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On 6th February 1997 Mark and Lard had their very last Graveyard Shift Show. It was a pretty sad moment for me. For years now every night at 10pm I would sit in front of the radio listening to two Manchester blokes who called themselves Mark and Lard. It was a nightly vigil, I had to stay up till 12pm to make sure I never missed anything and if I for some reason had to be away from the radio for any amount of time I would record it so I could listen to it later. It is for this reason and this reason only that I ended up walking around like some sort of Zombie every day at School. So it was with a lot of sadness and regret that it finally came to be the last ever show. It was just like the first, The Tindersticks were in session and Simon Armitage was reading poems. As usual they played a load of great records and at 10:30 it reached the time that they were to wave out of the window which is something they had tried a few times before but with limited success
This time they announced that they were doing it a few days earlier. One of the people who went to the BBC studio on Oxford Road in Manchester that night was Tony. This is his account of what happened:
Well, what happened was at about 10 there were roughly 50 people outside the Palace of Glittering delights. Many were getting merrily drunk and there was a great feeling of anticipation in the air. Some had portable radios with them and everyone was trying to listen to the show. We could see the door to the studio, in which sat our heroes but outside that was a long corridor and many people seemed to be milling around . I thought I saw a member of Tindersticks there but I cannot be sure. So as time passed everyone outside, the ranks of which had now swelled to around 100 (Lardy Boy was not lying), was getting more and more excited. There were chants of "We want Radcliffe!".
Eventually at half past 10. A large figure appeared at one of the windows and opened it. It was Riley. In his large hand he had a microphone and also he sported a pair of headphones. (Incidentally this was only the 1st floor so we could see it all quite clearly) As you would have heard on the radio there were many chants of "You fat Bastard". Lard eventually began talking but such was the noise you could not hear what he was saying. This continued for a few minutes until we realised that he was saying that Radcliffe was coming to the window, which he duly did to rapturous(?) applause. After about a minute he disappeared again, back to Simon 'No, no, no' Armitage. The End? Nah.
I went for a few swift pints at Man Met's Union to take off the chill, then returned at twelve. There was about 20 to 30 people still there, most of them quite drunk. We all shouted for Radcliffe to come out and at about 12:10 him and Lard duly appeared again, beers in hand. Both of them stared chatting to the throng below. Mark said, and I quote, "I want to thank you all for making this a really special night for me" to which we replied with three cheers. I was wearing my Man City shirt and subtly opened my coat. When Mark saw it he gave me the thumbs up and I shouted out "Good result last night" He shouted back "Yes!" and smiled.
Someone in the crowd then shouted if they had any booze. Mark and Lard then disappeared for a few seconds before reappearing with 2 bottles of champagne which Mark carefully dropped down to us and Lard chucked down a few cans of Boddies Gold. One person grabbed the Champagne and began to scarper, this pissed Radcliffe off and he looked quite pissed off too( Does that make sense?) He shouted after this bloke, "Oi! Share it!!". I shouted out "Lard'll batter you otherwise" and he must of heard as he leant further out of the window and shook his fist (Lard that is). The crowd then attempted to sing some of the fabled songs, like Fish or Fowl of that Peel A Tata one but most were too hammered.
I shouted (I know this sounds like I was the only one speaking but as I said most people were drunk and I thought that I would make the most of the opportunity to speak with our hero) up "bring out the names!!!" I didn't quite know why I voiced it like that and Mark looked at me very puzzled. What I meant was that it would be nice to see all those who are mentioned at the end of the program, Dark Prince, Lis, Uncle Tony etc etc. Mark eventually realised and Uncle Tony was wheeled out in front of us. He got a big cheer cos Mark said something along the lines of it was his last night working for the Beeb. We all attempted to sing the Catalogue Corner music, which was quite Pathetic really. Anyway after a while they both closed the window and went away. The crowd dispersed and went home happy.
This Account of Events was written by Tony
Mark seemed pretty embarrassed by the fact that so many people had turned up. They carried on the show playing some of their versions of other peoples tunes such as The Hapless Boy Lard and Single Bloke. Glin Maxwell went AWOL for Bard Or Blake so Simon Armitage had to phone in from the room next door but he still didn`t win the Iron.
After playing his last record, Acquiesce by Oasis it was time for him to say goodbye. He said thanks to all the people who worked on the show. He uttered his unforgettable last words and then introduced the Tindersticks for the last time.
So Mark & Lard have finally moved to the Breakfast Show. I have received many emails on this subject, the reaction is very mixed to say the least. Some of you are dead against the move and some of you are glad of it. I personally loved his Graveyard Shift show and am sorry to see him go but I am glad that he is getting the recognition that he deserves. He more than anyone else deserves this time slot.
His Night time slot is one of the great things that we will be able to look on in the future and we will be able to say that we were there. People of the 60`s had the Beatles, the 70`s had punk, the 80`s quite frankly had nothing but the 90`s was a time when two Manchester men Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley were the best thing around. It is something great that we were all a part of and enjoyed. Maybe you think that I'm going a bit over the top building Mark & Lard up to almost God like status but in my mind they were Gods.
They brought great new bands to us and gave bands a help up on the showbiz ladder. They were prepared to take risks with bands that no one had heard of and even if the bands that they played had no chance in hell of becoming a success they didn't care, they played the music that they played because they loved it.
They also brought us great comedy through their many quality items and comedy guests. Mark was also the first DJ to bring a regular poetry slot to Radio 1 where he was joined by poets such as Simon Armitage and Joolz , he had guests in every week to do readings from the book of their choice. Through guests such as Mark Kermode we were kept informed of all the new films that were out and Kim Newman was their to tell us about many cult TV series.
It was the witty banter between Mark and Lard that was one of the main attractions though. Their comedy timing was brilliant. They managed to mix pre-prepared comedy ideas with their spontaneous wit, Lard was always their to make remarks such as Hiya Mark!, Bu Bum! and Fancy a Brew? whenever it was needed. They called it planned chaos. I call it brilliant.
In Memory Of The Graveyard Shift 25th October 1993 - 6th February 1997
Nil Fugit El Grabus Scrotumus
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