Creativity: What to do if you can't zip up your doo-dah

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PIZ NEKORB, we are informed by Iain Lorriman, may be found in the 1968 'Who's Who of Texas', where he is identified as leader of an agoraphobic cult whose followers hid in cupboards, tea-chests or rabbit hutches 'lest the sky fall on their heads'.

Apart from spelling it backwards and becoming a cult leader, there are several other useful things to do with a broken zip. Penny Brown fits it into a scarecrow's trousers. 'This will please him because with his outstretched arms he cannot unzip himself.' Broken zips for this purpose may be obtained from Diana Howard who believes their major function is 'as an excuse not to wear the jeans, trousers or skirt you have become too fat to fit into.'

More practically, Tom Gaunt proposes using it as a stockade for soldier ants or an emergency cheese saw. Or, he mischievously suggests, bury all the nation's broken zips in the same location to give archaeologists a headache a thousand years hence. Len Clarke uses his as a carrot scraper or de- burrer for Yorkshire terriers (clean well between uses). Margaret McCallum, however, is having hers installed as dentures in her snake draught excluder.

Hannah Kynaston proposes the lyrics of a new song, presumably for out-of-tune singers, beginning 'broken zip-a-dee-doo-dah'. Or taking it to the casualty department of the zip hospital, or using it as a stencil for trainee surgeons to practise their stitching, or sewing into a body bag in case the person is not dead.

Fiona and John Earle point out that broken zips set with diamonds make ravishing jewellery. They also use them in the garden to make small furrows for a seed bed.

Laura James suggests using one as a pocket-sized, hand-held chain saw, or to check the milling on coins.

The most creative list of the week, however, came from Stuart Cockerill who, among other things, suggested presenting it to Lord Owen 'in commemoration of a lifetime achievement of failing to hold any two sides together'. Or if he rejects the award, use it as 'a flea collar for an anarcho-punk cat', or attach to the trousers of a naturist.

Next week, we shall give our first selection of ideas for new, nation- improving laws. Meanwhile, we are compiling a list of things people think they like doing, but don't really. (Like eating Japanese food, watching golf on television, or looking at modern art.) Further contributions, and any last-minute laws, will be welcome at Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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