Thursday, December 8, 2016

Henri Barrio "Cuckoo”

Nicknamed "Cuckoo”, Henri Barrio remains associated with one of the finest achievements of Pyreneism: the north face of Pique Longue du Vignemale in 1933.
That same year, he managed the second ascent of the corridor Gaube, forty-four years after it was first climbed by Celestin Passet and Henri Brulle. Also in 1933, a month after this success, he attacks the northern face of the Pique Longue with Robert Bellocq.
Barrio is remembered for creating the Abérouat's refuge in the Aspe Valley (Béarn) where he was able to apply the noble ideas of Popular Education from the Popular Front. He died in 1969. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Célestin Passet

Célestin Passet was born in Gavarnie in 1845. In the Passet family, being a mountain guide was a veritable institution: Laurent (1810-1864), his uncle and his son Henri (1845 - 1920) extensively wrote on the early history of Pyreneism.
His father often guided Russell on climbs in the mountains. It was obvious that Célestin would become a guide himself too.
His mountain guide career began on July 3, 1872; at 27 years, he was the first to climb Monte Perdido (3355 m) from the eastern side with Henry Russell.
In 1878 he meets Henri Brulle and Jean Bazillac in Sarradets. That day, a great team was born which would make many feats and firsts to its credit. But it is especially Henri Brulle who pushes the professional development.
In 1883 Passet left for his first campaign in the Alps with Henry Brulle and Bazillac.
The following year, they meet again in the Alps and they perform a large number of new climbs: Southern Aiguille d'Arves Dent Parrachée, Grande Casse , Grand paradise, Mont Blanc , Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, fourth ascent of the Dru (first in a day from Chamonix)
He quickly became the most famous of the great guides of the Pyrenees. His reputation exceeded the small area of Gavarnie; he travels the world, accompanying many customers.
Célestin Passet died in November 1917 of an attack of paralysis.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jean d'Ussel

Jean d'Ussel (1874- 1914) was a forester, who was the heir in a lineage of nobility with important properties in the village of Neuvic (Limousin). He was also a descendant of the famous four troubadours of Ussel, a family of Provençal troubadours of the late twelfth century.
In 1898 he was assigned to manage water and forest at Tarascon-sur-Ariège. This enabled him to discover the Pyrenees and he made ​​numerous ascents over a 15 year period. Initially he focused on the mountains of Ariege and Andorra, accompanied by local guide, Pierre Marfaing.

He died in the first battle of the Great War near the town of Sailly-Saillisel (Somme). 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Goddamn This War!

One of the best anti-war books I have read, is strangely, a comic; or a graphic novel, a term that covers the content better. 
Goddamn this War! by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney is split into six chronological chapters, one for each year of the war; bold colors of the early chapters fading into a grimy near-monochrome in the later ones as the war drags on.
A very cynical first-person reminiscence/narration by an unnamed soldier, Goddamn This War! is full of anger, outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude. 
In fact, Goddamn This War! includes an extensive year-by-year historical text section written by Tardi s frequent World War I research helpmate, the historian and collector Jean-Pierre Verney, including dozens of stunning rare photographs and visual documents from his personal collection.
A book that should be compulsory literature in NZ and Australia, where WWI  and ANZAC celebrations have turned horror and suffering into plain heroism and mythicism. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

100 Years of Beauty in (Northern) Ireland

100 Years of Beauty is a video series that portrays how "beauty" develops per decade over a century per country. When covering Ireland, a line was drawn in the middle, dividing the Republic and Northern Ireland. 
Coming to the 1970s, machine guns and berets appear in the Northern fashion look. The producers explain:
"In the 1970s we used a look inspired by women who were fighting in the Irish Republican Army. Whether or not we were glorifying violence or terrorism by including the IRA look was a question I asked myself and I think we asked each other.
I think we would have done a disservice to the project by leaving that look out."

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mamie van Doren

Mamie Van Doren (born Joan Lucille Olander; 1931) is an American actress, model, singer, and sex symbol who is known for being one of the first actresses to recreate the look of Marilyn Monroe.
Van Doren is perhaps best remembered for the rock 'n' roll, juvenile delinquency, exploitation movie Untamed Youth (1957), and other films of this calibre.
Mamie Van Doren behind the wheel of her Jaguar XK-120.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ti-Jean goes West

Part comic adventure, part travelogue, this short film features the folkloric character of Ti-Jean, a French-Canadian kid endowed with magic powers. He travels west, drawing upon his superhuman strength to save a farmer’s crops. In their day (the 1950s) the Ti-Jean films were among the NFB’s most popular titles.
Thanks Paul

