Joe Corre set fire to his dad’s massive collection of Sex Pistols punk memorabilia that was valued between 5 and 10 million pounds ($6.2 million – $12.5 million dollars). The extensive collection of punk relics included a pair of Johnny Rotten’s trousers, a Sid Vicious doll, and test pressings of Sex Pistols records. As Corre torched his collection on a boat in central London, he told a crowd of about 100 people that “punk was never, never meant to be nostalgic.”
Corre’s started burning his punk collection a few days ago and will continue to destroy the items over the coming weeks. Other mentionable pieces include several rare Sex Pistols recordings, according to The Guardian. Joe said that punk of today is “conning the young.”
Corre watched the Sex Pistols memorabilia go up in flames and completed the dramatic showcase with fireworks. Joe said punk has become nothing more than a “McDonald’s brand … owned by the state, establishment and corporations,” according to The Guardian.
Included in the fire were clothes, posters, and other music-related items, according to the Huffington Post. Corre’s famous parents, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, helped spearhead the punk music and fashion movements in the 1970s, according to CBS News.
Joe announced his intention to set fire to the punk artifacts in response to the event called “Punk London.” Corre claimed the event is supported by the Queen and is proof that “the establishment” has “privatized, packaged, and castrated” punk. The event was held on the 40-year-anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ debut single, “Anarchy In The UK.”
In 1994, Joe Corre co-founded the lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.
“Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need.”
According to Corre, “it’s time we threw it all on the fire and started again.” Joe said he believed his father would find the ceremonial burning “hilarious,” according to The Guardian.
“I think this is the right opportunity to say: you know what? Punk is dead. Stop conning a younger generation that it somehow has any currency to deal with the issues that they face or has any currency to create the way out of the issues that they face. It’s not and it’s time to think about something else.”
He said McClaren, had he still been alive, “would have taken this opportunity to say something … about punk rock now being owned by the corporate sector. 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.”
When Joe Corre was raising funds to start Agent Provocateur, he had to sell off much of his collection. He then invested the proceeds back into the business, according to The Guardian. After he sold the business, he bought most of it back. When asked to address the idea that he financially benefited from the “corporatization of punk,” Corre denied the allegation and said he is not a hypocrite.
“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.”
Corre argued that many punk bands of today are lacking a “real voice.”
“Name me any one of them [that] has done anything that has been a challenge to the status quo.”
John Lydon, who was known as Johnny Rotten when he fronted the Sex Pistols, called Corre a “selfish f***ing lingerie expert,” according to The Guardian.
Corre fired back, “I don’t think he’s had anything relevant to say for the past 10 or 20 years.”
Lydon and others have suggested that rather than burning the collection worth millions, Corre should sell it and give the proceeds to charity. Corre replied that charities are becoming corporations in their own right.
“… The job of the state is now taken up by the charity sector. We have charities where people are earning £250,000 a year to sit on the board, these things are becoming corporations in their own right.”
Corre also shrugged off another suggestion that he should use the proceeds to buy 28,000 guitars and give them to young people to revamp the punk movement.
“Punk rock to me is not about music … I don’t know what 28,000 guitars would really do.”
[Featured Image by John Phillips/Getty Images]