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Steve O'Rourke and Marc Brickman - 1995 - Brain Damage exclusive Print E-mail

HAVE YOU GOT IT YET - THE PUBLIUS ENIGMA CONTINUED...

Interviews by Sean Heisler, Brain Damage contributor; Analysis by Sean Heisler, assisted by Eric Kent Haase-Howell. Originally appeared in Brain Damage magazine, issue 38.


BACKGROUND:

During Pink Floyd's North American Tour, anonymous messages began appearing in the "alt.music.pink-floyd" internet newsgroup. These articles, which came through an anonymous contact service in Finland, were signed "Publius" and used the title "THE MESSAGE" or variations of that. Publius urged us to solve a mystery contained in The Division Bell and promised a tangible reward to the person or persons who accomplished this difficult task.

People in the newsgroup were scornful. Prank postings are common in Internet discussions, after all. However, in July, Publius promised a sign of his legitimacy, and at a designated time and place a signal would be given. Sure enough, at the show in New Jersey on July 18, 1994, the lights at the front of the stage flashed ENIGMA PUBLIUS. That sparked a frenzied speculative effort by some people in the newsgroup to figure out the nature of the puzzle. But, many people were still skeptical and some quite disgusted with our wild speculation. They said the signal must have been from a renegade technician or from someone on the Internet who had "hacked" into the stage computers to alter the programming.

Even among the believers, some suspected there was a prankish aspect to it. A prime suspect was Douglas Adams, the popular author of "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and friend of the band. He has been active on the Internet and previously helped the band name The Division Bell. He denied knowing anything about the Publius Enigma and said it didn't seem likely that Pink Floyd were involved. Because Publius told us to search the art, music and lyrics for information, another suspect was Storm Thorgerson, the designer of the album art and director for the High Hopes video.

At the end of the tour Pink Floyd performed a series of shows at Earls Court in London. The show of October 20 was telecast live to Europe and was taped for pay-per-view television in the U.S. Another signal had been promised by Publius, and once again a signal was made that his followers found convincing. The word ENIGMA was projected on the stage in large letters at the beginning of Another Brick In The Wall Part 2. It can be seen in the home video of Pulse, but it has been disguised a bit by the addition of some extra strokes on the letters.

Soon after the tour ended, a third clear signal was found in the MiniDisc release of A Momentary Lapse of Reason. On one photo in the booklet was the plain white capitalized text ENIGMA, matching the name PUBLIUS in another photo. That should have weakened skeptics' arguments that a hoax was being perpetrated only by the stage crew. But in fact it seemed to make no difference to them.

The pursuit of a solution continued through 1995 despite the fact Publius posted less often after the tour ended. He sent letters of encouragement on January 27th and August 2nd of 1995. At the time of this article some people feel that Publius has abandoned them. In magazine interviews about the release of Pulse, David Gilmour said he didn't know of any puzzle until people began asking him about it. He said there were no clues placed in The Division Bell.

That denial, the reduced feedback from Publius, and the many months of effort took their toll on the people who pursued a solution. Were we the victims of an elaborate prank by the band? Sean Heisler took on the task of finding some resolution to this affair. His remarkable investigation succeeded in getting some answers from people who were directly involved in the concert production. His telephone interviews with Marc Brickman and Steve O'Rourke, which appear here in condensed form, are intriguing to say the least.

Sean also talked to Mark Fisher, the lighting co-designer, and with Storm Thorgerson, but their comments were more confusing than revealing. Fisher seems to hold the same general conclusions as Brickman, but has no additional inside knowledge. Storm was immediately comfortable with using the term "enigma" to discuss artwork in The Division Bell, but he eventually made it clear that he wasn't aware of Publius's letters to the newsgroup. As usual, Storm had meanings in mind for the album, but if he incorporated more than his own artistic concepts, he's not saying so.