Thursday, December 1, 2016

General Richard L. McCreery

Lieutenant General Richard L. McCreery commanded the British X Corps at Salerno, anchoring the Allied left flank. A pious, blunt Anglo-Irish cavalryman—“tall, lean, and vague,” as one American described him—McCreery still limped from a World War I wound and tended when aggravated to lower his voice to a near-whisper.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Natural Horse Handlers

Although I am not much of a rider, I love looking at horses - an easy pastime when back in the Netherlands and observing my niece Chaja at work. 
Needless to say, wearing berets is solidly embedded in Chaja's genes too. Nice to see though that she is not the only Freestyle instructor wearing berets. 
Meet Caroline Wolfer, a Swiss instructor of natural horse handling with obviously a large selection of boinas Tolosa Tupida.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

More from Sarajevo

From photographer Brad Hobbs
"In response to a translated English-to-Bosnian encounter on the streets of Sarajevo: I was attempting to speak and learn about this interesting face. A passer by heard me struggling with the Bosnian language and offered to help me out. I asked ; "How do you feel about Sarajevo now and back then" "Sarajevo je i uvijek bio moj život" he replied which translated to "Sarajevo has and always has been my life". I was so caught up in the whole translating process I forgot to ask a name."

Monday, November 28, 2016


As always on the lookout for beret related material, I came upon a tourist web site from Bosnia, praising the beauty of Mount Igman.
I have no doubts the environment is beautiful now, but to me, Mt Igman is still strongly connected to the war and the atrocities committed upon Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs from this beautiful hill overlooking the city.
Alas, in my mind it may feel like yesterday, it is of course 2 decades ago and these days, one can find shepherds with black beret roaming the fields and mountains around Lukomir again. Much better than the berets fixed in my memory. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Los Monegros

Los Monegros is a comarca (county) in Áragon, Spain. It is located within the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca. The area is prone to chronic droughts, and much of the area is a natural region made up of badlands. The Sierra de Alcubierre mountain chain crosses the comarca from Northwest to Southeast. Its maximum elevation is 822 meters, at the mountain called Oscuro. The climate is semiarid, with scarce rainfall and high temperatures in the autumn. The area has numerous saltwater and freshwater lakes, including the Lake of Sariñena and the Lake of la Playa.
In December 2007, the local government in their infinite wisdom announced that the comarca had been chosen for the site of the Gran Scala, a huge European project to build a "destination city of leisure for all ages." Designed to include numerous theme parks and casinos, the area would become one of the primary entertainment centers of Europe. I prefer to see the sites of the shepherd above, leading his flock through the Monegros badlands. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Martha Raye

Martha Raye (1916 –1994) was an American comic actress and standards singer who performed in movies, and later on television. She also acted in plays, including Broadway. She was honoured in 1969 with an Academy Award as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for her volunteer efforts and services to the troops.
On November 2, 1993, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton for her service to her country. Part of the citation reads:
“The great courage, kindness, and patriotism she showed in her many tours during World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam conflict earned her the nickname 'Colonel Maggie'. The American people honour Martha Raye, a woman who has tirelessly used her gifts to benefit the lives of her fellow Americans."
Raye's personal life was complex and emotionally tumultuous. She was married seven times and was a devout Methodist who regularly attended church, read the Bible daily, and even taught Sunday school classes.
Raye was conservative, affirming her political views by informing an interviewer, "I am a Republican because I believe in the constitution, strength in national defense, limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility as the concrete foundation for American government. They reinforce the resolve that the United States is the greatest country in the world and we can all be eternally grateful to our founding fathers for the beautiful legacy they left us today."
She was buried with full military honours in the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, post cemetery as an honorary colonel in the U.S. Marines and an honorary lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.

Friday, November 25, 2016

George Brent (& Betty Davis)

George Brent (1904 –1979) was an Irish-born American stage, film, and television actor in American cinema.
During the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922), Brent was part of the IRA. He fled Ireland with a bounty set on his head by the British government, although he later claimed only to have been a courier for guerrilla leader and tactician Michael Collins.
Brent was married five times and carried on a lengthy relationship with his frequent Warner Bros co-star, the beret wearing actress Bette Davis.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Cura Malal

Cura Malal is a small town with only 95 inhabitants, surrounded by golden grasslands in Argentina’s Buenos Aires province.
Mercedes Resch together with her partner Fernando García Delgado has revitalized the village that was close to extinction. In 2010 they started their project which resulted in participation of 160 participants from 13 countries.

