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

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
    What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

    What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

    Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
    Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

    Are you a 50-center?

    Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
    The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

    Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

    The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
    Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

    Hollywood's new diet trends

    Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
    6 best recipe files

    6 best recipe files

    Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
    Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

    Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

    Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Atwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works