At a workshop in Kenya a few months back, a Canadian friend asked me whether I listened to the BBC Shipping Forecast. I replied that of course, I listened to the Shipping Forecast adding, for good measure, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight. It seems that my friend had been reading Kate Fox’s excellent anthropology book “Watching the English” which I read on holiday this year. If you want to understand why the English talk about the weather (because they find it difficult to talk to people), why they don’t get served at their tables in pubs (because they find it difficult to talk to each other – do you see a theme here?) and why they will apologise to you when you bump into them in the street, this is the book to read. It tells you everything you want to know about the rules of queueing and why the English spend ages trying to say goodbye.
If you find this sort of Anthropology interesting, there are a few of my papers looking at Kouya society in the ‘articles’ section.