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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
City-dweller draws up 'urban code'
An 'urban wildlife campaigner' - comedian Arthur Smith
A new countryside code has been launched telling visitors to the countryside how to behave in rural areas.

But perhaps there should be a code for rural folk visiting the city - so the comedian Arthur Smith has offered up this alternative.

The country code kindly offers us city-dwellers a guide to how to behave in the country. So, as a return gift, here is my own cosmopolitan code.

Be aware that there are a lot of people living together in close proximity in a big town.

Life is better for everyone if you treat your neighbours with suspicion; try not to talk to them or have any idea who they are - they're probably Mormons or crack-heads. In fact, avoid eye-contact with everyone except your optician.

Listen to Arthur Smith's Cosmopolitan Code

Only be sociable on Saturday nights when you should congregate in the town centre and embark on a strenuous bout of binge-drinking - which will be filmed for a TV documentary about binge-drinking in city centres.

Never turn up anywhere unannounced.

Never show any surprise when confronted with the news that your sandwich and take-out coffee cost 9.50.

When travelling on public transport be prepared to have intimate physical encounters with several strangers of both sexes (what is know in the countryside as a swingers party).

optician with female customer
Eye-contact in the city? Only with your optician, says Arthur
Urban wildlife must be treated with respect. In the city we do not kill the fox, we cherish the snouty little fellow and throw him the odd pork chop.

In the city right of way belongs to the person who's best at trampling, barging, elbowing and punching their way to the front.

Show respect to the city dweller who tells you how marvellous it is to have theatres, cinemas, art galleries and concert halls despite the fact they haven't visited any of these places since the early '90s.

Pay close attention to signs; you may have seen the murder they're asking about.

And finally, any urban person will tell you that if you see a lost member of the Countryside Alliance, blundering around looking lost in the face of all this colour and speed, speak to them calmly, point them in the wrong direction, run off down a side-street and have a good snigger. Be cool, hang loose, admit nothing.

The BBC's Jane Warr
"Rights of access have always been a difficult business for landowners"


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