Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Merry Christmas to you all!
And yes, it's that time of your again for The Beret Project... When you read this, I am on my way to Waiheke Island. A good two weeks doing the usual things; a bit of kayaking, swimming, sailing, hiking, beach life, a bbq, testing out a few berets for sub-tropical conditions, taking a break from writing these daily posts...
To keep you entertained, the daily posts continue - every day an interesting beret-related picture from the archives. The story behind the picture is generally missing - some creativity on your side may be needed. 
See you the 11th of January again - Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tough Women

This is not a joke.

"Do we do more than just shopping? Yes, we do. We fight. For a better world. In a real army." 
Please meet the Tough Women ("Stoere Vrouwen", in Dutch), dressed in army fatigues with pink pumps and beret, roaming the streets of Dutch cities, fighting for sustainable, ethical shopping and housekeeping.
Their motto: 
"We, young women, are more important than ever. We are going to save nature, promote charity and the proper treatment of animals. And we do so... by shopping! Everything, from the way we dress, eat, drink, keep our houses, spend our holidays to giving gifts makes a real difference to the world! 
Unfortunately, world-improving shopping is not so easy. How do you know where a product comes from?Who made it? What's inside? And it's not too expensive? No wonder most of us opt for convenience and just load up our shopping cart with the things we have always bought.
Therefore, check out our web site with information and tips and all about Tough Women."

Who could possibly be against this? Still, hard to stop laughing...
Tough woman in an electric Lotus

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Orders over the Holiday Period

For everyone who is thinking of ordering a beret through S.P.B. or S.P.C. any time soon, please be advised that I will be away from Christmas-day through 7 January 2011. 
Two weeks and, with all the holidays in between, it won't make a great difference in delivery times really, but if you want any berets to be posted to you before 7 January: please order now!

Patrick White

Patrick Victor Martindale White (1912 — 1990) was an Australian writer and is regarded as a major English-language novelist of the 20th century. From 1935 until his death, he published 12 novels, two short-story collections and eight plays.
As a youth White moved between Australia and England, where he attended Cambridge University. His youth is full of the misery of boarding schools and loneliness (partly due to his homosexuality); White described his time at Cheltenham College as a four-year-prison-sentence.
After serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II, he returned to Australia, which he saw as a country in a volatile process of growth and self-definition. His somewhat misanthropic novels often explore the possibilities of savagery in that context; they include The Tree of Man (1955), Voss (1957), Riders in the Chariot (1961), and The Twyborn Affair (1979). His other works include plays and short stories, the latter collected in The Burnt Ones (1964) and The Cockatoos (1974). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The India Series #3 - Dus Numbri

Inspector Shiv Nath is a honest and diligent police officer in Bombay, and lives with his wife, Radha, and a young son, Arjun. While making several arrests in connection with counterfeit money and drugs, he comes to know that his close friend, Karamchand is also involved in this racket. Before he could take any action, he himself is arrested by the police for possession of fake money and drugs, and sentenced to a jail term, but he escapes and his whereabouts are unknown. Radha loses her mind and is institutionalized, while Arjun takes to petty crime and on reaching adult-hood is the Don of the area known and feared as "Dus Numbri". He meets with and falls in love with a petty thief and card-sharp, Rosemary Fernandes. When Radha accidentally meets with Rosemary, she thinks it is Sundari, Karamchand's wife, and then Radha starts to regain her sanity. But not for long, as Arjun, Radha, and Rosemary will soon be enmeshed in a plot that may well rid them of their senses, that is if it does not kill them first.
Notice his sunglasses, beret and no.10 jacket , thats what our hero wears all through the movie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The India Series #2 - Louis Banks

Louis Banks (born 11 February 1941 as Dambar Bahadur Budaprithi in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India) is a Grammy Award nominated film composer, record producer, jazz musician-keyboardist and singer. Proficient in genres like Indipop, modern progressive and contemporary jazz and Indo jazz fusion, he has often been referred to as the Godfather of Indian Jazz.
Banks was born to Sarswati and George Banks, a musician. His early music education was at the hands of his father and neighbor Mrs. Myers. His father Pushkar Bahadur, a Nepalese trumpeter who moved to Calcutta in the early 1940s to join a European Band in the city, changed his name to George Banks. His grandfather, Bakhat Bahadur Budapirti, had composed the Nepalese national anthem Shreeman Gambhira Nepali which was the official anthem from 1962 to 2006.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The India Series #1 - Pilot Baba

The man is Pilot Baba, so called because before he turned into a spiritual guru, he was a pilot with the Indian air force.
Pilot Baba is one of many spiritual leaders to be found among the millions of Hindu pilgrims at the Ardh Kumbh Mela festival grounds in the northern Indian city of Allahabad.

