Son of Sex Pistols manager sets fire to £5 million worth of punk memorabilia

‘It’s not punk, it’s vandalism. Joe Corre, poor little rich boy, 10 years old in 1977, setting fire to a heritage he has no claim to’

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The son of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren has set £5m worth of punk memorabilia ablaze. 

But Joe Corre, founder of the Agent Provocateur underwear company, was widely criticised, with many people saying the valuable objects should have been used to raise money for charity. 

Mr Corre set fire to the items – which included posters, rare records and a doll, which used to belong to Sid Vicious – on board a barge on the River Thames.

Also in the fire were effigies of Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Theresa May and George Osborne.

Dame Vivienne Westwood watched from the banks of the river as fire fighters waited nearby.

Mr Corre previously said he was angered by Punk London’s plans to mark 40 years of the sub-culture.

The programme, which includes events, gigs and exhibitions, is supported by partners including the Mayor of London, British Library and British Film Institute (BFI).

Before burning the items on Saturday, Mr Corre said: “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,” Mr Corre added. “The illusion of an alternative choice. Conformity in another uniform.”

Mr Corre said he wanted to highlight “the hypocrisy at the core of this hijacking of 40 years of anarchy in the UK”, which was released in 26 November 1976, in a blog post about the protest.

He said his father would have thought the idea was “hilarious”. 

The location of the fire had been kept secret until the last minute because of fears that music lovers might try to rescue some of the burning items.

Many punk fans objected to the stunt, including Johnny Lydon, the former lead singer of the Sex Pistols, whose old shirts were reportedly among the objects burned. 

After the stunt was announced earlier this year, he called Mr Corre a “selfish f****** lingerie expert”, and said the memorabilia should have been sold and the money given to charity. 

Many others felt the same way and pleaded on social media with Mr Corre not to burn the items and instead sell them and donate the money. Mr Corre responded by retweeting their messages. 

Music critic Neil McCormick wrote: “It’s not punk, it’s vandalism. Joe Corre, poor little rich boy, 10 years old in 1977, setting fire to a heritage he has no claim to.”

Several fire engines and police cars attended the protest and a fire service boat helped to extinguish the flames.