Friday, October 17, 2014

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page

Mage Music: Me & JPxJP
“I set out to create a photographic autobiography. I wanted the images to illustrate the journey of my musical career…”~Jimmy Page, Epilogue to his book

Like so many others, I would have loved to get my hands on an autographed, beautifully boxed copy of Jimmy Page’s photographic autobiography, but it was out of my price range. I was very happy, then, to be able to obtain an “ordinary” copy and I pre-ordered it right away, counting down the days till it would be published.

I wondered what my reaction would be when I got it. I knew that I would be very familiar with most of the photos, and that there would be few words of explanation. Would I be disappointed?

I wondered just how much Magick would be in such a book, anyway.


Amazon said my copy would be delivered yesterday afternoon,  I had some anxiety about how it would be delivered.  My house is not quite as easy to get to as most people's are. It makes a big difference what delivery service is used but there’s no telling which one Amazon will use.  It matters.

US Postal Service delivers my neighborhood’s mail to mailboxes about five miles from where I live. UPS delivers to a friend’s house four miles in a different direction because it’s easier getting there than to my house.  I hadn't, though, provided special delivery instructions when I pre-ordered (not that there was an option to, as I recall) so I couldn't count on it being UPS. And FedEx – well, suffice it to say one time I discovered my overnight express delivery package three days after the delivery date, in a plastic bag tied to the gate of a vacant property three miles from me.

I checked the mailboxes yesterday afternoon. Nothing. I went to my friend’s house. Nothing. And then, driving down the dirt road to my house, I met the FedEx guy driving out. He’d not only found my place but deposited the box on my porch.

If that wasn't Magick right there, it was at least a miracle.

Drum roll...

Before I did anything, I had to calm down my dogs.  They were not happy at all with a FedEx guy having the nerve to go on their porch and worse, leave something just on the other side of their door. And even then I didn't do anything.

I left the package sitting on the table for a while, actually. I brought in the groceries. Put stuff away. Looked at the box as I walked by. Savored it being there. Thought about how long I could make myself wait before I had to have it.

Once it was opened, it could never be unopened, you know. I had waited so long…

Finally I whipped out my pocket knife and cut the seal on the box. I unfolded the flaps and beheld The Book.

It was larger than I expected, even though I had seen enough photos to know how large it would be. It was pleasingly heavy. I wanted to rip it open and consume it then and there… but I left it alone, still in the cardboard delivery box, still in the plastic wrap. Um... this wasn't very rational, was it. It was just a book! Not signed, never touched by Jimmy Page. 

Didn't matter.

I felt like just rushing through opening it would be... wrong. It felt like a small ritual was called for. After all – if there was going to be Magick found in The Book I would have to welcome it, wouldn't I?

I decided to wait till I had more time, when I had a little wine to use in the unfolding celebration. I wanted to call to the love, not to the sex, to use a kind of crude metaphor. I wanted some foreplay. Slow undressing. Building of tension to add to the pleasure. 

Ritual is like that: Identifying the desire, using the will to focus on the satisfaction of the desire for long enough for the ritual to be completed. Powerful ritual is the result of powerful emotion. Nothing like pleasurably delayed gratification to build powerful emotion.

So I was talking my time. When I was quite ready, I carefully slit open the plastic and slipped it off The Book. I let my fingers drift across the cover, enjoying the texture. I picked it up, decided to weigh it, because why not? I wound up not finding out the weight (easily remedied via Google, so no sweat there) but that’s another story involving me and my scale that I'd just as soon not go into.

A dark room. A glass of wine. Jennings Farm Blues (2014 remaster) on repeat.

When I opened The Book, my first reaction was a brief and unreasonable flash of disappointment. There was no special message to me to be found. No autograph, no stamped date, not even a smudged fingerprint. But of course there wouldn't be. I didn’t pay a couple thousand for my copy of The Book, did I? Irrational, but there it is.

Then I opened The Book for real.

And first: Zoso.

And then: Jimmy Page, by Jimmy Page.

And THEN a gulp of wine, and I started to read every word and examine every photo. But no, I was going to go through too much wine if I did that, and I'd take all night -- so instead I just turned page after page after page to get an overall impression. (Doesn't that seem strange, talking about pages about a man named Page?)

Yes, I’d seen almost all the photos before. I didn't care. I was looking for the meta story, the message Jimmy Page was conveying via the photos he personally chose. I already knew his musical history, what I didn't know was his take on it.

Because it wasn't about the life of Jimmy Page. He said that, and I knew that. It was about the music as channeled through the man. I knew about the ritual – that was the music itself, over the years -- and it is something to listen to, not to look at. But then, The Book is not a common autobiography, where this happened and that happened and then the next thing happened. The Book is a grimoire (a recipe book of sorts, with Magickal symbols as ingredients and directions for combining them). The Book offers carefully selected photos that disclose the history of Jimmy Page’s musical desire and will applied over time.

Three glasses later...

I read the epilogue, glanced at the publisher’s note, decided to pass on studying the photography credits till another day, and carefully closed The Book.

Nothing of Jimmy Page’s personal life. Not a hint of his family, the crazy times, the challenges, the temptations, the losses and the gains. Nothing of the personal human being except the occasional small, dry bit of humor, easily overlooked.  It could easily be mistaken for just a book of photos. But as a grimoire... 

As with his music, Jimmy Page included everything necessary and nothing extra to say what he wanted to say. The photos we've all seen so many times that are not there are as significantly in their omission as the ones that are included. The Book provide all the information we need to understand the message Jimmy Page wished to convey. Everything – everything – is a part of the whole that has meaning. It always is.

Magick: What you do with the energy of the Universe to change reality.

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page.  The music is still the message.


  1. When I first opened the book, I was in awe and overwhelmed. To me, the book is like a family photo album that portrays beautiful memories of time past. Jimmy put in a lot of work into this book and I am forever grateful.

    1. I'm very happy that Mr. Page decided to come out with this second edition!