good for bristol

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Above the Free Shop

I've spent the last few nights in the rooms above the Free Shop.  Overall the project is failing and probably won't be turned round.  It's a good idea and the people involved are good at heart but there are a couple of reasons why I don't want to be associated with it.

The Free Shop is a simple concept, a shop where everything is given away for free.  Stuff is donated, collected from bins, found here, there and everywhere.  And given away.  It works.  Personally I've always got a few things to drop off there and get useful clothes and books.

And for the last few days I've appreciated having somewhere to stay, although it's not the easiest living environment.  Other people prefer to sleep rough than stay there.

I'm not going to go into detail about the two specific issues bothering me.  I think most people familiar with the Free Shop and the people living there will have a fair idea what I've got in mind.  Routine activities there have - for me - crossed a line that I do not condone and do not want to be linked with.

I don't see any possibility of this situation changing.  There is no-one in a position to turn it round.  Therefore it will stumble onwards in it's messy fashion.


  1. So.... whats the actually problem with the Free Shop. You given a whole load of "living at free shop is bad" rant! However, you haven't actually said whats wrong with it...

  2. A fair comment, anonymous.

    As I said "I'm not going to go into detail about the two specific issues bothering me." Not ideal for the reader of course but I'm sure you can understand there are reasons not to be specific on a public blog.

    I did ponder for a while whether I should say anything or not and reflect on what the nature of this blog should be. I can't do a blog pretending everything is lovely and everyone gets along just fine all the time. That would be just puke-makingly sacharine.

    On the other hand washing dirty linen in public always sucks and won't achieve anything other than to have everyone very pissed off at me.

    If I get the balance wrong I'm sure people will say.

    Back to the Free Shop, I do want to repeat I like all the people involved and haven't met anyone who made me think "what a b*astard!" It's more to do with the use of the building, the relationships between the different factions involved, who is - or isn't - in any form of control and the impact this has on the surrounding public.