Creativity: Loki

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The Independent Culture
UNLOVED, UNWANTED modern inventions that blight our lives - and appropriate punishments for their inventors.

Fast food restaurants: the punishment of Tantalus. TV chat shows: a Trappist monastery; Gladiators: to be thrown to the lions (Annie Bissett). New Labour: banished to the back benches and have to sell their luxury home - or has that happened already? (Duncan Bull). Tower blocks: the architects to be made to live in them (I Rice). Pneumatic drills: daily dentist visits. Spaghetti Junction: to live underneath. Virtual reality: to have no real friends (Bruce Birchall).

Bev Cross, a naturist, naturally hates clothes and so would punish fashion designers by burning theirs, forcing them to convert to naturism, thus ingeniously stemming the future supply of their products. Nicholas E Gough would give the inventor of the car a day out at a demolition derby; that of the TV, access to one channel, devoted to repeats of Eldorado; of bleepers, to be forced to carry one, without an off switch.

Parking meters: to be fitted with dials to show when their time is up. 5p pieces: to have their salary paid in their product. Unopenable packaging: to have all their own purchases so wrapped (JR Gore) Mobile phones: (1) instantly to develop laryngitis whenever he picks one up (Clair Hubble); (2) dropped off a train in a tunnel, so he can call to say "Don't know where I am and I'm not on my way" (John Pickin). Supermarket trolleys: to negotiate Hampton Court maze pushing a wheelbarrow full of water (Tom Gaunt).

The inventor of the Yo-Yo: to be strung up. And down again. And up again. And down again. The pager: to be bombarded with cryptic clues until he finally gets the message. Lycra: to be hoist by his own leotard (Nigel Plevin). Biotech developers of genetically modified tomato puree: to be put in the stocks and pelted with their product. Still in its tins (Hugh Wansett).

The video-recorder: to be forced to watch other people's home videos. The computer: to be forced to play never-ending mindless games on one. Cosmetic surgery: to have to wait for years for hospital treatment with a painful condition. And cloners: to be imprisoned in a house made of mirrors, to reflect on the consequences (Mike Gifford). Traffic cones: made to wear one permanently on his head (John O'Byrne).

After punishment, rewards. Tom Gaunt, John O'Byrne, Nigel Plevin win copies of Chambers Dictionary of Quotations for their inventions. Your challenge: appropriate mis-spellings of people's names. (Pinocchio for Pinochet.). Be rude. Be unkind. Be unflattering. But, above all, be irreverent. Write to Creativity, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL or e-mail to by 4 March. Three prizes of Chambers to be announced on 9 March. Next week: New acronyms for old, eg ITV=Inane, Trivial, Verbose.