Did the signals come from Pink Floyd? Is there a real puzzle for the fans, was it just a joke, or some combination of those things? In two telephone interviews this past December, Sean Heisler asked Marc Brickman (the stage and light designer, concert producer and director of the Take It Back video) about those and other nagging questions.


INTERVIEW WITH MARC BRICKMAN

Marc Brickman: Actually the whole idea of doing something on the Internet was my idea. They took the idea and gave it to someone else. I was the one who sent those messages out, but I was told to do it. I started coming up on the board [posting anonymously to the newsgroup] about that time to say, "What do you think - that a massive amount of stage equipment suddenly programmed itself to say PUBLIUS ENIGMA?" [The believers thought Brickman had to be involved, but his letters to us were ignored because it wasn't clear that Brickman was writing them. The writer seemed to be just one more skeptic who was contemptuous of Publius and his followers.] ...I went up on the board and said that I designed the whole thing. You know, "I know exactly what was going on," because I have a feeling it was just a game.

Sean: A game that Floyd was playing?

Marc Brickman: Yeah. I think Douglas Adams... I think it really came out of some guy from Washington D.C., who used to be with the CIA or FBI or something, who was in the encryption game. He decided he wanted to do some kind of album cover, and he started talking to Steve O'Rourke. I think Steve O'Rourke... was going to try something on the Internet because he had been listening to me. And he got this guy, so this stuff can't be traced to where it comes from. And I know that Dave, for one thing, didn't even know how to sign on. But you know I found the whole thing to be childish toward the end. I had questioned programming the last message in the video. I wasn't going to do it. [laughing] I had to program it. No one else could do it. I was forced each time by O'Rourke.

Sean: Then there's no enigma? Gilmour didn't put anything in the music?

Marc Brickman: I don't know what they mean by enigma anyway. It sounds like Gilmour... What's an enigma? I don't know what they mean.

Sean: Well supposedly, beyond multiple interpretations of TDB there is a designed solution of some kind, and a prize to be had.

Marc Brickman: Well, Storm - did you talk to him live?

Sean: Yes, I did about a month ago.

Marc Brickman: There are certain people who like to puzzle others, and I see no rhyme or reason for it in my mind except for probably Steve O'Rourke. They were being tricky. Honestly I don't think that much thought goes into hidden meanings. I work for a lot of major stars: Paul McCartney, Genesis and I really don't think the way the fans do. I really don't seek that type of diversion, looking for symbols bands put in when they are writing this music. I think that a lot of people write this stuff and it just comes out. It is not really a conscious effort, and when you start making it a conscious effort, it becomes really trite. But they love to have fans looking into their different trivia. Now Nick Mason, I would say, is the only one.

Sean: That what?

Marc Brickman: Nick is a genius, I love him and he's very intelligent. He would probably be the biggest prankster. I think he could be behind the whole thing. I set him up on the Internet, and he is best friends with Douglas Adams. I personally think Nick's behind the whole thing.

Sean: Really?

Marc Brickman: Yeah. I think then he lost interest.

Sean: All those names have been brought up in the discussions in the newsgroup as possibly involved. Even you have been suspected.

Marc Brickman: Well yeah. Um, I think it's Steve O'Rourke, I think it was Steve and Nick, they put it together. Storm wasn't really around after the first part of the tour, until the Yankee Stadium show. I think it was in June when he showed up again. Then all of this started happening shortly after that. But really he was just on the perimeter. He was on the perimeter of the whole tour really. Then when they finished the tour and the live album was well under way, he kind of got back into it and I really wasn't around much anymore. I was pretty much there from January of 1994 until November of 1994.

Sean: So you don't know exactly who Publius is, then?

Marc Brickman: I don't think... to be honest with you I don't even understand it anymore. I mean I know there are all these clues and you are trying to look for something, but I think it has to do with well frankly, "the end of the day". So it must be the fans, right, it must be Syd. Right? [laughing]

Sean: Syd? Publius? [laughing] Yeah right... really it has to be ah, Nick or well, back to Storm. Could he be involved in this way?

