Creativity: Contemplating your navel

SUZANNE SMITH has a very beautiful navel, or so she tells us, writes William Hartston. On the subject of her ear- lobes, however, she is less forthcoming. Here are some other readers' ideas of what she, or anyone else, can do with the aforementioned bits, starting from the button.

Salt-cellars were the most frequent suggestion, although almost as popular were paddling pools for pet spiders, mice or lice. Alexandra Harley and Martha Burke point out the value of navels in Subbuteo golf, or for storing fluff from the tumble-dryer, or a mould for making icing whirls for small cakes.

Stuart Cockerill suggests the navel as a rest home for earwigs with vertigo, or somewhere for naturists to keep loose change. Along similar lines, Chris Bell advises the use of the navel as an ashtray for nude debating contests, or an emergency exit for psychic detritus.

Luela Palmer finds hers handy for the storage of chewing gum. D M Gaunt, however, warns against this: 'It brings tears to the eyes when making a withdrawal from the depository.'

The juice squeezed from a navel may be used for invisible writing, showing up when heated, says Karyn Vitali, proving the point with a faint, although probably microwaved, signature. Her boyfriend, she says, wanted to eat his ice-cream off her navel, but she refused to let him add chocolate sauce.

The navel as a socket was utilised by Clare Smith in two ways: either for an inconspicuous spy camera or a small torch, which is particularly useful for reading in bed.

'It has long perplexed me,' writes Paul McHugh, 'that men have navels as well as women. Oh sorry, I think I mean nipples.' Having now realised that men have navels as well as nipples, he points out the function of the navel - indispensable for models and streakers - to locate the centre of the body. Mystics, he says, can produce an 'ohm' sound from the navel.

Paul and Steph point out that ear- lobes fit exactly into navels, while D Godfrey sees the navel as a receptacle for ear-wax, both of which bring us neatly heading in a lobewards direction. D M Guest is convinced that he remembers seeing an advert for the Van Gogh Society in the Artist, which appealed for donations of unwanted ear-lobes ready for their hero's second coming.

'People with extremely long earlobes,' says Michael Rubinstein, 'often use them to tickle their navels in order to stir from a state of too-long contemplation.' He also reminds us of the ancient art of character reading and prediction through Navelistry. 'The ear-lobe is a channel to the heart,' says Nicholas Gough, romantically. It is a 'Zen mind- portal in Eastern religio-philosophy,' says Rufus J Sanders, contemplatively.

The 'most bizarre thing' David Nicholls can think of for an ear-lobe is 'to make a hole in it and dangle a piece of metal from the hole.' Less bizarrely, he says, you can sever the ear-lobe, attach a handle, and use it as a very gentle pestle for grinding fluff in the navel.

The question of ear-lobe evolution has been exercising some of our finest minds. Stuart Cockerill says there are two schools of thought: 'The first claims they are adaptations to protect juvenile ears from the effects of clipping by policemen; the second inverts this, suggesting their prime purpose is to protect constabulary knuckles.'

Rufus Sanders, however, believes that 'the ear-lobe was an evolutionary afterthought, an offshoot from the largely successful camel project. Fat laid down in the lobes has been shown to sustain the human being at times of great emotional stress and little or no food, such as student parties.'

'Pierced ears,' say Alexandra and Martha, 'can hold a rolled-up copy of the Independent', while the bits removed on piercing make excellent croutons. Finally, they suggest that a washing-line may be suspended between two people with pierced ears - ideal for windless days. Pierced ear-lobes, say Fiona and John, make excellent Channel tunnel advertisements, or tethering points for prisoners.

'I hope I am not too late,' frets Gilbert Wood, 'to share with other readers my own alternative use for ear-lobes. For some years now, I have been using them - filled with air - as buoyancy aids when shipwrecked. This is an inexpensive and practical way of saving life at sea which should be more widely known.'

Next week, we shall be reporting on ideas for redeployment of the royal yacht, Britannia. Meanwhile, we should like to hear your ideas for using all the apostrophes ungrammatically placed on fruiterers' stalls and elsewhere. Ideas to Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
  • 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.

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence