Piles of punk music memorabilia went up in smoke on a river barge in London on Saturday in a protest against how the once rebellious genre has been pushed into mainstream culture.
Joe Corre,the son of former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and designer Vivienne Westwood, set fire to punk rock clothes and paraphernalia that has been valued at between 5 and 10 million pounds on the 40th anniversary of the band’s debut single “Anarchy in the UK”.
With flags bearing the names of global corporations, Corre burned firework-stuffed effigies of Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessors David Cameron and Tony Blair, dressed in Sex Pistols clothes.
“Punk was never meant to be nostalgic,” Corre said, addressing a crowd of roughly 100 people on the bank of the River Thames in the affluent Chelsea area of London. “Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need,” said Corre, who co-founded lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.
The “Burn Punk London” protest was directed at a celebration of punk music backed by the Mayor of London and the British Council, called Punk.London.
Corre’s collection, which he began burning a few days ago and will continue to destroy over the coming weeks, includes rare Pistols recordings. Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock told Sky News that Corre’s protest was “dopey”. “I want to paraphrase Monty Python – he’s not the savior, he’s a naughty boy. I think that Joe is not the anti-Christ, I think he’s a nincompoop,” Matlock said.