Marc Brickman: I really don't think Storm is the Publius of the newsgroup. Some of the posts that I read were very eloquent - they knew what they were doing, they had to get the stuff coded. I mean, are you still seeing posts from Dave or Nick, or anybody?

Sean: No. Publius only posted twice the entire year to the newsgroup, compared to a year ago when they were posting very often.

Marc Brickman: Yes, they were bored and on the road. I set Nick up with a computer. Dave had a computer in his hotel room.

Sean: So were they watching the newsgroup?

Marc Brickman: I think Nick was, I was the one that was showing it to him right before we went to rehearsals in March of '94.

Sean: In the Momentary Lapse of Reason MiniDisc released about a year ago, are the words on separate pages: Publius and Enigma. Did you know that?

Marc Brickman: Oh... it's like "Paul is dead". [laughter] No, I don't know. It was then [in March 1994], it's the guy who's into this encryption business, maybe he did that album cover. Did Storm do it, or maybe they took some of his ideas? They probably stole some of his ideas. You know, the encryption guy, I don't know much about him, but here's a guy who's wired in. He was, I guess, one of the originators of the 'net. This is the way Steve puts it, right? He was a researcher, and he was into doing something with a major rock band, I forget what it was... They have some ties to NASA, Pink Floyd does. They are able to do things like going to NASA, seeing launches all over the world. They are into fast cars and rocket ships. But, I definitely think this guy in Washington was trying to cash in on something. They had this idea of having an album cover where they would hide a puzzle.

This was his idea to encrypt it. Steve would have to run everything by Nick and Dave. I could see Dave saying, "it's fine with me", and maybe that he didn't want to be involved. Then Steve and Nick pursued this. They probably stole this guy's idea, they probably enlisted Storm to do some of this stuff, or whatever, from the history. Nick probably fed it. And then Adams probably got involved, and well... it was probably just fucking around to see where they could go with it, maybe because they were bored.

Sean: I see.

Marc Brickman: Yeah, I saw the posturing in the Publius posts. I really didn't understand the point, I really didn't. What I wanted to do was... to go out live on the Internet from every city... take our whole server out there and do the whole number. I wanted to bring phone lines out... I figured we would have a great thing. But it was not taken that direction. My idea for a puzzle was that each evening we'd take a piece of a frame, of a picture of a show and send it out [to the Internet], and basically over the tour the fans would have to assemble the pieces and figure out what it was, and there would be prizes given. The puzzle idea was my concept, that is why I am probably still pissed off.

Sean: Was this concept proposed during or after the recording of The Division Bell?

Marc Brickman: It was um, in February of '94, no - January of '94 when I proposed it. They were doing the final mixes then. They didn't even know what the Internet was.

Sean: Then you got them started within a couple months, correct?

Marc Brickman: Yeah, yeah.

Sean: Do you know then, did they design any sort of a puzzle at all?

Marc Brickman: While they were doing the album?

Sean: Yes. During or after.

Marc Brickman: I doubt it.

Sean: I mean do you think they ever did?

Marc Brickman: No... no... no.

Sean: So you think that the posts we got [from Publius] were meaningless?

Marc Brickman: Um, I think what happened was, they heard my idea. Then there was this guy from D.C. who approached them also. Steve O'Rourke heard my idea, and I think then this guy, he worked for the CIA, had more, or in Steve's mind more ah... see he was kind of a groupie, so he was more fashionable. So then he probably listened to what this guy had to say, took some of that and went to the band, and... like I said, Dave probably went "Do whatever you want to do." Nick probably went "Oh, this could be very interesting, we could take all this old stuff and come up with a... da da da da." So, you know I am sure it is Nick. I think that they just threw a lot of trivia out there, ‘cause I think Nick did something else with trivia and a game in the booklet for the show. The program. I remember seeing Nick writing that one evening. He would be asking 50 questions or something, and if people got the questions right, they would win something. So I mean that is the only time I ever saw somebody put a conscious effort toward a puzzle.

