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Hello everyone!

 

Unfortunately, I didn't know Muse in 2005. But I have learnt that they organised a big treasure hunt with anagrams for the release of the album Black Holes and Revelations. This page of Microcuts.net is a very good example of the process: http://www.microcuts.net/uk/news/archives/2005/04/

 

When I read this, or comments from people who participated in this treasure hunt, who spoke to Matthew via AIM, I tell myself that it must have been really amazing... Fans must have had so much fun trying to find the clues and the meaning of the anagrams...

 

I would like to discuss this here.

Do you think that Muse will organise a treasure hunt like this again? Maybe for the release of their upcoming album? It would be so great!

 

Then I would like to know if you were there in 2005 and if you followed the evolution of the treasure hunt? Could you explain how it was?

 

If only Muse could create other anagrams like Cold Aqua Tomato (qua@aol.com) or hide messages at different places in the world (like the signed bike in Ohio)!

 

I think that all this would be a funny different way to promote their next album, and the fans would definitely be part of it!

 

Thank you very much, I would like to know what you guys think about it.

elmex :)

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There was the stickers before the release of T2L, but that never led to anything. Hell, I don't think anyone knows if that was ever actually related to Muse or not. I wonder what they were for.

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Didnt know Muse back in 2005, but I remember something similar to a treasure hunt during the release of The Resistance. Parts of United States of Eurasia were hidden around the world or something like that.

Musewiki article: http://www.musewiki.org/Ununited_States_of_Eurasia

 

I thought it was very clever, so I would love to see something like that again.

 

Thank you for the link! I am reading it right now. :)

 

 

There was the stickers before the release of T2L, but that never led to anything. Hell, I don't think anyone knows if that was ever actually related to Muse or not. I wonder what they were for.

 

Thanks! I am going to looking for it too!

 

So they seem to do something special for the release of every album. It would be great if they found something special for the next one too!

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The closest thing for T2L was that shit Connection thing to unlock IS. I'd like to see something similar to the Lord Kelvin thing to promote the next album.

 

I wouldn't, I'd rather see something like Project Eurasia. As in bigger, with more people involved, with a "connection to the real life" thing. Not just a social network business (which was perfect for two SBE tickets, mind).

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The Project Eurasia thing was good fun!

 

I agree. I remember how exciting was the release of TR. The Bank of Muse was good, too. But the rewards could be better.

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Everything they do now is related to social media and much less interesting. I hope that's just a phase they are going through and we'll get better things for the next album. Would be nice to see something like ununited states again.

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Everything they do now is related to social media and much less interesting. I hope that's just a phase they are going through and we'll get better things for the next album. Would be nice to see something like ununited states again.

 

It feels like everything like this has to go through Twitter, Facebook, et all, as if they monopolise these things. They seem to have taken the fun and imagination out of it a little.

 

Either that or I just want an excuse to delete my profiles.

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Everything they do now is related to social media and much less interesting.

 

I am sure they could use social media intelligently to create exciting and stimulating challenges -- in my opinion, the issue, rather, is that the straightforwardness of what needs to be done to unlock content nowadays makes it more difficult to see it as something more than a boring marketing campaign.

 

The contrast between the 2009 treasure hunt and the recent "retweet to unlock Starlight" campaign is particularly striking, I find.

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They have a lot of good ideas, but maybe have trouble executing them. They seem to have technology problems an awful lot, like with the presales and that Orb game thing for example. Glitchy as hell.

 

The Eurasia project must have taken a lot of time and expertise that maybe they didn't have for T2L. Promotion in general of T2L was a bit wtf. I hope for the next album they will come up with something really cool and put a lot of time and planning into it.

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Is it known who executed ununited states? Some external company, or a crew member (or members)?

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Thanks!

 

The connectome thing was created by http://endlesshack.com/, which looks like they know more about making websites than organising treasure hunts. So maybe they should have a company like Six to Start do it again.

But I guess it's mainly that muse should decide to actually do a proper treasure hunt, instead of just trying to get as many social media followers as possible.

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Unfortunately, nowdays, the "viral advertising" thing has gotten so out of hand, it feels like it's not value added to do the fun stuff for fans anymore.

