Surprise your friends with some leather-bound chutney

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The Independent Online
LOOKING for ideas for your Christmas shopping list? Look no further] Here are a few sparkling suggestions for you to pick from to make someone happy this Christmas]

Assorted Pack of Top Wine Labels. Most people these days may not be able to tell good wine from bad, but they can certainly tell a good wine label from a bad one - so why not give good wine labels as a present] All the recipient has to do, whenever there are guests round that he wants to impress, is stick a rather special wine label on a fairly ordinary bottle. pounds 12 for a packet of 100 French, pounds 15 for 100 Australian. Remember - it is not illegal to pass off one wine as another in the privacy of your own home]

Leather-bound book entitled, in gold script, My Book. You know how infuriating it is in conversation when people say, 'Well, in my book, they should all be sent back to where they come from', or, 'That's all very well, but in my book, the railways should have been privatised long ago'? Now at last there is a way to come back at these idiots - simply produce this de luxe, hand-

tooled book on creamy paper, which is actually entitled My Book, and say, 'So you may say, but in my book . . .' and then you ostentatiously look up whatever it is and 'read out' whatever you want to say. pounds 30.99 hardback, paperback coming out soon.

Foolproof Anti-car-theft Device. Most anti-car-theft devices make the mistake of trying to deter the thief before he steals the car, thus giving him ample warning. This one is concealed deep within the column of the steering wheel and only comes into action as he prepares to drive off with your baby. Yes, as soon as the car starts moving, a large spike emerges from the column and pinions the miscreant to the back of the driving seat] If you don't want to get blood all over the seat, you can have the simpler model in which the steering wheel itself pushes the thief flat against the seat and then proceeds to squash the breath out of him. Other models include the James Bond (steering wheel shoots the illegal chauffeur), the Coco the Clown (steering wheel comes off in his hand) and the Absolutely Fabulous (steering wheel deluges thief with neat whisky and tries to set fire to him).

Graham Taylor's Memoirs: Back to Basics, and Beyond. Now ordering for Christmas 1994.

Souvenir Pakistani Cricket Ball. Comes in display case, with full instructions on what to do in case of emergency. The case is marked 'In Case of Follow-on, Break Glass and Use'. It also comes with full list of lawyers' phone numbers and catalogue of cricketers who would be prepared to testify in your defence.

Five Assorted Packs of Tate Gallery Rice. It's not often that you can actually give away an art treasure which can also be cooked, but all the rice in these packs is guaranteed to have been on show at the Tate Gallery in the past six months] Imagine being able to say to your friends, when they ask you where that delicious recipe came from, 'Oh, from the Arts Council actually. And so did the ingredients . . .' From pounds 50 a hamper.

Country Style Chutney Converter. Perhaps the major growth industry of the Eighties and Nineties in rural England has been the making of chutney. Village stores, WI markets, National Trust shops and craft fairs are overflowing with the stuff. And although a little of it is eaten, the vast bulk is bought and given away as presents, and that is why almost all of us have shelves groaning with unwanted, unused and uncared for bottles of green tomato chutney, onion chutney, mango chutney, windfall apple chutney, chutney chutney and unidentified chutney. But now, at last, help is at hand] The new Country Style Chutney Converter has been invented to solve this very problem and turn any surplus chutney into something more useful. The basic model will turn chutney into firelighters, compost and bird food. The upper range of chutney converter will turn it into Green Tomato Liqueur or Indian Raj Bath Gel. Write for complete price list.

Telephone Conversation Interrupter. Ever been on a long phone call and been desperate to break it off but not been able to find an excuse? Well, you can with the new electronic Telephone Conversation Interrupter] Simply press a button to activate it, and it will make the sound of a distant doorbell, or a car crash, crying babies, the Fraud Squad breaking down your door, or up to 30 different crucially valid excuses for getting off the phone. Also includes an electronic memory bank to avoid using the same excuse on the same person twice in a row] From pounds 60 . . .