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Millions in punk memorabilia go up in smoke

The son of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren has set fire to roughly 5 million British pounds worth of punk music memorabilia. Joe Corre complained that the rebellious genre has become just another marketing tool.

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Punk memorabilia torched in 40th anniversary statement

Corre loaded clothes, posters and other music-related items onto a river barge on London's River Thames and began to burn it on Saturday.

The son of former punk movement creator Malcolm McLaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood said he set fire to the paraphernalia in protest at official plans to celebrate the movement's 40th anniversary.

The total estimated value of the memorabilia was 5 million British pounds (5.9 million euros, $6.2 million).

Standing in front of flags bearing the names of global corporations, Corre also burnt firework-stuffed effigies of British Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessors David Cameron and Tony Blair, who had been dressed in Sex Pistols clothes.

Son's strong message

Corre told the crowd of around 100 people watching his self-styled protest on the river bank in the borough of Chelsea that "punk was never, never meant to be nostalgic."

"Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don't need; the illusion of an alternative choice; conformity in another uniform."

Britain plans a large celebration of the genre with events, concerts and exhibitions, backed by the mayor of London and the British Council, called Punk.London.

Corre added that he wanted to highlight "the hypocrisy at the core of this hijacking of 40 years of 'Anarchy in the UK,'" the Sex Pistols' iconic single which was released on November 26, 1976.

"The Times" newspaper cited Corre as saying, "The establishment has decided it is time to celebrate it. It is trying to privatize it, package it, castrate it."

Protest ridiculed

But Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock told Sky News that Corre's protest was "dopey."

"I want to paraphrase Monty Python - he's not the savior, he's a naughty boy. I think that Joe is not the anti-Christ, I think he's a nincompoop," Matlock said.

Corre will continue to destroy his punk collection, which includes rare Pistols recordings, over the next few weeks.

mm/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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