The title of Radiohead’s latest album is likely derived from a trading card set entitled Kid A in Alphabet Land. An educational and artfully illustrated tour through psychoanalysis guided by the eponymous jargon-fighter, Kid A.
AND NOW THE SHIPPING FORECAST ISSUED BY THE MET.OFFICE
AT 1130 ON MONDAY 22 JANUARY 2001
SOUTHERLY 6 TO GALE 8, DECREASING 5 FOR A TIME.
RAIN OR SQUALLY SHOWERS. MODERATE OR GOOD
SOUTHWESTERLY 5 TO 7, OCCASIONALLY GALE 8.
SHOWERS THEN RAIN. MODERATE OR GOOD
SOUTH OR SOUTHEAST 6 TO GALE 8, DECREASING 5 FOR A TIME.
RAIN OR SHOWERS. MODERATE OR GOOD
The first words to Radiohead’s song, “In Limbo,” are taken from the BBC shipping news. The names designate three contiguous, specific areas of sea between England and Ireland. The weather report for those areas is announced in that order: Lundy, Fastnet, Irishsea. These excerpted words (found poetry, perhaps) geographically locate the listener “in limbo,” so to speak: between England and Ireland. That is, if location is the point. If location is not the point, then the point is also NOT standard commercial shipping meteorological communication (obvious, not obvious). This mass-produced song can be read as a self-referential commodity, one that situates itself within another, presumably more important and simultaneously more mundane, commercial discourse: a daily weather forecast for shipping, for exchange of commodities.