Now the village is alive (very much so, there is no cemetery!) and populated by a large variety of people, professions and backgrounds. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Samuel Davide Hains

An interesting young boinero from Australia: Samuel Davide Hains (24).
"I am a web developer, mystery blogger and jazz kitten.
I am wearing Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls I found in a vintage store in Tokyo, a beret given to me by my dear uncle, a black turtleneck from Uniqlo, a tote by my favourite feminist provocateurs, Ladies of Leisure that says "Feeling Myself" because self love is underrated, and my shoes are Nike.
My style is bucolic socialist with improvised elements (like jazz). Sometimes I just wear something random, like a lab coat!
I admire the style of Trotsky in leather, Albert Einstein, John Coltrane. I'm not only inspired by people, but places and ideas. I spend a lot of time down at the docks and source inspiration from the architecture."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton (born Helmut Neustädter, 1920 –2004) was a German-Australian photographer. Interested in photography from the age of 12, he worked for the German photographer Yva (Elsie Neulander Simon) from 1936.
The increasingly oppressive restrictions placed on Jews by the Nuremberg laws meant that his father lost control of his factory; he was briefly interned in a concentration camp on Kristallnacht, 9 November 1938, which finally compelled the family to leave Germany. Newton's parents fled to South America. Helmut, just after turning 18, left Germany on 5 December 1938. At Trieste he boarded the Conte Rosso (along with about 200 others escaping the Nazis), intending to journey to China. After arriving in Singapore he found he was able to remain there, first briefly as a photographer for the Straits Times and then as a portrait photographer.
Newton was interned by British authorities while in Singapore and was sent to Australia on board the Queen Mary, arriving in Sydney on 27 September 1940. Internees travelled to the camp at Tatura, Victoria by train under armed guard. He was released from internment in 1942.
After the war in 1945, he became a British subject and changed his name to Newton in 1946. In 1948, he married actress June Browne, who performed under the stage name June Brunell.
He was a "prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras was born in Alghero, on Sardinia. The island has always deeply influenced his aesthetic.
His fashion debut was the result of a lucky chance. In 1987 a fashion house in Rome asked him to design a prêt-à-porter collection. Their invitation was due to his dual baggage of skills: cultural – Marras has always involved himself in every form of artistic/creative expression – and technical. The latter is based on his know-how of materials and forms which he developed within his family’s business of a number of shops they owned in Alghero.
This combination of intellectual input and practical experience provided him with solid foundations on which to build his first, eponymous collection. In 1996 he was asked to present an haute couture show in Rome. The key elements of his style were already clear to see: the focus on craft techniques; Sardinia as a source of inspiration that is never reduced to folkloristic kitsch; the recurring theme of the ligazzio rubio (which in the Sardinian language means a “red thread”), which becomes a fully-fledged hallmark of his style.
His work as a stylist takes him all over the world, but he persists in living on Sardinia, aware as he is that the island gives him his energy.
He lives in Alghero in a big home/workshop on a hill high over the sea. He shares his home with his family/tribe, who take an active part in his creative work.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull were a British rock group, formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967. Initially playing blues rock, the band soon developed its sound to incorporate elements of British folk music and hard rock to forge a progressive rock signature. The band was led by vocalist/flautist/guitarist Ian Anderson, and have included other significant members such as guitarist Martin Barre, keyboardist John Evan, drummers Clive Bunker, Doane Perry, and Barriemore Barlow, and bassists Glenn Cornick, Jeffrey Hammond, and Dave Pegg.
The group first achieved commercial success in 1969, with the folk-tinged blues album Stand Up, which reached No. 1 in the UK charts, and they toured regularly in the UK and the US. Their musical style shifted in the direction of progressive rock with the albums Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, and shifted again to hard rock mixed with folk rock with Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses. Jethro Tull have sold over 60 million albums worldwide, with 11 gold and five platinum albums among them. They have been described by Rolling Stone as "one of the most commercially successful and eccentric progressive rock bands".
The last works released as a group were in 2003, though the band continued to tour until 2011. In April 2014, as he was concentrating on his solo career, Anderson said that Jethro Tull were finished.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Madonna by Herb Ritts

Herbert "Herb" Ritts Jr. (1952 –2002) was an American fashion photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits, often in the style of classical Greek sculpture.
After studying art history and economics, he became interested in photography when he and friend Richard Gere, then an aspiring actor, decided to shoot some photographs in front of an old jacked up Buick. The picture gained Ritts some coverage and he began to be more serious about photography.
He photographed Brooke Shields for the cover of the Oct. 12, 1981 edition of Elle and he photographed Olivia Newton-John for her Physical album in 1981. Five years later, he would replicate that cover pose with Madonna for her 1986 release True Blue.
On December 26, 2002, Ritts died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 50.