Went to ireland last week for work. The itinerary was awful, minneapolis to amsterdam, amsterdam to dublin, dublin to galway and then back again. Worse yet, we worked (and by worked, i include the 3 hour dinners each night) some long ass days, so i didn't have a ton of free time.
but i did stop in the HMV store in galway (15 minutes after arrival, unsurprisingly). they had the dvd release of THE ILLUSIONIST (oscar nominated animated feature). region two, but it does play on my computer, so good enough. and maybe i can flip it on amazon.
for music, the pickings were kinda slim. apparently, hmv-ireland doesn't dig Q magazine cos i wasn't finding many of the interesting releases, and the sticker shock of some of them (20 euros for a new cd?) rocked me back on my heels a bit.
i did grab a copy of the hurts disc (am deeply hooked into that "Sunday" song, although the rest of the disc is kinda ho hum). also got discs by the halves (they have such cool cd packaging), the hollows (not quite there, but intriguing) and windings (my favorite of the bunch).
dublin would have been fun, cos i'd have a tower and an hmv and i seem to recall a couple independent shops from another visit, but on thursday, when we were supposed to head back to dublin around 5, my companions decided it would be great to shop in the quaint little shops in galway town, so we didn't get to dublin until late (after all the stores there had closed) and with an early flight to amsterdam the next morning, i didn't have any time to pick in dublin. boo-hoo me.
but i delayed my flight back to the states on friday (so i could hang with my friend Paul) so i had some time to haunt the shops there. oddly enough, i didn't make it in the Free Record Shop. i saw one at the centraal train station, but i was weighted down with my bags then. and i did search for the one by the dam, but didn't find it until later on saturday when i didn't have time. i did find a Fame store (also close to the dam) and spent an hour flipping through the bins. in the middle of the store they had a big display of wounded bird cd releases. lots of fun re-issues (ellen foley, don felder, wet willie, gary wright, seals and crofts) good stuff, but spendy and it's all in print in the US, so no point in picking it up.
i did pick up the first OMD disc (remastered with bonus tracks of course) and the re-released viva hate (ditto on the bonus tracks) for 5 euros i figured what the heck. my cool find there was sitting on the boxed set shelf. Rupert Holmes' cast of characters box set (all his albums plus some rarities on a 5 disc set). of course, i checked with melloy before i grabbed it, so i knew i wasn't overpaying (hoo-ray for me, i listed it and it has already sold for $30 more than i paid!)
A guy at the Fame store told me about another store that had used, but the direction utterly cornfused me (i'm sure his directions were good, it was my understanding that was bad) but when i mentioned the store to Paul, he more or less (more or less means 30 minutes wandering around and asking random strangers) knew where it was (and he'd been there before).
Concerto was the name of the store and it was pretty cool. three building, three levels worth of new and new music. definitely a mistake to have left this place to the very last hour of free time i had, but fun to pick through the used pop/rock section. got some goodies, the first rifles disc, the diva release of icehouse's greatest, a disky version of LRB's backstage pass live album, vol 1 of the art vandelay stuff from graham parker (lots of rarities) and the infadels first disc amongst some other stuff. some worth more than others, but all cool stuff. fun shop, gonna plan for more time next time (and annoyingly, it was only a couple canals and maybe two streets away from my hotel.....so close, but such a tight trip)
and of course, i got to play DJ for paul again, but the mp3 version instead of the cd version with me sitting by the stereo and driving him nuts by playing 6 second snippets of songs. ("what, you don't have the bonus tracks from High Violet? what???? you've NEVER heard of Radio Dept? Who are you and what the heck have you been listening to besides beat up grateful dead albums? You would Love David Bazan!!!!") fun stuff. at least the back side of the trip had some upside. and although there's nothing that could be done about the long ass trip back home, at least i had a super cool mp3 player that kept me more than entertained.