Saturday, July 30, 2016

George Psychoundakis - The Cretan Runner

George Psychoundakis (1920 –2006) was a Greek Resistance fighter on Crete during the Second World War. He was a shepherd, a war hero and an author. He served as dispatch runner between Petro Petrakas and Papadakis behind the German lines for the Cretan resistance and later, from 1941 to 1945, for the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
After the liberation, Psychoundakis was arrested as a deserter and was confined for 16 months despite having been honoured by the British with BEM (Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service). While in confinement he wrote his memories of service in the SOE and the Cretan resistance movement. His former superior Patrick Leigh Fermor, later Sir Patrick, discovered his plight by accident and managed to secure his release by clearing up the misunderstanding. The British offered Psychoundakis payment for his work, but he turned them down. He said that he worked for his country and not for money.
From 1974 until his retirement, Psychoundakis, together with another fighter in the Greek resistance, Manoli Paterakis, were caretakers at the German war cemetery on Hill 107 above Maleme.

Friday, July 29, 2016

April 1950: Coke comes to France

In 1950, the Coca-Cola company decided the people of France were ready for the great taste of Coke. So it began a marketing campaign targeted to the country.
Coca-Cola had been available unofficially in France since 1919 and officially since 1933, but after the war Coke decided to raise its profile and capitalize on the proliferation of refrigerators in French homes.
Under the slogan "Drink Fresh," vans toured the streets and salesmen distributed samples to adults and children, in what Coke now calls "La révolution du froid" (The cold revolution).
At a Paris bar, a man in a beret spits a mouthful of Coca-Cola at the camera.
Bar patrons, several in berets, watch as a bartender pours Coca-Cola into a glass, Paris, France, April 1950.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Alexander Altmann

Altmann was born to a Jewish family in a village near Kiev, Ukraine. At the age of 11 he left his home to go to Odessa. In order to earn his living he worked as a tailor, shoemaker, metalworker and salesman in grocery, until the painter Doroshevich took Altmann into his service and noticed the talent of young man and advised him that he should study painting.
 
He did not find the opportunity of study in the Ukraine and at the age of 20 left his homeland for Vienna and then on to Paris. He was a hard worker and undertook to do any work in order to survive and to study painting.
In Paris the painter lived in poverty and at one time was taken to the Rothschild hospital because he was faint from hunger. It was there that Altmann painted portrait of one patient’s, a poor old man. Unexpectedly the Guardian of hospital bought that portrait and paid what seemed a great sum of money to young painter. Altmann invested this money for entering Paris Academy of R. Julian in mid-1900.
Although Altmann was inspired by style and spirit of Impressionist painting, he was acquainted with art schools of the end of the 19th and art influences at the beginning of the 20th century. He had a strong sense of his own style gaining an excellent reputation of a sensitive painter, landscapes and master of portraying the city environs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Billy Childish


If there is one contemporary painter I really admire, it is the self-made author, poet, photographer, film maker, singer, guitarist and above all: painter Steven John Hamper, aka Billy Childish.

His works have a quality that I find hard to describe; raw, real, naive, honest are some of the words that come up.

His output is extraordinary prolific, be it in writing, music or painting. He is a consistent advocate for amateurism and free emotional expression. He is known for his explicit and prolific work – he has detailed his love life and childhood sexual abuse.

Childish was born, lives and works in Chatham, Kent, England. Although he had an early and close association with many of the artists who became known as "Young British Artists", he has resolutely asserted his independent status.

Needless to say, Billy Childish is an avid beret wearer.




Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Swan Upping

Swan Upping is an annual ceremonial and practical activity in Britain in which mute swans on the River Thames are rounded up, caught, marked, and then released.
Traditionally, the British Monarch retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but only exercises ownership on certain stretches of the River Thames and its surrounding tributaries. This tradition dates from c. the 12th century. 
It was formalised with a Royal Charter of Edward IV passed in 1482, establishing "How much land he must have which shall have a mark or game of swans", preventing the claim of ownership of swans by "yeomen and husbandmen, and other persons of little reputation".

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wall of Death

I have published about the Wall of Death and Tornado Smith before (here and here), but this video here is by far the best I've seen and a good way to celebrate my brother Emile's (the Beret Spy) birthday.
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Happy 58th Bro and enjoy this 1963 video!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Skûtsjesilen (Flat bottom barge sailing)

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Amazing footage of flat bottom barge sailing (skûtsjesilen)  in the late 1960's province of Friesland (Netherlands), extracted from the Bert Haanstra documentary 'Stem van het water / The Voice of the Water'.
Nice detail: from 5:13 one of the beret wearing skippers is seen without his beret on and clearly visible is where the beret usually sits - very tanned face below, very white above.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Nice Para Boobs

No, the wording of this post's title is not mine; I have to credit that to The Sun tabloid.
It's 'Defence Editor' (no joke) wrote an article on busty Keeley Hazell being the #3 Parachute Regiment Barracks own Page 3 Girl. 
Alas, I have to admit, that maroon beret suits her quite well.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Red Hackles in the Royal Navy

Royal Navy Lieutenants Chris Paulson (left) and Daniel Sercombe (right) keep watch as they guide HMS Montrose safely on passage. Oh, and they’re wearing red feathers – or hackles – to celebrate their affiliation with the legendary Black Watch. For more than 200 years, officers and men of 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland – better known as the Black Watch – have been granted a privilege unique in the British Army of wearing a red hackle (a cluster of feathers) in their headgear. And every year, for one day only, the sailors of Montrose are granted sailors the right to wear the distinctive red ‘vulture feather’ in their headgear, for one day only.
 