Pilot Baba, a Mahayogi and  revered Hindu spiritual leader, was known as Kapil Singh before he turned to spiritualism. He was a pilot of  the Indian Air Force and during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, he flew several sorties over Pakistani territory. Reports say his bombings killed many. But he decided to leave that life after he had a near death experience while flying a MiG aircraft in 1966. 
According to him when the controls failed he had a vision of his guru Hari Baba. He appeared in the cockpit of the plane and helped him land safely. After that experience he decided to become a Mahayogi and travel the world spreading the message of Love, Samadhi and Self realisation. His followers believe that Pilot Baba has special healing powers. He is famous for performing Samadhi, or death by interment. He claims to have buried himself in the Samadhi ceremony more than 100 times.
Generally dressed in a saffron sarong and a bright orange shawl, the only remnant of his air force past is a cadet's maroon beret he wears over his head.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New to the Collection at S.P.C.: Txapela's in Grey and Green!

New to the collection of txapela's at South Pacific Cowboy: the cotton Plato Grandes 35cm/13.8" in Green and Grey. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mocker in Burgundy Beret by Linda Kennedy

The artist was exploring the theme of broken marriages, broken lives and the pleasure some people find in gossip which only adds to the spiral of destruction. 

The mocker portrayed here represents people of ill will who maliciously enjoy other people's suffering; whereas the angelic baby points the way to healing. "A child shall lead the way." The woman's head is hung in sorrow and shame while her husband grasps her shoulder in a vain attempt to hold on. 
Kennedy uses a language of symbols to communicate this crisis of the family. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Bike Series #10 - Theresa Wallach

Theresa Wallach grew up in London and learned to ride much against her parents wishes. She competed in trials, scrambles and road racing. In 1928 she won a scholarship to study engineering at what is now the City University, London. 
In 1935 she undertook an epic journey from London to Cape Town. She, and her travelling companion Florence Blenkiron, were the first people (male or female) to cross the Sahara on a motorcycle. Her story of this amazing adventure has been published recently under the title "The Rugged Road".
In his biography Francis Beart, the ace Norton tuner recalls how Theresa walked into his workshop at Brooklands and asked if she could borrow his 348cc International Norton for the next weekends race meeting. He told her it would cost five pounds, which she didn't have but managed to borrow. When the day came it was pouring with rain but her lap was timed at 101.64mph - much to the annoyance of Beart's top rider, Johnny Lockett, who had never taken the machine to a 3 figure lap! Theresa's was one of the last Gold Stars awarded before Brooklands was closed down at the start of the second World War.
During the war she became the first woman despatch rider in the British army and spent 7 years in active service. 

After the war she spent two and a half years touring the USA with just a bike, sleeping bag and whatever fitted into her saddle bags. 32000 miles and 18 jobs later her bike was displayed at a motorcycle show in New York where she met Louise who introduced her to WIMA. Theresa returned to England, but within a year was back in the USA and set up shop selling, servicing and repairing British bikes, mainly Norton and Triumph. Another first - the only woman to own and run her own motorcycle business. She a
lso gave motorcycle riding lessons and in 1970 published her book "Easy Motorcycle Riding". 
The early 1970s saw a decline in her business due to the influx of Japanese machines to the market and in 1973 she moved to Phoenix, Arizona to open a motorcycle riding school. Having never owned a car she carried on riding until she was 88 years old when sight problems forced her to give up her licence. Theresa maintained an active interest in WIMA right up until her death in 1998 aged 90. A truly remarkable woman.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Krikor Bedikian

