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
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • 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.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk