Creativity: The key to winning the Turner Prize

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The Independent Culture
BURGLARS featured prominently in response to our request for creative things to do with keys that fit no known lock.

'A good use for a bunch of old keys', writes H A Simkin, 'is to hide them, not too successfully, under the front doorstep. They will be pounced on avidly by intending burglars who will spend many frustrating hours trying to gain access. By this time, you will probably arrive home, when you may present them with the right key for the job. The psychological impact on the burglars will be enormous. They will feel so sheepish, inefficient and vulnerable that they will probably give up their life of crime for ever and the saving on more sophisticated security devices will be tremendous.'

Patti Broome has a similar idea, hiding keys in the rockery, but giving the burglar a small chance by including the front-door key under one unmarked stone. Tom Gaunt does not bother to hide them, but advocates giving the keys directly to burglars on the grounds that 'they never fit anything anyway'.

Paul and Steph (or possibly Steph and Paul, as they sign themselves) not writing in red ink this week, which is fortunate since they are now using pink paper, suggest using them, in packs of a thousand, for training novice burglars. They advise against donating them to experienced burglars on the grounds that non-use could entitle them to an EU rebate. They also suggest mounting keys on string 'as worry beads for the overly keyed up'. Their most marketable idea, however, is for a board game with keys as counters and miniature doors as squares. 'If the key fits you get another turn.'

Next to anti-theft devices, plumb-lines, dowsing pendulums and hiccough or nose- bleed cures were the most popular suggestions, although only C Reavley had the foresight to sell his keys ready-chilled to drop down the backs of sufferers. Or, he suggests, they could be donated as a public service to 'those modern composers who have no sense of key.'

The pupils of Edradour School, Perthshire, suggested making several into a wind-chime (Lower Juniors), using as hair curlers (Middles) or spare buttons for a duffle coat (Seniors, with particular credit to Cathy Dolliver, presumably because it's her duffel coat). The Upper Juniors suggested 'play hide-and-seek with some', although we can't see the fun in going and hiding from a bunch of keys. We liked their 'toothbrush for a robot', though.

Kevin Morgan has the interesting idea of keeping all the unidentified keys on one key- ring. 'At appropriate moments they should be dropped down drains, slipped down the backs of sofas etc'. This saves losing your house keys or car keys and is environmentally friendly since anyone subsequently finding them can recycle them for the same purpose.

Stephen Hodnett attacks the problem in conjunction with that of locks for which one has no key. He proposes the formation of key clubs, 'Key Weekly' and a lonely hearts column for locks. Margaret Woods also suggests a dating agency, involving keys 'with a view to wedlock'.

A Akeroyd believes that the world's lost keys open foot-lockers that contain all the socks lost in the world's washing machines throughout history, while Ronald Mavor, thinks the Yale variety are 'admirably suited for removing wax from the ears'.

Iain Lorriman believes they could be used sportingly as 'boot studs for New Zealand scrum packs', or mounted as awards for 'Burglar of the Year' or 'in minotaur enclaves for Labyrinth of the Year'. If thrown in a fish tank, however, he thinks they might have a chance of winning the Turner Prize. 'Any criticisms would obviously be made in ignorance of its subtle philanthropic and moral significances.' 'Put them in the dustbin', says Stuart Cockerill, 'safe in the knowledge that you will find out exactly what they were all for exactly five minutes after the departure of the refuse truck.'

'Hang onto them', advises Mollie Caird. 'One of them might open that cupboard at 40 City Road where the Independent keeps its champagne.'

However, the entry that would have won the champagne if we knew where the key was to the cupboard, came anonymously and combined keys with last week's defence system and the previous week's hair-clippings: 'Suspend chains of keys from Mr Lorriman's ozone-layer-protecting hair-clippings wig, thus keeping hostile aircraft and laser weaponry at bay. In this location, they would also look pretty decorated with fairy lights for Christmas.'

So this week's object is Christmas. Any good ideas for what to do with Christmas in general, or more specifically ideas of presents for the person who has everything, will be welcomed at Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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