The first pilgrimage when I went to England for the first time was one of the weirdest.
I should say at the outset that the first CD I purchased in England was the new in spring 1999 Catatonia CD, "Equally Cursed and Blessed," in an airport HMV. Yes, I overpaid but it was the act of buying a new release in the promised land that mattered, especially in an HMV -- after all, music was a large part of my love for the United Kingdom.
[And I realize the irony of buying a CD of a Welsh band in an English locale.]
On the first day in England, my friend and I went to the Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus.
Normally, in any other Tower in America, we'd run to the import CD section but, obviously, now we were in the land where the magical "imports" were born -- we could just browse.
So probably the second CD that I purchased in England was the fantastic Saint Etienne singles compilation "Too Young To Die - The Singles" mainly to get the song "I Was Born On Christmas Day."
The one-off single is probably my favorite Saint Etienne track and in the video The Charlatans' Tim Burgess looks a lot like Mick Jagger (but doesn't he always?) which helps inflate the song's cool balloon.
Here's a helpful link providing background on the song.
And yes, R.I.P. for Tower Records both here and abroad.