Creativity: Avoiding all references to the blindingly obvious

YOU CAN do a lot worse, says Des Waller, than sit back and dangle your toes in a venetian blind as they make excellent toe separators, particularly if you suffer from toes that tend to stick together.

John and Judith Spurway apologise for the seriousness of their suggestion in stressing the usefulness of venetian blinds in displaying Christmas cards, thus saving sticky tape, staples and 'those peculiarly nasty plastic card holders you bought from some gift catalogue'.

Sticky tape also adheres to the suggestion of D and H Hutchinson, who recommend hanging a venetian blind in front of the television 'to hide it if England are losing'. On second thoughts, they believe that masking tape might be a simpler solution to the problem. That would also free the blind for their other suggestions: a hammock for Yorkshire terriers, or a white paper substitute for the Government to write its policies on: 'They're floppy and can be covered up in an instant if the wind changes.'

Paul Clark was one of several readers who pointed out that a venetian blind is exactly what our Silly Questions correspondent needed when asking why you can't switch on the dark. He also suggests that a single slat could be used in the bath as an escape device for spiders or slipway for toy boats.

Spiders in baths also occurred in J Nicholas's proposal to convert venetian blinds into mechanised arachnid bath- time elevators. The spiders, however, would need good timing to avoid a fate analogous to Stuart Cockerill's suggestion of 'lepidopteran guillotines'. He also finds venetian blinds useful to floss many teeth simultaneously.

'Venetian blinds,' says Stewart Banfield, 'paint their gondolas white as pilot boats for Signor Berlusconi.' 'Venetian blinds,' says Wing Commander T F H Hudson, 'are, of course, for going on in Venice.'

Mollie Caird suggests practice letter- boxes for trainee postmen. R G Gregory makes draughts boards out of two sets of blinds superimposed orthogonally. Geoffrey Langley says that blinds are exceptionally useful to politicians for their capacity 'to collect vast quantities of dust to blow into the eyes of the electorate'. Nicholas Gough points out that it has been empirically verified that venetian blinds collect more dust per unit of surface area than anything else known to interior decorators.

Paul and Steph implore us to 'eschew blindingly obvious references to poking and sticks' and concentrate on such uses as: a new kind of sail which, when conditions require, enables the wind to be allowed to blow through it to varying degrees; a garden trellis; to sunbathe under, allowing a continuously variable sun-protection factor; on a giant scale as terracing for football stadiums. In case of vandalistic activity, the slats may simply be closed.

Mark Walmsley also sees benefits of slat-enhanced sunbathing 'to give a banded tan effect, vertical stripes if you wish to look taller and thinner, or horizontal if a shorter, more squat appearance is required.' He also recommends the use of venetian blinds in association with a streetlamp to create those atmospheric shadows for home video noir. It can also, he claims, provide an authentic venetian blind sound effect in radio plays.

'It occurs to me,' he adds, 'that most objects discussed in Creativity could be used in this way: collected works of Jeffrey Archer hitting skip, spider climbing out of bath, and so on.' Yet the sound effect of last week's greengrocers' surplus apostrophes somehow fails to earn a mention. Such punctuation marks were, however, mentioned by R G Gregory, who uses them as cams to move the slats when turning on the dark with a venetian blind.

'I use a venetian blind,' writes B O'Riley, 'in conjunction with my Amstrad word processor to organise the correct ordering of the pages when printing multiple copies of long documents.' Sadly, her letter was a one-off single page, so she was unable to demonstrate its efficacy. She does, however, add that in the dull moments between major literary efforts, she removes the venetian blind from the printer and uses it for silent concertina practice.

Oliver Davies sees the venetian blind as a perfect semaphore- or code-generating heliograph. He believes that use can profitably be combined with the sale of advertising space as the blind turns into a hi-tech reversible hoarding. With razor blades attached to the slats, however, he recommends them to the catering trade as high-speed vegetable dicers.

John and Fiona Earle suggest venetian blinds as stencils for painting zebras. The also make excellent racetracks for beetles and other insects, and help gardeners sow seeds in straight lines. After sowing, a blind may form the basis of a waterfall for the garden pond, or a rather tacky cat-flap.

Next week, we shall report on unusual uses for scissors, in pairs or singly. In the meantime, you might like to think of uses for swivel chairs. Suggestions will be welcome at: Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
News
‘The Late Late Show’ presenter James Corden is joined by Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks for his first night as host
news
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss