Sex Pistols memorabilia torched on River Thames

Memorabilia worth an estimated £5 million was set alight
Memorabilia worth an estimated \u00a35 million was set alight (Image credit: Getty)

Joe Corre, the son of late Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren has set fire to punk memorabilia said to be worth £5 million.

He, along with his mother, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, set fire to the items in the middle of London’s River Thames on Saturday – the 40th anniversary of the release of Sex Pistols debut single Anarchy In The UK.

The protest was aimed at Punk London who are marking “40 years of subversive culture” with a series of shows, events and exhibitions.

Their plans have been supported by the Mayor of London, the British Library and the British Film Institute. Corre previously said the events were even supported by the Queen which proved “the establishment” had “privatised, packaged and castrated” punk.

According to the BBC, Corre told the crowd: “Punk was 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. The illusion of an alternative choice. Conformity in another uniform.”

Items that were set alight included rare Sex Pistols recordings, clothes belonging to Johnny Rotten and Westwood and dummies of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, ex-chancellor George Osborne and current Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Prior to the river protest, Corre told the Guardian: “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 or has any currency to create the way out of the issues that they face. It’s not and it’s time to think about something else.”

McLaren died in 2010, but Agent Provocateur founder Corre reported that if his father had still been alive, he’d have found the occasion “hilarious.”

Corre said: “He would have taken this opportunity to say something about punk rock now being owned by the corporate sector. Whether or not he would have agreed with burning all the stuff – and I think he probably would have done – I think he’d think it was kind of hilarious.”

Reacting to the news, Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock told Sky News (opens in new tab): “I want to paraphrase Monty Python – he’s not the saviour, he’s a naughty boy. I think that Joe is not the anti-Christ, I think he’s a nincompoop.”

The move has also caused anger, with Twitter account The Hayseed Diaries tweeting: “Might have been better to sell it and give the money away? Utter idiotic waste.”

See more

Meet the man who's going to set fire to his £5 million punk collection

The story behind Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks album artwork

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.