Jul 6, 2011:
@ChieftanMews: I am stuck in here with some juicy footage: http://www.the-ziggurat.com – Please call a medic or psychiatrist for me immediately. ␄
Jul 10, 2011:
@ChieftanMews: RT: @heidybloom: @ChieftanMews you were edited out of the final cut, mews! Should I call a medic?
Jul 12, 2011:
@ChieftanMews: @nigelgod that buck, took me out of the final cut so I took Supercollider & some juicy footage before being banished to the Zigg. Stuck.Help
These are the first of a series of ongoing tweets where Chieftan Mews states that he was stuck in the Ziggurat with footage taken from The King of Limbs – Live From the Basement.
He accuses Nigel Godrich of removing him from the film and reviles that there is a performance of Supercollider missing from the version shown on television and online. This later proves to be correct when on November 9 Radiohead released The King of Limbs – Live From the Basement on Bluray/DVD with Supercollider as a bonus feature.
http://www.the-ziggurat.com is the web address for The Byzantine Ziggurat a abandoned part of the Radiohead website.
The Memory Hole on Radiohead’s Website describes it as thus:
This was the Strategic Defence Initiative. A ponderous structure stuck in hyperspace which we are not sure what to do with at the moment. But one day, it’s time will come, of that there is no doubt.
Since 2008 it simply contains a looped flash video of coloured blocks that was used as the background for InRainbows.com which hosted the ‘pay what you want’ store for In Rainbows. As of May 2011 the site is no longer available but you can view it here via the Web Archive.
On August 1st Servo uploaded a copy of the video from The Ziggurat to youtube and posted it to Chieftan Mew’s wall on Facebook.
Screenshot of Mew's Reply to a question on Facebook, August 1st, 2011.
Chieftan Mews replied on the 3rd of August with the following message:
My face emerges at the 30 second mark at the lower/central portion of the screen and then disappears a short time later. Please call a plumber or a lumberjack immediately.
( The Lumberjack is probably a reference to a classic Monty Python Sketch entitled The Lumberjack Song which continues the ‘Woods/Trees’ theme. For any poor souls who have never heard it you can watch it on youtube Here. )
Mews replied again to another fan with more details on the 5th of August:
Chieftan Mews I emerge from there, yes. A little more to the left of your red square and to the bottom at the 0:36 mark specifically.
5 August 2011 at 04:41
Chieftan Mews http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFYaYE-8tEQ&t=0m36s
5 August 2011 at 04:41
The link takes you to 0:36 in the video Servo uploaded to Youtube
Screenshot of 0:36 in The Zigguart video as posted to Youtube by Servo.
Looking to the bottom-left part of the screen you can see the shape of a head (The dark blue is hair and green for the face)
Starting from the 5th of August 2011 Mews sent a series of weekly tweets counting down from #10/10 to #1/10
On the 7th of October Mews tweeted that “Like you, once again, I am a free fugitive of life.” and followed by the statement that he had been “set free by Supercollider.”
Recently in January 2012 a link to the Ziggurat was added to Dead Air Space’s list of Links with the following note:
found this while looking for something else.. it is now my screen saver
Servo claims that the film loop on The Ziggurat has been changed and is different to the version he posted to Youtube and Facebook last year as it no longer contains the face at the 36 second mark. You can read his theory on this here at Ims Menoo.
The Byzantine Ziggurat itself has a long and interesting history.
A Ziggurat is a massive structures built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley and western Iranian plateau, having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding stories or levels. Wiki also gives the following:
Notable ziggurats include the Great Ziggurat of Ur near Nasiriyah, Iraq; the Ziggurat of Aqar Quf near Baghdad, Iraq; Chogha Zanbil in Khūzestān, Iran; and Sialk near Kashan, Iran.
