Wake Up Punk
An iconoclastic act that ended up more a whimper than a bang is the starting point for an exploration of the legacy of a vital cultural movement.
In 2016, Joe Corré, the son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and the Sex Pistol’s manager and musician Malcolm McLaren, announced that he was to burn an archive of punk materials, estimated at £5 million. It might not quite have gone to plan, but the act adhered to the spirit what punk set out to do – to tear a new one in the body politic of the establishment. That establishment ranged from a government who seemed oblivious to a suffering nation to an acceptance of societal codes that were making the world a blander place. At its heart were Westwood and McLaren, whose lives and lifestyles were anathema to everything mainstream society deemed decent.
Nigel Askew’s film doesn’t offer an overview of the punk movement – that ground has already been covered by filmmakers such as Julien Temple. Instead, it gives an insider’s account of what punk tried to do. In particular, it allows Westwood a chance to wrest the spirit of punk back from commercialisation, reminding us that the chaotic trend was defined by its purity, in defiance of anything that wasn’t disruptive and everything that the establishment held dear.