You have to understand that when you are on the road, you don't do a whole lot. You arrive in a city in a private jet, you get picked up and go to the hotel, get there about 2 or 3 o'clock, you either have a gig that night and you get ready for the sound check or you have the day off and you kind of hang around the hotel for a couple of hours and go out for dinner, get drunk, go to sleep and wake up in the morning, go shopping and go to the gig. [laughter] That is basically how you live and all you do. Very little can get done out there. I mean sure you'll communicate, do a little bit of computer stuff. Nick was running a business on the road anyway. Dave had his wife and kids out there. So, you know... they're not going to be sitting there making a puzzle up. [laughter] So you know... Rick's not involved and Steve is just busy doing the manager's thing. You really don't have the time.

I shot the music video [Take It Back] and I could barely get their attention, and there I was on the road. It was tough to even get a half hour meeting to talk about the video. So really... I just don't see how they consciously... I just think that Nick probably came up with something. They were probably just playing with the people to see what the responses were, and probably fed off that for a while. But it pretty much died, right? I mean you haven't heard anything?

Sean: Right, right. Nothing.

Marc Brickman: See, I think they just pretty much lost interest.

Sean: So you are pretty sure it is over with then?

Marc Brickman: I just think, you know, it's like, they were on the road and it gave Nick something to do. It was interesting you know, maybe after the road a little bit. But you know it's now a year after they have been off the road. How long has it been since it died?

Sean: Well, they posted last January and August, that is it.

Marc Brickman: That's it? January and August? OK, OK. That is vacation time, that is the holiday. Europeans traditionally take the month of August off, and January makes sense in that Nick he ah... that is when he first got back home from the holiday in Barbados last Christmas. We finished the tour in November and they all went away soon after as tax exiles. Nick and Steve and Rick all took off, except for Dave, the day after the concert from London. They weren't allowed back in England until January. [laughter] Because of taxes. So January makes sense because they just got back into the country and he [Nick] thought "I'll just check out the 'net". And then he got back into his normal life in London. Then the next time he had any time to think about it would probably have been the summer holiday.

Sean: Yeah, I see.

Marc Brickman: I mean I think they were just fucking with you. Not fucking with you, I mean, they really just weren't doing anything. I am sure it is just Nick.

Sean: So when you directed the Take It Back video, was there any sort of stuff included in the video that maybe you were told to do by anybody, maybe O'Rourke?

Marc Brickman: [laughing] No. No...

Sean: See, we were all scared at first that maybe someone was going off like, you know, "Pink Floyd and concept", looking into the concept, but we were having someone come to the 'net and telling us all this. And we started believing it when the signals were produced...

Marc Brickman: Yeah but, I was told to do those signals. You know, I was really pissed off the second time. The first time they did it, my wife just had brain surgery and I left the tour. I had just come back to New York. I actually didn't go to the show that night, I went to my room. I wasn't really up for doing the show. But I remember having to call someone up and tell them how to program that. I had it appear, I am the one who picked the position in the show, the time when it would come on too. I think it was during Another Brick in the Wall, where we would usually put in HEY TEACHER. [Witnesses reported to the newsgroup that it happened during Keep Talking.] I designed the front of the stage, where the lights allow you to put messages in. It was originally my idea. They wanted me to project it with the projectors, and I said I would just type it in on the front panels.

Sean: It was noticed that during Keep Talking that certain lights may have been grouped in three, a selection of three or four symbols were flashing noticeably brighter. Was there any concept in that?

Marc Brickman: No, it was really simple. The [programmed lights] symbols in the front matched the projections that go across the front - it was just an idea of design, that's all, about hieroglyphics.

Sean: Communication.

Marc Brickman: Communication, that's what the song was about.

Sean: Right.

Marc Brickman: Really that is all it is, it is really straight forward.

Sean: It has been suggested that the ENIGMA projection in the home video of Pulse looks like it has been messed with or enhanced.

