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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The Author

Meghan

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 alongside her husband Sean.

70 Comments

  1. March 20, 2016 at 2:11 pm — Reply

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

  2. Advocatus Diaboli
    March 19, 2016 at 7:50 am — Reply

    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 on ebuy to make some easy money – consumerism, capitalism whatever. imo he can do with his stuff whatever he wanna do – it’s his shit. .Bhudda left a palace and lots of maiden, wtf gives a damn about some vinyl. ofc if he got some instruments he should donate them to some bands – with the obligation to use them for music-making and not for selling.

  3. March 19, 2016 at 6:07 am — Reply

    Sack o shit!!!!!!

  4. March 19, 2016 at 3:58 am — Reply

    Just sell it and give the proceeds to a charity

  5. March 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm — Reply

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

  6. March 18, 2016 at 7:06 pm — Reply

    Famous Bitch, all I can say.

  7. March 18, 2016 at 6:31 pm — Reply

    That’s a pretty punk thing to do.

  8. March 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm — Reply

    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.

  9. March 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm — Reply

    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

  10. March 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm — Reply

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

  11. March 18, 2016 at 11:25 am — Reply

    That’s punk as fuck

  12. March 18, 2016 at 9:56 am — Reply

    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.

  13. March 18, 2016 at 9:34 am — Reply

    i have no feelings one way or the other

  14. March 18, 2016 at 9:19 am — Reply

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

  15. March 18, 2016 at 9:13 am — Reply

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

  16. March 18, 2016 at 8:20 am — Reply

    He seems like a spoiled brat.

  17. Typhoeus
    March 18, 2016 at 8:12 am — Reply

    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.

  18. March 18, 2016 at 8:05 am — Reply

    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.

  19. March 18, 2016 at 8:05 am — Reply

    posh guy burning posh things? I dont get it tbh

  20. March 18, 2016 at 7:27 am — Reply

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

  21. March 18, 2016 at 7:17 am — Reply

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

  22. March 18, 2016 at 7:15 am — Reply

    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.

  23. March 18, 2016 at 6:49 am — Reply

    Who cares?

  24. March 18, 2016 at 6:48 am — Reply

    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.

  25. March 18, 2016 at 5:02 am — Reply

    Nostalgia is a poison.

  26. March 18, 2016 at 4:58 am — Reply

    Lol let it burn. Fuck commodity fetishism.

  27. Stereotheist
    March 18, 2016 at 4:20 am — Reply

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

  28. March 18, 2016 at 3:43 am — Reply

    #yawn

  29. March 18, 2016 at 2:52 am — Reply

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

  30. March 18, 2016 at 2:51 am — Reply

    very bold article

  31. March 18, 2016 at 1:46 am — Reply

    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.

  32. March 18, 2016 at 1:43 am — Reply

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

  33. March 18, 2016 at 1:22 am — Reply

    Stupid rich bored twat.

  34. March 18, 2016 at 1:11 am — Reply

    what a fucking moron.

  35. March 18, 2016 at 1:08 am — Reply

    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.

  36. March 18, 2016 at 1:05 am — Reply

    What a fucking baby.

  37. March 18, 2016 at 12:49 am — Reply

    it feels like… who cares?

  38. March 18, 2016 at 12:44 am — Reply

    Burn that shit!

  39. March 18, 2016 at 12:39 am — Reply

    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?

  40. March 18, 2016 at 12:38 am — Reply

    There NOTHING punk about destroying history. Period!

  41. March 18, 2016 at 12:32 am — Reply

    Its kind of punk

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:43 am — Reply

      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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:45 am — Reply

      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.

  42. March 18, 2016 at 12:30 am — Reply

    Overprivileged twit.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:36 am — Reply

      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…

  43. March 18, 2016 at 12:13 am — Reply

    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.

  44. March 18, 2016 at 12:13 am — Reply

    I think he should button his shirt up.

  45. March 18, 2016 at 12:12 am — Reply

    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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:29 am — Reply

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

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:39 am — Reply

      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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:50 am — Reply

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

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:58 am — Reply

      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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 1:11 am — Reply

      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

    • March 18, 2016 at 9:14 am — Reply

      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.

  46. March 18, 2016 at 12:11 am — Reply

    Craig Mac An T-Saoir

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:16 am — Reply

      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.

  47. March 18, 2016 at 12:09 am — Reply

    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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:18 am — Reply

      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…

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:20 am — Reply

      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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:27 am — Reply

      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 shit destroyed than one more sad gear in the machine.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:28 am — Reply

      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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:29 am — Reply

      But maybe that makes it even more punk?

    • March 18, 2016 at 12:31 am — Reply

      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.

    • March 18, 2016 at 8:35 am — Reply

      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.

    • March 19, 2016 at 10:35 am — Reply

      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.

  48. March 18, 2016 at 12:09 am — Reply

    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!

  49. March 18, 2016 at 12:04 am — Reply

    Oh what an edgy and rebellious move ..

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