Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Boinas Elósegui vintage advertising

Boinas Elósegui was an early adapt to advertising and left a treasure trove of beautiful pictures. 
Published here, pictures from the early 20th century to the 1960s.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Captain Sir John Norman Ide Leslie

Captain Sir John Norman Ide Leslie, 4th Baronet (1916 –2016), known locally as Jack Leslie, was the eldest son of Sir John Randolph Leslie, 3rd Baronet (known as Shane Leslie), and Marjorie Ide. He became the fourth baronet when his father died in 1971.
Educated at Downside School and Magdalene College, Cambridge, Leslie never married or had children. During World War II, he served as an officer in the Irish Guards during the Battle of France before being captured at Boulogne-sur-Mer. He then spent five years in POW camps.
After the war, he moved to New York City and later traveled around Europe, settling in Rome. At the age of 78 he returned to his family's homestead, Castle Leslie and traveled to Ibiza for his 85th birthday in 2001. 
He inadvertently revealed the wedding location of Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills by admitting to reporters it was to take place in Castle Leslie, but that it was "a secret". In January 2012, he appeared in the television programme Secrets of the Manor House, which discussed the Leslie family and Castle Leslie, among other manor homes. 
In 2015, he featured in the TV series Tales of Irish Castles. Leslie was presented with the Legion d'Honneur at the French embassy in Dublin on 9 November 2015.

A passionate beret wearer, Sir John had an interesting way of wearing his berets. Typically he would have the headband of his Basque beret folded outwards (visible) and usually a feather on it as decoration.

Sunday, August 19, 2018


Shameless glorification of the nation state, it's military and weapons doesn't come much worse than in this video.

Singer Narmin Kerimbayeva glorifies the national armed forces in the style of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The president himself is looking from a bunker to the border with neighboring  Armenia (still "officially" at war with Azerbaijan)
The Russian tanks and helicopters, the special forces, armored cars and destroyers are sung to by Narmin Kerimbeyova, finalist of the Voice of Azerbaijan 2016. Many berets though, in this video..

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Basque Pig (Euskal Txerri / Pie Noir du Pays Basque)

Pig farming has been a common activity in the Basque Country since the time of the Celts. 
In the past, the three most common native breeds were the Baztanesa, the Chato Vitoriano (now both extinct) and the Euskal Txerria (whose name means simply “Basque pig”). In 1237, the King of Navarre decided to demand a fifth of every herd of this breed of pig in exchange for the farmers being allowed to graze their pigs in the royal mountains in the autumn. 
The tax was commonly known as “kintoa,” from “quinta,” meaning “fifth,” which eventually became the name of this area, particularly suited to pig farming.
The Basque pig has strongly built limbs, a silky coat with large black spots, a black head and rump, a convex back and large fat ears hanging over its eyes. It has a very docile temperament and grows slowly, putting on around 300 grams a day (in contrast, a commercial hybrid can grow a kilo a day on average).
The innate docility of this breed means it can be farmed outdoors in small herds, feeding only on acorns, chestnuts and ferns.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall was a Belorussian-born French artist whose work generally was based on emotional association rather than traditional pictorial fundamentals.
Chagall was born in Belarus in 1887 and developed an early interest in art. After studying painting, in 1907 he left Russia for Paris, where he lived in an artist colony on the city’s outskirts. 
Fusing his own personal, dreamlike imagery with hints of the fauvism and cubism popular in France at the time, Chagall created his most lasting work—including I and the Village (1911)—some of which would be featured in the Salon des Indépendants exhibitions. 
I and the Village (1911)

After returning to Vitebsk for a visit in 1914, the outbreak of WWI trapped Chagall in Russia. He returned to France in 1923 but was forced to flee the country and Nazi persecution during WWII. Finding asylum in the U.S., Chagall became involved in set and costume design before returning to France in 1948. In his later years, he experimented with new art forms and was commissioned to produce numerous large-scale works. Chagall died in St.-Paul-de-Vence in 1985.   

Thursday, August 16, 2018


The beret has always been the headgear of choice for painters; this began during the Renaissance and revived in the early 20th century.
At first, the beret was simply a practical hat (without an annoying peak that gets in the way).
Over time however, the beret became so much associated with painters and the arts, that it became a symbol and artists wore the beret as it seemed to be the right thing to do.  
Nowadays, the association is so strong that people often ask me, wearing my beret, if I'm an artist...
Better still, a kid at my daughter's primary school years ago, asked me if I was the man who painted the Eiffel Tower!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Electric Fishing

Not a great quality photo, but interesting nonetheless.
Three Dutchmen wearing alpino’s (the Dutch small diameter beret). The men in the boat are “electric fishing”; a method to count fish and get an idea of fish sizes in a certain area. The slightly stunned fish swim off after a daze that lasts only a few seconds.
The boinero in the boat is Kees van Dijk from Wateringen; exact date unknown but mid 1960s.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

To Stare

STARE verb
gerund or present participle: staring
  1. look fixedly or vacantly at someone or something with one's eyes wide open.
    "he stared at her in amazement"
    synonyms:gazegapegogglegawkglareogleleerpeer, look fixedly, look vacantly;
    • (of a person's eyes) be wide open, with a fixed or vacant expression.
      "her grey eyes stared back at him"
    • be unpleasantly prominent or striking.
      "the obituaries stared out at us"

Monday, August 13, 2018

On SPECIAL this week, Beret Casquettes or Peaked Berets!

On SPECIAL this week, Beret Casquettes or Peaked Berets!
This week on SPECIAL a large selection of peaked berets and beret casquettes: the cotton and heather wool models by FEZCO-TONAK (from $34.50/44.50 @ $22.50/32.50); 
the super-de-luxe Auloronesa Casquettes (the last few in stock, from $92.50 @  $69.00); 
the stunningly beautiful Boinas Burel from Portugal's Serra de Estrela (from $79.50 @ $39.50
and our own Aotearoa beret-casquettes (from $50.00 @ $30.00). 
On Special for one week only or as long as stock lasts!

The Bottle, the Glass & the Beret

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Football (Soccer) and Supporters

Supporters' groups in continental Europe are generally known as ultras which derives from the Latin word ultrā, meaning beyond in English, with the implication that their enthusiasm is 'beyond' the normal. 
In English-speaking nations, these groups are generally known as "supporters' groups". Most groups in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia call themselves "supporters' groups", however some do self-identify as ultras, particularly in communities with large Spanish, French, or Italian speaking populations.  
Supporters' groups and ultras are renowned for their fanatical vocal support in large groups, defiance of the authorities, and the display of banners at stadiums, which are used to create an atmosphere to intimidate opposing players and supporters, as well as encouraging their own team.
All this I remember well from living in the Netherlands; no football match without burned out buses, vandalised trains and foreigners beaten up. 
Interestingly, I found no such supporter-behaviour in New Zealand at all. Rugby is the national religion, but excesses in violence and vandalism are extremely rare.
It's not a scientifically proven fact, but I dare say that beret wearing fans cause a lot less disruption, violence and damage too!