creativity ideas worth filing away for later

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The Independent Online
We really believed that thinking of filing cabinets would cool the creative ardour of our young lady correspondents from Wiltshire, but we were wrong. Sian Cole, of Swindon, finds a filing cabinet useful in the bedroom "to leap off onto the bed", while Lisa Lind from nearby Chiseldon fills her filing cabinet, "from the bottom, in ascending order of importance, with my voluminous collections of brassieres, panties, bikini bottoms (who needs tops?) and mind-blowing perfumes."

"The proper purpose of a filing cabinet," Jonathan Griffin informs us, "is to hold the coffee; everything else inside is just waste paper to give the illusion of office efficiency."

Nicholas E Gough mentions Umaru Dikko, famous a few years ago for being found in a crate in a complex political kidnap drama. He suggests that a filing cabinet would be the most appropriate form of travel for John Major to smuggle himself out of the country if he loses the leadership election.

Mr Gough's request a couple of weeks ago for a word meaning "collector of widgets" has, incidentally, been answered by FG Robinson who says the word he is looking for is "widget-collector". Mr Robinson has heat-sealed pop-up files in his filing cabinet turning it into into a heavy-duty, multi-storey toaster. He also recommends them to dentists who can't spell, for keeping fillings in.

"Several months ago (writes Jonathan Leigh) I purchased three old filing cabinets from Sir Richard Scott at a car boot sale. I utilised them at my allotment by filling the drawers with compost and transplanting some of my prize-winning vegetables into them.

"Imagine my surprise when several official-looking chaps came crashing through my fronnt door waving a warrant for my arrest. I appear in court next week accused of supplying leeks from the Scott Report file."

"Set on wheels, with a child-sized toilet inside," says BW Goddard, "they can be towed behind the car and used when the kids are screaming and there isn't a toilet in sight." Open a drawer, put the kid in, close drawer, remove when ready. He also sees them as indispensible for growing genetically engineered giant rhubarb, which can be harvested simply by opening the bottom drawer.

Mollie Caird has her filing cabinets marching in grey suits with furled umbrellas at the Trooping of the Colour.

A coat of fluffy paint, says Martin Brown, transforms a filing cabinet into the ideal low-maintenance pet.

Ms MJ Watkins points out that "these ostensibly dreary objects are a fungophile's delight". She recommends turning filing cabinets into mushroom farms "the beauty being that one can grow three or four species of mushroom at once". She also mentions their use as multi-storey soundproof cots.

The cabinet as time-machine was mentioned by Tom Gaunt. The water-filled filing cabinet as whelk storage is advocated by CM Fane.

All Basic Cabinets Do Excellent Filing. Good Heavies Include Jolly Keen Little Management Niches. Only Peak Quality Representatives Serve Tea. Ultimate Versions Will Xerox Your Zipcode, says William Salaman.

Greg Thomson says: "Use them as a defence against All Blacks' winger Joanna Lumley." Prizes to Jonathan Leigh, BW Goddard, William Salaman.

Next week, we'll be discussing ideas for Wiltshire. Meanwhile, Shell Oil wants ideas for things to do with the Brent Spar oil platform. Ideas, by 14 July, to Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers Encyclopaedic Dictionary prizes to the three we like best.