AB Tom Hardman (pictured), the most recently-joined member of Montrose’s ship’s company, said: “I had no idea about the Red Hackle before I joined the Ship but I was proud to wear it, to mark our links with the Army. I can't wait to go on exercise with the Black Watch later in the year.” The origin of the red hackle is uncertain, although the most likely story is that the tradition arises from a 1795 action at the Battle of Geldermalsen (Netherlands), when a British cavalry regiment retreated, leaving two field guns for the French. The Black Watch promptly mounted an attack and recovered the guns and, as a reward, during a king’s birthday parade later that year a red hackle was given to every man on parade to wear in their bonnet.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Carlo Carrà

Carlo Carrà (1881 –1966) was an Italian painter and a leading figure of the Futurist movement that flourished in Italy during the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to his many paintings, he wrote a number of books concerning art. He taught for many years in the city of Milan.

In 1910 he signed, along with Umberto Boccioni, Luigi Russolo and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti the Manifesto of Futurist Painters, and began a phase of painting that became his most popular and influential. He is best known for his 1911 Futurist work, The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli. Carrà was indeed an anarchist as a young man but, along with many other Futurists, later held more reactionary political views, becoming ultra-nationalist and irredentist before and during the war. 
He supported fascism after 1918. In the 1930s, Carrà signed a manifesto in which called for support of the state ideology through art. The Strapaese group he joined, founded by Giorgio Morandi, was strongly influenced by fascism and responded to the neo-classical guidelines which had been set by the regime after 1937 (but was opposed to the ideological drive towards strong centralism).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pepe Joe

Should I, a practically life-long vegetarian, advertise a hamburger joint?
Alas, I guess when it carries a good sized beret in it's logo, there is a case for it
Pepe Joe is located in Biarritz and Anglet, the French Basque Country and yes, the beret is prominently there. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More Pulp Fiction

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps") are inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the 1950s. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed; in contrast, magazines printed on higher quality paper were called "glossies" or "slicks".



Monday, July 18, 2016

Gun Crazy

Gun Crazy (also known as Deadly Is the Female) is a 1950 film noir feature film directed by Joseph H. Lewis, and produced by Frank King and Maurice King. The production features Peggy Cummins and John Dall in a story about the crime-spree of a gun-toting husband and wife.
The screenplay by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo—credited to Millard Kaufman because of the blacklist—and by MacKinlay Kantor was based upon a short story by Kantor published in 1940 in The Saturday Evening Post. In 1998, Gun Crazy was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fred Carasso

Fred (Federico Antonio ) Carasso (1899 - 1969) was a Dutch sculptor.
Carasso was born into a family of artisans. In 1922, two weeks after the seizure of power by Benito Mussolini, he fled to Paris where he worked as a joiner. Because of his political activism, he was expelled again in 1928 and in 1933 from Brussels. He eventually found refuge in the Netherlands, which became his new homeland. He befriended Maurits Dekker, Han Wezelaar, Leo Braat, Piet Esser and Gerrit van der Veen.
Still, Carasso had in 1933 yet his first exhibition in Brussels, albeit under the pseudonym Fred DELTOR. In Amsterdam, he developed as a sculptor and he was included in the circle of Amsterdam Sculptors. In 1938, Carasso exhibited for the first time in the Netherlands. In 1956 he was appointed professor of sculpture at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beyoncé's Black (Power) Berets

Beyoncé surprise-released a pro-black trap anthem, "Formation," on the eve of her 2016 Super Bowl halftime performance with Coldplay, calling on black women to unite while marking her return to the music limelight.
The song comes just after the musician's husband Jay Z's music streaming service announced it would be donating $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter and other racial equality-focused social justice groups and movements.
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In the song's introduction, Beyoncé makes a nod to her haters, who continue to insinuate she and Jay Z are part of a larger Illuminati conspiracy theory. It's once the beat picks up and the tempo begins to rise when the singer digs into her family roots, describing her mother's heritage as Louisiana Creole and her father as an African-American man from Alabama. 
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There is a diverse and politicized racial landscape in Louisiana, where Creoles, or descendants of French settlers, are typically considered distinct from black, even if a person has African ancestry.