Really, you’d have thought a guy who was like a cross between Johnny Rotten and Bob Dylan would have been more famous. Or, maybe, way less famous. But I don’t think anyone could possibly have predicted that Patrik Fitzgerald (born ‘Patrick’ Fitzgerald) would have been exactly as famous as he was, no more and no less.
This guy has been making a right nuisance of himself since 1975; knocking on managers’ doors, painting his name on people’s cars, crashing parties, stalking people, busking outside funerals, and playing so many solo acoustic shows in front of punk punters that eventually Polydor went “Oh, alright Patrik, you can have your bloody record contract if you’ll just shut-up!’”And so Grubby Stories was born.
(Disclaimer: story not actually true. I just wanted to make it sound exciting and I didn’t want to copy the Wikipedia entry).
The truth is, my sister came home with a copy of this record one day (after borrowing it off this jerk called Nathan (who I once saw in his underwear (which was red))) and we decided it was just as good as all the other music we liked, and never gave it back.
I’ve spent the last twenty-five years vaguely wondering why no-one else ever seems to have heard of it, except for all the people who have (and they all seem to be wondering why no-one else has heard of it either).
Apparently Patrik moved from Polydor after a few records, and continued to make records which apparently sound increasingly like David Bowie on a bad day. He now lives in New Zealand where he has a Myspace and does solo shows and stuff, and maybe walks on the same bits of dirt that Chris Knox sometimes walks on. But I wouldn’t really know about any of that. I’ve only heard this record.
The story behind this mp3 is that a few years ago I dug this old bit of vinyl out of my cupboard, recorded it onto my computer (before I realised what the earthing wire on the stereo was for) and then sold it for ten dollars just before moving to the tropics.
(Nathan: I lost your record, I’m very sorry.)
Anyway, here is Patrik Fitzgerald, the forlorn pioneer of folk punk, in all his two chord acoustic wonderness. Well, most of it is acoustic, but some of it is played by a band featuring members of The Buzzcocks and Penetration, whom Patrik somehow managed to get to sound a fair bit like early U.K. Squeeze. But the lyrics are the main thing, really; alternately weird and very strightforward, and all delivered with a cockney nasal despair which is truly beautiful.
If you like your punk music strange and offbeat, I strongly advise that you listen to these tunes, at once.
The Ten Songs:
- As Ugly As You
- Nothing to Do Around Here (with evil children)
- All My Friends Are Dead Now
- Adopted Girl
- When I Get Famous
- Little Fishes (brilliant song, my favourite)
- But Not Any More
- Conventions of Life
- They Make It Safe
- Your Hero