Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Txapeldun on Western Australia's Railways

I have published a post on train drivers and berets before, but never did I have any personal connection to the people involved.
Now, I am happy to say that the archetypical headgear of the railway worker is still used today, by a driver on the Perth (Australia) rail network; what's more, Eugene is a friend and customer of mine and owner of the biggest smile in the southern hemisphere! 
Needless to say, I love to see his large diameter txapeldun cruising the Western Australian railways.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

PVC Penis Beret at the London Fashion Week

London fashion week can always be counted on to keep the fashion establishment on its toes—and this year, the Guardian crowns this New Power Studio PVC Penis Beret one of its top most-outre items on the runway. Other items on the Guardian's list: a crown of incense sticks and a gold tee made from hypothermia blanket fabric.
No, this beret is not available at South pacific Berets...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Talking Through My Hat

A find, somewhere on the internet:

I have a hat, a wonderful large, black wool-felt beret, which I dearly love. It's really become a part of me, perhaps too much so. If you know me, you've surely seen my beret. But you've probably seen the beret around Sutton even if you don't know me. I like to think my hat loves me too, and would hate, as much as I would, to become separated from me.
I guess technically it's not an immanent part of me. It was not there at my creation, nor have I always had it. But it has become more than head gear. Good or bad, it has become a part of my persona.
My beret looks a bit Basque or Italian, but it's not. I bought it in Argentina, in a small shop northeast of Buenos Aires in a town called San Antonio de Areco. I bought it mostly because the shopkeeper looked so good in his. It's a gaucho cap, really, and fearing I would do it injustice so far from its home I took several photos of the shopkeeper in his, just to remember how to wear it. It was round and flat in his shop display, but he told me it would mold itself to my unique pate. “Just orient it on your head the same way every time; use the label inside as a marker.”
When I came home from South America in Novem-ber 2006 I wore my beret through the winter. In August I took it with me to Ireland, Finland and the Baltic States, Belarus and Ukraine, and to Moldova, Romania and Hungary. Of course it stayed home last year when I departed for Asia but my reunion with it eight months later was like rejoining an old friend, and I took it to England and Wales to celebrate.
It was only when I lost it that I realized its importance to me. We were in Montreal for a belated birthday celebration and were set to take in the cheap Tuesday matinees on rue Ste-Catherine. We decided to pass the 45 minutes before show time in the adjoining Simons store. After visiting several departments and making a minor purchase we headed for the exit. Only then did I notice that my hat was missing.
I'm a bald-headed guy and have been since my 20s. I need a hat almost always. In winter it stanches the heat loss from my uninsulated dome; in summer it keeps my unprotected scalp from burning. I never leave home without a hat. So questions like “Did you leave it in the car at Place des Arts?” were of course ridiculous; the winter weather on St. Catherine would surely have driven me back to the car.
But what was most alarming was what I least expected: the feeling that I was missing some part of my persona, some bit of who I am. It was as though, without my hat, I would need to make peace with the new person I would become or, God forbid, revert to. I had often said that I should have bought a second one, a spare against the day that the first should wear out. Was it merely that it is nigh impossible to replace? Or had my hat achieved some genuine immanence for me?
Things do creep into your soul, like the feel of greeting friends on rue Principale. They come to seem as though they have always been part of you, and that you could never live without them. But a hat!?
After retracing our route several times (searching not only the store but the heads of those around me), visiting ‘lost and found,' and despairingly contemplating life without my beret, my girlfriend Lynda had a stroke of genius. Where might a hat go before it could be declared “lost”? The woman at customer service had admonished us to wait a day or so before calling back; it took time for things to get to ‘lost and found,' mostly because they must first be determined to not be part of Simons' inventory.
It was only a small step in logic from there, but one that had eluded me entirely. Lynda wandered off, heading away from anywhere we had been. I started to protest but was cut off by her whisper, “There it is!” And there it was, indeed, in the men's hat department a good distance from where I'd made my purchase. Someone had laid it over some random rack, awaiting assessment by some hat-department employee. It looked somewhat old and worn next to all the new hats, a bit like me, I guess. I checked the label inside, confirmed its provenance, and buttoned it securely into the pocket of my coat.
We got to the movie late but enjoyed it greatly. I usually despise missing the beginning of a film, but this time it was fine. A contented feeling of completeness had returned to me. Later, waiting to be seated at a restaurant, I hugged Lynda and told her she was wonderful. “Nah,” she said, a smirk creeping in. “That's just your hat talking.”

