Let’s Debate… Joe Corré’s Plans to Burn his £5 Million Punk Collection

There’s been a buzz on the internet in the past couple of days after Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s son Joe Corré announced that as an act of protest against the events planned for the 40th anniversary of the birth of punk in the UK, he will be burning his entire punk memorabilia collection worth £5 million. There are events planned by several mainstream cultural establishments in the UK, such as The BFI, the British Library, the Design Museum, Museum of London, The Photographers’ Gallery, Rough Trade, and the Roundhouse, to celebrate punk’s 40th birthday, but the thing that really bunched his knickers is that the Queen of England herself gave her blessing to punk. So he’s announced a public burning of his collection to take place on November 26th, 2016, in Camden, London, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ release of Anarchy in the UK.

 

Joe Corré
Joe Corré

 

As a collective of people who appreciate the legacy of punk culture, I thought it would only be right to hear our reader’s feedback on Corré’s plans to destroy a collection that may have a price tag on it, but in terms of cultural impact is most likely priceless. Corré argues that the movement of the cultural establishment in Britain (and worldwide) to canonize punk as a historical movement rather than an ongoing revolution against societal norms is something that must be resisted and fought against. He states in his press release for the event:

“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 Queen’s blessing has only made punk more harmless for the mainstream; ironically, she is saying that a culture that gained momentum with its use of her desecrated image as irony and representative of anti-establishment values is now safe for all to enjoy and is no threat to her way of life and that of the other elite.

Yes, that is scary. It shows that in the West there is a dire need for revolutionary thought and action in generations that have, for the most part, become passive spectators of the world. Many people feel that they can be political and/or revolutionary in a passive way through social media, with a share, a re-tweet or a sassy Instagram caption on a selfie. And while these things can have an impact, as a whole we are missing the mobilization in real time, missing the physical communication and connection that is necessary for true change. One of the things that disturbs me is the use of the term “upgrade” as a reflection of positive change in one’s life, one’s relationships or in the world in general. This system isn’t something you can plug into your Mac and get the latest ios on. It’s not something you can trade in for the latest model. It’s time to acknowledge how downgraded we have become as political autonomous actors, how easy it is for the elite to manipulate our lives because we’re too busy trying to get an upgrade.

 

 

JC1168119

 

But – I would argue that Corré’s actions show more about his own entitlement and participation in that elite than they do about his love for punk culture. He is sitting on a cultural and literal goldmine, something that he could share with the 99.9% of people who love and participated in the era of punk being celebrated, but who could never afford to amass such a collection of memories. And they are memories – today, there’s a thriving underground scene of creators who’s Bandcamp sales may pay for their next recording session, but most likely won’t leave anything to spare for a $2,000 lace lingerie set from Agent Provocateur, the lingerie empire Corré co-founded and then sold for £60 million. There are many, many people who take the values of ’77 punk and 80’s punk very seriously in their lives, and who reject the mores of mainstream society. There’s a community that stretches across the world to connect creative, anti-corporate, anarchist people of all ages, people who create together, share ideas, barter and support each others’ creative output.

 

Joe Corré and Vivienne Westwood
Joe Corré and Vivienne Westwood

 

Corré is angry that the era of punk that gave him a voice and an entailment to exploit has been appropriated by the mainstream. Fair enough. But I think that there are MANY other ways to say fuck you to the establishment. An exhibition open to the public on a permanent basis. Sell it and donate the proceeds to supporting underground music and culture, of which there is a ton in the UK alone. Fuck, put out a free record for every underground punk/metal band whose music he likes and/or politics he supports. Set up a nice squat, a recording studio for low-income musicians and bands, a music space for low-income kids to experiment with instruments and create their own expression, a media literacy program for kids to encourage them to question the mainstream messages they are inundated with and to foster revolutionary thought. Holy shit, there are endless possibilities. Give it away, for fucks sakes! Just don’t fucking burn it. That’s a bit fascist; and I’m pretty sure punk started out as an anti-fascist movement, right?

 

Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren
Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren

 

I hesitate to even say that his heart is in the right place. I feel the frustration and anger with a society that ignores change and hypnotizes us into accepting the status quo of garbage music and garbage intellect. But I also deeply feel that he will be doing the underground an injustice if he burns a large portion of its ancestral roots. I don’t know which pisses me off more, actually. His decision kind of feels like a big, fat elite “Fuck You” to the underground.

What do you think?

 

Sources: HERE & HERE

 

 

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Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.

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totalnecro
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totalnecro

He’s worth £60 million, got a £5 million memorabilia collection and he thinks he’s punk by burning it??? C’mon…

Painsworth
Guest

sounds like an attention whore who doesn’t understand the value of anything he has

Advocatus Diaboli
Guest
Advocatus Diaboli

burning those records is more punk than collecting and preserving stuff – collecting/buying/preserving “stuff” thats some of the most conservative trademarks of all time. you guys wanna have a punk-museum with stuff like those hall of fame for rock’n’roll and whatever!? thats no punk-attitude at all. real punks in the 70s didn’t have a collection of records cuz many had no own room/flat, living on the street or no money. Noone today is a real punk anymore – its now a lifestyle, a sub-culture. Ofc he could give those pieces simply away – but most ppl just will sell them… Read more »

Chris Watt
Guest

Sack o shit!!!!!!

