On Saturday afternoon Joe Corré — son of former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and designer Vivienne Westwood, as well as founder of infamous punk shop SEX — began sending piles of punk memorabilia to the pyre in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ debut single “Anarchy in the UK”. Set alight on a river barge along the River Thames, £5 million ($7 million) worth of punk memorabilia met the match and will continue to do so in the next few weeks as Corré protests the decline of the once rebellious genre and its subsumption by the capitalist mainstream. Amongst the ashes are rare Sex Pistols recordings, original SEX paraphernalia, and countless other pieces of punk history. Corré has been both lauded and criticized for his decision; one critic, Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock, expressed that he considers the protest unimpressive and Corré to be a “nincompoop“. Regardless, the protest occurs at a moment in history where the ubiquitousness of the capitalist machine and the normalized acculturation of rebellious or revolutionary voices should be questioned with a critical eye and ear. Punk — and now all of its fading, burning glory — could stand for more than we think.
Written by Meaghan Allen