The Monday Graveyard at 100 - The Backstory

The Monday Graveyard has hit episode 100. Listen to the show here. This is part of a series of posts about the show in celebration of the 100 episode milestone.

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The backstory to the show begins a way back in the early mists of time, back in the wonderful world of my childhood. It might not surprise you to find out that my sister and I used to pretend to do radio shows, using the pernickety double tape deck of my hi-fi and the headphones plugged into the microphone port to do radio shows, doing links and making up pretend callers and the like. I wonder if, somewhere, those tapes are still available (they are mostly likely not) but it is fun to think that now, having done this for over two years, there might be a record of me doing it as a child for fun.

The Monday Graveyard has its genesis in two places – the Wednesday Graveyard, which was a podcast series I started off my own back, and my sister giving me the heads up about Pulse 98.4.

The Wednesday Graveyard is a playlist series that I started originally when Spotify first appear back in 2008. It was weekly, where I’d change 12 or so tracks that I’d been listening too, and other people could follow the playlist and get the new music directly into the music player each Wednesday. You can listen to the behemoth every track ever play list on the Wednesday Graveyard Almanac here

 This later spiralled into the Wednesday Graveyard: “Live”, a podcast-style radio show that I started doing on Mixcloud, following the success of seeing some friends do something similar. I pluged it to friends and family and got a healthy amount of plays, but it was a general podcast of music with no focus. Mostly based on what I wanted to play it was a bit all over the place, and certainly did’t benefit from great sound, being recorded on my Macbook’s microphone.

There were two series of shows – four episodes in series 1 and six in series 2, with a third series aborted after two episodes for various reasons. It was a shame, as I really enjoyed it. At the same time as this my sister started doing her own radio shows, firstly on Strathclyde’s Fusion station, and later doing a raft of shows and production duties at Pulse 98.4. We had had several discussions about me doing a real radio show, so when she left she pointed out that Neil Wilson (owner and host of Scottish Fiction), the commissioner and controller then for evenings on the show, had a load of slots free, so I emailed a pitch for the Monday Graveyard that went something like this…

“I have a large and addictive interest in electronic music and specifically ambient, neoclassical, drone, and further electronic types. Artists like Loscil, Tim Hecker, Talvihorros, Anenon, Stars of the Lid, Nathan Fake, Isnaj Dui and many others, including post rock acts that also fit the bill. That would be my plan for my proposed show, with a mixture of other electronic music like Tycho, Boards of Canada and many other “IDM” artists, and with a focus on local and Scottish electronic talent”

Neil emailed me back but it went to my junk folder, so there was a short period where I didn’t even know he was interested. I met with Neil on windy Saturday night at Pulse and got a tour, and we chatted at length about the show, my wishes for the show, and his expectations. After that, I had to come up with a name and a brand. I originally came up with “Long Drawn Out Soul” as the name for the show, but once the slot of 11pm on Monday was given to me, there was only one name for the show – the spiritual successor to the Wednesday Graveyard was born then and there – the Monday Graveyard. 

There was a pilot series of sorts, a few pre-recorded shows, before I was given a on-air tour of the station by Echolalia Radio’s Chris Nelms, who steered me through my first live broadcast in the studio. I went live for the first time on episode 7 and finished my run with episode 82 on Pulse, before rebirthing the MG as a podcast.

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The artwork is a long enjoyed part of the show, and it all was adapted from the third series of the Wednesday Graveyard series, as you might now realise. Every single piece of art is original, 100%, all created by me. It is certainly true that the MG is a cottage industry, with hours spent each week trying to perfect each show.

There is one thing I have mentioned a lot in the shows leading up the show leaving Pulse and it was the Archive. I built a huge database of all the artists and songs player d on the show and it was meant to become a way of finding all the original shows that these artists had been in. I developed a lot of it and it is still there waiting to be finished, but time and effort has gotten in the way. It is not dead, but it is just a little further away than I had originally intended, as I had hoped I'd launch it with this episode. 

 In the coming days, a few more posts will shed light on the show’s other aspects.