Archive for the 'The Shop' Category

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

At last, an address!

The great news is we have found a venue for the shop! It will be in the former Smock Alley Café, on Smock Alley Court which is off Parliament Street and really in Dublin 8 although most people think of this area as Dublin 2… Hmm, I think I will add a map.

It’s a lovely space, and used to be a fantastic café. I’m very grateful to Lynsey Ní Rainaill and all in Temple Bar Cultural Trust for letting me use it.

Thanks too to Irene O’Mara from the Performance Corporation (who are producing Help Me! Help Me!) for trying to get hold of various landlords, and to everyone who suggested possible homes: Delwen, Ann- Marie and Tom to name but a few. I can only name a few because my short term memory is getting worse, and will be in shreds by the end of September, so please remind me who you are if you come into the shop and I look dazed and confused.

The Help Me! Help Me! shop will be next to another shop, which sells very attractive merchandise, some of which has been “upcycled”! I think my stuff is more in the “downcycled” category.

posted by Priscilla in The Shop,Unusual shops and have Comment (1)

Declutter, my arse!

Declutter, my arse    

Here’s a task you can try, to help you declutter your clothes:

1.  From memory, write down a list of all the clothes you own.

2.  Compare this with your wardrobe.

3.  Now throw out everything you forgot to write down.

This is the kind of madness you can read in some of the “How to Declutter” articles and websites. The idea is that if you have things which you can’t recall then you must not need them. But I can barely remember my height, weight, or who owns what in the flat where I live, let alone all the clothes I own.

Because of my need to gather stock for the Help Me! Help Me! shop, I have been trying to change my attitude towards decluttering, and do it more often. It is becoming a bit of a game: what can I let go of this week that I wouldn’t last week?

I was decluttering in my flat recently and picked out a few of my wineglasses to give away. I thought I would offer them to my flatmate first in case she wanted them. She is Estonian and her English is excellent but sometimes she gets muddled and uses English in strange ways. She talks about the good police person, bad police person, and when I laugh she warns me not to “sell her for comedy”.

This time she was definite and coherent. “Priscilla” she said, “I know you do not like this glass, but it belongs to me and I would like it if you would not declutter my things.”

posted by Priscilla in Decluttering,shop stock,The Shop and have Comments (4)

Busy, busy

As well as finding a venue – which people keep telling me is important – there are a hundred small shop tasks I could happily drown in, like making handmade tags. I’ve been collecting (hoarding) these ribbons for years and they are coming in handy now that I am assembling the tags.
I’m not sure exactly what I will do with them, and so the Theme of Uncertainty continues to run headlong through this project…

I discovered that small loaves of sliced pan bread in Ireland often come with a piece of card at one end, I guess to keep the bread in shape? The card is a perfect, size for labels so I emailed some friends asking if they’d collect them for me. Strangely it seems that few of my friends eat this kind of bread… most of them eat artisan loaves or they make their own bread, and one family only eats pitta bread, with everything including jam!

Some people thought I wanted them to post the actual last slice of bread in the pan. So much for clarity.  My family always called that piece the “heel”, someone wrote and told me that hers calls them “Knoskis”.

Quite a few wanted to give me advice or send other types of cardboard which I found comforting but confusing:

“is the bread element part of it?? can’t you go the council and get loads of recycled stuff for free. or is this part of the art…. do you know the artist who ate his body shape through a huge massive mound of bread… rather beautiful and also an interesting way of pushing the notion of an elegant sufficiency to the edge of its boundaries…”

“I ONLY eat spelt bread from the farmer’s market: you’ll have to find less ‘high end’ friends for your project”…

“I do…have a spare room that is almost (except for an unpacked tent and a bike) all dedicated to unused (but hopefully useful in the future) cardboard. most of it is too cardboard-ie for your use i imagine…. does it have to be plain coloured on both sides? cos i have some pizza boxes and porridge boxes but only plain on one side…..”

I started to feel like I was swimming in the details of other people’s minds and got a bit worried about the future of the sliced pan.

I still haven’t received any cardboard in the post!

posted by Priscilla in design,The Shop and have Comments (7)

Shop seeking home

I am looking for a home for my shop in the Dublin Fringe Festival. It would be great to get somewhere in Dublin city centre, around Georges Street, Parliament Street or Capel Street. There seem to be quite a lot of empty shops in Dublin at the moment but letting agencies don’t want to say yes yet, in case they get a better offer… If you have any Dublin landlords in your family, with a suitable space, please get in touch! You can mail me at

There was a possible venue, opposite this wall sign (over a pub off Bolton Street) which I love! The space was great but it was a bit too far out of town, and there were no tea making facilities. We did think of doing a deal with the pub, and letting them provide the tea, coffee & wine.

posted by Priscilla in The Shop and have Comments (3)