I went to a junk shop today and held out a £20 note and the guy asked me what sort of thing I was after. I handed him the money and said I didn't really mind.
That's the problem with this job – and Edinburgh in particular – it's just a lot of incidents like that, which constantly reaffirm the fact that you are, more or less, a nonsense figure.
I needed the stuff for my show – because I like to have interesting stuff spilt across the stage and then balance on it – but my story's not unique. It's a pretty regular occurrence to be carrying, say, an abacus or 20 mops, and see a fellow performer across the street carrying, say, a large inflatable snowman. An embarrassed look is exchanged. You both think, "I hope it's worth it, mate".
The people of Edinburgh don't seem to mind either. It's clear that the city has been overrun by such clowns. Last August I bought four cans of beer, a Victoria sponge and a tomato from the same man every day for a month. Never any reaction. Just assumed that was my vibe and let me get on with it.
When I first came up I would chuckle at myself and think things like "Ha – I've bought a Sharon fruit and a laundry basket – brilliant". But you become beleaguered. This year I bowed my head when I offered the junkshopkeeper my money. It's embarrassing. He gave me a typewriter, a bell shaped like a lady and an 8 iron. I think they'll look great, to be fair.
Tim Key performs his Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning show 'The Slutcracker' at Pleasance Dome (0131 556 6550) to 21 August, and in The Invisible Dot Club by the Sea (0131 623 3030) on 20 August