Archive for the 'Help Me!' Category

Processing the process

I emailed my mailing list telling them about the shop. I included this sample of the help I got:

Q. How can I decide which projects to say Yes to and which to say No to?

A. Claudia thought this was easy: it’s about the feeling you have when you hear of them. If it makes you feel happy it is good! If it makes you think too much – in a bad way – it is not good.

Several people replied to my mail asking me to tell them more about the help. Like the comedian and songstress Anne Lillis who said:

“Would be interesting to hear more of the advice you got – maybe that’s another show or something! Does that idea make you feel happy or think too much! ha ha!!!”

I said I would put the advice up on the blog. But maybe I should try and sell it! Or swop it and get some of my things back…. Hmm, I can feel the circular arguments growing up around me. Along with prevarication and procrastination? I once bought a book on procrastination and one of its exercises was to write down a list of 100 things you are putting off. I told a friend about this and she thought writing the list instead of doing things was even more procrastination!

Anyhow, once I have finished procrastinating, and I find a good way to communicate the help (in a post? on a page? grouped by theme or randomly? drip feed gradually or in a complete group? with images of the cards people wrote on? with words alone? ideas anyone?) I will.

posted by Priscilla in Advice,Help Me! and have Comment (1)

Finders, Weepers

I was recently trying to co-ordinate with my mother about visiting her. We were both on the road and I didn’t have a key, so I wanted her to reach her house before me. I texted to say I was nearly home. My mother sent a reply saying “I am also nearly hmmm”. Hmmm: a full fridge, a garden, an attic, a dog.

On the way to her house I took a detour and cycled through a local park, near the Dodder River. I found a blue hoody on a bench. I have a weakness for blue hoodies and for discarded things in general. (In the Help Me! Help Me! shop I had a whole table – actually a discarded sink – full of things I had found and collected, for people to rummage through.)

Anyhow, I stuffed the top into my rucksack and left quickly. In my mother’s hmmm I tried it on but we both declared it a QFM* and I decided to take it back as soon as I could. When I say that I decided to take it back, I mean that I decided to let my mother take it back. My mother has a helping disorder which I gladly benefit from, and anyhow she walks her dog a lot so it seemed convenient.

I gave her a detailed description of what bench I had found the hoody on, and she, liking to get things done, headed off that evening with the dog and the hoody and the mission.

An hour or so later she rang me and here I will use the word ‘aghast’ to describe her – it’s not often you get the chance to…. When she walked into the park she saw there was a football match on and the players were dressed identically. “Guess what they were all wearing?” she said? “Hmmm” I said, “not the blue hoodies?” She dropped it on the first bench – not the right bench – and ran. She did not look back to see if a bare-chested man clutching his returned hoody was running after her, shouting about finders not being keepers at all. And she swore once again to run no more errands for me, or anyone else she knows.

*Quelle Fashion Mistake, as named in the book Generation X, by Douglas Coupland.

posted by Priscilla in For Sale,Found things,Help Me!,shop stock,The Shop and have Comments (3)

Browse, Trawl, Rummage, Find

It’s hard to believe it is over and the Help Me! Help Me! shop is now closed!

I’m missing it: the bell ringing and everyone shouting “Help Me! Help Me!”, the conversations with strangers and friends, and all the tea and cake I could eat daily…

Thank you to everyone who visited and browsed, trawled, rummaged and found. Thanks to all who offered me their help, I am mulling over the things people suggested, and I will post up some of the ideas and advice.

I’ll also add photos of the treasure being taken, and the happy customers, like Irene O’Mara who claimed this tortoise, which I made in primary school but neglected to finish. She has promised to try and complete it…

posted by Priscilla in Help Me!,shop stock,The Shop and have No Comments

1 down, 3 to go

Day one went great! I got help with over 25 things and said goodbye to lots of treasure.

A neighbour from the apartments next door was our first customer at around 12.05pm, she gave me advice on driving lessons and took a green coat.

Jo Mangan was the first person to take something from “The Tat or Treasure Trolley”, Shane Carr won the 3 o’clock quiz easily, and my mother entered the shop just as someone was helping me with the question: “How can I know if I have really cut the umbilical cord from my mother?”

Help yesterday included: “What should I buy in Ikea?” answered by a six year old, “Which of the classics should I read?” “How can I get on better with my family?” and “How can I spend less time worrying about things that probably won’t happen?”  (I will post up more and some answers when the shop is finished.)

Marketa from The Performance Corporation answered one of my favourite quesions so far… “Show me the contents of your handbag and give me something from it that will help me!”  But I am not saying what she gave…

Thanks to the Fringe volunteers Rachel and Gail for all the dish washing and help with telling people what is happening, and of course to production manager Irene O’Mara for doing everything that needs doing.

Lots more stuff in the shop and lots more needs – including “Bring your favourite cake to the 3 o’clock tea, cake and chat”… 

See you if you can visit and please, don’t forget to ring the bell when you enter!

posted by Priscilla in Advice,shop stock,The Shop and have Comments (6)

600 things and counting

Well it is nearly here. Only one day to go and the shop must open! After some panic and denial things are taking shape. It wouldn’t have happened without a lot of help! A full list of people I want and have remembered to THANK can be found on the Thank You! Thank You! page of this website – fantastically designed by Victor Terenetiev.

It is fun being in the shop venue now, as people pass by and want to know what is happening. Today I got asked for a job, and someone wanted to sell me her homemade sushi, and lots of people asked if I will take donations of their stuff. Irene O’Mara, the Performance Corporation Production Manager kept things on track brilliantly and designer Catherine Murphy has finished her lovely window display – letters supplied by my mother and photos by me.

We started to count the things in the shop and there are over 600.

It is slightly scary realising how many things I have, and these are just the ones I can do without! I hope it all goes, or almost all. It is hard not to take some things back and the treasure I am finding hardest to part with is labelled High Risk.

posted by Priscilla in For Sale,Help Me!,shop stock,The Shop and have Comments (2)

Send me your tunes!

Today is the National Campaign for the Arts Action day, and artists are doing things all Ireland to show  the importance of the arts in Irish life. This post is about an action I want you to take for me…

People have been offering me their stuff to sell in the shop, but I have too much clutter of my own. So I am not accepting donations of stock from people, except my mother. She gets to be an exception because she had a role in my last show, and she is finding it hard to sit this one out.

So no donations of your unwanted things, but here is another exception: I would love people to donate their unwanted LPs, cds and cassette tapes to play in the shop.

I ran The Robinsons’ Sunday Roadshow Café in the Clonmel Junction Festival last year. I was trying to recreate our family Sundays, and this included playing old family records, a lot of which were hymns and spiritual tunes, with titles like Country Western Hymnal and Gospel Songs and Spirituals for Little Children. (Thanks to my older siblings’ musical taste, Neil Young’s Harvest was also in the café and was easily the most selected record.)

Some lovely, local teenagers adopted my café and visited often. Matthew and Thomas took pity on my record collection and loaned me a few of their own. I can’t remember exactly, but I think it was ACDC and Black Sabbath, which didn’t fit in with the Robinsons’ Sunday theme but made a great change from the hymns!  

So here is your chance to put Help Me! Help Me! on a track – pun intended – it might not otherwise go on. Records, cassettes and cds accepted in the shop from 12pm Thursday 23rd September. Or post to Priscilla Robinson, c/o 45 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.

p.s. Big thanks to Ali White who came up with this idea of only playing music people donate, during one of the talk shops I organised, where people drank tea and talked about  charity shops!

posted by Priscilla in Help Me!,shop stock,The Shop and have No Comments


My landlord visited my flat recently, and saw all the bags of stuff I am storing up for the shop, as well as the clutter I am not giving up. “You have a lot of stock”, he said “That is fine. But you should not bring in anything more.”

I was glad to hear that I have a lot of stock, but I did not want to lose my tenancy so I started to move stuff to my mother’s house. She will not evict me because I do not live there. My old bedroom is now full and I have started taking over the guest room for sorting purposes.

It’s time to sort because I’m finally working out how to display the goods in my shop. There are lots of possible ways to categorise the things I loved, things I still love, things I made,  things I regret buying, things I picked up off the street, things people gave me but I don’t know why etc. etc.. It is going in the direction of putting objects into groups with a name, such as: “You say Tat, I say Treasure” and “Presents: welcome and unwelcome”.

I’m starting to struggle with the realisation that my things will be going for good, and I was showing my friend Deirdre all the stuff I am hoping to reclaim. She was laughing at me and advising I label these “high risk” and keep them near me in the shop, at all times!  Perhaps I should tie them to me, or carry them around in a bag, or hide them in the shop and see if they get found by someone who wants them as much as me…

posted by Priscilla in Decluttering,For Sale,Help Me!,shop stock,The Shop and have No Comments

Help Me! Help Me!

 I’ve always wanted to work in a charity shop. I decided to take this wish a bit further, and open my own one. It’s going to be called Help Me! Help Me!

In the Help Me! Help Me! shop I will be getting rid of lots of my things, some of which I have tried to give away before but changed my mind. I don’t like asking for help and I hate letting stuff go. You can get sick of the facts about yourself, so I’m taking action by making these problems the heart of this project.

In Treasure you can see some photos I have been taking of the things: apparently one of the reasons why we hoard stuff is that we are afraid we won’t remember what it looks like when it is gone.

posted by Priscilla in Charity Shops,For Sale,Help Me!,The Shop and have No Comments