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Eldanii, by Arcadius Mauritz

Shot in may 2011, with canon 40D, sigma 17-79 lenses, using one studio flash light with silver umbrella
Styling : second-hand dress, tights cut in half and old beret of my grand-father
Model : Eldanii
Author: Arcadius Mauritz
Country: Poland

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Jan Olsen's blog Observe Closely

The goal of Jan Olsen's blog Observe Closely is to bring a little beauty and humor to his friends, and incidentally to entertain art colleagues with his work and his speculations on materials, techniques, and so forth. 
Titbits, pictures, lessons, savouries, conversation pieces, and other curiosities (and the occasional beret).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pinón, Telva and Pinín

Alfonso Iglesias López de Vivigo, best known simply as Alfonso, was born in Navia, Asturias. He was an artist, painter, humorist and writer, known as the creator of the Asturian characters Pinón, Telva and Pinín. 
Although he had a degree in science, he chose to pursue an artistic career. He published his early work in the newspapers Región, La Voz de Asturias and La Nueve España. For many years, he drew the adventures of his characters 'Pinón y Telva' and 'Pinín'. Since 1962, he also worked on juvenile programs on Spanish television.
In 1943,during the  Spanish post-war time, Alfonso Iglesias created for the Asturian newspaper "La Nueva España" an emblematic character: an Asturian peasant man wearing  the asturian typical wooden shoes and black beret and who mixed the Spanish language with the Asturian. This man, Pinón,was married to Telva, a peasant woman  also wearing the typical costume in the Asturian villages. They lived with  their nephew,"Pinín" who soon became the most popular character and awoke among the Asturian children their thirst for adventures as, Pinín's biggest wish was travelling through the world and so he did.
Pinín invented a strange kind of transport, half helicopter, half wooden shoe (madreña) called it  the "madreñogiro" and visited many countries in the world showing to people everywhere he was from Asturias.
In Asturias, the comics with the adventures of Pinin and family are still very popular. 
First thing you see when you arrive to the Asturias' airport is the Pinin's "madreñogiro".

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jules Peter Paivio

Jules Peter Paivio (1916 – 2013) was a Canadian architect, professor, and soldier; a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, he was the last surviving member of the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion.
Paivio was born near Port Arthur, Ontario, and raised in nearby Sudbury by his Finnish parents. 
Paivio left Canada at the age of 19 to fight in the Spanish Civil War. He was captured during the war, saved from execution by an Italian officer, and placed in a prisoner-of-war camp. Paivio was the last surviving Canadian veteran of the Spanish Civil War, and in 2012 he was honoured by the Spanish government by being granted honorary citizenship.
Canadian volunteers of the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War

Jules Paivio died on 4 September 2013, at the age of 97.
Writer Terrence Rundle West talked to Paivio when he was writing his new novel about the Spanish Civil War. His book is titled Not In My Father’s Footsteps.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More on Coupons from the Spanish Civil War

Following yesterday's post on ration coupons during the Spanish Civil War, some more pictures. Coupons were used by both sides in the conflict and for long after the conflict ended.
As was generally the case, the artwork on the Republican side is a lot more attractive, in depiction and creativeness.
The Nationalist side even published coupons celebrating the bombing of Guernica  (by the German Condor Legion) and their friendship with Mussolini and Hitler.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cupones de racionamiento / Rationing Coupons

“Cupones de racionamiento” or rationing coupons, issued by the Republican side (during the Spanish Civil War). 
Sheets are perforated so that coupons can be separated. Artwork printed and/or handcolored on verso, with coupon information on recto: values, specific foods, also names of towns where issued and/or valid. Some of the rationing coupons are dated.

