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Her minute observation of the way we talk, dress, eat, drink, work, play, shop, drive, flirt, fight, queue – and moan about it all – exposes the hidden rules that we all unconsciously obey.
"You've got to rip something out when you move in," one young man said. " This can be a problem for those moving into new "starter homes", where it would be ludicrous to rip out virgin bathrooms and kitchens.
"I don't see why anthropologists feel they have to travel to remote corners of the world and get dysentery in order to study strange tribal cultures with bizarre beliefs and mysterious customs, when the weirdest, most puzzling tribe of all is right here on our doorstep." In Watching the English, Kate Fox takes a revealing look at the quirks, habits and foibles of the English people. Yet, during our research, we found the DIY temples full of such people, eager to make their mark on their bland new territory.
Watching the English is written with an insider's knowledge, but from an outsider's perspective.
Through a mixture of anthropological analysis and her own unorthodox experiments, using herself as a reluctant guinea-pig, Kate Fox discovers what these unwritten behaviour codes tell us about Englishness.
This kind of obsessive territorial marking is an obligation, something we feel compelled to do.
The most common motive is that of "putting a personal stamp on the place".
If you are not English, you can laugh without squirming, you will finally understand all our peculiar little ways, and, if you wish, you can become as English as we are. If you are English, it will make you stand back and re-examine everything you normally take for granted, discover just how English you really are – and laugh ruefully at yourself.