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The Crack Magazine


Wake Up Punk

Director: Nigel Askew

Features: Vivienne Westwood, Joe Corré

In 2016 Joe Corré, the son of shop assistant turned couture designer Vivienne Westwood and the late provocateur and Svengali Malcolm McLaren, announced he was going to burn millions of pounds worth of punk memorabilia as a statement against the commodification of the movement. Tracing his announcement up to the event itself, this documentary bricolage interrogates notions of authenticity and selling out. Talking to Corré, an unusually buoyant and cheerful Vivienne Westwood, worlds removed from her glum public persona, offers up some entertaining and illuminating reminisces about those heady early days of punk, along with various other punk ‘faces’ of variable relevance. The execution is redolent of McLaren’s ‘The Great Rock and Roll Swindle’ in its freewheeling mix of documentary footage, talking head interviews, and staged scenes. The latter, in which a band of Dickensian urchins are taught about Punk Rock by some Fagin character, are by far the worst. Compellingly, there’s more than whiff of oedipal revenge to Corré’s project, which is understandable as McLaren is recalled by his son and ex-wife as a vindictive and manipulative parent, as well as a pilferer of others ideas and creativity. It’s notable that his image doesn’t appear in the film at all. Corré’s situationist prank does raise questions about how punk has been hijacked, but, ultimately, it all feels a bit rarefied and self-congratulatory. The highlight is a sequence at a bourgie panel discussion about Corré’s scheme where one of the punks in the audience dresses down the perpetrators for their solipsism.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm