Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mail Art & PLG

Mail art is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 1960s and involves sending visual art (but also music, sound art, poetry, etc.) through the international postal system. Mail Art is also known as Postal Art or Correspondence Art. The term networking is often used to describe Mail Art activities, based on the principles of barter and equal one-to-one collaboration.
After a peak in popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Mail Art phenomenon has gradually migrated to the Internet, whose “social networks” were largely anticipated and predicted by the interactive processes of postal collaborations. Nevertheless, Mail Art is still practiced in the new Millennium by a loose global community involving thousands of mailartists from the most varied backgrounds.
"Out of the reasonable assumption that the commercial gallery system is limited and perhaps corrupt, many artists emerging in the 1970s and 1980s around the world decided it would be more feasible to exhibit their work not through galleries and ancillary museums but through the postal system, especially if they lived in areas where galleries and other artists were scarce. For the production of imagery, they drew often upon xerography (photocopying) and the earlier technology of rubber stamps. They would also announce exhibitions in venues previously devoid of art, such as city halls in remote parts of the world, ideally accepting everything submitted and issuing a catalog with names, usually accompanied by addresses and selected reproductions. 
While such work had little impact upon commercial galleries (and the "art magazines" dependent upon galleries' ads), one result was a thriving alternative culture, calling itself "The Eternal Network", as intensely interested in itself as serious artists have always been."
Personally, I much admire the work of my German friend Peter L.G., who is also a great contributor of material to this blog!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) is a spy film, the tenth film in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum. The film takes its title from Ian Fleming's novel The Spy Who Loved Me, the tenth book in the James Bond series, though it does not contain any elements of the novel's plot. 
The storyline involves a reclusive megalomaniac named Stromberg who plans to destroy the world and create a new civilisation under the sea. Bond teams up with a Russian agentAnya Amasova to stop Stromberg. The film also stars Curd Jürgens and Barbara Bach.
 The film was shot on location in Egypt and Italy, with underwater scenes filmed at the Bahamas, and a whole new soundstage being built at Pinewood Studiosfor a massive set which depicted the interior of a supertanker. The Spy Who Loved Me was highly acclaimed by critics, being widely considered Roger Moore's best Bond film. The soundtrack, composed by Marvin Hamlisch, also met with success. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards a midst many other nominations and subsequently novelised in 1977 by Christopher Wood as James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me.
 Stromberg's henchmen wore black berets.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Feedback, Please

Dear regular readers,
Since both my beloved wife and a good friend found they needed to point out that the picture on the 'new web site' is superb anti-advertising ("visitors will think it's you!", "the guy's is green - he's sick!", "who'd ever buy a beret if these guys are your role-models?" and similar comments), I guess I'd better take a reality check by asking my audience for their opinion.
Please let me know what you think! Is my sense of humor too much to grasp for the average Beret Project visitor? Or don't I get it and have to seriously rethink my advertising?
Drop me an email or leave a comment below. Much, much appreciated!

FEZCO (Tonak) Post Cards

The "FEZCO Beret" poster is famous, still, in (on-line) poster shops. But the postcards pictured here are all new to me.
 I found these on a stamp and post card collector's web site.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The all new web site of South Pacific Berets!

Yes, a complete revamp of the SPB web site!
Thanks to all those visitors and customers who gave constructive criticism - I have tried to take it all into account and hope a visit to South Pacific Berets is even more enjoyable now!

Murray Bookchin

Murray Bookchin (1921 – 2006) was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought.
 He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology. In the late 1990s he became disenchanted with the strategy of political Anarchism and founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called Communalism.
 Bookchin was an anti-capitalist and vocal advocate of the decentralisation of society along ecological and democratic lines. His writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, assembly democracy, had an influence on the Green movement and anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


 Definition of INAPPROPRIATE
: not appropriate : unsuitable
— in·ap·pro·pri·ate·ly adverb
— in·ap·pro·pri·ate·ness noun
  1. We won't tolerate such inappropriate behavior.
  2. Her informal manner seemed wholly inappropriate to the occasion.