 

Why spend money and cater to current fans, when you can have those same fans retweet something a million times, to the tune of free advertising? :(

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Thank you for all your answers. I am sure that Muse could organise a treasure hunt like the one from 2005 or Ununited States of Eurasia.

I was just wondering if we could ask them on Twitter for example? If many fans asked them, maybe they would see it and think about it? What do you think?

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Thank you for all your answers. I am sure that Muse could organise a treasure hunt like the one from 2005 or Ununited States of Eurasia.

For sure, Ununited was created in just one week afterall.

I was just wondering if we could ask them on Twitter for example? If many fans asked them, maybe they would see it and think about it? What do you think?

Nah.

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For sure, Ununited was created in just one week afterall.

 

I didn't know this! One more reason for us to keep hope!:)

 

Nah.

 

Yes, I agree it would be better if they created it "by themselves" on their own initiative, without being asked.

Edited by elmex43

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Found this old thread, and by coincidence I found my account of the AustinCrew's adventures with Muse anagrams from 2005. Good times! More reasons to love this band! Not sure if the photo links still work though. And remember, this was before smartphones!

 

 

This is my narrative of the adventures of a bunch of Muse fans at the last stop of the Muse tour in Austin. I expect it to turn out rather verbose: I don’t do concise. And anyway, I need the catharsis, and to record it all before time can erase all the memories. (Never!)

 

 

The cell phone began ringing almost as soon as I turned it back on, on arrival at the Austin airport. It had been pouring in Seattle when I met up with Jordan at the First Class check-in desk-----gotta love those mileage plan tickets! We learned of the special security line for first class passengers and had to convince the TSA screeners there that we carried valid First Class tickets. As we journeyed south from SeaTac, rising above the cloud layer, we circled around Mt. Rainier, which looked close enough to touch. The flight attendant was convinced that Jordan, in his usual rock-band tee, pinstriped suit jacket, and torn jeans, was actually Jamie Kennedy. A brief layover in Dallas, then on to Austin…and Muse!

 

As we waited for Chanel/Satan and the MuseMobile to pick us up, Manuella/ocean5, my East Coast MuseMom counterpart, called and excitedly related something about codes, a bike, and Houston. It took a few minutes to sort out the convoluted tale of messageboard Musers in England who had received and deciphered encoded emails from the elusive Qua, spelling out the location of the prize, a bike. After a quick drive back to downtown Austin, surviving threats of “I will cut you!” shouted by an irate driver who disapproved of our meandering style on the highway, we checked into our hotel, chosen both for reasonable rates and a location about five blocks from the Austin Music Hall. Manuella then called back with more info. She had gone online to confirm the existence of the Gerald Hines School of Architecture at the University of Houston, the purported location of the MuseBike, and MapQuested the route from our hotel to the university. Sharing this with the rest of the group, the roadtrippers Satan/Chanel, canuxfan44/Brian, and hunnytodabee/Jess, plus Brian’s friend and my travel companion Jordan (famous for his bootleg video clip of “Debase Manson’s Grog” and shouted “Cover me! Cover me” on same)-----we all looked at each other for about two seconds and said as one: Let’s go!

 

So the Five, later to be know as the Fellowship of the Bike, emptied the trunk of Chanel’s car in anticipation of some precious cargo, piled into the Camry, stocked up on truly nutritious snacks and filled the gas tank (Texas gas is CHEAP! Thank you, GWB.) at a local minimart, and set off at dusk for Houston 2 ½ - 3 hours away.

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Thanks to the near-constant liaison with Manuella via cell phone, we found our way out of Austin and quickly were in the Middle of Freaking Nowhere, Texas, passing such infamous towns as Katy (childhood home of Renee Zellweger) and LaGrange (“They got a lot of nice girls, ah!”) About 40 miles from Houston, Manuella advised us that there had been a post on the “New Anagrams” thread, calling for any Houston-area Muser to PM the poster for directions to OUR PRIZE! Now with a renewed sense of urgency, and cursing Brian, Jordan and Jess for spending a half hour getting food in the minimart, we sped (and I mean sped! Damned construction detours and Texas State Patrol cars….) on to Houston, finding the university at about 11:30 PM with Manuella’s ongoing navigational help via cell. We parked right in front (well, actually behind) the School of Architecture building and the five of us piled out of the car and ran madly around the building in search of a bike rack. And there…on the opposite side of the building…was a rack…with…one bike.

