Anarchy in the UK: ‘£5m’ of Sex Pistols mementoes to be burnt

Malcolm McLaren’s son says will destroy hoard on 40th anniversary of debut single

Sex Pistols pictured in 1976. File photograph: PA

The son of the late Malcolm McLaren, manager of seminal 1970s punk group Sex Pistols, has said he will set fire to millions of pounds of punk memorabilia on Saturday as a protest against the musical scene's appropriation by the mainstream.

Joe Corré said he would burn Sex Pistols records, clothing and other ephemera on the 40th anniversary of the release of the band’s debut single Anarchy in the UK.

“I’ve been wondering for a long time what to do with it all and I think this is the right opportunity to say ‘You know what, punk is dead. Stop conning a younger generation that it somehow has any currency to deal with the issues that they face’,” he told a news conference on Thursday.

Joe Corré, son of Vivienne Westwood and the late Malcolm McLaren, speaks at a press conference in London, Britain November 24, 2016. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

“It is not. It’s dead and it’s time to think about something else.”


Britain has organised a series of events to mark 40 years of punk under the banner “Punk.London” - an official celebration that has angered many veterans of the anti-establishment musical and cultural explosion.

The collection, which includes rare recordings, posters and clothes sewn by his mother, designer Vivienne Westwood, is valued at £5 million-£10 million (€5.9 million-€11.8 million), said Mr Corré, who co-founded lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.

Johnny Rotten

Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon, known in his punk heyday as Johnny Rotten, has criticised Mr Corré, telling British media he should sell the memorabilia and donate the funds to charity.

Asked why he would not pursue that course, Mr Corré said: “Who is actually going to buy it? ... It would end up going on some banker’s wall. That’s who’d buy it and that wouldn’t satisfy me very much.

“I think the die-hard fans are confused and they don’t interest me at all. Why would I give it to them? They are just conformists in another uniform.”

Mr Corré said his mother, Britain’s grand dame of fashion who played an integral part of the 1970s punk scene, would be at the burning and that his late father would have approved.

“I think he’d think it was kind of hilarious,” he said.

Mr Corré said he would keep a few items of sentimental value, including clothing he helped his mother sew as a boy.