Marc Brickman: No. No. At the beginning of Another Brick in the Wall, there is a clear sheet of gel where we scroll... usually the equations like it's in school. Then suddenly you see the hand come in and cross it all out - like the teacher going "It's all wrong, it's all wrong" - that's what that's all about. So we were told again that we had to write Enigma, and I told them "Fuck you" and it was like, "If you want to get paid, you better do it." [laughter] I have a girl that works for me, she's French, she doesn't even speak English. Every night she would change the slides, some nights we would say happy birthday to people. When my parents were in the audience they would write something. They wrote something for me one time referencing my hometown, Philadelphia. I mean it would change every night. Like when Dave's kids showed up, we would give them a piece of gel and they would write anything they would want, didn't matter. We put all the crews' names up there one night. Really, whoever wanted to put something up there, and the band never knew what was going on. It was Steve who told me to put ENIGMA up there, and Steve who told me to put PUBLIUS ENIGMA up in the Meadowlands [New Jersey]. So that is why I am saying it is between the guy in Washington and Nick and Steve, that is where it all came from.

Sean: I see.

Marc Brickman: You know, and they all lost interest. They were probably very blown away in how everyone analyzed it, they probably get a kick out of how the fans just do this kind of stuff. Sorry. [laughter] There was a guy named John something... he was head of the computer department at UCLA or something. I think he now has something to do with "Virtual Vegas" or something. Anyway, he was the guy who actually turned me on to the internet. He printed out the newsgroup back in January of '94. Printed out like two weeks worth of newsgroup stuff that I passed on to Nick, like at the end of January or beginning of February. And that is how they all got turned onto it.

Sean: So you don't think they threw things into final mixes or anything?

Marc Brickman: Like what?

Sean: Well I don't know. Like maybe the bridge parts in songs, like Poles Apart or High Hopes.

Marc Brickman: What do you mean, "bridge parts"?

Sean: Where there is that little section where ah, in Poles apart where you hear that "circus music"...

Marc Brickman: Like a merry-go-round?

Sean: Yeah.

Marc Brickman: That had nothing to do with this. That was just a sound they came up with. I mean the merry-go-round [spherical forms spinning causing poles], you know ‘Poles Apart'. I mean I don't know really. I have been to the boat [Dave's private recording studio]. I have been in the studio with them. Usually, they are never all together. Polly was really in charge [apparently, deciding who was authorized to hang around at the recording sessions] this time so a lot of people stayed away. Anyway, the mix was done, and I think that sequence of sounds is something Rick came up with. I actually don't think they would sit there and go... you know... It is much simpler than that. It has to be. If you sit around and think about what you are going to do, it doesn't really happen. It has to kind of flow. You know if you really look at it, with the postings in only January and August, and everything, I would be very, very, very shocked if it wasn't the way I am viewing it. ‘Cause I was pretty much in on what was going on. I was really close to Dave on the tour, you know. I was really close to Dave and Polly because I was the only one Polly pretty much liked. So we went to dinner a lot and hung out. And I would be out with Nick all the time. I would hang out with both of them all the time, have dinners with them. And I did ask them about Internet stuff from time to time. I remember Dave was like "Aw fuck off, I don't need to hear any of that." You know, he had some kind of, great, um, great line for it. [laughter]

Sean: So if there was some kind of puzzle that they had made up, you would have probably known about it anyway?

Marc Brickman: Well I would always ask Steve, and Steve would say "Oh, well I will let you in... ...Aw fuck off", you know. The thing is, if there really was something going on, he probably would have, but what he was doing to me was just fucking with me too. Like there really wasn't an end to the game and he just really didn't know where it went. They were just seeing where it went. And if it went someplace, then maybe they would have made an end to it. It just got really boring.

Sean: Everyone in the newsgroup is leery of what you have said, and are not quite certain if you really know what actually happened. I mean, some question if you really know or not if there was a puzzle or enigma actually designed. Do you think that there was something they actually put together?

Marc Brickman: No. No, Sean, no. I really don't. I mean I would have known something about it. Sean, they were just fucking with you guys. See... the prize, the game, a puzzle, it all came from me, back in, like I said in January or February of '94. And that was to do it live, but then at that moment it was to come back stage, or meet the band, you know, tie it in with the tour. See, that is where the original concept came up, but they will never admit that.

Sean: About the "Up Close" interview you were supposed to do... there was advertising on the radio that indicated you were going to do an interview and discuss the enigma, and the signals at the concerts.

Marc Brickman: Oh that, you know I never even heard that. What was that like?

Sean: Well, we thought you were going to reveal a lot, talk about the enigma, but they had only a sound bite it seemed, with you merely laughing questions off and saying the signals in the lights were of, I think, "some sort of cosmic intervention".

Marc Brickman: Well, they were sitting in the room with me, and I was snookered into doing this thing. I was angry at the whole thing really.

Sean: In Brain Damage Magazine, a person named Uncle Custard writes responses to the questions. Custard has been giving clues to the enigma. Do you know who Uncle Custard is?

Marc Brickman: I don't know, but I suspect [deleted] is behind this whole thing. He is one. [Sorry, but this segment had to be edited as we are under obligation not to reveal or allow to appear, speculation regarding the identity of Uncle Custard - ed.]

Sean: It has been suspected Dave may not be too involved, but he did know, that is for sure.

Marc Brickman: Yes. I will ask [deleted] about this stuff.

Sean: I heard that you got into a car accident?

Marc Brickman: Yeah, I almost got killed.

Sean: No shit. You are all right though, huh?

Marc Brickman: Yeah, just a little freaked out by it, how close I came, or why I didn't get hurt. Why I don't even have a cut, the window in the truck exploded, there was glass everywhere. [laughing] Glass was embedded in my hardbound notebook, I don't understand why it is not on my face. I just don't get it. [laughter]

Sean: I heard that Fisher is there visiting you?

Marc Brickman: Yeah, he is coming tomorrow. We are working on something together.

Sean: Have to do with Floyd?

Marc Brickman: No. No. I don't think they are going to go out, I don't know, I heard rumors of '97.


INTERVIEW WITH STEVE O'ROURKE

Sean: Frankly we in the newsgroup are still trying to figure out this puzzle. And obviously you guys have stopped posting, we ah.... just don't know if we should keep going?

Steve O'Rourke: We never posted. Ever, ever, ever. It didn't emanate from us, we never posted, I don't know.

Sean: How about when you told Marc to project those signals at the concerts?

Steve O'Rourke: Told Marc to project signals?

Sean: In the lights.

Steve O'Rourke: That's news to me. [laughter] Marc wasn't even there when those signals were projected. His wife was ill, he wasn't even there.

Sean: Right, he missed the first one, but he was at the Earl's Court projection.

Steve O'Rourke: No, no.

Sean: Do you then know of any "puzzle" at all? If you are not affiliated with it at all, do you know if there is a sort of puzzle?

Steve O'Rourke: I'm sure that someone will get to it at the end.

Sean: So there is some sort of a puzzle?

Steve O'Rourke: I'm sure, I'm sure that someone will get somewhere at the end of it.

Sean: At the end of it?

Steve O'Rourke: Yes, I'm sure someone will. It seems to me there's far too much going on in this for it to be of no value whatsoever. I am sure there is something at the end of it. However, I do know that Pink Floyd, myself, or Marc Brickman...

Sean: Or Nick Mason?

Steve O'Rourke: Have nothing - or Nick Mason - have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Sean: Really.

Steve O'Rourke: Right.

Sean: So is it fair to say maybe we should keep discussing it in the newsgroup? Maybe we should keep analyzing?

Steve O'Rourke: I mean ah, my son is... [laughter]

Sean: Oh really.

