57 stars of the air almanac (2007)

by Stephen Hero

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    Original digipak CD of "57 stars of the air almanac" (Rag004) hand-signed by Patrick in black marker pen.

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57 stars of the air almanac
Ragoora Records (Rag004)
Originally released in August 2007

Track Listing:

1. 12 stars
2. open blue skies
3. early astronomy
4. back to bed
5. oh, frank
6. 58th star
7. a death in June
8. crazed, full of Hope
9. welcome home!
10. other men's flowers
11. the polar bears

MOJO Magazine****, UK, Issue 166 - September 2007

Former Kitchens Of Distinction mainman's stellar return.

So uncannily do Interpol and Editors recall the signature epic emo-scapes of Kitchens Of Distinction that one readily imagines erstwhile members of that undervalued '80s/'90s south London trio ruminating bitterly on the concept of intellectual copyright. Not singer/bassist Patrick Fitzgerald, however, who has forged a successful new musical identity as a composer for theatre and film, while gradually priming his Stephen Hero alias for great things. 57 stars... is an 'adult' work in the old-fashioned sense, with material as evocative of Stephen Sondheim's opaque psychodramas as any contemporary touchstones. while also gently reclaiming 'his' sound over a mighty opening trio of portentous piano balladry; KoD guitarist Julian Swales contributes trademark iridescent vastness to Early Astronomy. Heartfelt and exotic - closer The Polar Bears sees its protagonist subjected to an ursine dissection - here's proud validation of a most distinctive voice. Keith Cameron

The Times ****, UK, August 4th, 2007

The era of Interpol, Editors and Bloc Party is as good a time as any for Patrick Fitzgerald, aka Stephenhero (one of James Joyce's leading characters), to release his first album in five years, especially given the fact the that his underrated band Kitchens of Distinction helped to refine the template in the late 1980s and early 1990s. After four solo albums of stripped-down folk, he has gone back to a band sound (self-played except for the drums) based around piano rather than guitar. What he has ended up with is an edgier version of Elton John's early 1970s albums. Early Astronomy and Oh, Frank recall KoD's soaring brand of sensitivity, but this subtle and spacious record is one of the year's finest. Martin Aston


released December 22, 2011

© + ℗ Patrick Fitzgerald

Patrick Fitzgerald - Challen Acoustic Piano, Yamaha P-80 Digital Stage Piano, Squire & Longson Acoustic Piano, Gibson 335 Guitar, Takamine Acoustic Guitar, Fender Precision Lyte Bass, Charvel Surfcaster Acoustic Bass, Vocals

Dave Morgan - Roland Virtual Drums, Gretsch Acoustic Drums, Tambourine

Julian Swales - Gibson 347 Guitar on 'early astronomy'

Recorded at various locations on an AppleMac G3 Laptop using Logic Audio Express 6, MAudio Firewire 410, Drawmer Valve Compressor, AKG Tubevalve Microphone with a PodXT. Mixed on a MacBook Pro using Logic 7.2. Finalized by Pascal Gabriel at the Strongroom, London.



all rights reserved



Patrick Fitzgerald is the singer and bass player in Kitchens of Distinction, the master of ceremonies behind the band of freaks known as Fruit, one half of mystery duo Lost Girls and the guiding light of Stephen Hero. He has been releasing records under all these guises and more since 1987 ... more

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Track Name: 12 stars
If you knew them all you'd know where you were
And you'd know where you were going
Peacock and Pollux
Vega and Sirius
Rigel and Betelgeuse
Spica and Nunci
Deneb and Altair
Markab and Regulus

Named studied taught and forgotten
No wonder this day feels like fog

Mars has been close and bright and red
An awkward neon sign
Some messiah is born tonight
Dragging himself to the wounds
Track Name: open blue skies
Where is the guide? The cop with the light?
Get him up front for we can't see
We have lost the map and there are no signs
Someone's left with all the supplies
And in this desert the stars
They look strange to me

They're upside down and there's a hole in the North
We're in the desert where they never turn out the light
Barbed wire confines us day and night
Next we're in the woods bitten harpy trees
Next we're burning men for their different beliefs
Take off these bandages that might help
Where will he lead us now?

They're upside down and there's a hole in the North

Your head's on fire your heart it burns
This tight suffocating universe
The galaxy is fixed and we cannot move
I'm getting vertigo from open blue skies

I am my guide
Here is my light
It's OK nurse I can see
I can fall in love with the green world again
Fall in love with his dark brown skin
~ but the memory?
There isn't enough therapy

The head's on fire your heart it burns
This tight suffocating universe
The galaxy is fixed and we cannot move
I'm getting vertigo from open blue skies
Open blue skies
Track Name: early astronomy
The heavenly flower has just opened
Centrifugal to the core
Hear St Bernard describe loving
With perfect light issuing

Up past the planets we jump so high
To where the fabled beautifully spin
In a joy of their own making
May we please join in?

The heavenly flower's a white rose
Spinning saints, golden winged
Hear St Bernard's silvered murmurs
Hear your dead love plea-bargaining

Up past the planets, there!, so high
Is where the saints eternally spin
In the joy of divine presence
May we please join in?

