy, Bitchy, Needy, Kinky, OCD, Sleazy and Chomsky.

In what could, if we extend the recognized and well-understood boundaries currently in place, be called my mind, the appropriately-anagrammable OCD fills the tiny shoes of the genial, patriarchal Doc, while Chomsky would replace the charismatic and loveable Dopey. I somehow feel that the two share the same wide-eyed innocence and the same joie de vivre, not to mention a similar firm grasp on reality. If the popular fable were to be updated, however, the setting would have to be changed. No more hidden cottages or craggy cliffs: the story cries out for a different location.

My lengthy cogitations finally washed me up on the shores of the following conclusion: the tale of Snow White could best be told to a 21st Century audience through the backdrop of the Big Brother household. It is the perfect fit – one attractive woman and seven men with amusing physical idiosyncrasies attempting to live together under the same roof. I see Sexy and Kinky spending a great deal of time with Snow White in the Master Bedroom, with Sleazy occasionally sticking his head round the door to breathe heavily and salivate before darting back in. Meanwhile, Needy and OCD curl up together for comfort on the floor as Bitchy and Chomsky stride around the house making everyone feel uncomfortable and out of place.

As exciting as the show would be (and I gladly renounce all copyright claims to any prospective producers), my ultimate conclusion was this: no such update is necessary. The story of Snow White, as recounted through the enchanted frames of Walt Disney’s 1937 classic, has survived the decades.

I offer as evidence an evening last year when I found myself in front of a computer screen with two of my friends, surfing YouTube with the wild intensity common to those of us who tread the midnight tightrope. The three of us, living up to our reputations as students, were in a particularly cynical mood. We sneered at the unelectable optimism of Senator Obama, mocked Richard Dawkins for his excessive moderation and brutally unweaved each and every one of the idealistic memories of youth.

“How about that ridiculous scene in Snow White,” I drawled. “You know, that one where the animals are cleaning up the house.” My companions sneered appreciatively.

“God, that was revolting,” said one. “Find it for me – I want to see if it’s as saccharine as I remember.” A few typing noises and mouse clicks brought up a full screen version of that scene on our communal computer. We sat back in our chairs, prepared to raise our most damning eyebrows and Ha our most disparaging Has. The scene began. At the sight of the first chipmunk putting away a teacup our iron resolve began to thaw. The deer cleaning the furniture with his tail saw my haughty lip uncurl and the proud furrows in my brow disappear. By the time the squirrels were brushing the dust under the carpet and the stag was being used as a laundry stand, my companions were whistling along to the tune as I wept uncontrollably at the keyboard.

The YouTube video played to its conclusion, and the monitor threw its light on three moist-eyed university students staring into the distance at their rediscovered childhood. Different childhoods, obviously. A spot of syntactical license to ease the monotony. That moment stands out in the album of my memory like a pop-up card.

The fact that three particuarly hard-hearted students with artificially low sentiment barriers should melt so completely over a scene like that has given me an entirely new respect for Disney. Or Gisney – whichever spelling most closely resembles the flamboyant capital letter that dominates the logo. I am a tremendous fan of Disney.

On alternate weekends I form part of a secretive but well-meaning congregation of addicts who meet in obscure corners of the city to exchange Disney trivia and watch an occasional DVD. Meet us at Cannon Street Station on the last Tuesday of every month, wearing a green chrysanthemum and carrying a copy of the Racing Express.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I were to compile a list of all the Disney aficionados at Imperial it would easily eclipse this piece in length as well as in originality and humorous content. Everyone is a Disney fan, and I challenge all naysayers to sit through any of the masterpieces from 1937 to 1996 and not be simultaneously charmed, moved, amused, delighted, and overwhelmed by your inner child (or children. Leave me alone – my syntactical license doesn’t expire till 2012). Or if not, at least let me know which dwarves you think I left out.

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