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He Did It: Malcolm McLaren’s Son Burns $8.5 Million Worth of Punk Memorabilia

He threatened he’d do it–and yesterday he did.

In a fit of perverse performance art, Joe Corré, the son of Sex Pistols svengali Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, burned £5 million (~$8.5 million CAD) worth of punk memorabilia on a barge in the middle of the Thames. Why? To protest the corporatization of punk rock. To Corré, punk is now nothing more than a commodity to be exploited by the forces of capitalism.

The chosen date–November 26–was deliberate: the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols’ first single, “God Save the Queen.” The location–near Albert Bridge in the affluent Chelsea of London–was also carefully chosen. About 100 people turned up.

The Guardian reports:

Corre, who was wearing a top hat and bandana tied around his head, told the crowd before setting the items alight: “Punk was never, never meant to be nostalgic – and you can’t learn how to be one at a Museum of London workshop.

“Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need. The illusion of an alternative choice. Conformity in another uniform.

Dummies of David Cameron, Theresa May and George Osborne were among those engulfed in flames, as well as a chest containing clothes, posters and other memorabilia belonging to Corré.

As Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock put it, the protest was “dopey.”

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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4 thoughts on “He Did It: Malcolm McLaren’s Son Burns $8.5 Million Worth of Punk Memorabilia

  • The real question is, what was in the trunk? Because how can that be worth that much. Something don’t seem legit about it. That trunk could’ve been full of junk on the bottom and a cherry on the top. Lets see a video of what’s in it Joe. 100 people show up because of the publicity stunt. 1000 don’t care. And millions are mad because of how stupid he is.

  • As someone who understands the UK, I think this is 100% legit. People in the UK really mean their politics. As North Americans we just accept corporate infiltration, but resistance is still happening in England.

    A great symbolic gesture.

  • The irony of this is that a punk act, isn’t really so punk in this day and age. Could a Johnny Rotten or Iggy Pop type figure resonate with people nowadays? I doubt it

  • A clown looking for his 15 minutes of fame by using the great rock n roll swindle. never burned 5 milion quid of memorabilia.


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