Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Emile Series #3: Emile Zola

Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (1840 –1902) was a French novelist, playwright, journalist, the best-known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism, and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism.
He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'Accuse…!
Zola was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.
Zola died on 29 September 1902 of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by an improperly ventilated chimney. His funeral on 5 October was attended by thousands.

In 1953, an investigation ("Zola a-t-il été assassiné?") published by the journalist Jean Borel in the newspaper Libération raises the idea that Zola's death might have been a murder rather than an accident. It is based on the revelation of the Norman pharmacist Pierre Hacquin, who was told by the chimney sweeper Henri Buronfosse that the latter intentionally blocked the chimney of Zola's apartment in Paris.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Emile Series #2: Emile Delobre

Emile Victor Delobre (1873-1956) was born in Paris, France. At age 14, he was already enrolled in the Ecole des Decoratifs; by 17 he was studying at the Beaux-Arts.
A prolific artist of the Impressionist School, Emile Delobre's quest for the interesting landscape often took him to the countryside of France: Normandy, with its fishing villages and orchards; the Loire Valley, with its rolling rivers; and the south of France with its sunny beaches. He also traveled outside the country to Italy, Holland and Tunisia which inspired many of his paintings.
Emile Delobre lived a modest life. Perhaps, overshadowed by the artistic giants of his age, he comes to us to be rediscovered as a painter of great sensitivity and grace. His purpose in painting seems not to have been to revolutionize art, but rather, to reaffirm it as the representation of all that man finds beautiful and inspiring.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Emile Series #1: The Beret Spy

Many regular visitors have virtually met my brother Emile, aka The Beret Spy.
Emile's own commitment to the beret is questionable; although rarely bare headed, he is regularly seen with a baseball cap on his head (despite a good quantity of berets available, courtesy of South Pacific Berets).
However, his many contributions to this daily blog more than make up for that. Always ready, always alert, with his Huawei mobile phone eager to snap pictures of unsuspecting boineros/as in the wild (to the horror of his wife, who has to witness this activity).
A big thank you to Emile, who has the privilege to open these "Emile Series" on The Beret Project.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Moisés Ciriano dies, one of the elders of Soria who predicted the economic crisis in a video

Image result for Moisés Ciriano
One of Soria's two old boineros in the video "It was seen coming”, about the financial crisis, that went viral on the web, has passed away. Moisés Ciriano, one of the protagonists of the video has died in the private residence of Soria in which he had been admitted just three weeks earlier.
The two elderly protagonists remembered their hard childhood, with next to no schooling and working as children. They predicted the economic crisis in the country.
"Now I live better than ever, because before it was a martyrdom. That was no way to live," said Moses. "I do not keep good memories, all bad ones," he added, and said that his shepherd's life had been "worse than milk." The 80,000 pesetas of his pension made him "very happy" because he was more than he had earned all his life working, he commented.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Citroën Traction Avant

The Citroën Traction Avant was a range of mostly 4-door saloons and executive cars, with four or six-cylinder engines, produced by the French manufacturer Citroën from 1934 to 1957. 
The Traction Avant pioneered mass-production of three revolutionary innovations widely adopted since, and still used today: front-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, and the use of a crash resistant, unitary, monocoque body. 
Additionally, the car was one of the earliest mass-production adopters of rack and pinion steering.
Although the car's name emphasized its front-wheel drive power delivery ("Traction Avant" literally means “front traction”) – the car stood out at least as much by its much lower profile and stance – made possible by the absence of a separate chassis under the car's unitary body – sharply distinguishing it visually from its contemporaries.
Approximately 760,000 units were produced.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Beret Spy - NZ Edition

Following in the footsteps of (but not competing with) my brother The Beret Spy, here some shots of boineros/as in the wild, down here in Aotearoa-New Zealand. 

Monday, September 16, 2019


While winter is very slowly approaching in the northern hemisphere and days are still chilly at times here Down Under, a good time to invest in an Afghan pakol - now from $37.50 @ $29.50 on SPECIAL for one week only (as long as stock lasts)!
Made of 100% wool in Afghanistan and Pakistan from camel or sheep wool, the pakol (also spelled pakul or pakoul) is commonly worn by people in Afghanistan, the North West Frontier of Pakistan and other areas of Pakistan such as Gilgit and Hunza. It is also worn in parts of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan; in India, it is most popular in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
The Pakol is a soft, round-topped Afghan men's hat, although outside Central Asia, the pakol has become popular as a fashionable hat with women as well.
Before it is fitted, the pakol resembles a bag with a round, flat bottom. The wearer rolls up the sides nearly to the top, forming a thick band, which then rests on the head like the beret or a cap.
The best known pakol wearer was the Afghan rebel Commander Ahmad Shah Masood who fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979–1989).