One of the liveliest figures in Parisian art circles these days is an Armenian painter named Krikor Bedikian, who rejects all the artistic isms of contemporary Paris in favor of a strong, realistic style of his own. His guiding rule is one that he believes also guided the men of the Italian Renaissance: "Paint so that even illiterates will understand you."
Self portrait with white beret
Paris critics admit that Painter Bedikian, 44, knows his business, but most consider him an artistic reactionary, complain that "his work adds nothing to the general history of art." A small corps of Bedikian boosters disagrees. One enthusiast, writing in the financial daily, L'lnformation, has even called him "one of the great names of tomorrow . . . the heir to the old masters and the greatest modern painters."
Krikor Bedikian, Frau Beutler, Bruno Hesse, Karl Beutler
Bedikian has not always done that well. A serious artist since he was 15, he learned to draw with chalk as an orphan at a French school in Beirut, soon set out for Paris, doing sidewalk portraits along the way for carfare. In the early '30s, Bedikian spurned the schools and studied alone at the Louvre. He took odd jobs retouching photos for rent money, each night made the rounds of his friends' homes to be sure of a dinner. For eight years his only success was a single picture shown at the 1936 Beaux Arts salon, and that brought no whoops from the critics.
Ecce Homo
Modes & Masters. Everything changed after the war. Traveling in Switzerland, he persuaded a Lausanne gallery owner to show 40 of his paintings. Within a few weeks, all but three were sold, and the owner of the gallery bought the leftovers. A friend saw Bedikian's work, promptly bought his entire output for two years. With portrait commissions on the side, Bedikian has been able to consider himself a commercial success ever since. What he wants now is recognition.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Zealand Berets at South Pacific Cowboy!

Basque Berets from the 'Land of the Long White Cloud', or Aotearoa?  Yes! Despite Kiwi's showing great affection for the American style baseball cap, there are still some hardline traditionalists to be found, sticking against the odds to Basque Berets, Tam-o-Shanters, Balmorals, Caubeens and Scottish Bonnets. 
What's more? Basque berets are actually made here, right in the heart of New Zealand, by Hills Hats in Petone by the Wellington harbour!

More on Rugby and Berets

Further on rugby and berets: students from the University of Otago in New Zealand parodied on the test match between the All Blacks and the (French) Blues, which took place a few hours later during the 2009 Rugby Summer Tournament. 
They played in the nude, except for a beret and lots of body paint.
A great sight, especially since New Zealanders generally have a very uncomfortable relationship with nudity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Desmond Dekker

Desmond Dekker (1941 – 2006) was a Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae singer-songwriter and musician. 
Together with his backing group, The Aces (consisting of Wilson James and Easton Barrington Howard), he had one of the first international Jamaican hits with "Israelites". 
Maxell 1980's Tape Ad
Other hits include "007 (Shanty Town)" (1967) and "It Miek" (1969). Before the ascent of Bob Marley, Dekker was one of the most popular musicians within Jamaica, and one of the best-known musicians outside it.

Thanks, Russell

Monday, December 13, 2010

The German Series #6 - Siegfried Lenz

Siegfried Lenz (1926) is a German writer, who has written novels and produced several collections of short stories, essays, and plays for radio and the theatre. He was awarded the Goethe Prize in Frankfurt-am-Main on the 250th Anniversary of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's birth. 
Siegfried Lenz was born in Lyck (Ełk), East Prussia, was a son of a customs officer. After his graduation exam in 1943, he was drafted into the navy.
According to documents released in June 2007, he may have joined the Nazi party on the 20th of April 1944. This was released with the names of several other well known German authors and persons, like Dieter Hildebrandt and Martin Walser. Shortly before the end of World War II, he defected to Denmark, but became a prisoner of war in Schleswig-Holstein.
In 1951, Lenz took the money he had earned from his first novel, "Habichte in der Luft", and financed a trip to Kenya. During his time there, he wrote about the Mau Mau Uprising in his history "Lukas, sanftmütiger Knecht". Since 1951, Lenz worked as a freelance writer in Hamburg and was a member of the literature forum "Group 47". Together with Günter Grass, he became engaged with the Social Democratic Party and aided the Ostpolitik of Willy Brandt. A champion of the movement, he was invited in 1970 to the signing of the German-Polish Treaty.
Thanks, Alex

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Makonde Carving

The Makonde are the most accomplished carvers in Eastern Africa, living in modern day Mozambique and Tanzania, producing helmet masks in a highly naturalistic manner. 
Although this carved wood mask with the face in coloured ochre, blue pigment for the beret and the use of human hair is likely to be a unique model of a French sailor, it is still sculpted in the traditional style.
Circa 1920, Height: 23.5cm (9") 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Basque Berets against Depression and for Freshness

I should apply this 1950's ad to the berets I sell; buying a new beret is the perfect remedy to turn a depressed mood into a happy one, for me at least.
There are some more ads from this era that feature a beret, like this one here:
 or this beauty:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Labels (6)

More, in the on-going collection of beret-labels: