The corpse of punk, last seen moldering in the baggage claim area at Newark International Airport, twitched today as Joe Corré—son of Sex Pistols Svengali Malcom McLaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and co-founder of crazy-expensive lingerie brand Agent Provocateur—announced his intent to burn £5 million (or around $7 million US) in old punk merch just to say “fuck you” to the Queen.
Let’s back up a little: Corré is pissed about something called Punk London, a series of events celebrating the movement’s unofficial 40th anniversary (some would say it goes back much further than ‘76, but whatever) that’s being sponsored by square-ass, government-funded cultural institutions like the British Library and Museum of London—and, by extension, Queen Elizabeth II herself. “The Queen giving 2016, the Year of Punk, her official blessing is the most frightening thing I’ve ever heard,” Corré says in a press release. “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 … We need to explode all the shit once more.”
So, in order to protest this outrageous act of safety-pinned and mohawked appropriation, Corré tells Crack magazine that he will burn his collection of punk memorabilia, valued at a reported £5 million, in protest. (That collection was presumably inherited from his parents, major figures in the fashion elite’s embrace of the punk aesthetic.) He invites London old timers sick of seeing total fucking poseurs who have never smashed a beer bottle over anyone’s head in their lives walking around in spiked leather jackets to join him for the spectacle, which will take place on November 26 in the Camden district.
Now, on the surface that’s a pretty provocative and anarchistic—a.k.a. punk rock—thing to do. But one could also argue that the fact that this guy has millions of dollars’ worth of stuff just sitting around the house, and that he’s so flush with cash that he’ll burn it just to make a point, means that Corré is so thoroughly establishment that he doesn’t have a right to talk about revolution. He could also sell those crusty old T-shirts or whatever and use that money to open a shelter for the homeless youth who were attracted to the punk movement 40 years ago, before people (like, it must be said, his father) sold raw, street-level youth rebellion to the general public as a fashion statement. Or, like a proper McLaren, he could continue to make a media circus out of it.