 

 

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I could tell by the screaming from the guys, who had reached it first (give me a break; I’m old!) that WE had found The Bike, and found it first! Brian quickly turned the tumblers of the lock to the numbers determined from the encryptions and …the lock opened! The MuseBike was OURS! DCP_4374.jpgIMG_0657.jpgIMG_0656.jpg

Of course at this point we were all shrieking like banshees and giddily jumping up and down, prompting a passing Campus Security guard to inquire suspiciously if we were all quite drunk. We convinced him, perhaps due to my “older and wiser” presence, that we weren’t drunk, just excited. We all took turns riding the bike around the plaza IMG_0659.jpg

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and a couple of passing students took some group photos of The Five, with a sign acknowledging Manuella as honorary member of the Fellowship. IMG_0661.jpg

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All the while, Jordan recorded the event with video on his digital camera.

 

Our next task was to somehow secure a mountain bike in the trunk of the Camry for the 3-hour drive back to Austin. Lacking proper tools to disassemble the bike, we managed to get most of it in the trunk, tied down with some twine I found on the architecture building loading dock and a small roll of duct take (of course, duct tape!) cadged from the Austin minimart. DCP_4375.jpg

 

Back on the freeway, now with no urgency and more mindful of details like speed limits, we retraced our path toward Austin. In the middle of the flat Texas bleakness, just past the turnoff to Flatola (I’m not kidding), we heard the unmistakable flumpeta-flumpeta-flumpeta of a blown tire. The right front---good thing Chanel was minding her speed, or the Fellowship AND The Bike could have ended up in the ditch. As the group surveyed the damage, I called AAA; a truck should be available in 45 minutes or so. Well, by now it’s 2:30 AM; we had planned to be at the University of Texas campus, 30 miles from Austin, by 11 AM to try to win mtvU Meet and Greet passes. So now with renewed sense of urgency, we undid our jerry-rigged bike tie-down job and extracted the jack and spare from the trunk.

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Even with two cranking on the tire iron, one of the lug nuts would not budge. DCP_4381.jpg

So for no apparent reason we all began to dance about in the middle of the lonely highway, “mobile phones” open and glowing like so many fireflies, screaming out the lyrics to Blackout---and effectively flagged down the tow truck approaching from the opposite direction. Using his pneumatic tire iron, the tow truck driver succeeded in removing the remaining lug nut, mounted the spare tire, and promptly broke off three of the lugs. Crap; we’re screwed. Too risky to drive 45 miles on the highway on two lug nuts; so he mounted the disabled Musemobile (“MUSE OR BUST” was never so prophetic!) on the tow-truck platform.

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Fortunately the cab accommodated –very cozily—five passengers, and we rolled in to the hotel parking lot in Austin at about 5 AM. With sleep now a top priority, we retired to our respective rooms and collapsed.

 

 

The adrenaline rush from the night’s events kept sleep at bay for a while, so I set to writing the gift card inscriptions for my contributions to a gift basket for the band. Chanel deserves credit for the concept of a treasure hunt for Muse with encrypted clues, reinforced by Tom Kirk’s PM pronouncement of “Brilliant!” when Chanel let him in on our plans. Compromised by fatigue, my words probably made little sense, but oh well.

 

Revived by seven hours of sleep (in a row!) and a hot shower, wanting to assure that our treasure hunt would come off as planned, and also wanting to arrange a group photo of the Austin Five with the bike and the band, I was able to contact Tom Kirk. I excitedly told Tom that we had successfully recovered the Houston bike and asked about photo ops and our planned treasure hunt. Somewhat noncommittal due to uncertainty about the timetable for the day’s events, Tom suggested that we try to get their attention when the band arrived at the venue at about 5 PM.

