Creativity

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Baring all their creative assets, our readers have produced a splendid set of ideas for things to do with a second-hand, financially challenged, only-one- owner merchant bank.

N James suggests selling it to the Dutch group INGs, appending acronymic information on the directors' remunerations - Bonuses All Round - and calling it Barings.

Paul Clark thinks Barings could be combined with the Ball that John Major- Ball no longer uses to make ball-bearings. Or you could use it as storage space for mummified Labrador puppies.

"Keep our beaches clean," advises Stephen Woodward, "by using them to dispose of financial waste." His other ideas include reopening them as monasteries to get your own back on Henry VIII, releasing them into the countryside near Kettering, or using them as places where people could talk to each other, make cups of coffee, write on pieces of paper, and pick their noses, once the Internet loses its attraction. Or they could be converted into training centres for bank robbers.

Geoffrey Langley envisages its use as a film set for a "hugely successful financial soap called Braces Wild, a derivative story of futures folk". Crammed with greed, incompetence, laziness and heavy lunches, the series can't miss, he says. Conrad Martell sees it as a repository for unwanted members of the Royal Family "who, as directors of the bank, would have status but no influence, and continue to live off the skills of the lower orders."

"A memorial to failed financiers," proposes R J Pickles, "to be called the Norman Lamont centre."

"A monument to the folly of trusting people who wear hideous yellow-striped jackets," says Eliot Wilson. Or a spacious HQ for a new, expanded "creativity" department. Or a free gift with 12 tokens from special packets of Frosties. "An exclusively heterosexual night-club," suggests Martin Brown, "to be known as the Baring Straights."

"Placed by bottle-banks, can-banks etc.," says Luela Palmer, "for disposal of merchants who need recycling." R Bartlett suggests that a second-hand, one-owner, now-defunct bank could be put to good use by propping open gaps in banking controls."

"Enter the full story of the bank's financial methods on to a CD," suggests Len Clarke, "which when played backwards would be a course on How to Make a Fortune in Merchant Banking."

Mollie Caird knows a second-hand bank where the wild thyme grows. She wants to "plant it with oxlips, the nodding violet, eglantine etc and open it as a rural retreat for runaway actors, runaway schoolboys, disaffected ex-chancellors and other stressed persons."

F G Robinson thinks that when all have abandoned it or been sacked, it will become a left bank and should consequently be moved to Paris. Or, more realistically, he suggests simply drawing a line under it and continuing as before. But most popular and appropriate of all, as suggested by many of you, was to turn it into a debtors' prison.

Prizes to Luela Palmer, Mollie Caird and Stephen Woodward.

Next week we shall report on things to do with the moon. Meanwhile, we are looking for creative uses for contact lenses. We have three prizes of the Larousse Dictionary of Literary Characters for the most appealing ideas.

Entries to: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, to arrive by 29 March.

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