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March 28, 2002
10:35 PM   Subscribe

You may have heard of the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the synching of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz. But this isn't the only mystery that surrounds the band. The Publius Enigma is the story of an anonymous Usenet poster connected to the band in some way that claimed that The Division Bell album held a very tangible and real prize. Was it a cosmic mystery of an esoteric nature or just a gimmick to sell records?
posted by euphorb (26 comments total)

 
There has been much theorizing about some Stanley Kubrick/Pink Floyd connection as well, although I haven't looked into it in any detail. There's an angelfire site labelled 'Kubrick-Floyd' that I was going to link to, but they seem to have used up all their bandwidth.
posted by evanizer at 10:54 PM on March 28, 2002


This site looks like it has more recent info...and it has a message forum that, at first glance, appears fairly flame free.
posted by dejah420 at 11:46 PM on March 28, 2002


dejah: whoa, synchronicity. i was just about to post the same two links, your post didn't show until i was previewing my own...
posted by juv3nal at 11:49 PM on March 28, 2002


This looks, like the Publius thing is debunked. I'm not a diehard Pink Floyd fan so some of the things they were talking about in the conversation went over my head but I did get this.

The lighting guy who knows the band personally knows nothing about the enigma thing. He did, however, suggest that the band do a puzzle on the Internet. This was shotdown but apparently, possibly, picked up by a groupie who would have known the band well enough to predict things before it would happen.

I just skimmed it so that may not be accurate. The most important thing that came out of it, that I got, was that bands don't have time to make their music all cryptical. While we would think looking for seemingly unobvious things in videos/songs would bring significant results, we have to remember bands are busy performing and those little things are done by some guy sitting in front of his Mac.
posted by geoff. at 11:53 PM on March 28, 2002


bands don't have time to make their music all cryptical
I think that most music is made superficial because the audience don't go any further but some music is made so that only two or three people who put in the effort can get it. That's the point. It's a reward.
posted by holloway at 2:25 AM on March 29, 2002


Never heard of any of this "Publis" stuff until now, but I've always been one of the few PF fans to love The Division Bell... it's often criticized as the band's (with or without Waters) most "pop" effort, and cast aside by the die-hards as trivial.

I've found that for me at least, it's one of those albums that you discover something new every time that you listen to it. There really are quite a few layers of meaning running throughout, and some of the little audio clips inserted here and there are quite baffling.

This article does a good job at scratching the surface... if you've any kind of a fan, it's quite an interesting read.
posted by canoeguide at 3:12 AM on March 29, 2002


Don't forget about the backwards stuff on The Wall. (I actually thought it was '..old Vic, care of the funny farm..", but whatever...)

Way back when, my dad just about killed me for messing up his extremely expensive turntable needle-thingy trying to figure out what they were saying.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:27 AM on March 29, 2002


and there's always the super quiet "if you can hear this it means you're dying" thing on dsotm.
posted by juv3nal at 4:22 AM on March 29, 2002


Where abouts on the album juv3nal?
posted by kebab at 6:12 AM on March 29, 2002


I actually tried the Wizard of Oz thing. It was kinda cool, some neat alignments, but not mind blowing or anything. And, you know, the album ends about half-way through the movie.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:38 AM on March 29, 2002


This is the sort of thing that is a lot more interesting after you've smoked a few and are ready to see patterns and mysteries in everything.

Like the time I swore the trees were growing in a perfect circle around me...
posted by pracowity at 7:55 AM on March 29, 2002


Actually, juv3nal, it says "I never said I was frightened of dying." Another 'urban legend'.

And i take offense at Division Bell being considered Pink Floyd.

(I'm not trolling. Don't hit me. Ow. Stop. I'm sorry, i'm sorry. I take it back.)

(no I don't.)
posted by cosmicmouse at 8:49 AM on March 29, 2002


I think that most music is made superficial because the audience don't go any further but some music is made so that only two or three people who put in the effort can get it. That's the point. It's a reward.

Ugh. If music is "superficial," it's the fault of the listeners? No, let's not blame the artists. They're just trying to speak to the two or three Elect Few who Get It.

I'm as big a dick as anyone, but this is a particularly misanthropic viewpoint that manages to insult both musicians and listeners. Pass.
posted by Skot at 9:03 AM on March 29, 2002


I think it's "And I'm not frightened of dying, any time will do, I don't mind". It was the doorman a Abbey Road studios, wasn't it?
posted by Grangousier at 9:56 AM on March 29, 2002


And i take offense at Division Bell being considered Pink Floyd.

Amen! Momentary Lapse was the last one that could even come close, and it really shouldn't count, either.
posted by ivey at 11:15 AM on March 29, 2002


I think it's "And I'm not frightened of dying, any time will do, I don't mind". It was the doorman a Abbey Road studios, wasn't it?

There's more too, something like "why should I be frightened of dying, you gotta go sometime"

I seem to recall reading that it was either a drunk or vagrant that they found and decided to record in the street and add to the album.

Someone said that it's only audible at high volumes... which makes me wonder, it's pretty clear to me. Or maybe that's why my neighbours are bashing on my door constantly.
posted by selton at 11:45 AM on March 29, 2002


A-and the "There's no dark side of the moon, as a matter of fact it's all dark" bit at the end of my vinyl copy is missing from my CD.