Alicia Slay
Guest

Just sell it and give the proceeds to a charity

Ryan David Kennedy
Guest

But what IS punk? You know, like really, man?

Gaze To Stone
Guest

Famous Bitch, all I can say.

David Sánchez González
Guest

That’s a pretty punk thing to do.

Jerad Shealey
Guest

I think a big fuck you is the most punk thing you can do. Punk isn’t (or wasn’t supposed to be) about shit you accumulate.

Patrick Jenkins
Guest

Such a trust fund baby thing to do. His dad was a just a business man who tried to market and milk the punk movement while stealing the style from Richard Hell

Patrick Moore
Guest

Anti-establishment millionaires…I don’t know whether to laugh or cry

Cög Stiedy
Guest

That’s punk as fuck

Benton Smith
Guest

A real punk move would be to sell it, then burn the money.
Or, sell it and give the money to charity, then burn himself. Asshole.

René Weidmann
Guest

i have no feelings one way or the other

Filip Izdebski
Guest

collection belong to him, so he can do whatever he wants. also: >son of sex pistols manager
lmao, punk as fuck

Bradley Karl
Guest

Petty, baby, elitist bullshit. Sell it and donate money to those who could use it. That would be punk as fuck!

Jason Durand
Guest

He seems like a spoiled brat.

Typhoeus
Guest
Typhoeus

I think he’s some rich prick trying to be edgey”. I agree with him saying people have grown complacent with the status quo and the queen giving her “blessing” to punk rock is like the pope giving his holy seal of approval to black metal. But that’s all i agree with, his way of protesting seems very entitled and bratty. Fuck him.

Julian Gavia
Guest

It’s a fucking stupid grab at attention. And it’s extremely disrespectful to the subculture and the scene. The right cunt needs to sell it all and donate every bit to the homeless and drug rehab. Then he needs to “accidentally” get hit by a bus.

Nick Roy
Guest

posh guy burning posh things? I dont get it tbh

Liam Wolstenholme
Guest

Why is this even a discussion? A fool and his money.

Amanda Gemmill
Guest

Who has evaluated this collection? Maybe it’s just a thousand copies of “Dookie”

Gavin Frazer
Guest

But isn’t us looking at this collection for its cultural impact and historic importance the exact same thing as the cultural establishment canonizing punk as a historic movement?

We’re all just worshipping the past.

If we cling desperately to “memorabilia”, than isn’t it just history? – just a thing that happened?

If punk is still relevant, it’s relevant right now and the past can be burnt.

Martin Defatte
Guest

Who cares?

Spooks Rogers
Guest

I understand his anger, but he can do one with his poncey art haus way of showing it.

‘I’ll be burning £5m at an in Camden’
Fuck off.

Kabukabu Man
Guest

Nostalgia is a poison.

Joe War
Guest

Lol let it burn. Fuck commodity fetishism.

Stereotheist
Guest
Stereotheist

How many punks does it take to change a light bulb? …none, because punk has never changed a fucking thing.

Bob Bob Bob
Guest

#yawn

Stuart Walker
Guest

Somebody better break into his place and liberate all that stuff!

Jimmy Oddman
Guest

very bold article

Daniel Lebofsky
Guest

Or he could’ve auctioned it off and given the proceeds to charity. Oh well…his father was an insufferable douche. I guess that’s genetic.

Klaus Kaczynski
Guest

I hope it gets really interesting and he burns with it all. Fuck him and fuck his collection.

Slawomir Brzezinski
Guest

Stupid rich bored twat.

Anastasia Lavdaniti
Guest

what a fucking moron.

Nico Dolan
Guest

This is (relatively related) but one of the coolest things I’ve heard in years especially as an “old dude” was a 15 year old punk chick shopping in my vintage shop responding to some bullshit criticism from a friend about “being a punk” who said “it’s pretty fucking unpunk to try to be punk.” As said old dude, it was encouraging that someone still fucking gets it.

Uriah Phillips
Guest

What a fucking baby.

James Wolf
Guest

it feels like… who cares?

Dani Zig
Guest

Burn that shit!

Matthias G Iscariot
Guest

Ummm, doesn’t this guy realise that his old man used punk simply as a vehicle for his own financial advancement, rather than trying to provoke any genuine revolutionary thought?

Nico Dolan
Guest

I guess not…

Raxiki Hxrtx
Guest

There NOTHING punk about destroying history. Period!

Chris Robinson
Guest

Its kind of punk

Matthias G Iscariot
Guest

He’s an overprivileged shit burning a shitload of cash. Knowing that he won’t be starving as a result. Then he’ll probably go on a fox hunt. Nothing punk about that.

