Two things you can't carry in taxis?
What are the two things you can't carry in taxicabs? To find out what they are, listen to this recording of cab drivers in Manhattan, New York made in the 1950's. Starting in 1945 and continuing to the present day, Tony Schwartz, an accomplished documentarian and 'media genius,' has made many such recordings of 'real people', including some of the fascinating character known as Moondog.
Moondog (Louis Hardin, 1916-99) was a blind homeless street musician and poet who managed to compose hundreds of complex works during the course of a storied existence on the streets of New York. He later settled in Germany probably because of that country's musical heritage.
In researching the story of Moondog some months back, I was struck by the curious fact that he had written more than 300 madrigals. Many in distinctly odd time signatures.
Madrigals?!? Surely they reached their peak with Yonge's Transalpina in 1588?
Moondog also gave some time to writing pieces like the Heimdall Fanfare, a canon in the Dorian mode for 9 horns, and to inventing instruments like Dragon's Teeth and the Trimba. Would they let it in a taxi?
They don't make eccentrics like this anymore. Or do they? Percussionist Stefan Lakatos seems to base his whole career on the drumming style of the charismatic Moondog.
And the eminently respectable Joanna MacGregor, who performed at last night's Blue Goes Live concert for lyric fm in the Speigeltent, recently released a wonderfully eclectic collection of Moondog's compositions.