According to the exhaustive factlist in Q magazine, April 1993 (20th anniversary) it was definitely Abbey Road's doorma (named as Jerry Driscoll). So there.
posted by Grangousier at 12:07 PM on March 29, 2002


"doorman"

Obviously.
posted by Grangousier at 12:20 PM on March 29, 2002


I'm planning on trying this out, but are you supposed to turn off the sound on the movie, or have both the movie sound and the music on at the same time?
posted by tomorama at 12:59 PM on March 29, 2002


Sound down on the movie.

I just tried the last part of 2001 with Echoes, and it sort of works. Needs a bit of tweaking.

Movie remixes. Hmm.
posted by Grangousier at 1:16 PM on March 29, 2002


Actually
The doorman bit about dying is a different audio piece than the whisper that people think is 'if you hear this you're dying...'

That whisper is female, and during Great Gig in the Sky, and says what i said it said. I say. But it does sound a lot like it, and considering the song it is in, it makes sense that people would mistake that.

The other quote form the doorman is muffled somewhere in a different song or place. I forget where. It's been awhile.

There are several people talking in the background of DSotM, including Paul and Linda McCartney.
posted by cosmicmouse at 1:28 PM on March 29, 2002


According to the same Q piece, Mr and Mrs Macca were interviewed but didn't make the album. Although Wings guitarist Henry McCulloch did.

("I don't know, I was really drunk at the time."
posted by Grangousier at 1:48 PM on March 29, 2002


Here's a link to the lyrics from Dark Side of the Moon.

It (unlike) the cd insert I have has the asides/voices on it. And it also proves my memory is pretty poor at the best of times...
posted by selton at 2:07 PM on March 29, 2002


I don't know, when I picture Dave Gilmour I see a middle-aged guy in a houseboat trying to come up with some cool sounding riffs and playing with some new pedal or processor that was just shipped to him and trying hard not to sound too pretentious when writing lyrics. From what I know of him, he's just not this Crowleyian hermetic speaker of riddles. He's a musician with a nice gimmick and did some really interesting stuff 20-35 years ago. This 'enigma" seems to build off of the well engineered and crafted mystique 60's musicians built for themselves. Bowie was notorious for this.

I wonder what the prize would have been if this was real? Perhaps the ebow he used in that song in the DB album? Wouldn't it be sad if this was true? A concept album with a hidden concept by a Willy Wonka like madman waiting for you with a secret prize.
posted by skallas at 4:26 PM on March 29, 2002


If music is "superficial," it's the fault of the listeners? No, let's not blame the artists.
Most music is a commercial venture. I'm not sure whether that's insulting to the musicians and listeners but regardless it works. You're actually bothering to debate this?
They're just trying to speak to the two or three Elect Few who Get It.
Oh stop being ridiculous. I never said they were elected, chosen, or whatever elitest garbage you're trying to put on me. I did say that making obscene amounts of detail is something that some people feel is worthwhile.
posted by holloway at 5:29 PM on March 29, 2002


ack! and here i thought i escaped all this. ok, here's the run down for most of what i can sauce out.

first the synching of oz/dsotm: it's an urban legend that this was set up on purpose, however, if you want to try it, you start the cd on the lion's third roar. personally, i think that once in a while you have to back away from the bong. you can find info here, and here.

the enigma: again, i think this was a load, but you'll probably still find loads of people attempting to sort it out. one of the popular rumors has it that during the time (1994) that "publius was posting to alt.music.pink-floyd, pf's drummer, nick mason was playing around with computers and posted the messages himself, of course there's also held beliefs that the person was a stage hand, a CIA agent... oh, pick one or a theory, you'll likely find someone who holds that same idea. anyway, to somehow credit the idea that publius was tied to the band was that in july of that year there was a "mysterious" message of "ENIGMA PUBLIUS" flashed during one of their shows, and those words were part of some of the artwork for the aMLOR mini-disc released later that same year. you'd probably find it rather horrifying the lengths to wit some of the "enigma hunters" have gone with this one (can you say obsessive boys and girls? i knew you could.) if you're really interested, the generally agreed home of this discussion is at:http://folk.uio.no/ericsp/floyd.html ... and happy hunting!

for the Kubrick/Pink Floyd link, i believe kubrick had asked floyd to use the song "echoes" for his 2001, but was flatly denied by roger waters. on this point, i really think i could be wrong, it's only as i recall.

Those weird floyd music moments: "There is no dark side of the moon really: matter of fact, it's all dark," the famous quote from dsotm when it fades out, that voice belongs to the doorman jerry discoll and it was stoned-out road manager "roger the hat" who gets his maniacal laughter recorded for all posterity. during the "great gig" it's a woman's voice saying: "I never said I was frightened of dying.'' And for the wall, that backwards message happens to be: "Congratulations. You have just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont."

if you're really interested in all the silly and bizarre things floyd has ranged with their music, i'd suggest starting with the 'unofficial pf faq.'

i am going to dunk my head in cold water now, brrr! i'm a dork.
posted by eatdonuts at 9:02 PM on March 29, 2002


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