A few weeks back, I took part in a project called Significant Objects, designed to test the commercial power of story-telling. 100 writers were each given a near-worthless item from a junk shop and asked to write a story about it, thereby investing it with a newfound 'significance'. The object and its story went up on eBay, with a disclaimer explaining the nature of the project. My object was an upside-down ceramic clown.
It's a US-based project and has won widespread support and acclaim over there, so I was both pleased and intimidated to be the only UK writer taking part. For the first time in my life, I was representing Queen and country. And, reader, I failed.
Or at least, I didn't exactly set the world alight. Despite my carefully crafted poem, Kenny came in 87th out of 100, selling for $11.61 compared to an original price of $2.
It gets worse.
During the course of the bidding, I watched as Kenny rose rapidly to $11.11, then stalled for days on end. It was late, we'd had a few drinks, one thing led to another. My wife put in a bid. $11.61. No one else beat it. We won Kenny.
So Kenny came 87th and we were the winning bidders.
I apologise to everyone.
Kenny himself is surprisingly upbeat about it. Seeing the world upside-down has its advantages – he thinks we came just outside the top ten.
NB: Despite my inadvertent attempts at sabotage, Significant Objects as a whole has been a resounding success and is now moving on to a new stage: a charity auction with new writers and new objects. Well worth keeping track of developments. There's also some amusing data nerdiness over here.