Andrew Page, Musician

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Early last month, London-based musician, Andrew Page agreed to meet up with me to discuss his creative process and views on artistry. As we sat down in a Costa Coffee late that afternoon, Page warned me that he'd have to be on his way shortly because he had a birthday party he needed to get to that evening. He failed to mention until the end of interview that the birthday party he needed to get to was actually his own. With Page's steady schedule of shows throughout England, it wasn't entirely surprising that the little time he had available to meet up was between celebrations on his birthday--the only night off he had that week.

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Just a little over four years ago, Page was casually toying with the idea of taking his passion for music to the next level but struggled a bit with the idea of making the transition from musical hobbyist to serious musician. "There was a period where I was playing some of my own songs live and kind of entertaining the idea of being a serious songwriter but still had one foot in the idea of wanting to do covers and not too bothered about my own songs. And the other side of me wanted to take it seriously", he said, explaining that some encouraging words from a close friend pushed him to make the leap, "One of my musician friends, David Kerrigan said, 'Just do it. Just go and actually record this album and get it done...You could potentially live the rest of your life thinking what would have happen if I had recorded my own album and if you never'd done it, you'd be constantly regretful." That was exactly what Page needed to hear. Shortly after, he left his job in product design and decided to go into the studio full time to focus on putting an album together.

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With childhood influences ranging from Bon Jovi to Simon & Garfunkel to Garth Brooks, Page found his own voice in acoustic driven music and began preparing songs for his album. In the same way that a photographer or painter looks at the whole world and envisions it as a piece of art in their respective medium, Page has developed a keen sense for listening to the world to find inspiration. Some of his songs were just inspired thoughts while others, he explains, had exterior sources, "There's one song on my album, I was actually writing a letter to a love interest, post our relationship and then I realized that something I said in that, it just came out as I was writing it... I thought there's a song in that and turned that into something. It's always different. Sometimes I'll hear somebody else say something and I'll think that sounds good or I like the rythm of that, the phonetics of what they said, so I'll try to blend it in."

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Page described the experience he had recording his first record and on his own, none the less, saying, "At the beginning, I was the most forward thinking but at the same time daunted by the fact that I had a blank sheet...There were days where I was very driven, I would get up early and work solidly throughout the entire day. But there were days where nothing's working. You just get to the end of the day and think, I've acheived nothing today, I'm fed up. You just kind of have to take hold of yourself and go, 'This is your project and the only person who is going to make it happen is you.' It got easier on the days where I tried to be more structured. I would set the day out... those were the days where I'd achieve the most. If I put the blinds down and shut the door, those were the days I got the most done. No distractions. But there were also days where I got too close up to it and had to take a step back. I think a lot of times you can get too close to it."

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With his album, Open the Door, complete, Page has been heavily making the rounds throughout England and focusing more on playing live for the time being. His next album isn't imminently in the works but he says, "[I'm] just frantically playing so many of the songs, I don't have time to sit down and write anything else out. In the meantime I'm constantly waiting, always on receive, if anything comes in, I've got a notepad on my phone that's just chock-full of little things that I think of that hopefully one day I'll be able to turn into a song."

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Page hasn't had a chance to make it stateside quite yet (though he recently informed me that he's planning a trip over the summer), but you can learn more about him and listen to portions of Open the Door on his website or on Facebook.

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Love for London

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1. Hyde Park

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After arriving in London, I boarded the tube and got off at Piccadilly Circus for no particular reason other than that I had heard of Piccadilly Circus and knew that it was within two miles of the Paddington area hotel I was staying in. I wandered around the area for a bit before deciding to make my way toward Paddington and the easisest route to my destination just happened to be through this great park. On an unseasonably warm day (78-80 degrees Fahrenheit), the park was filled with people enjoying their lunches in the sunshine. What I had predicted to be a thirty minute walk turned into a ninety minute excursion as I explored the grounds (okay, truthfully, I got a bit lost as the park is enormous and it took the navigation of several paths to find the particular exit I was looking for) but I did get a chance to enjoy a CliffBar and coffee lunch on the green overlooking the Serpentine.  For the next few days, Hyde Park became my scenic route of choice for promenading back and forth to Central London. After seeing the park at various hours of the day, early morning seemed to be the nicest time for a stroll as the park is quite empty and peaceful at that time. It becomes much more crowded around lunchtime and at dusk.

