Independent Pursuits: Creativity

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The Independent Culture
MORE LEAP-SECOND Knock-On Consequences: John Harvey reschedules Cornwall's eclipse as that asteroid arrives early and blots out sunlight for 20 minutes every hour, causing an entirely new strain of mad cow disease. And Nigel Plevin is now telepathic, foreseeing Loki's Stonehenge realignment, Carla's space-time continuum and John's asteroid. Weird!

So: what does a newspaper print when there is no news? And specifically, how do you use a 450-word Creativity column in a week with no contributions?

Minnie & Mal Liszt suggest an aesthetic white space, achieved by typing 2,700 consecutive space bars (taking five characters to be a typesetter's notional "word"); Martin Brown donates the space to the European Space Agency to explore; Oliver Reed builds a space station with 2,700 space bars; Jack Straw makes it a free-fall Devil's Island, with 2,700 space bars on the only window. Les Dawson suggests a game of Blankety-Blank, in which his guests would be Raymond Briggs's The Snowman, The Great White Hope, a polar bear, Caspar the Ghost, a White Russian and The Invisible Man, who would all wear blank expressions and be paid with blank cheques.

David Ridge would fill it with pictures of mermaids and their irresistible songs; Nic Coidan with join-the-dots puzzles, Rory Jacques with ink blots, Amanda L Brock and Julie Orsett with fractals, Roland de Dyce with a Snakes and Ladders board, Magy Higgs with pornography in Sanskrit and Martha Maddox with to 2,699 decimal places.

Pierre de Fermat regards the space as an ample margin in which to write a marvellous proof of a theorem he has discovered, and thereby cure Martha Maddox's headaches for the next 300 years.

Bruce Birchall would fill it with Bayeux Tapestry pictures depicting famous Pursuits: Galahad and the Holy Grail, William Rufus and the wild boar, St George and the dragon. Susan Tomes would cut out the empty column, erect it in Trafalgar Square, stand on it, and become an instant tourist attraction. (Grapple fans might quite like a half-Nelson?)

Photographic ideas were Paul Turner with snaps of Creativity prizewinners for jealous losers to stick pins in, Mae (sic) Hall with Marie Lloyd, Ted Horne with the Marie Celeste, and the Moonies with the Mare Imbrium.

John Harvey and David Ridge win copies of Chambers Dictionary of Quotations, as does Ian Hurdley for issuing a timely challenge: suggest further causes for another round of ministerial resignations.

Ideas please to Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL or e-mailed to Loki.Valhalla@bt internet.com by 4 February. Three prizes of Chambers Dictionary of Quotations to be announced on 9 February, one of which may be awarded for suggesting a challenge. On 2 February we stretch our imaginations with ways to use elastic bands.

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