Monday, September 28, 2009

The NZ Series #1 - New Zealand Railways Magazine June 1, 1930

Yes, I have made the occasional sneery comment on the beret culture in New Zealand (or better, the absence of such culture), but the more people I speak to (and feedback I receive on this blog and articles in the media), the clearer it becomes that there has definitely been some tradition of berets here.
What's more, there has even been a major manufacturer of berets, right here in Wellington (but that's for a future post...).
Digging into NZ Beret History, I found some beautiful old photographs; immigrants mainly from the Mediterranean countries in the first half of the last century, Italian fishermen and whalers, in a time that it was still seen as acceptable to hunt whales (recently I heard an interview with a retired whaler who turned ecologist on National Radio - things do change).
While digging I found a number of -short- articles relating to the beret in the New Zealand Railways Magazine, dating back to the 1930's:



It is vain to squawk at theSQUAWKIES, air our objections to aeroplanes, or ostracise OXFORDS.

The world has always been modern; Jacob was considered slightly futuristic and a bit over the fence when he wore his coat-of-many-colours, and Henry the Eighth was a little before his time. Personally, it is my secret sorrow that I have never worn a beret. Of course you know what a beret is; it is a sort of bedspread for a deadhead, a counterpane to counter brain —a veritable vacuum-screener; but still, envious reader, who is there, here present, who would not amputate his chin-ware, have his face sifted, and throw in his old age pension, to wear a beret? There are few of we moderns who would not be wee moderns.

Make me a child again,
Just for to-night,
Give me a brain again,
Light as a kite,
Singe off my whiskers,
And give me some hair,
Fill up my skull,
With a pint of hot air.
Give me a motor-bike,
Make me a sheik,
Earning a quid and
A quarter a week,
Give me a pillion,
Give me a “Jane,”
Something that's modern,
And not very sane,
Bag me some Oxfords,
An over-size pair,
Give me—oh give me,

“Wore a beret.”

“Wore a beret.”

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