Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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“Deconstructing Jim” is simply here to
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Remembering Moondog

Today's flashback concerns my memory of a fascinating person known as "Moondog."

At first glance, he appeared to be a harmless, crazy, blind, homeless person who obsessively hung out at 53rd street on 6th avenue in Manhattan. Even in the hot summer he was often seen wearing his self-made Viking suit and trademark horned helmet. I don't remember hearing him perform, but he was a regular street musician and had some strange looking home-made instruments.























Moondog had graced the streets of Manhattan since 1940.  Office workers working that highly congested area of town would have walked past him on a daily basis. Over time, he became a normal fixture, and by the time I saw him in the late 1960's he had gained some notoriety. He was referred to as "The Viking of 6th Avenue."











Later I learned that he was a poet, philosopher, and composer of some note. His music had been performed, and he had a record out on a major recording label. Moondog was known by both jazz and classical musicians, and made an impact in both areas.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moondog






I've heard some of his music, and suspect that it stems from various tribal and earthy roots. Moondog most likely had freely adopted elements of Native American music - such as drumming and chanting - into his songs. He originally came from Kansas.

Around 1974 he departed his perch on 53rd street, and moved to Germany where he made a new home and died there in 1999.

While I am not a Moondog scholar, I do find his life fascinating, and I'm glad to have seen him in person and up close in NYC.

http://www.geocities.com/moondogmadness/

And there is an authorized biography (with a CD of Moondog's music) by Robert Scotto...
http://www.amazon.com/Moondog-Viking-6th-Avenue-Authorized/dp/0976082284/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217443378&sr=1-1