Creativity: Loki

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The Independent Culture
PAUL SIMON sang "there must be 50 ways to leave your lover", and readers were asked to suggest some.

Only a minority did so in the style of the original. John O'Byrne and Nicholas E. Gough came up with 50 apiece, and Phil Hellen zoomed in on zeugma: his lover was left in high dudgeon and the middle of breakfast; without apology or one's underpants; and under a cloud and no illusions.

The lyricists included Michael Bryant-Mole: date her sis, Chris; abseil, Abigail. Eric Bridgstock: send her the bill, Will; sing karaoke, Loki. Giles Catchpole: cuffed to a bed, Ted. Sue Johnson: kick her in the teeth, Keith. Clair Hubble: dissolve in hydrochloric, Yorick; barbecue on a spit, Britt; sabotage the parachute, Klute. Petra Hollis: stretch on the rack, Jack; use a branding iron, Brian; wield a machete, Betty; split with a cleaver, Iva; impale on a stake, Jake; feed to the crocodiles, Giles; or to the piranhas, Jana.

Mike Gifford was practical: become a Creativity addict; at the races, go while the going is good; call in Stig of the Dump. Shirley Maclean was therapeutic: wash that man right out of your hair. Maria O. Treadwell was disgusting: leave nail clippings in the bed and dandruff on the dinner. Magy Higgs was less subtle: form a witches' coven and perform ritualistic slaughter. John Pickin was cold-blooded: thaw his sperm at the IVF clinic; advertise him in lonely hearts columns.

John O'Byrne was cold-hearted: change the number on your door; give her a P45. Tony Brandon got cold feet: say the White Wedding is off, as she failed the medical; say you're an organ donor - your heart is promised to another. Joan Vinnicombe's ex got old-shouldered: beat him at chess; play hide and seek and don't; run away with the raggle-taggle gypsies.

Bruce Birchall was more Colditz-minded, the lover being left in a pit of rattlesnakes, lightly seasoned in a large soup tureen belonging to cannibals or even tied to a railway line by ropes.

Matthew White would jump back on the White Charger. Peter Houghton would go on Ricki Lake together. Andrew Duncan would follow Jack up the Beanstalk.

Phil Hellen, Petra Hollis and Peter Houghton win a Chambers Dictionary of Quotations apiece.

Apologies but venue problems force postponement of our readers' meeting to October (and the "Alice" challenges to September).

Last week's historic elections saw the first ever Official Monster Raving Loony Party local councillor elected. You are invited to predict developments when they win their first council. Please e-mail ideas to or write to Creativity, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL, by 20 May.

Results and three more Chambers prizes on 25 May. Next Tuesday's subject is new meanings that might be given to everyday words.