It is clear from the open letter I have read that it’s author has not understood or attempted to discover anything about why I am taking this action. I have decided to burn these artifacts because I am questioning how they can have any value at a time when the establishment is celebrating punk? How can anybody support a celebration of forty years of ANARCHY IN THE UK promoted and profited by a Mayor of London who’s initiation ceremony into his public school boy’s club was burning fifty pound notes in front of homeless people?!
You are not wrong in saying that the publicity from this act is worth more than five million pounds. The question I am interested in is what is the publicity for? You are wrong to think that it is to sell a few more clothes or a bit more make up out of my shops or to benefit me personally.
I am inviting people through doing this to ask a very important question, why do these punk things and artifacts have any value? And what is communicated by me burning them? I’m not talking about your kind of School of Rock meets Antiques Roadshow VALUES!!. As to the value in your terms of my collection… that will be revealed between now and November on social media and it is certainly worth five million pounds (by the way, there are box loads of A&M records about and they’re not worth much)
There is a significant difference between value and price that’s too often, and certainly by someone like you, tragically overlooked and not considered. I want a conversation in the public realm where everybody is invited to ask and think about what these things from the 70’s are really worth and why they’re worth anything at all?
I grew up immersed in a south London household at the centre of punk. Grown men would spit in my face in the street for being a punk at nine or ten years old. Our flat was surrounded by National Front thugs who smashed our windows and made continuous death threats, my parents shop was always being smashed up by Chelsea football fans or raided by the police, people were arrested and charged for wearing the clothes in public. People were cut up and stabbed, The Sex Pistols records were banned from the radio, you couldn’t buy them in the shops, they were banned from playing gigs up and down the country. They still made it to Number One in the charts but then there was no Number One that week. The charts started at Number Two!
We were hated by the establishment and hounded by their media and loved by generation NO FUTURE! who in turn didn’t really know what to do…. aside from wear the uniform and jump about a bit…. but some of them found the spark they needed to believe THEY could CREATE their own way out of NO FUTURE, together with the kinship and confidence it inspired in people who did not fit in anywhere else and also had the bollocks to stand up and say “NO I DO NOT ACCEPT THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS, I am not going to take this NINSDOL pill anymore” ( see Aldous Huxley’s Nationalist Idolatry, Non Stop Distraction and Organised Lying) which to me was the most positive and lasting legacy from PUNK.
So then one day I hear there is this PUNK LONDON celebration of forty years since the release of ANARCHY IN THE UK! supported by and set up to benefit the British Tourist Board, The British Fashion Council, The British Museum, The Mayor of London!!?? WHAT !!?? First of all why forty years? Funny number really, feels just like someone thought it might drum a bit of trade when there’s no Royal wedding to distract us. Who’s really behind this thing? The Heritage Lottery fund? The Mayor? Where is all this money going? Is it going to support the homeless? The fund for old punkers uniforms? When are they going to start selling GOD SAVE the QUEEN mugs with a safety pin through her nose at the palace gift shop?!!?? Punk has been used by the establishment to show how fair British society is because they are so “tolerant, open and democratic “ it’s in Vogue magazine and at the punk New York Met Ball , Anna Wintour said on the red carpet “I’m wearing this pink floral dress because Paul Simonon from the clash told me personally that the colour of punk is pink!!!”. Burberry, the 1970’s purveyor of the “wankers mac” is now punk in the British ‘tradisheean’ etc etc. So what the fuck does it matter anymore?
You say I can afford to destroy it therefore it is not a sacrifice. Only a simpleton would think that the actions, statements or opinions of the poor are the only ones that matter (just as the opposite or middle is also true). You don’t know anything about me or anything about my life and clearly you haven’t taken any trouble to find out.
Whilst you have apparently taken some personal enjoyment from researching the marketing catalogues of AP, many of your observations I would agree with, however you’ve clearly spent longer looking at them than you have at me because I haven’t had anything to do with that company for years and it was a very different beast indeed when it was in my care.
There are parallels to be drawn between the no future generation of the 1970’s and todays. Our environment is being destroyed at a rate of knots, Fracking our land! TTIP!, London is suffering social cleansing and being turned into some sort of theme park for rich people who don’t pay their taxes whilst ordinary people cannot afford to live here, Boris Johnson has presided over that, it disgusts me that a mayor who devised an initiation ceremony of his Bullingdon club to burn money in front of homeless people coupled with his indifference to the plight of the real problems of ordinary people in this city and his disregard for their future is now supporting 40 years of Anarchy in the UK. What I am doing is highlighting the hypocrisy at the core of this hijacking and it’s why I am inviting him to light the match on November 26th.
Ultimately what your letter makes me feel is that, if some version of what Punk started created a person like you, it makes me more determined than ever to burn it all.
Read the letter to Joe Corre from Tim Sommer at observer.com here