Creativity

THREE SCORE and five months ago, our forebears created in this newspaper a new column. In March 1993, we asked readers what to do with an odd sock. Some 250 responses flooded in (including the splendidly useless idea of unravelling it and using the wool to knit its missing mate) and the Creativity column was born. We have been giving readers silly things to do ever since. From the moon to Canary Wharf (build up the surrounding land and sell it as a bungalow with extensive wine cellars), from broken umbrellas to punch lines that have no known joke attached ("I dunno," said the bishop, "about four inches, I guess" never fails to get a laugh), nothing has been too large, too small, too ridiculous or to surreal for the creative imagination of Independent readers.

But all creative things must come to a hiatus, and this will be the final Creativity column in its present form. I cannot leave you, however, without saying a very fond farewell to all who have contributed over the years. Especially the wondrous Sian Cole, maiden of the misplaced circumflex, whose fecund imagination seems able to turn any object into a sex aid. For those who have expressed doubts, I can assure you she is real, though has not quite managed to send me enough pictures of bits of her body to assemble a complete picture. Nor has she ever sent a full address - which so many readers have requested. My dear Ms Cole, if you do so now, you will at last be rewarded with a new Chambers Dictionary. As for any others still waiting for overdue prizes, these will be sorted out before Son of Creativity replaces this column in a few weeks' time. If there's anything you would particularly like to see as a new challenge to your creativity, please send your ideas to Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. This has always been a column written by the readers, so we'd love to hear your ideas.

So farewell then, and thanks for all the fun. And as a final offering, here are your ideas for things to do with that missing sock that finally turned up nearly five-and-a-half years late, or, as Lindsay Warden put it: "Exhausted, daunted I sip wins box hocks/And ruminate new uses for odd socks":

Re-pair it (Magy Higgs); nail it to a tree as an example to other socks (Andrew Duncan); willy-warmer for a tokoloshe, or underwater goggles for sockeye salmon (Mike Gifford); use as a Long John Silver detector, or tool in geometry to measure right ankles (Peter Thomas); stuff with herbs to make bouquet garni and leave your guests wondering what the flavour is that makes your cooking so special (Mary Flavin); set up emotional reunion with other sock on television (RJ Pickles); to protect cucumbers from frost, or to star in new TV show: One Foot in a Sock (Betty Steward); drip-catcher for furled brollies or cushion for pogo stick (Jan Moor); feed it baked beans to turn it into a wind sock, or starch it and use as a boomerang (Daniel Holloway); for boulistes to carry their balls to the local piste (Roger Ford); leave it hanging round singles bars in the hope of picking up some fluff, or pen pal for Bill Clinton's moggy, or Pinocchio nose-cover to enable him to tell lies without being found out (all Bruce Birchall).

But Nigel Plevin is puzzled by the whole business: "How can a single sock go walkabout?" he asks.

Commemorative pairs of socks will shortly find their way as prizes to Bruce Birchall, Mike Gifford and Betty Steward. Next week, we shall report on the Creativity championship at the Mind Sport Olympiad, which will take place on Saturday 29 August at the Novotel in Hammersmith, West London.

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