The heavenly flower is closing
I feel cold settling in
While we wait to join them baby
Kiss me hard kiss me with sin

Up past the planets we're so high

Mercury is humble
Venus of course is love
Mars is strength of conviction
Neptune contemplative
Track Name: back to bed
Let's go back to bed until the rain has fled
And the electricity is back on
Then we'll climb up the hill with blankets against the chill
And sip hot chocolate warm beneath the moon
Can you see the stars are burning?
Listen! the sparks the fireworks
Can you see the stars are burning down?
Listen the sparks the fireworks
For you
Track Name: oh, frank
Springtime comes storms and showers daffodils surprise
You wake and walk with a lighter step
This could be your day
Come the night the demons take flight
Whispering doubt, unmerry havoc
Pegged out to drown in the rising tide
Nothing gets out alive

This is not what you want
This is not what you expected
The passing of time, those stupid cloks
Going tick fucking tick fucking tock
There is so little time in which to love

The tide pulls out leaving guts behind
And your precious poetry collection
You cling to paintings of abstract flailings
The day lady died

Here come the waves those high deep spring tides
Pegged out to drown in the rising tide
Nothing gets out alive

This is not what you want
This is not what you expected
The passing of time, the stupiod clocks
Going tick fucking tick fucking tock
Oh frank, oh frank, love's not your's to have
You drove too fast and crashed it

The drive from new York to nowhere
Going fast fast faster still

There is so little time in which to love
Track Name: 58th star
You are my 58th star
You know you are, you know you are
You light up the night
You know you do, you guide me right

You are the heavens above
The planets surround
You are the north, the south
The circle around which
All brightness spins
You pull it toward yourself
You are the firmament
My source of strength

You are my son, you are the sun
My 58th star
Track Name: a death in June
Everyone's gone quiet
It's either hope or despair
As the meat course is served
He remembers the morning, first thing
Before it came back clear
They chose a parade, he'd have gone for silence
Allow the birds their twitter

Later in the bar, (why must it be a bar?)
They sprawl behind dark glassed
He curls inside the meadows grasses

We drove home listening to the putter
Of a possibly failing engine
But we got home, picked up the mail and messages
He picked a flower for the table
As if routine were the great soother
As if routine could soothe


Later in the park she snowed as we shook her
And through the mobile phone muteness
Came what we swore was a whisper
Picked out in a sunny moment's respite
From this awful July weather
Track Name: crazed, full of Hope
Keep the tablets coming in
You will be fixed, it can't be long
Till we see you old familiar smile
You woke to find the harbour gone
The animals and you the zoo
Feed them with those flying messed up thoughts
Oh close you r eyes to lost at seaness
Feed yourself on memorized meals
Remembered drinks, all those dumb hangovers

In your world in your world
In your tiny little world
In your world made of clouds and hope

As if this thing could be rewritten
Back there behind your shoulders wing
The ghosts of what you had to trample down
Here you are in middle years
Between what was and now what must be
Still convinced you've got some fight to give

In your world, in your world
This occupies your world
In your world, you tiny fucked up world

Look on back and try to find
The one mistake, the single act
That turned such easy gold to nowt
A little puff, a simple kiss, a promise under influence
You woke up crazed, full of hope
Track Name: welcome home!
Welcome home! Count the stars!
See the constellations move
They rotate so you are sure
This is now and this is where you belong
Welcome home

Back from the brink, out of the coma
A week of our holding our breath open
(A bike, a car, the tissues between
Scarred scared hurt but somehow)
Somehow still alive
Somehow you stayed alive
Somehow still alive
Your twisted tiny small neck bones
Back together, holding their own
Welcome home

One minute here, whistling tunes
Next minute blood painting the road
Put to sleep, helped to breathe
Please don't leave, we prayed, please don't bleed
Come on home
Please come home
Come on home

You made it back, opened your eyes
No more smokes, no more booze'n'fags
This is it, you want to be clear
A second chance, continue life (and how to live it)
Welcome home
Welcome home
Welcome home
Track Name: other men's flowers
Uncurled, unfurled, a story from the sky
I reached up and pulled a story from the sky
A big stretch
It starts in the middle of poor sod's muddle
(You have such big arms)
Homesick for what?
(All the better to tame me)

The sheep search the grasses
their heads down in the sway
The sailors search the oceans deep
compass and astrolabe
"Oh where the stars that light their path?
In the city they're on poles that light the road.."
Hello rosebay willowherb
Tarmac and railway lines
The solace of

Small ad obscenities in this bucolic fantasy
Oh throw me soft from tree to tree
And feel the moon pull elastically
The new (nude?) sea bathes my town toes
it flicks my city feet
But I am not welcome here and once again desirous to leave

Am I a bad man, am I?
40 years round the sun and still nowhere's home to lie

What's become of Nick since he gave us all the slip?
Choosing distant mountainscapes not pacing up and
Down through Camden Town
He ran away to join some circus
The last we heard he said:
"Come for I have found the clue I sought so long
Nourished henceforth by my celestial dreaming"
And "Poems vaguely wafting, lilting in night air
Uncaught, unwritten."
"What makes this ship run us so fast to ground?"

What is the foolish boy doing?
Clinging to life as if death too shall die?

"We saw him go over the Alps alone."

(Stealings from: Browning, Whitman, John Hardwick, Hans Christian Anderson)
Track Name: the polar bear's
The polar bear's white hours
By the small genetic pool
Contemplating his furred reflection
And the mass of life reproducing below

With patient claws he preens and cleans
Those that float up dead
Another cold experiment
That failed to take a satisfying breath

At the bottom of the pool
They fold their hands and pray
Up through the water
And beg to be allowed to survive
Ask the Great Bear's eyes

The Polar Bear's blank hours
White in the museum hall
Another display case, another white card
Explaining how it all works

His paw takes my open hand
And we fly to the frozen north
Where his children gash themselves on soft drink glass
He tears out my liver and we gawp at it's size

He takes out my kidney and we know soon I will feint
Removes the stomach and pancreas
Large intestine too
He climbs inside the cavity this evisceration has caused
And asks to be sewn up inside
I stitch his mass into me and sigh

The Polar Bear's white hours
By the small genetic pool
Contemplating his furred reflection
Are over
And I am warm