creativity : phew what a brainwave!

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We asked for examples of Government pamphlets in tabloidese. "The word 'tabloid'," Len Clarke informs us, "comes from the stone tablets the ancient Romans used instead of newspapers." In honour of those old chisellers - and our new ones - he provides the following:

Caesar Major non populare est. Woof. Facit novum principium. Scripsit multas graffitias: "bread et circuses". Woof. Caesar populare encore.

The frequent woofs, he says are a sign of dog Latin. The "bread et circuses" is a reference to lotteries and compulsory school sport.

Des Waller takes a more modern viewpoint: "There is a bit in the tax return guide which reads: 'At this stage you should assess which variation produces the lower gain or loss, adopt this variation and then deduct any reliefs to which you are entitled (at H in the calculation). If one variation produces a gain and the other a loss, or if either produces no gain or loss, you will be treated as having made no gain or loss.'

"This in tabloid English would read: 'Hugh Grant and Saucy Vicar in six- in-a- bed romp'."

Steph and Paul envisage tabloid his-and-hers tax returns, with suitable "stunner" or "hunk" pictures. They provide the caption to "his":

"What could be less taxing than to be handled by a girl like Julie Paye? Well here's your chance! The perfectly completed 19-year-old works for the Inland Revenue and she's looking forward to hearing from you! Seal with a loving kiss!!"

FG Robinson turns his attention to Government Pamphlet UYD/LLUK (esp Eng) 95 on European Foreign Policy: or Feeling Maastriched Up? Well F-Word Off! You Euro-Phobies! Our Johnnie's Keeping It Up For Britain!

Duncan Bull offers us an official communication on the operation and policy of the traffic Cone Hotline: "Phew What a Brainwave!! Contraflow Chaos Conquered! Motorway Mayhem Minimised! Travelling Times Trimmed! Constant Queueing Quelled! Wretched Roadworks Reduced! Truckers' Tempers Tamed!"

John Donnelly believes that police charge sheets could be considerably simplified to read "in two-inch high caps, reversed black to white preferably: SO YOU'RE NICKED!"

Tom Gaunt supplies a set of titles for Government pamphlets: "Vatman Forever" (for HM Customs & Excise); "Tools Rules" (Health and Safety Executive) and "Loadsaroads" (Dept of Transport).

RJ Pickles adds: "Handouts for Hypochondriacs" (Help with NHS costs; AB11, Apr 1995 Dept of Health); "Grab with Grannie" (Social Security FB31, Nov 1991); "Don't Jib at Jabs" (Health Advice for Travellers, T5, Jan 1995); "Single Parents Bonanza" (CSA 2001, Apr 1995) and "Wrinkles for Wrinklies" (National Savings Pension- ers Bonds).

Pete Scales supplies what appears to be a leaked version of the Greenbury Report: "Re: Fat Cat Cash - Mandarins Slam Big Boss Pay Bonanza. Action Pronto!" Prizes to RJ Pickles, Tom Gaunt, Des Waller.

Next week, things to do with hiccups. Meanwhile, we seek creative uses for the Albert Memorial and have three copies of the Chambers Encyclopaedic Dictionary for the ones we like best. Ideas, by 4 Aug, to: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Sq, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

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