Steve O'Rourke: ...he's on it.

Sean: Have you read any, or much of the newsgroup yourself?

Steve O'Rourke: Yeah, oh yeah. I'm well aware of it all.

Sean: Really. Some of the analyzing...

Steve O'Rourke: My son, he keeps me up to date on it.

Sean: Really... [laughter] Can you make any sense of it yourself Steve?

Steve O'Rourke: Ah, I try not to. [laughter]

Sean: I was thinking, Steve, that you were going to say it was all a joke and that would be the end of it.

Steve O'Rourke: [laughing] Well if I felt that I would tell you that.

Sean: But it didn't emanate from some sort of encryptionist in Washington D.C. and you took the idea, and...

Steve O'Rourke: No.

Sean: Nothing like that at all.

Steve O'Rourke: No... Well not to my knowledge anyway. All right, I mean saying "no" as if to say that I have some other knowledge. I have no knowledge of the fact - if it did you know more than I do. [laughter]

Sean: So in other words there wasn't any sort of a conscious effort among Pink Floyd as they recorded The Division Bell, they never put any sort of a puzzle in it - within the music and lyrics and the artwork?

Steve O'Rourke: They may have done, but they haven't told me about it... but that wouldn't be the first time that they haven't told me something. [laughter] Anyway... Listen, have a good Christmas and keep plugging away...

Sean: Keep plugging away?

Steve O'Rourke: [laughter]

Sean: I will.

Steve O'Rourke: OK.


ANALYSIS:

First of all, there seems to be a direct contradiction about whether or not Steve O'Rourke ordered Marc Brickman to make the stage signals. On the other hand, Steve could have been speaking carefully to conceal the truth. "I didn't tell him to make a signal in New Jersey" could have a parenthetical meaning: "I told him to have someone do it" or, "I told him to have a projection done and he decided on his own to have someone do it with the lights". The implication about the signal at Earls Court could be, "I didn't tell Brickman to make a projection personally, it was a job for his French technician."

Brickman seemed much more straightforward, but was all too willing to give his opinions when asked what he was sure about. He was really "out of the loop" concerning what they were up to, and he wasn't being insincere or evasive about that. For example, when asked about the MiniDisc booklet, Marc seemed to be oblivious to it. He automatically compared it with obscure symbolism seen by Beatles fans looking at the Abbey Road album cover. He was quite unaware of the nature of that third signal, which was being prepared while he was arranging the second one (at Earls Court). We can see that they kept him out of it, as he says.

He said he didn't understand what was going on, or what an enigma is supposed to be. However, even though he's sure that an encryption expert discussed puzzle ideas with the band, he's equally sure of his opinion that it has always been a mere joke with no predefined solution to a puzzle.

He seemed to offer many contradictory opinions. He said that the band was likely to be bored while on tour and eager for a diversion, but then said they'd have been too busy to give much thought to a puzzle. He was sure he could tell what was on their minds regarding the enigma because he was always socializing with them during the tour. However, he also said that Dave and Steve put him off when he asked about the internet thing, and also had trouble getting a half hour of their attention to discuss the Take It Back video.

We think his conclusion is biased because of his irritation about not having his own earlier Internet puzzle idea adopted, and further his bitter experiences of being told to make signals to help the game that was used instead. A further blow was that they refused to let him into the game. It seems illogical that they'd keep him in the dark about something that didn't matter to them anymore. All in all, we can't trust his conclusion that the people behind this thing have given up all interest in it. Besides, O'Rourke told me that he was keeping up on it, and he laughed so much that it was obvious that he hadn't become completely bored with us.

We may never know if this began as a pure and simple prank. It looks as if it has remained of interest to whoever's behind it. It also looks as if they appreciate our efforts thusfar and want us to continue. O'Rourke said that if he felt it was all a joke, he'd have said so. Conclusion: We're still not sure where all this is going, but it's definitely more than a prank.

"I sometimes wonder
   Where do we go from here..."

 
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