Malcolm McLaren's son to burn £5m of punk memorabilia

Joe Corré will destroy clothes in response to Punk London, an event he claims is endorsed by the Queen

The son of the late Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren is planning to burn his collection of punk memorabilia, estimated to be worth around £5m.

Joe Corré, who set up lingerie brand Agent Provocateur, says the ceremonial burning is a protest at the way punk’s legacy has been co-opted by the mainstream. The incineration will take place in Camden, London, on 26 November, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols single Anarchy in the UK.

The focus of Corré’s protest is Punk London, an event that claims to celebrate the history of punk, yet according to Corré has been backed by the Queen, as well as Boris Johnson, mayor of London and the Heritage Lottery Fund. According to Joe Corre’s publicists, Buckingham Palace is in close contact with Vivienne Westwod’s office regarding royal support for Punk London. Buckingham Palace had not confirmed that the Queen was supporting Punk London at the time of going to press.

Examples of Joe Corré's punk memorabilia
No future for you … Joe Corré’s punk memorabilia. Photograph: PR Company Handout

In a statement, Corré said: “The Queen giving 2016, the year of punk, her official blessing is the most frightening thing I’ve ever heard. Talk about alternative and punk culture being appropriated by the mainstream. Rather than a movement for change, punk has become like a fucking museum piece or a tribute act.”

He continued: “A general malaise has now set in amongst the British public. People are feeling numb. And with numbness comes complacency. People don’t feel they have a voice anymore. The most dangerous thing is that they have stopped fighting for what they believe in. They have given up the chase. We need to explode all the shit once more.”

The Sex Pistols famously caused uproar when they released God Save the Queen in 1977, to coincide with the royal silver jubilee. The track accused Her Majesty of running “a fascist regime” and questioned whether she was even human at all. Yet she seems to have forgiven them, and mainstream institutions including the British Library and the Museum of London have also backed the event, along with Rough Trade and the BFI.

Exactly what Corré intends to burn is not known, although images released suggest many clothing items face the fire. Corré is also the son of Vivienne Westwood as well as McLaren, who died in 2010. It seems likely that this stunt is something both provocateur parents would approve of.


Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

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