Back in 1978, when I started to listen to John Peel’s late night radio show, there were so many records that I loved on first hearing. Every weekend, I’d go to the local record shop, where they always had a good stock of punk 7″s, and I’d buy something.
This would be the kind of system I’d play my new records on; you could also do direct copying to cassette, which was very handy.
My first fangirl feelings were for Patrik Fitzgerald. Labelled a punk-poet, he was nifty with words, strummy on an acoustic guitar and the songs sounded desperate and intelligent. As an ‘A’ Level English student, I was straight in there with the lyric sheet, analysing what the songs were about.
These days, you’d follow him on Instagram or Twitter, but back then, I decided to write a letter c/o the tiny record company Small Wonder. And of course he wrote back – a down-to-earth chatty letter about going out to get chips for his mum.
I think we exchanged a few letters; I sent him some of my poetry and wrote that I wanted to form a punk band. He sent me some of his poetry and was totally pleasant.
Inspired by this, I then wrote to Ian Dury. I’m sure I wrote a long, chatty fangirl letter. I was pleased to get a reply, but it was just a signed photo and a Stiff Records compliments slip.
I then stopped writing to punk guys as I had formed my own band ‘The Devices’ and had no time for anything like that.
A decade later, in the indie-pop band PO! that I formed, I was always happy to write long, chatty letters to the fan boys and girls who wrote to me. It was a great scene and my attitude to writing back to fans was based on those letters from Patrik Fitzgerald.