Edited by L.
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At about 2 PM I walked the quick five blocks to the venue, the Austin Music Hall, a converted warehouse, where I took over placeholding in line from Jess so she could go back to the hotel for a nap and shower. She had gotten to the venue by 10 AM after very little sleep, and secured our group’s place in line, second behind a personable and very sunburned lad with pale blond hair, and in front of aur0rabells/CJ, whom we had talked to on line prior to traveling to Austin. Her friends emiko45/Lianne, Falling Away With Kiernan/Kiernan, and yasthebruin/Yasmina, from Ohio, Missouri, and Paris (France, not Texas!) respectively, had gone out to Texas State University to try to secure Meet & Greet passes. As the line grew, we whiled away a couple of hours chatting and meeting Musers from all over. I finally got to meet Lianne, Kiernan, and Yas when they joined our group near the head of the line. They had succeeded in winning a pair of M&G passes and decided that Yas, who would return soon to France, and CJ, who had held their spots in line all day, would be the ones to go. Chanel arrived on TheBike , and eventually Brian and Jordan strolled over, after several polite motherly calls urging them to haul their sorry asses out of bed. Shortly after 5, the band’s motor home pulled in to the area beside AMH where the crew buses were parked. A couple of security guards stood between the buses and the line of fans, separated by a few sawhorse barriers. We saw Tom and the band leave their bus and head toward the loading dock area at the back of the venue. Thinking she could catch the eye of one of them (and unfortunately urged on by me), Chanel rode TheBike past the barriers toward the buses. A burly security guy felt it necessary to flying-tackle her from behind with no warning, bending the bike frame and causing some nasty bleeding scrapes to Chanel in the process. Then the cretin guard had the gall to complain that he had hurt himself. Happy 24th birthday, Chanel; a flat tire, a disabled car, and now this.

 

A group who had won the chance to play poker with Muse in a radio station contest were escorted into the building, while the rest of us resumed our wait in line. After a while the poker players emerged and soon we could hear Muse’s sound checks begin, including Sing For Absolution, Space Dementia and Microcuts; needless to say we were thrilled to think that we would hear these in the concert. Six o’clock, the designated hour for the Meet&Greet, came and went as soundchecks continued, easily audible to those of us out front. I asked a venue security gal to please let Tom Kirk know that we were out front with TheBike, hoping of course to be let in with the M&G people for our group photo. A bit of confusion and some tears ensued when CJ was not let in with the M&G group, as her name was not on the list; fortunately this was quickly cleared up and she went in with the rest. Inside, Matthew confided to Yas and CJ that two more bikes remained hidden in Austin! After the return of the M&G’ers, we waited a while more out front with TheBike, now wondering where we would put it during the concert.

 

 

At this point Tom came out to the crowd in line, to my amazement looking for me.

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He brought something for me from the band, a small gift that means so incredibly much to me: a yellow Absolution tee with Chris, Dom, and Matthew’s autographs, inscribed with “To Musemom”.

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Happy Mother’s Day! I nearly wept, but managed to hold it together to share a brief conversation with Tom, about the US release of OOS (probably as a double album with Showbiz) next fall, and the fact that the Hullabaloo DVD will probably not be released in US format.

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I gave Tom a copy of our encoded treasure hunt clues, and all too soon he went back inside. But by then it was 7 PM, time to open the doors of the venue. I gladly endured the pat-down search to enter, knowing that I had TWO cameras, mine and Jordan’s, in the bottom of my purse, beneath a false passage in the lining. (I may be old but I’m crafty!) We raced down to the rail, securing our positions front and center. I spotted Bjorn Agren from Razorlight at the band catering area beside the stage and said hello; he remembered meeting me in Maryland, where Brian and Jordan played Nintendo with him at the mtvU village. An hour’s wait, then 45 minutes of Razorlight’s set passed quickly enough, made a bit more interesting by watching Chris, Dom and Tom watching Razorlight from the wings. Then the roadies set up the stage for Muse as our pulses quickened almost unbearably.

 

The recorded music stopped after what seemed an eternity of waiting, and Muse commanded the stage, in every sense of the word. They launched straight away into “Debase Manson’s Grog”, by now familiar to us due to online bootlegs; Matthew attacked his guitar like a man possessed. Dom grinned through the entire set, at one point taking the mike and telling the crowd how much fun they had had in Austin and thanking the audience for their response. The usually immobile Chris (except for his whiplash neck motion) was replaced by a very animated Chris, clearly enjoying himself and moving all around the stage. Two or three times Matthew ventured out onto speaker stacks near the front corners of the stage on either side, playing his Mansons like a madman within inches of the fans. And they played the setlist of my dreams: Debase Manson’s Grog; Newborn; Hysteria; Sunburn; The Small Print; Citizen Erased; “Pee Candle”; Butterflies and Hurricanes; Thoughts of a Dying Atheist; TIRO; Plug in Baby; Bliss; and as an encore Apocalypse Please, Microcuts, and Stockholm Syndrome.

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As usual closer Stockholm Syndrome moved into an extended “outro”, Matthew disappeared off to the side of the stage to probe our psyches with otherworldly guitar effects. Meanwhile, Chris and Dom gleefully began to trash Dom’s kit,

IMG_0695.jpgDom stacking the drums and Chris spearing them mercilessly with his bass.

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No doubts that this was the end of the concert and of the tour.

 

 

At times during the performance the crowd surged forward, crushing us in front against the rail; it was all we could do to maintain a bit of space to breathe. A kind security guard (apparently not necessarily an oxymoron) gave a cold bottle of water to Lianne, who didn’t let a nasty case of tonsillitis prevent her from coming all the way from Ohio. One particularly pushy and rude guy behind us was rewarded with the sole of my left shoe in his groin; you’re welcome, idiot. I may look like a mild mannered mom, but I will stand my ground to see Muse. I guess I’m getting too old for all this, but when I finally cross that line, just put me out of my misery! Battered and sore doesn’t matter when you are exhilarated beyond belief by the concert performance of a lifetime; I felt exhausted, drained, yet strangely peaceful. Muse will have trouble besting this performance, but I am confident they will find a way.

 

Afterward, a moderate crowd remained outside the venue, dwindling to about thirty after a rain shower soaked us. We fetched TheBike from Kiernan’s car, still hopeful for a group photo with Muse. We saw them go into their motorhome, and shortly after they strolled out to the fans behind the barrier, signing souvenirs and chatting briefly. When they reached where we stood, I showed them TheBike but there was too large a crowd to assemble us for a photo. Preoccupied by the whole anagram/encryption/treasure hunt phenomenon, I completely forgot to thank the lads for my Musemom shirt until Dom mentioned it; I can be such a dolt. DSC03459.jpg

Chris mainly just grinned, and lovable Dom gave me a warm hug.

 

Finally Matthew came over, in his coat with the fur-lined hood that he had worn in LA in December. I asked him if he had had time to figure out our coded message.

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I had intentionally made it fairly easy, knowing that they would have limited time to decipher the location of our gift baskets before the show. So instead Of “Yes, I figured it out”, Matthew blurted out in typical manic Bellamy fashion: “extendedstayamericaaustintownlake600guadalupestreet….FRONT DESK!” At about this point someone with the band arrived with our gifts and took them into the bus, so at least we knew they received them. They included, among other items, several CD mixes painstakingly selected for Muse by Jess, Jordan and Brian; some books of speculative fiction which we thought might interest Matthew; some premium Seattle coffee for Tom; and a bottle of 1978 Baron Phillippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet wine----an excellent vintage year! .

 

From here, my tale slips into anticlimax. As the band made it down to the end of the line of fans, they returned directly to their bus, despite saying they would take that elusive photo with us. Alas; but we still love them, understand their need to celebrate the end of the tour, and we still had TheBike!

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A few of us stayed for a while near the venue, and the younger members of the Austin Crew were eager for more clues to the whereabouts of the other two bikes. When asked if the “A” on the bike seat was a clue, Matthew had admitted enigmatically that it was. DCP_4356.jpg

But no setlists were distributed after the show as they had been at other venues, so we had little to go on in our quest. Jordan took off on TheBike to explore downtown Austin. Tired and dreading a 4:30 AM departure for the airport, I returned to the hotel for a shower and a brief nap. Kiernan kindly drove Jordan and me to the Austin airport, then headed out on her 12-hour (well, 14-hour, but that’s her tale to tell) drive home to Missouri. We slept through the flights, somehow managing to awaken long enough to change planes in Dallas. My husband, ever patient with his Musefan wife, picked us up from SeaTac and listened incredulously to our escapades. We were back in our lovely home of green trees, blue water, white mountains and wet skies, at least until the next Muse tour.

 

Edited by L.
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Wow, the photo links worked! I found the original document while clearing out old files on my work computer. It was originally published on MuseLive but was archived/deleted years ago. A bit of Muse history recovered!

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