The first film I remember seeing at the cinema was when I was 5 years old. It was Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I was amazed by it, immediately decided I wanted red hair like Ariel. We went to McDonalds and I got an Ursula toy with my Happy Meal. It was 1989.
Some time not long after I was amazed to see the video in Ritz (as it was then, don’t think it had become a Blockbusters, or indeed a cafe at that point) and begged Mum to buy it for me so that I could re-live that magical underwater world at home. Mum said no. It wasn’t the film. I disagreed, it had Ariel on the front and I could definitely read the words ‘Under the Sea’ there too. Mum said it wasn’t, it was just in the cinema. I disagreed and must have pestered er for ages because somehow I acquired that video. Of course it wasn’t The Little Mermaid, it was ‘Sing-a-long Songs Under the Sea‘ which did feature some of the Little Mermaid soundtrack, but also other vaguely water related Disney songs including one from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which Kirk Douglas seems to be telling his shipmates about some sort of dalliance with a fish or two. Mr Jim Causley has been known to do an amusing cover of this if you ever get the chance to see/hear it. Ask him nicely.
My obsession with TLM grew and I was exceptionally jealous of my cousin Rebecca because she had an Ariel doll. I even used to pretend to be Ariel when swimming at Brackley Pool – the pool has two sets of steps in the shallow end, if you swam around underwater, legs together because you are a mermaid with a tail, singing ‘Part of your world‘ to yourself and timed it right you could push yourself up the steps, breaking out of the water at just the right point to recreate the iconic waves/big stone moment. To me, I was definitely a ginger mermaid, to everyone else I must have looked mental.