Monday, April 21, 2014

No Harley Day

Harley Day Breda was an event, held yearly in August, in the Dutch city of Breda.
The first edition of the Harley Day Breda and was organized by the members of the Harley Davidson Club Breda in 1989.
The Harley Day also takes place in other Dutch cities: Gouda , Appingedam , Leiden , Arnhem and Delfzijl, but Breda holds the largest event with many secondary activities such as stunt riders and live music.
Safety requirements for this type of large events sharpened after the “Tunnel Tragedy” in Germany, during the Love Parade 2010 and it was decided to end the yearly Breda Harley Day.
These days, there is a spontaneous celebration on the 3rd Sunday of August, to commemorate the beautiful “Days of once…”: aptly named the No Harley Day (with many berets on view!). 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Prince Far I

Prince Far I (1944 – 1983) was a Jamaican reggae deejay, producer and a Rastafarian. He was known for his gruff voice and critical assessment of the Jamaican government. His track "Heavy Manners" used lyrics against measures initiated towards violent crime.
He was born Michael James Williams in Spanish Town, Jamaica. Williams' first job in the music industry was as a deejay on the Sir Mike the Musical Dragon sound system, also working as a security guard at Joe Gibbs' studio, and later as a bouncer at Studio One, but after recording "The Great Booga Wooga" for Bunny Lee in 1969 (under the name King Cry Cry, a reference to his habit of breaking into tears when angered), he got the chance in 1970 to record for Coxsone Dodd when King Stitt failed to turn up for a session.
His first album, Psalms For I, featuring the Lord's Prayer and various psalms, was dedicated to the illiterate who could not read the Bible for themselves.
He was shot at his home in Kingston, Jamaica, during a robbery, allegedly relating to a dispute over money, and died later in hospital.

He is referred to by The Clash in their single "Clash City Rockers" and also by The Mountain Goats in the song "Sept. 15th 1983", a reference to the date of his death.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Béret Paris Naturel

The Béret Paris Naturel is a beret in its purest form: made of 100% natural, un-dyed merino wool.  10 Pouces, or 28 cm diameter, fitted with satin lining, Laulhère's trademark silver button and carrying the Chique label. Not two of these berets are identical, due to small colour variations in the natural fibres. A very special beret at $ 52.50.

Monsieur Garlic and the Lost Beret

Josephine Philpott is a young illustrator who comes from sunny Cornwall, she moved from the countryside to the city of Portsmouth at age 18 and this is where she now resides. Her blog can be found at
Monsieur Garlic and the Lost Beret is a delightful children's book about a Garlic who loses his beret. The child is taken around the kitchen and meets other vegetables along the way. A light hearted tale that can help to engage a child with their food.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What a Tasteless Thing to do

My friend John sent me this beautiful link of a very young, but bereted, Harrison Ford punching (an also very young) Jack Lemmon in the face, in 1967.
Thanks, John

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hens Party with Berets

A hens party, hens night or hens do, is a party held for a woman who is about to get married. The terms hen party, hen do or hen night are common in the United Kingdom and Ireland, while the terms hens party or hens night are common in Australia and New Zealand, and the term bachelorette party is common in the United States and Canada. The term stagette is sometimes used in Canada. 
It may also be referred to as a girls' night out or kitchen tea (South Africa in particular) or other terms in other English-speaking countries.

The bachelorette party is modelled after the bachelor party, which is itself historically a dinner given by the bridegroom to his friends shortly before his wedding. Despite its reputation as "a sodden farewell to bachelor days" or "an evening of debauchery," a bachelorette's party is simply a party, given in honour of the bride-to-be, in the style that is common to that social circle.
Life model Simon Lloyd poses for a hen party who are wearing berets while drawing

