Creativity: How to give an elephant the sack

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The Independent Culture
DEAR Geoffrey Langley and others who wrote in the belief that we had omitted a hyphen from the phrase 'black rubbish sack' last week. We have a sack full of hyphens here at the Independent and would not have omitted one had it been desirable, writes William Hartston.

We have however, partially accepted your sugestion that 'those writers who leave out hyphens and expose themselves to criticism from pedants and other time-wasters' should be employed collecting black rubbish to fill the aforementioned sacks. Your now-charred letter has been accordingly filed.

The remaining suggestions fall under five headings:

Bestial: as expected, the idea of a condom for an elephant or whale was popular, although only Catriona Laing included the inhabitants of Jurassic Park. Hannah Kynaston used hers at the other end of the elephant as an in-flight sick bag. She also suggested using it as a photographic dark-room or tutu material for the black swan in Swan Lake (presumably before passing it on to the elephant). Howard Ferguson offers his sack as a hood for a hippopotamus facing a firing squad.

Sartorial: Gemma Daly provides patterns for a punk chador or, by also using a white pedal- bin liner, for an all-weather nun's outfit. Andrew Cox uses two to make a pair of waders, while Valerie King used hers to come second in a fancy-dress competition, dressed as a leech. Mollie Caird suggests a still more esoteric costume: 'for a Hallowe'en ghost in Antarctica'. More down to earth, Rachel Worsley shows, complete with photograph, how bald Italians use them as raincoats.

Containers: For chicken wishbones, terriers, socks and other detritus of past 'Creativity' columns (several readers); for carrying small children from muddy walks to bath (Jackie Flaherty).

4. Gardening: mulch for strawberries: 'definite advantages in weed control and promotes rapid and even growth' according to Nicholas Gough.

5. Bizarre: As a night cover for a dead parrot's cage (Meg Laing); with like-minded sacks to overthrow an evil white sack regime (Martin Buckmaster); as a flag for a besieged garrison which does not want to surrender (Otto Black); cut into thin strips to keep predators off spaghetti during its immature, vermicelli stage (Jonathan Hulme); for rubbish tip scavengers to hide in, thus getting a free trip to the dump (Howard Ferguson).

It ought, in Basil Townsend's opinion, to be employed 'in suffocating the idiot who thought up the whole twee 'Creativity' project.' Your suggestion has been placed, Mr Townsend, with Mr Langley's.

To celebrate Linford Christie's triumph, this week's object is 9.87 seconds.

Any ideas of what to do with such a brief period of time should be sent to: Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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