Midnight Voicejail
Frequently Asked Questions


What is Midnight Voicejail?

Midnight Voicejail is a stream of consciousness variety radio show produced by Phineas Narco and The National Cynical Network. It is currently 'on indefinite hiatus', but originated on KFJC 89.7 FM in Los Altos Hills, CA in April of 2000 and ran until December 2003.

What's it about?

Midnight Voicejail is about a group of 20-somethings stuck in the suburbs of Silicon Valley during the 80's and 90's. They used various voicemail systems as their main social and creative outlet. They came to be known as 'Voicejailers'. The network they created was known as the 'box scene'.

The show is an audio documentary about their world, revealed mostly through collected voicemail messages interspersed with pieces of psychedelic collage and comedy bits.

Almost every episode is half an hour long, although some are one hour long.

Where can I find an episode guide and the current schedule of shows?

By going HERE.

How did this Voicejail scene get started?

The 'box scene' was started in 1986 by a personals ad placed in the San Jose Metro by a character named 'Ed Note'. The ad directed the reader to a voicemailbox for "The World Suicide Club'.

The incoming calls were cut up and used in collage form as the subsequent 'outgoing' (or greeting) messages on the same box, inspiring and attracting even more creative weirdos.

Note's free DIY entertainment voicemailbox acted as a feedback loop of insanity that was a clarion call for disaffected outcasts of the 1980's Silicon Valley yuppiefied social scene and all manner of Bay Area freaks.

Soon, a character named Mr. 1:15 got a box on the system and called it "Club Manic-Depression" followed by Ronald Redball's "Global Maverick Society". Other regulars (see below) joined and got their own boxes.

The scene grew and grew, migrating to other voicemailbox systems.

At it's height, it boasted no less than 50 box-owners. Countless others simply called the boxes to listen to the messages.

The scene broke up around the mid-nineties, presumably when everyone discovered the worldwide web.

Interestingly, 'The Boxes' turned out to be a type of audio pre-web precursor of what we now know as 'blogs': serving partly as journals, but also as creative outlets, humorously political soap-boxes, and a means of social networking for the mostly teenage and twenty-something crowd of the day (so-called 'Generation X-er's).

Many of those who, at the time, looked down on 'the boxes' have blogs today.

Just about everyone in 'the box scene' had their own collection of tapes of box messages both incoming and outgoing.

The term ''voicejail' was coined by George Locke (sp?), friend of legendary 'voicejailer' and online poet Father Luke (see below).

It was well-known at the time that voicejail material was being widely collected, freely circulated, and would someday be used for... 'something'.

That 'something' turned into a the 50-episode series that premiered at midnight of 4/20/00 as a feature on Angel D. Monique's show 'Club Manic-Consciousness' on KFJC.

Midnight Voicejail is, in effect, an extension of the box-scene milieu in that it presents show-long public 'outgoings' in a collage format. Its sound is much like that of outgoing messages on the old voicemailboxes with the difference that many of the features are now in stereo and made specifically for the show.

The owners of the messages used on the show, and most of all the participants therein, know about the show and their response has been consistently positive and supportive.

Who are some of the people I can hear on the show?

Angel D. Monique: Former hostess of the show Club Manicic-Consciousness on KFJC on which Midnight Voicejail premiered and ran. She was Involved more in the 90's portion of the voicejailing scene.

The Bay Area Representative: (aka Jim (not to be confused with Phineas Narco 'Jim') Visually impaired, former 70's/80's-era phone phreaker. Plays keyboards. Votes Republican. Very conservative. Great speaking voice. He was an administrator on some of the systems as well as a voicejailer. Now resides in Kansas City.

Ed Note: Sardonic recluse that started the World Suicide Club, the box that started it all. One-time roommate of Mr. 1:15.

Father Luke: A priest (really!), who frequently can convincingly adopt the voice of an old man and is often heard imploring."What is the meaning of this?" Imparter of many sage observations. Involved more in the latter-years of the scene. His extensive site of excellent poetry and writings is here.

Moe Pineapple: One of the original voicejailers.

Joe Sledgehammer: (BOX 8819) One of the core members of the voicejail scene. his name is taken from the short-lived TV comedy show Sledgehammer. Ran 'Voicemail Security'. Rather obsessed with Babylon 5, In his voicejail days worked at a liquor store in Mountain View, CA known as... 'the liquor store'. He lived in an apartment above the store in his very cool swinging bachelor pad. Can make voice sound like that of underground radio personality Joe Frank

Mr. 1:15: (BOX 8817) (aka 'Steve', aka Alexander T. Newport): The resident stoner/philosopher of the group. Mr. 1:15 ran Club Manic-Depression on the system where he frequently read poetry, spewed venom and inner peace alternately and railed against conformity, 'the illusion', and the human race in general.

Mr. Chemist: (aka Scott or Scotty) Not an actual homosexual, but quite often playing one on the telephone.An actual chemist, he also adopted the alter ego 'Penis Boy', Mr. Chemist's young ward. Mr. Chemist did both voices of himself and Penis Boy, taping and speeding up one voice and then interacting with it as the other on his outgoings.

Psycho Jack: A Frequent Conversational companion to Mr. 1:15. Was set on becoming a writer during the voicejail years. Now runs a fine blog on the net.

Ronald Redball (BOX 8103) (aka Will, Bill, Billy or 'The Whetherman'): The bad boy of the system, known for manic creativity, obnoxious frenzied clowning, and blunt crudeness. His box was at times called 'The Trash Line' or 'The Global Maverick Society''. Does multiple character voices for The National Cynical Network. Now runs TeamRedball on Myspace.

Voicejail Betty: The 'Greek Chorus' of the show, the automated voice you hear giving prompts and time stamps for messages and saying 'message.

How can I hear the show over the net?

You can listen to best of compilations through the NCN MVJ Webcast (note clicking the previous link should start up your assigned player on your computer and start the stream probably NSFW).

How can I email The National Cynical Network and the producer of the show?
By writing to voicejail@yahoo.com

 

 

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