5240It is pretty tragic that the biggest debate about punk has boiled down to a millionaire lingerie shop owner burning his parents collection of old punk stuff.

Oh gawd, it’s the Joe Corre debate again as the son of Malcolm Mclaren has started burning his punk rock hand me downs  to much hand wringing and debate.

Instead of the spirit of punk which manifests itself in a million different ways it seems that the debate is circling round a rich man burning antiques like a tweedy version of ISIS trashing monuments in the middle east. Punk though has already left the building decades ago. Manifesting itself as a  spirit that escaped from bottle decades ago it has already left the clutches of the instigators and shot off on a million merry paths totally out of control of the bemused media and frilly knicker shop bosses like Corre. The debate may rage about a rich man burning antique clothes and records whose worth rises with every news story being rub but this is a long way away from  the kernel of punk rock itself.

A kernel that is going up in flames!

In the true spirit of early punk the burning is, literally, an incendiary publicity stunt bringing worldwide attention to knicker millionaire Joe Corre who is all over the media talking about punk not being relevent any more etc but how would he know? he’s in the world of monied London, the swanky towers of the metropolis that were never comfy bedfellows with punk rock which has been seized away from his family’s clutches decades ago.

Punk mainfests itself everywhere it wants or is needed now. It’s a spark of energy, ideas and action that anyone can tap into and the elitist grumpy pants millionaires have little to do with its true spirit. A true spirit that is not represented in old family heirlooms.

For sure, burn your stuff, some of it is beautiful, some of it is rubbish, all of it has some kind of value but you can never burn the real spirit of punk which is far, far more than a jumble sale of old clothes and antiques. He may claim punk is like Mcdonalds, but who is he to define what punk is? it’s spirit is there for anyone who wants it, anyone who needs empowering to make at or music and doesn’t live in the money soaked metropolis.

Punk rock doesn’t belong to anyone. There is no manifesto, there is no antiques, it’s not what I say it is, it’s certainly nothing to do with Joe Corre. It belongs to whoever needs the empowerment and the energy rush and it’s far more than the idle rich burning their relics.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. good points.

    amazed that no one has pointed out the irony of yet again, a McLaren/Westwood is just copying something Rotten already did — quite some time ago when he burned his memorabilia on VH1.

  2. With you on this John, funny how he was willing take part in a debate last Friday at the Museum of Londopn for money as part of this 40th anniversary that he was so against and only burnt said record because it did not reach the price he put on it on ebay. Let him burn the stuff, he hasn’t the slightest clue what PUNK is.

  3. I guess it’s up to each individual what they do with their stuff, providing they’re not hurting anyone else. But can’t he just do it quietly down the end of the garden like the rest of us?

    That said, burning clothes that could help keep vulnerable people warm over the winter is a bit reprehensible, irrespective of value.

    Maybe he’ll get nicked for having a bonfire in a smokeless zone…

  4. it would have been more punk rock to just burn it and not publicise it.
    I feel sorry for the hardcore collectors who would cherish valuable rare punk rock items. He could have made just a bigger impact by simply giving it away to a charity shop and let some lucky punter find it.
    Brilliantly written article John

  5. It is similar to isis destroying Religious
    Antiquities , once gone can never be replaced .

    Todays relevence is irrelevant (?!?) to him .

    The items he is going to destroy should be on display , so that old geezers like me could view and remember a time when music changed forever.

    What an elitist twat ,

    Should the Bowie Ziggy perion costumes be incinerated too , they may not be relative now . Of course not .

    Listen to EMI and tell me it is not relative

  6. Look he is a rich prick he can burn what the fuck he likes the point is that we are still fucking burning , burning with rage at a million bigger injustices than this . The fact we are still around and still fucking angry is the real legacy of the punk years Fuck Him!!

  7. Punk isn’t a monarchy Fauntleroy, it doesn’t get passed down. Burn a sack of money and let the punk antiques earn some money for todays ‘outsiders’ if you want to make a statement. Or shall we eat cake? X.

  8. This is so funny it’s boring. I can’t say he has inspired me to go out and make my own knickers! But his mum and dad and the folks involved inspired me to move to London meet my mrs have 2 great kids make some lifetime mates and get to spend time in Kingston ja. That’s what punk did for me. But the reality is it was the light the touchpaper moment in time. Never wanted to be a 50 something ted because I hated em as a kid being harassed. Punk stays inside but outward moved well on

  9. The irony is that arguably without punk happening & the doors/barriers it helped to kick down he wouldn’t have made the millions he has with his knicker business. He more than anyone should appreciate the legacy his parents were a major part of & helped to create. So what if they are in a museum & people want to look at them, no matter what, they are a major part of British culture/history.

  10. Nobody shits a give. Punk isn’t stuff, and it doesn’t belong to anyone as John pointed out, it’s a spark, a spirit, an energy. Long live punk!

    p.s. Well written, JohnRobb, ya punk!

  11. Punk was about making something out of (next to) nothing, this is just the opposite. Anti-punk! I suppose when your parents are Malcolm and Vivienne you have to try harder to rebel but most people do it at teenagers not age 48.

  12. I went to the pistols last gig in the uk on xmas day in Huddersfield. Theyd already played a benefit for striking fireman earlier in the day and as we were queuing in the cold someone came out and gave us sandwiches. I thought it wasn’t very punk and thought it was some trick. And when we went inside there was tons of Jamie Reid posters being given away…I was knocked sideways. My point is punk wasn’t all about destroying passers by, but sharing and inspiring … £5 million, or even 500k would’ve helped Shelter or a local community immensely. Or maybe offered creative courses for kids left on the inner city shitheap.

    Corre is no better than those tossers in the KLF. Losing £20 is a disaster when you’re struggling to feed a kid or stay warm. Watching some monied, over priveliged richshit literally throw it away deserves some of the mob justice the clash sung about. Sign me up.


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