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wagner's Beret

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813 –1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, "music dramas"). Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art"), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama, and which was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).
Until his final years, Wagner's life was characterised by political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors. His controversial writings on music, drama and politics have attracted extensive comment in recent decades, especially where they express anti-Semitic and racist sentiments. The effect of his ideas can be traced in many of the arts throughout the 20th century; their influence spread beyond composition into conducting, philosophy, literature, the visual arts and theatre.
Some biographers have asserted that Wagner in his final years came to believe in the racialist philosophy of Arthur de Gobineau, notably Gobineau's belief that Western society was doomed because of miscegenation between "superior" and "inferior" races.
Adolf Hitler was an admirer of Wagner's music and saw in his operas an embodiment of his own vision of the German nation; in a 1922 speech he claimed that Wagner's works glorified "the heroic Teutonic nature ... Greatness lies in the heroic." There continues to be debate about the extent to which Wagner's views might have influenced Nazi thinking. While Bayreuth presented a useful front for Nazi culture, and Wagner's music was used at many Nazi events, the Nazi hierarchy as a whole did not share Hitler's enthusiasm for Wagner's operas and resented attending these lengthy epics at Hitler's insistence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

They Saw It Coming...

Beautiful video. They saw it all coming, the recession... Good practical economic truths!
(Ensure you have sub-titles on, if not a Spanish speaker).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Athletic Club Bilbao

Athletic Club, also commonly known as Athletic Bilbao, is a professional football club, based in Bilbao, Biscay, Spain.
They are known as Los Leones (The Lions) because their stadium was built near a church called San Mamés (Saint Mammes). Mammes was an early Christian thrown to the lions by the Romans. The lions refused to eat Mammes and he was later made a saint.
The club has played in the Primera División of La Liga since its start in 1929. They have won the league on eight occasions. In the historical classification of La Liga, Athletic are in fourth place and one of only three clubs which have never been relegated from the Liga, the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona. The club also has a women's team, which has won four championships in the Primera División Femenina.
Cake in a Atletic Txapela shape 

The club is known for its cantera policy of bringing young Basque players through the ranks, as well as recruiting top Basque players from other clubs (like Joseba Etxeberria or Javi Martínez). Athletic official policy is signing professional players native to or footballistically trained in the greater Basque Country, including Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Álava and Navarre (in Spain); and Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre (in France). This has gained Athletic both admirers and critics. The club has been praised for promoting home grown players and club loyalty. 
Athletic is one of only four professional clubs in Spain in Primera División (the others being Real Madrid, Barcelona and Osasuna) that is not a sports corporation; the club is owned and operated by its associates (socios).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2007 EITB Spot

Another good spot by Basque TV Station EITB (for you Paul!).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Salaria Kea

Salaria Kea was born in Georgia in 1917. Her father, an attendant at the Ohio State Hospital for the Insane, was stabbed to death when Kea was a child. His widow took her four children, including Salaria, to Akron, Ohio.
Kea became a nurse and while working at the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing, led a successful campaign against racial segregation. In 1935 she helped to organize medical care in Ethiopia when it was invaded by Italy.
In March 1937 Kea joined an American Medical Unit working with the Abraham Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War. She later recalled: "I sailed from New York with the second American Medical Unit. I was the lone representative of the Negro race. The doctor in charge of the group refused to sit at the same table with me in the dining room and demanded to see the Captain. The Captain moved me to his table where I remained throughout the voyage."
Kea later recalled: "The Negro men who fought for Loyalist Spain never tire of telling how they celebrated when they got news that the Second American Medical Unit included a Negro nurse. Their battalion had been in the trenches 120 days of continuous fighting. I am told that during the entire First World War a fighting unit was never required to be under fire longer than this. Their clothing was shabby and worn. Many had so little to wear they could not appear in public. I was so excited over going to Spain I did not realize that many other Negroes had already recognized Spain's fight for freedom and liberty as a part of our struggle too. I didn't know that almost a hundred young Negro men were already fighting Hitler's and Mussolini's forces there in Spain.
Kea was captured by the Nationalist Army but after being held prisoner for seven weeks she managed to escape. Kea returned to her American Medical Unit but was badly wounded by a bomb while working in a field hospital. Her injuries were so severe she had to return to the United States. In 1938 she published Salaria Kea: A Negro Nurse in Republican Spain.
During the Second World War Kea worked as a nurse with the United States Army. While in Europe she met and married an Irish engineer, John P. O'Reilly.

After the war the O'Reilly family lived in New York before moving to Akron in 1975. Salaria Kea O'Reilly died in May 1990.