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Pifl ’81 Day 1: P’s Postcards from Pifl

Sunday, January 1st, 2023

On the Pifl harbour road, sandwiched between an ever changing cavalcade of gaudy emporiums Postcards from Pifl is a small, unnoticed Pifl institution. The shop has been here, in the same family, since 1903. It occupies a narrow shop unit rented from the Butty family. Barely wide enough for two customers to squeeze past each other in the narrow corridor between its shelves its crammed full of stock. The most successful nearest the front while as you get deeper into the shop older and failed designs can be found slowly curling and fading with age.

Mr P, the proprietor can be found at the front desk during opening hours taking payment. Four swivel display units stand on the pavement just outside the shop.

Mr P’s children think he should retire but none of them want to take over the business and he’d only be under Mrs P’s feet if he was at home all the time. They love each other in their own way though – she puts little notes into his tin foil wrapped sandwiches and some day’s they’re smuttier than the Donald McGill postcards on the higher shelves.

Mr P has, like his father before him, an ongoing battle with the Pifl Postcard Censorship Board. He has a copy of The Art of Donald MCGill pasted to the door at the back of the shop. Behind the door is a tiny stock room and office. A cluttered desk fills the width of the back wall. The back wall is covered in layer upon layer of accreted old calendars, newspaper clippings, posters, photographs of the P family, local maps and other miscellaneous printed material. Someone crawling below the desk would find a sheet of chipboard patching a hole in the board that forms the wall. Prising the chipboard away would allow a small person or child to crawl into the service tunnel running behind the harbourfront shops.

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