All the Years of Trying
An Ode to Patrik Fitzgerald
As punk rock snowballed in 1977, a few performers didn’t subscribe to the block-chord, tougher-than-tough template. Inevitably, those individualists now stand apart. In 1978, at age 18, Dom Shaw was making the music verité film Rough Cut And Ready Dubbed. Catching the maverick as well as the stars, Rough Cut… memorably featured Patrik Fitzgerald’s desolate Island Of Lost Souls, a counterpoint to the hostility of the era. Now, thirty years later, comes Shaw’s Patrik Fitzgerald chronicle.
Patrik Fitzgerald stood apart. Taking the stage solo with the tool of the folkie – an acoustic guitar – he became a target. Bottles were chucked and he was spat at. With lyrics addressing the day-to-day, personal politics, estrangement and anomie he wasn’t sloganeering. Yet this wasn’t folk. The music press decided he was the punk poet.
Poets Benjamin Zephaniah and Attila The Stockbroker pay tribute to their inspiration. Boff Whalley of Chumbawumba – who covered Fitzgerald’s seminal Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart – reminisces about his first Fitzgerald show. He was shocked that a performer this impactful was playing to a London audience of 25. Fitzgerald himself is eloquent, humble even. After all the years, Dom Shaw has demonstrated it’s time the world caught up. Journalist and Nirvana biographer Everett True says Fitzgerald is “one of the superstars of my world.” Kieron Tyler