jmtd → log → Portland, Oregon and Beatdown Records, Newcastle
I'm over on the west coast of the States attending 15th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC2022) in Vancouver, WA.
Vancouver is a city on the southern extent of Washington, on the north side of the Columbia River from the (better known) Portland, Oregon. (Perhaps more about Vancouver in another post.)
In between conference sessions I've made a couple of trips out to Portland to see bits and pieces. My friends with experience here all raved about Powell's City of Books, and with good reason. I managed to escape without a mortal wound to my finances, but only just.
Likewise Music Millennium, emblazoned with the unofficial city slogan "Keep Portland Weird!" was a worthwhile pilgrimage. I was saved only by knowing that I had to carry home whatever I bought on the plane.
Visiting MM made me realise something about my favourite record store at home, Beatdown Records: It is a truly world-class record store. I have bought from (and sold at) many times over the years, but the last time I had a realisation that it was somewhere a bit special was in between two of the UK's Covid lockdowns.
My father and I both qualified for early access to the first two rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations on offer in the UK — the Astra Zeneca — and The Centre for Life (across the road from Beatdown Records) was the nearest place to go and get them. By the time of our second shot, shops had started to open up again and things had loosened up a bit. We had time to kill around the appointment so I took my Dad to Beatdown. The shop has a reasonably-sized front room with a selection of CDs and records, but the real gold is in the back. Dad hadn't realised there was a back. He's a pretty quiet person so when I took him to the back and he loudly exclaimed "…Wow", it was quite satisfying.