I never would have thought I'd applaud a sexy underwear tycoon; that stuff's far too uncomfortable for real life. Try wearing a piece of dental floss riding up your backside and you'll know why I say this.

But there you go: Joe Corre, son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, is keeping it real. He sold his undies empire, Agent Provocateur (even crutch-less panties must pall in time) and he could afford to stage a bonfire of the vanities.

It's the fate of rebels to grow old and pop the waistband of their jeans, descending into multiple chins and voting National. Yesterday's wild men are either dead, which is doing it in style, or people like Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, who once wore a Che Guevara style black beret and oozed charisma. He's still good for a sound bite, but with less hair, a silly necklace of office, and in a very cold place.

People get tired and give up smoking dope because it makes them fall asleep in front of the telly. My grandfather was known as The Dormouse for this party trick in which dope was admittedly lacking. I don't wish to emulate him; there's always the fear of that line of dribble from the corner of the mouth to bear in mind.


My own epiphany of a rebel's life came at school, which I hated at the time, when a teacher said I was just the sort of girl who became a prefect eventually. The unintended insult grates to this day; if there's a badge involved I don't want to wear it; and this is why I applaud Corre, who just torched a valuable archive of the punk movement, left to him by his father, on a river barge in London. How like a Viking funeral, and what a fitting punk gesture on the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols' debut single, Anarchy in the UK. It's what they would have done if they'd kept the faith.

You still see punks on the street now and then, anachronistic as teddy boys or flappers, but a clear style statement. A group of punks flatted near one of my former houses, clanking with the gear but polite and well brought up. It was too late, and they lacked the anger that drove the movement and made sense in Thatcher's bleak Britain.

Today you can buy postcards of punks in London, as cute and British as thatched cottages, or men wearing bowler hats and women's undies under pin stripe suits. The punks of McLaren's time would have head-butted you for making them into salt and pepper sets for china cabinets, but that's the part of the insult package that time brings to us all.

You can't stay angry for ever, and the last thing anyone true to a rebel cause wants is to become ordinary. A museum would have loved that archive, but once it got its hands on it, punk would become as dead as yesterday's lust. Better that it's cremated.

Corre also burned effigies of Prime Ministers Theresa May, David Cameron and Tony Blair, dressed in punk regalia.

Once that would have offended people, but today we're offended by other things, like the one per cent who own the world and just get richer. Staging the bonfire in posh Chelsea gave away Cortes' status as a wealthy entrepreneur who could afford the luxury of the destruction, but nobody's perfect.

We never know what history will make of us, if it remembers us at all, but if I were Wellington artist Rita Angus, a complicated woman who steered clear of the male-dominated art world of her time, I'd be turning in my grave on the hour, every hour for having an old people's home named after me. It may be a lovely place inside, but on the outside it looks like some sort of Dickensian debtor's prison.

As for naming of places, Hamilton needs to ask if it really wants to be associated with photographer David Hamilton, who reportedly killed himself this week when the truth finally surfaced about his scantily dressed, suggestive photographs of pubescent girls, once touted as arty by people who should have known better.

Some of those former girls had come forward to say he raped them, and time now judges such perverts harshly. His death put the seal on his guilt.