Creativity: Could this be a record?

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The Independent Culture
HERE, at a rate of 33 revolutionary ideas per minute, are suggestions for the future life of those long-playing records now liberated by the advent of compact discs.

Richard Baker offers them to 'cash-strapped Eurodisney as economy-measure Mickey Mouse ears'. He also suggests their use as Vivienne Westwood sequins, Chris Boardman-style bicycle wheels for leprechauns, worm-grading devices for fastidious blackbirds or portable peepholes for Social Security investigators.

While his idea of 'nipple-stabilisers in body-piercing salons' (complete with the sound advice 'remember to remove stabiliser before fitting gold ring') seems eminently reasonable, we feel his 'circus hoops for anorexic poodles' could be stretching, or more likely shrinking, the bounds of credibility.

And talking of pain, Caroline Hull says they make good S&M dinner plates. 'The little hole in the middle allows hot gravy to trickle into the punters' laps.' She attributes this idea to Cynthia Payne.

More original, if somewhat complex, is her 'homage to Dali' masterpiece, which involves linking up an old juke-box and an electric fire to create a 'toastmaid', into which LPs may be loaded and melted. Finally, she suggests sticking an LP in Stuart Cockerill's disc drive to creat an ethnic tribal plate-lipped computer.

Mr Cockerill himself suggests spare wheels for a Citroen 2CV, muzzles for chihuahuas or cigarette holders. He also claims that Deep Purple's Made in Japan can be moulded into a dysfunctional ashtray by baking in a slow oven.

'Pooper-scooper with drain-away hole,' says Mrs King, who equally romantically comes up with the idea of breast-feeding apparatus for non-bonding mothers. More practically, she points out its use as 'an aid to align finger while inserting contact lens'.

Other notable ideas include: markers for accident black-spots (David Godfrey), skating rink for hamsters (Janet Holdcroft), moulded into flowerpot with ready-made drainage hole at bottom (several readers, many of whom also suggested frisbees), ditto upside down as fez for mourning (F J Stevens, who also suggests roof tiles for circular buildings).

Ruth Langley points out that you can estimate the age of LPs by counting their grooves. She also suggests breaking them into small pieces for use either as an aid to drainage in a moulded-LP flowerpot, or as a jigsaw. (Creative question: what can't you break into small pieces and use as a jigsaw?)

Paul and Steph see them as the ammunition for clay-pigeon juke-boxes, stepping stones for muddy gardens (non-slip grooves) or skim-into-place frog stations. Geoffrey Langley was one of many who suggested rings for an exceptionally difficult hoopla stall, but he was the only one to suggest glueing about 200,000 together to make a model supergun for Iraqi children.

After making and apologising for a weed-preventing suggestion that involved the expression 'withering on the vinyl', he also comes up with 'the revolutionary idea of putting it on a turntable and playing it, unless it is of Led Zeppelin or the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra'. These LPs he grinds into fine powder 'for spreading on to the fingers and palms of those who can't afford newspapers but who don't like to admit it.'

Fold them into artificial, re-usable taco-shells, says Sara MacAllen. Pinhole camera, suggest Fiona and John Earle, reducing the aperture if necessary. Marcus Taylor uses them as templates for pizzas. 'Do you have an old LP of the Dave Clark Five?' asks Paul McHugh. 'Bury it at least two feet deep under a flowerbed and you need never have to listen to it again.'

Anthony Savory, after having some unsavoury thoughts about rhinoceroses treading on liquorice Polo mints, offers his LPs to British Rail 'for attachment to their engine wheels as a means of shredding leaves on the line'. He also enlivens children's parties by using an LP on the bottom of a jelly mould and awarding a prize to the first child to guess, from the lustre on the jelly, who made the recording.

The most marketable ideas, however, are Gwen Evans's 'communion wafers for devout robots' and Martin Houghton's (via Joanne Shipton) 'trays for serving soundbites at the Hard Rock Cafe'.

Next week, we shall report on the myriad uses for trombones. Meanwhile, we have something different for you to think about: common concepts for which there is no word.

Glancing at the obituaries page recently, I was struck by that non-sadness one feels on reading of the death of someone I hadn't realised was still alive. It's close to what the Germans call schadentodenschmerzfreude, but the English language doesn't seem to to have a word for it. There must be many other things we don't have words for. Descriptions of them (but not suggestions for the words themselves - that may come later) will be welcome at Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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