Chris Robinson
Guest

Well thats a good point. Though I think making something a commodity that replaces real experience isn’t punk. Then again it could inspire punk. I agree with you.

Tal Lee
Guest

Overprivileged twit.

Nico Dolan
Guest

I realize someone is far more privileged than I am when I’m fine saying they should burn 5mil when my ass is pinching fucking pennys…

Nico Dolan
Guest

Obviously something needs to be reevaluated when the Queen endorses an anti-establishment movement as if the social & political issues are no longer important or prevalent enough to be of any value. Fuck it, let the shit burn before some asshole gets ahold of it and turns it for a profit via mindless shitheads who neither understand or appreciate the history or the continuing issues at hand.

Nico Dolan
Guest

Redaction- sell the shit for good $$$ and then do good with $$$.

Γιατι Τον Λενε Μεταλα
Guest

What a c#nt,he should give them away for free or……put them in his #ss.This is disrespect

BadBilly Pratt
Guest

I think he should button his shirt up.

Katie Curley
Guest

Kind of? He’s an absolute wanker. Want to make a real point? Sell it all and donate the money to various causes for people overlooked by the system you’re trying so hard to stick it to.

Nico Dolan
Guest

Well theres a good point. Is it more punk to make a “point” or to make a “statement”?

Katie Curley
Guest

This goes beyond punk, this is the destruction of history and also the failing of someone to help those in need when they have the tools to do so. The establishment has failed many, why get in line with that?
This act in itself is a mirror to those its supposed to be kicking against.

Erika von Petrin
Guest

Missed opportunity/ when (zero fucks) is / kind of sad actually

Nico Dolan
Guest

Fair point, Katie. I suppose it comes down to if he is more interested in making a point/statement or making a difference… I’m in your camp, but I have little hope for him to distinguish the difference between the two.

Demonskull Eust
Guest

sell it and donate the money to charity, the whole “it’s mine I can do whatever the fuck I want with it” is also called capitalism

Justin Beasley
Guest

Exactly, I get the whole “burn your idols/kill your television” mentality but burning his collection is a massive waste of resources and only shows how privileged he is to have that option in the first place. It makes him look like a big, whiny, baby more than anything. The societal norm is to not give up 5 mil to charity, do the opposite, sell the records and give the money to people who are suffering within the current system.

Paul Caesar
Guest

Craig Mac An T-Saoir

Craig Mac An T-Saoir
Guest

Malcolm McLaren was as punk as the current government, and as greedy. Westwood? To her it was a fashion movement.

Clearly the son is a complete tool as well, attention seeking at best, contemptuous at worst.

Sell everything and give it to the needy and vulnerable without a fuss, that’s punk. All property is theft.

B Rian Kaiju Beyond
Guest

I think it’s funny that the yuppie son of an art rock band that was or together to only sell records and image feels they have any more high ground to talk about selling out.

Nico Dolan
Guest

Yeah, God forbid he has a mind of his own and doesn’t simply adhere to the questionable capitalist ethics of his parents… So unpunk…

B Rian Kaiju Beyond
Guest

While I wont summon imagined dieties maybe you should do some research into the person in question. Additionally HIS ENTIRE LIFE was funded bye what he is currently trying to get attention from.

Nico Dolan
Guest

No, I know enough about him & certainly his parents to understand the less than subtle levels or irony to the situation. My (apparently less than obvious) point is that, is this not the exact type of action you would expect from this type of person born of those type of people in this type of situation? Sorry, I’m a few beers in & not great at explaining myself via the internet. I’d say burn em because fuck it… punk is dead because punk became commercial and because it sells & people buy it up and I’d rather see the… Read more »

B Rian Kaiju Beyond
Guest

I would agree if it wasent a reason for him to get attention. And I know he is profiting from it some fucking how watch.

Nico Dolan
Guest

But maybe that makes it even more punk?

Nico Dolan
Guest

Because I think it can be argued that their idea of what “punk” was is nothing more than exploitation & capitalism, that being the case he is doing his folks proud.

Brian Kelleher
Guest

Nico he owns a chain of famous lingerie stores. He sold a stake of it a few years ago for $60m. The money he would get from selling this stuff to as private connector could do huge things for (for example) London’s homeless community, but because he’s too rich to value money, he’s burning it.

He’s a scumbag doing this for attention.

Alex Steel
Guest

Nico Dolan Yeah, because the selfish “it’s mine, therefore I can destroy it/do what I want” just mirrors capitalism, you fucking muppet. Instead of trying so hard to be contrarian and ‘punk’, maybe just realise this cunt is an attention seeker and part of the very problem he disingenuously goes against.

Leigh Blackman
Guest

That’s soooooooo punk the klf beat him to it by years! Seriously. Don’t do it things from the past are getting destroyed enough as it is!

Zach Martin
Guest

Oh what an edgy and rebellious move ..