Magazine article The Spectator

Food: Tanya Gold

Magazine article The Spectator

Food: Tanya Gold

Article excerpt

The Disney Café is a gaudy hell on the fourth floor of Harrods, Knightsbridge. It is adjacent to the Harrods Disney Store, and also the Harrods Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, in which females between the ages of three and 12 can, for fees ranging from £100 to £1,000, be transformed into the tiny, glittering monsters called Disney princesses. They look like the late Queen Mother, but miniaturised. They glide -- or are carried, if very small -- from boutique to café in hooped plastic gowns in poisonous pink; combustible cloud-dresses, made for arson. Their hair is tight with curls and hairspray, and topped with the essential tiara. They look obliviously class-obsessed and much the same as each other; and this is a wicked trick to play on children. But even -- or especially -- when you age and homogenise a child there must be a place to eat. Even princesses need to eat, although sometimes we forget this.

The café is windowless, as department stores always are; why be reminded of a world outside that is not entirely synthetic, and not wholly for sale? The walls are painted with the Disney princess pantheon, all eyes and lips these days, the biggest media brand on earth; is this why Republicanism can't get a foothold? Pocahontas, Belle, Rapunzel, Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel and the rest? When did they get so knowing? When I was a child they looked prepubescent. Now they might be consorting with the Russian mafia, and getting the best of them. They seem covetous and obscene, waiting for a prince to whistle by on his more intelligent horse and buy them a house in South Kensington and, when they reach a certain age, a new face.

The bit of decor devoted to boys is car-related -- Disney, despite its protestations, does not do imagination -- and an afterthought, for this is not a boys' restaurant, even if the boutique will paint your son's cheeks, give him a plastic sword and ennoble him. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.