Being the son of late Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and fashion renegade designer Vivienne Westwood, Joe Corré has accumulated $5-12 million dollars’ worth of punk memorabilia over his lifetime. Yesterday in London he torched the entire collection on the anniversary of Sex Pistols’ single, Anarchy In The UK.
Corré took vengeance against the corporatisation of punk and its descent into mainstream culture, adding that “punk rock was never meant to be nostalgic.”
While the city of London celebrated 40 years of its iconic punk history, Corré hosted a cremation that set alight his entire personal collection of paraphernalia worth millions.
The flaming burial, atop a barge on the Thames River, included rare and expensive items from his father’s accession of original items and mother’s vintage designs, including clothing worn by Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten and a Sid Vicious doll. Corré also burnt his original acetate version of the single, Anarchy In The UK, after it failed to sell for £1 million on Ebay for a planned charity donation.
Memorabilia aside, also in the pit of flames were dangling mannequins representing London’s political figures Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessors David Cameron and Tony Blair.
The protest sparked a backlash of criticism, questioning an underlying hypocrisy in Corré’s own commercial pursuits – in particular, his lingerie brand Agent Provocateur. According to The Guardian, on being a hypocrite, Corré’s response was “It could be argued, but you’d have to be an idiot. It’s not like I’ve put on some exhibition or tried to put myself up as some sort of expert or big authority on punk. I sold what I had, I sold my car as well, I sold anything I could to make that money.”
Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock commented on the protest as “dopey,” telling Sky News that Corré was a “nincompoop.” Rotten also belittled the protest, calling Corré a “selfish fucking lingerie expert.”
Although not supported by Pistols’ band members, Corré’s famous mother was on board with the protest. Westwood, who is 75, made a speech, including a message about renewable energy:
“This is the first step towards a free world. It’s the most important thing you could ever do in your life.”
Corré suggested his late father and Sex Pistols founder would have supported his actions, saying “whether or not he would have agreed with burning all the stuff – and I think he probably would have done – I think he’d think it was kind of hilarious.”
Ultimately, Corré’s message is simple- “punk is dead.” His rebellious statement directs blame towards “the establishment” who have “privatised, packaged and castrated” punk.
— Joe Corré (@realjoecorre) November 27, 2016
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