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2. The Borough Market

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I can't tell you exactly where I learned of the Borough Market but I'm very glad to have discovered it. Tucked beside London Bridge, dozens of vendors congregate weekly ever Thursday through Saturday to offer a variety of delectable goods ranging from upscale chocolatiers  to spice merchants to grocers stocked with fresh, organic produce.  I'm not one to buy knick-knacks so the majority of the gifts that I came home with were purchased here, including truffle glaze, English porridge, a variety of curry blends, chocolate pasta, fudge, chocolate bars, oh and more chocolate. I also had a great lunch from a vegetarian stand that consisted of a quiona veggie burger with a side of vegan coleslaw and beet salad finished with an authentic British flapjack (which have now become one of my favorite things on the planet).  On another note, Brick Lane Market was another one that I truly enjoyed but I have already mentioned that a bit in this post. 

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3. The Tower of London

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Following my shopping spree at the Borough Market, I headed back across the river and a little further east toward the Tower of London. This was the one site that my father had insisted I visit as it was a place that really stuck out in his mind from a visit years ago.  Though £20 to enter the grounds, a guided tour is included as well as access to the building housing the Crown Jewels. Everyone has heard at least a portion of the history involving the Tower but to stand within its confines, knowing full well of those who, so many years ago, stood staring down their fate in the shape of a sharp blade, well, it's incredibly eerie and almost overwhelming in its way. The six ravens pacing upon the Tower Green do not bring a great deal of comfort either.

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4. Tate Britain

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After spending nearly $40 to see the Tower of London, I found the free attractions that London offers even more appealing, such as the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. As I mentioned previously, I enjoyed the Tate Britain much more than the Tate Modern, but wouldn't suggest one over the other as art preferences are so varied. Personally, I felt the Tate Modern was not laid out very effectively, with vast amounts of space being completely wasted, and overall, did not find myself connecting to very much of the work displayed, but again, this is all subjective. The Tate Britain was kind of a spontaneous visit as it was along a wayward route I was walking one afternoon, so I decided to take a peek in. I'm incredibly glad that I did. The galleries that stood out the most to me included those that housed more classical pieces of British work, stemming from the 1500-1600's as well as a gallery showcasing three series selected by the photographer himself, Don McCullin. I've mentioned a bit about him in a previous post; his work was exceptionally heartfelt and evoked feelings of compassion within me.

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5. The British Museum

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Another free destination worth checking out is the British Museum. Days could be spent exploring this colossal museum, which holds the Rosetta Stone as well as superior Ancient Egypt and Greek collections. The museum's main staircase is breathtaking in and of itself, it's size so monstrous that it feels other-worldly. I spent several hours perusing the galleries, still only managing to see a small portion of the antiquities. I recommend the South Asian gallery (in room 33), which documents the development of the region's three most popular religions--Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism through sculptures and artifacts. If you're unsure of which galleries you'd like to visit, I'd suggest running through the gift shop quickly and taking notice of any items that may strike your interest. It's a pretty easy way to get a visual overview of any museum's offerings so that you may later find the respective galleries.

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Don't forget, you can check out all of my photos from this trip on Flickr!

 

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London, in repeat

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Almost immediately upon arriving in London, I found myself inadvertently immersed in the study of repetition. I was coming across it everywhere. Though I'm certain this can be seen in any city in the world, I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos showcasing London's repetitive nature.

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Later this week, I'll be posting a few of the highlights of my trip as well as an artist featurette with British musician, Andrew Page. In the meantime, please feel free to check out all of the photographs from my trip on Flickr.

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Zeiss-Ikon Ikonta

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I'd like to introduce you to the newest addition to my growing collection of cameras, Zeiss-Ikon Ikonta 521/16 (clearly her Christian name). As I mentioned in my previous post, I purchased two new cameras while strolling through Brick Lane Market on London's east end. One of these cameras was a ninety year old Zeiss-Ikon camera. It's an old German camera with an accordion style lens that folds back into itself and has held up quite well over all these years. The day after purchasing it, I came across a Calumet Photo in Soho that was selling the 120 film needed for my newest acquisition, so I grabbed a box and waited in anticipation until the following day to begin shooting with it. It's strange how something as seemingly minor as looking through a square viewfinder as opposed to a standard rectangle can change your entire perspective. I've become so accustom to framing my whole world in a particular manner that it was quite fun for me to be forced to look out with new eyes.

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Anyway, these are some of the photographs I took with the new camera. Due to a bit of jet-lag and my attempt to multi-task in the short five hours I had between flights, my first roll suffered from a few chemical stains and an uneven exposure, but I kind of like them with their imperfections. .

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The second batch turned out much better, as I was taking my time and completely focused on the developing process.

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If you're unfamiliar with 120 film, it's much larger than the standard 35mm and only contains twelve shots per roll, hence the square format of the photographs. These were just kind of for fun but I'm really excited about the possibilities that lay ahead with this new addition. I already have a few projects in mind and can see the value this camera possesses.
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More London photos + an artist featurette with illustrator Ryan Selvy are on the way in the upcoming days!
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