Revenge of Publius
Back in June, Pink Floyd
fans on the Internet found their discussion on the Usenet newsgroup
alt.music.pink-floyd rudely interrupted by an interloper who identified
himself as "Publius". Using cryptic, melodramatic phrases,
Publius proclaimed that hidden clues in the band's "The Division
Bell" album artwork, music and lyrics comprised a riddle - an Enigma'
- and that there was a unique reward' in store for the person who unraveled
it. For two months, Publius bedeviled Floyd followers with his droppings,
and was dismissed as a loudmouthed lunatic - until, three days after
Publius promised a public sign of his truthfullness', the words ENIGMA
PUBLIUS' appeared in the stage lights during a Pink Floyd concert at
New Jersey's Meadowlands Arena. Since then, newsgroup followers have
been electronically tracking Publius and his clues, trying to solve
the musical mystery that may or may not even exist. The band, meanwhile,
will neither confirm nor deny anything related to the entire phenomenon.
Enigma sleuths were given
another very public, very cryptic clue to investigate at the band's
October 27 [should be 20th, ES] Earl's Court show in England, which
was broadcast as a Pay-Per-View special in the U.S. on November 1. At
the beginning of Another Brick in the Wall (part II)', the word "ENIGMA",
printed in large, spiky black letters and surrounded by seemingly random
mathematical equations, appeared on a transparency projected behind
the band, only to be hastly scribbled out by a phantom hand seconds
later. Once again, the mysterious messenger Publius had predicted this
new signal in the Usenet group long before its appearance on stage.
Days after the Earl's Court incident, fans reported the words "Enigma
Publius" cropped up in a new artwork accompanying the recently
released A Momentary Lapse of Reason' MiniDisc, and that, when played
backwards, a passage in Lapse's "Sorrow" sounds uncannily
like "Enigma Publius".
"These signals were
very conclusive", says enigma-tracker Craig McGee. "With the
connection to "A Momentary Lapse of Reason", it looks to me
like the enigma is an idea the band had years ago that is just now panning
Meanwhile, Publius himself
posted more encouragement to the newsgroup on Sunday, November 27. The
message held a hidden anagram which, decoded, spelled POLES APART, the
title of a track from "The Division Bell".
Are Publius and his Enigma
on the level, speaking surreptitiously on behalf of Pink Floyd? Or is
the band only getting involved now, capitalizing on the unexpected attention
and milking the mystery for all it's worth? For the latest information,
theories and clues, read the Usenet newsgroup alt.music.pink-floyd (you'll
need Internet access through America Online, CompuServe, Delphi or an
independent local provider) and watch for messages with "Publius"
in the subject line.