Creativity: WILLIAM HARTSTON

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"You are quite wrong," writes Lance Railton, "in your premise that no use has been found for the moon - politicians have been promising it to voters for ages." For a further use, he recommends renaming it the "lunar orange", which when condensed to "lorange" solves the perennial poetical dilemma of a rhyme for orange. But we were looking for words that didn't rhyme with orange, and lorange comes dangerously close to failing on that criterion.

"Moon," points out Paul Clark, "is a word that doesn't rhyme with orange, or with any other fruit or vegetable except prune." He suggests it might make a good hiding place for bankers running away from their responsibilities or mistresses, comedians running away from theatres, and schoolboys running away from home.

Back on the subject of condensing lunar oranges, Des Waller says that if the moon were the size of a squash ball, one could play squash with it. "Any attempt to compress all the matter in the moon into such a small volume would result in a black hole. At least this would give some sense to the name squash as the strong gravitational forces would crush everything out of existence including the racquets, players, court and any chocolate wholemeal digestives the players may have intended nibbling during the match."

Continuing in scientific vein, Mark Walmsley reminds us: "It has recently been calculated that the reflected sunlight from the moon generates an energy of .0034 watts per square metre at the earth's surface. This is enough to cause a fluctuation in the temperature of the atmosphere of 0.2C between the new and full moon. I propose to capture moonbeams in vials, hermetically sealed for efficiency, which could be let out to warm the air on cold winter nights." He also mentions the by-product of a soft light suitable for lovers or attracting moths.

A more simple climatic change is suggested by Geoffrey Langley who advocates using the moon to create an impassable mountain range between Britain and continental Europe: "This range would be called The Loathians (highest point, Mount Cash). The extra weight will affect the earth's axis, making Britain sub-tropical, thereby boosting the economy of Weston-Super-Mare. And, as an added bonus, flooding Australia." Some more ideas in brief:

Pull it in a bit and refocus it to reduce the need for street lights (John and Fiona Earle).

Bring to Earth as a training facility for dermatologists. (Steph and Paul).

Perfect place to test a vacuum cleaner (Tom Gaunt).

Perfect place to empty terrestrial vacuum cleaner bags thereby alleviating much of the suffering caused by the household dust mite (John Lamper, who also suggests commissioning a contemporary artist to arrange aesthetic dust arrangements, changed with each full moon and also carrying important public information announcements).

Perfect atmosphere-less place to send heavy-breathing sex offenders for a short sharp shock (Bernard Jaffa).

Colonise it with songwriters to see how many sentimental love songs they can compose with lines rhyming with Earth (RJ Pickles).

Hollowed out and used as a giant hamster ball, in case any giant hamsters are discovered; carve lots of words and their definitions on it, making it a handy dictionary for anyone with powerful binoculars; douse it in light fuel and set satellite carrying lighted matches in orbit round it to become, at the touch of a button, a replacement Sun, in case the usual one goes out for some reason (all from Jill Phythian).

"More exciting than Alton Towers, more romantic than Brighton Pavilion, more majestic than Millwall football ground, the Moon is the perfect venue for a truly unique wedding ceremony," says Rosie Trevelyan, citing the new Marriage Act which will, after 1 April, permit weddings to take place outside registry offices and churches. She proposes a specially designed moon wedding bower with convenient, grabbable handles to guard against the potential embarrassment of a bride's floating away before vows have been exchanged.

Stephen Woodward helpfully sends us some classified Nasa promotional material for a moon marketing campaign with the slogan "Get Up There!": "The Drive Takes a While, But The Peace and Quiet is Unbelievable. More and more successful companies are seeing their future in the sky. Shouldn't you be joining them? OK, so it's a bit arid, but so's the Sahara. Get Up There!"

Prizes to Rosie Trevelyan, Jill Phythian and John Lamper.

Next week we shall be reporting on things to do with contact lenses. Meanwhile, however, we are looking for things to do to help stay awake during meetings. All ideas will be be gratefully received and tested at: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. We have three Chambers Encyclopaedic Dictionaries for the best ideas.

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