Burgschneider is an Orgeon (US) based costume maker, specializing in medieval outfits.
For more than twenty years, the Burgschneider team has been manufacturing historical clothing focusing on medieval reenactment. Gowns, capes, tunics and cloaks and, needless to say, some very interesting berets (or what I would call beret predecessors).  
To distinguish between medieval garments and costumes lacking definitive historical sources, Burgschneider divides their products into two different lines: 
fashion based on historical sources can be found under the brand Burgschneider Ancestry, whereas costumes inspired by literature, movies, pop culture, or gaming is subsumed under Burgschneider Legendary.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Alex Kaubtauuapela - Activist and Boinera

Namibia's Herero people are heartened that Germany is keen to atone for the genocide of their ancestors, but they expect something Berlin says it is not able to give.
"What we want is our land," said 74-year-old Alex Kaubtauuapela, whose parents survived the extermination of 80% of the community, a precursor to the Holocaust.
She lives much as they did, in a community dependent on cattle herding.
"The Herero are poor because of German people," she said, hunched over a walking stick as one of her grandchildren chased a stray dog around her crumbling house in the Herero ancestral homeland of Okahandja north of the capital, Windhoek.
About half of the arable land in the country in south west Africa which Germany annexed in 1884 is owned by descendants of German and Dutch immigrants, who make up just 6% of the 2.3 million population.
Land used by the Herero, also known as OvaHerero, and smaller Namaqua community for grazing was seized and thousands were executed after they rebelled in 1904. The rest were driven into the country's vast tracts of desert to starve.
The call for land restitution by indigenous groups is mirrored in countries across Africa, and any reparation agreement for the Herero could set a precedent to other groups seeking redress from European colonial powers.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Executioner (El Verdugo)

The Executioner (El Verdugo) is a 1963 Spanish black comedy film and is widely considered one of the masterpieces of Spanish cinema.
The story starts with an old executioner in Spain in the early 60's approaching retirement age. As his profession is quite rare, he begins to worry about who might take his place when he retires. He has a daughter, but, unfortunately, she seems doomed to perpetual "spinsterhood"; as soon as any prospective groom learns about her dad and her dad's "trade", he runs away from her, scared. 
However, a new character enters: the local undertaker, a young handsome man who has exactly the same problem... No girl wants him given his profession. So, you have the woman whom almost nobody would marry and the man whom almost nobody would marry. Obviously, they are meant for each other and soon get married.
Director Luis García Berlanga won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Venice Film Festival for the film. At that moment, Francoist Spain was under international pressure because of the death sentence for the Communist leader Julián Grimau. The Spanish ambassador to Italy protested the projection of this "Communist" film.
Compulsory viewing for anyone believing that the death penalty should be a legal punishment. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Selma Van De Perre

Selma Van De Perre was just a young woman when World War II broke out in Europe. She remembers the day when her older brother came home with the news. “He came home on the 10th of May shouting ‘wake up, wake up! It’s war, it’s war!’” she remembered.
De Perre and her family were Jewish and as persecution against the Jews increased, De Perre knew it was no longer safe for them to stay where they were.
As others were being imprisoned, hauled off to concentration camps and killed, De Perre arranged for her family to go in hiding in the south of Holland, and eventually met a group of doctors working for the resistance. After spending time with many members of the resistance, She made a decision to stand up; she joined the fight against Nazi tyranny.
She started delivering illegal papers for the resistance and transported money used for the cause and to pay families which housed Jews hiding from persecution. 

The Nazis eventually caught De Perre. She was brought to the police station where she was interrogated for several days before being sent to a concentration camp.
De Perre did not stop resisting the Nazis even while she was imprisoned. De Perre said she intentionally assembled gas masks in such a way that they would come loose by the time they would be used.
From the Dutch camp, she was moved to the Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp in Germany, where she and her fellow prisoners were subject to cruelty and physical abuse.
“I didn’t want the Germans to be successful in having me dead,” she said. “I was in a very bad condition at times, but I survived.”
De Perre gives talks about the Holocaust at schools, companies, the military, etc.; considering it very important for her and other Holocaust survivors to speak out and tell their story to the coming generations.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Spy Pictures

The latest harvest of my my brother's Beret Spy pictures:
 Montey, Switzerland

 Den Bosch, Netherlands
Aosta, Italy

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Gendarmerie Nationale - in Polo & Beret

French officers of the Gendarmerie Nationale on an EU Police mission in Tbilisi, Georgia.
These superb hi-tech polo shirts are actually for sale in a limited supply at South Pacific Berets (scroll to the bottom of this page). 
Personally, the best polo's I've ever worn!