  • out of line
  • unfit
  • unsuitable

Friday, May 25, 2012


Thanks to the gaucho's, horses have done pretty well on The Beret Project. I've got nothing against horses, but since I was bitten by a horse as a child, I have as much respect for these animals as fear.
Personally, I like donkeys much better; a pleasant size and a character that I can sympathize with. 
Besides, who can resist the charm and melancholy that a donkey vibrates?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Aristide Maillol

Aristide Joseph Bonaventure Maillol (1861 –  1944) was a French Catalan sculptorpainter, and printmaker.
At an early age Maillol decided to become a painter, and moved to Paris in 1881 to study art. His early paintings show the influence of his contemporaries Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Paul Gauguin.
Gauguin encouraged his growing interest in decorative art, an interest that led Maillol to take up tapestry design. In 1893 Maillol opened a tapestry workshop in Banyuls, producing works whose high technical and aesthetic quality gained him recognition for renewing this art form in France. He began making small terracotta sculptures in 1895, and within a few years his concentration on sculpture led to the abandonment of his work in tapestry.
Maillol spoke Catalan, wore traditional espadrilles, a sash and a beret or barretina (the traditional Catalan cap), he danced sardanes and he openly proclaimed his Catalan identity: “I consider Catalonia my true homeland”.
Maillol and Dina Vierny - A Model for Maillol

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Chabrot is an old custom that hardly survived into the modern world. There are the olde folks in the south west of France who still practice it, but you'll be lucky to spot one in the wild.
Chabrot is the practice of pouring a 1/2 glass of (red) wine in the remains of your soup, then bring the plate to your lips and drink it from the plate.
Practicing it yourself, in a French restaurant, may not go down well with the staff and other customers, these days.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Richard and Alan Shapiro

These photographs and text are by Alan Shapiro, a New York photographer whom I greatly admire. What could I possibly add to his writing..? Copied with permission below:
Another day, another vet recounting too many battles and nowhere near enough victories.
I met Richard this morning on my morning walk to my office. He had set up a small oasis and was napping. I was across the street and saw some youths approach him with questionable intent. He woke as I was telling them to leave. He looked at them, sprang to his feet and started a hobbling, slow motion run at them. They laughed and walked away. I stayed.
Richard is 87 years old (last Tuesday was his birthday, which he spent in a New Jersey VA hospital). He served in WWII under Patton (way under Patton...but the pride never left his voice as he talked about their victories). We spoke about his life in the military. His new life in the shelter. And the girls at the Hooters in Times Square who bring him chili and soup late at night after their shifts are over. We talked and talked and I took picture after picture while too many people walked by wondering about the interaction. Not sure whether it was the moments of boisterous laughter or the painful moments of silence as he shared the more tragic parts of his life in short story form while I fought the waves of despair. At one point he asked whether I needed to get to work and I told him this was far more important. I was not lying. 
I am now in my office but quite distracted. By our conversation. By the sad reality that touches me so deeply. And by the positive thought that Richard agreed to have dinner with me this evening. I expect there will be lots more stories. And with his permission, I intend to not let them go unheard.
I have a special place for Veterans. I never served but I do have a profound appreciation for those that have and those that serve to this very day. For me, it's a very special and moving privilege to meet them and listen. I remember hearing a fact at last year's Veteran's Day Celebration that a full one quarter of all US Veterans are homeless at one point in their lives. Perhaps that number has changed in the year but I am not an eternal optimist. 
Don't spare change. Make change.

Thanks, Alan

Monday, May 21, 2012

The NZ Series #22 - Austen Deans

Not a beret, in the correct sense of the word, but Austen Deans balmoral comes close. 
Deans graduated from the (NZ) Canterbury School of Art in 1939 and then spent six years overseas with army.
First as a war artist in Egypt for two years, the remaining four years as a prisoner of war.  After his return to NZ, he worked on farms while continuing to paint. 
A war bursary enabled him to study at London University's Art School  for 2 years, after which he settled in the Peel Forest, Canterbury (NZ), where he still lives and works (at 96!).
Favourite subjects are mountains and the bush. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rövid történeti áttekintés a magyar svájcisapka

"Rövid történeti áttekintés a magyar svájcisapka", or: A short history of the Hungarian beret.
Indeed, it is a very short history, but I am still working on it (and any help would be much appreciated!).
It was in 1889 that "Kokron" was founded by Joseph Kokron in Hódmezővásárhely (in the South East of Hungary). 
During the 1930's Joseph began the production of his special berets, with specific Hungarian developed and patented technology. Nor-Coc was chosen as a brand name and these berets were extremely popular in Hungary and abroad. production discontinued in the 1960's.
I have found some interesting advertising material of the time and also photographs of berets with Hungarian labels (see pictures) - whether these are Nor-Cocs, I don't know.