According to Herodotus, at the top of each ziggurat was a shrine, although none of these shrines has survived. One practical function of the ziggurats was a high place on which the priests could escape rising water that annually inundated lowlands and occasionally flooded for hundreds of miles, as for example the 1967 flood. Another practical function of the ziggurat was for security. Since the shrine was accessible only by way of three stairways, a small number of guards could prevent non-priests from spying on the rituals at the shrine on top of the ziggurat, such as cooking of sacrificial food and burning of carcasses of sacrificial animals. Each ziggurat was part of a temple complex that included a courtyard, storage rooms, bathrooms, and living quarters, around which a city was built
You can read more about them here.
Byzantine is the name of The Byzantine Empire.
Wiki explains it as the following:
The Byzantine Empire (or Byzantium) was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centered on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the “Roman Empire” (Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, Basileia Rhōmaiōn) or Romania (Ῥωμανία) to its inhabitants and neighbours, it was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State and maintained Roman state traditions. Byzantium is today distinguished from ancient Rome proper insofar as it was oriented towards Greek culture, characterised by Christianity rather than Roman paganism and was predominantly Greek-speaking rather than Latin-speaking.
“The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume II” Appears on Page 2 of the Amnesiac Book.
During the Hail To the Thief era The Byzantine Ziggurat looked like this:
The Byzantine Ziggurat cia. 2005 via the Web Archive
Logging in you where provided with a chatroom as part of digital-landfill.co.uk which today also shows the In Rainbows video loop.
Before 2005 The Byzantine Ziggurat was home to the Waste Game which was online treasure hunt of sorts for Amnesiac containing 3 chapters of which only the first two where ever run. A record of the game can be found at Waste-Game-News.com Mike gives the following introduction:
What is the “Waste Game” or the “Byzantine Ziggurat?” It all started like this. At the time, Radiohead had put up a new website, and this was a page called the Byzantine Ziggurat. People were freaking out about how to figure out the password.
And by freaking out, I mean some were going totally out of their minds. I was one of them. I started keeping a copy of everything to do with the game, as did others, some of which helped me collect stuff, and this website was born. While the game was still going, this site helped others keep track of the latest news.
the waste game (Byzantine Ziggurat) was designed and executed by Radiohead,
Stanley Donwood, and many other associates.
..Sounds rather familiar doesn’t it?
Surprisingly it seems the game had two winners! Waste Game News describes the Chapter 2 Prize Kit as including “a Certificate of Byzantine Zigguration signed by the band, two posters, a backstage pass from the 2001 Oxford show, Zigguration Tests taken by each member of the band, and a video of the 2001 Dublin show.”
The Zigguration Tests where a written exam written by Stanley Donwood and apparently administered by Mel from W.A.S.T.E. All five band members sat them but only Ed’s exam paper has been made public. You can check it out Here along with photos of the rest of the prizes.
As of May 2005 Radiohead no longer maintains the waste-game.com domain name, it appears that Chapter 3 titled ‘Playing Zeus’ morphed into what was to become The Scrapbook on the Radiohead website as Mike states that in a conversation with maxk from W.A.S.T.E on April 5 2003 that Chapter 3 was to have 2,700 rooms(pages). There’s quite a few old websites from fans who where working to solve the game so best bet is to do a web search for ‘The Byzantine Ziggurat’.
Greek Mythology has been a reoccurring theme for Stanley Donwood’s artwork since 2000 and Mew’s has used Greek in a tweet (My bucks, must I go out on a limb here and say more is revealing at Ελληνική οδός? That man: ims menooo! Juicy pre-watching. Beware you not!) relating to Stanley.
However in this case Mew’s seems to be tweeting more about the status of Ziggurat being ‘abandoned’ asking Stanley Donwood in a later tweet if he would toss a difficult artwork to the Zig. ( @StanleyDonwood I see you have finally cut “Lost Angeles”. Are you going to toss that into the Ziggurat too? ). On the 22nd of September he responded to a question on Facebook asking where he was:
Mew's reply to a question on Facebook, 22nd of September.
Question from Fan: where ya at mewsy?
Answer from Mews: In your garbage can
Therefore we can assume that Mew’s sees the Zig as something of a trash for abandoned projects.