Creativity: UN's secret weapon: the spud

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The Independent Culture
LEPRECHAUNS featured strongly in readers' suggested uses for an Irish potato. Kate Eggleston wanted to feed one of the little sprites with it, which seems a waste of a good recipe. Wendy Watson proposed carving a Leprechaun's face on a hollowed-out spud for a sort of St Patrick's day Hallowe'en mask, while Lindsay Warden offers it to the little people as a football. Among her other suggestions are a crystal ball for peopel who don't want to know what the future has in store and a comfort placebo to be placed in the pouches of infertile kangaroos.

R A Sandow offers the restful suggestion of using it as an alarm clock, left by the bed in a dry tumbler, rising when it sprouts. Rhodri Edwards, among other ideas, offers a traffic bollard for moles, a nightmare for cubists and a spelling aid for Dan Quayle. David Brook uses it as an environmentally friendly paperweight.

Pacifism and ecology were popular themes, with a hand-grenade for peace- keeping troops (T Baldwin) potentially the most ineffective. Many of you preferred to use the raw potato as material for sculpting. Sue Guy's detailed proposal for carving a patterned ball within a sphere offers a lifetime's occupation, though we fear the task might outlast the potato.

Knife, pen or pencil holders and pin cushions also featured prominently in several readers' suggestions, though Isobel Montgomery Campbell's literally rotten idea of a potato calendar (the passing of the months measured by the progressive decay of a potato) was unique.

All these last suggestions, however, fail to rise to the challenge of utilising the essential Irishness of the tuber in question. For a culturally relevant idea, Linda Browning proposes an Irish equivalent of running with the bulls at Pamplona. All you need is a tipper truck loaded with potatoes, a steep hill and some Irish villagers. However, it was our regular contributor Wally Reynolds who produced the most educational idea - to cross the Irish potato with an English one and breed a bilingual vegetable. He points out that Irish and Scottish potatoes can understand each other, because they come from the same roots.

This week's object is a Yorkshire terrier. Any suggestions (not too offensive to dog lovers) should be sent to Creativity, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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