Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Scouts of Quebec

Although a group of fervent beret wearers, I have so far stayed away from scouts and berets (some childhood memories of my few months within the Dutch scouts may be part of the reason for that).
Still, I thought these pictures of French Canadian scout berets were interesting enough to get a place at The Beret Project. 
On my honour, I promise that I will do my best.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cape Berger

Brand new at the One-Offs Page: a true 'Cape Bergers' or 'Shepherds Cape', the traditional outfit of the shepherds in the French Pyrenees Mountains. 
This cape is made of hand-sorted, hand-spun wool from the Lagh Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India by a small family business. The untreated wool in it's natural colour was woven in Suma, a small village in the Lagh Valley and tunred into a cape by another small Indian business in Wellington, New Zealand. The cape is made of 100% wool with a calico (cotton) lining and wooden duffel-buttons. The perfect accompaniment for an Auloronesa Tarte Alpin!
The size of the cape is large - extra large. Measurements from shoulder to bottom 41.5" (105cm); width at shoulder 22" (56cm) and width at bottom 36" (91cm). 
Why is this cape listed on the One-Offs page? This is the first cape as a try out, listed at a just-over cost price. A premium price is paid to the weaver for the material to facilitate the family's daughter study. 
I have been looking for suppliers of these capes, but all capes found come at an astronomical cost (just under, often over $1000.00). Wanting to offer an affordable yet authentic alternative, I decided to import the top quality woven wool myself from a dedicated, artisan weaver and have the cape(s) made here in Wellington (at a $600.00+ price difference!).
For comparisons, have a look at these sites, here and here.

Lucio Dalla

Lucio Dalla, (1943 – 2012) was a popular Italian singer-songwriter, musician and actor. He also played clarinet and keyboards.
Dalla was born in Bologna, Italy. He began to play the clarinet at an early age and became a member of a local jazz band called Rheno Dixieland Band, together with future film director Pupi Avati. Avati said that he decided to leave the band after feeling overwhelmed by Dalla's talent. He also acknowledged that his film, Ma quando arrivano le ragazze? (2005), was inspired by his friendship with Dalla. In the 1960s the band participated in the first Jazz Festival at Antibes, France.
Dalla was the composer of "Caruso" (1986), a song dedicated to Italian tenor Enrico Caruso which has been covered by numerous international artists such as Luciano Pavarotti and Julio Iglesias. The version sung by Pavarotti sold over 9 million copies, and another version was a track on Andrea Bocelli's first international album, Romanza, which sold over 20 million copies worldwide.
Lucio Dalla was outed as gay after his funeral (at which his longterm associate and partner Marco Alemanno, with whom he had shared a house, spoke), although he had not publicly acknowledged this during his life, saying in a 1979 interview "Non mi sento omosessuale" ("I do not feel gay"). This outing sparked debate about Italian society's attitudes towards homosexuality.
There are few pictures of him not wearing a beret, or a knitted wool beanie that strongly resembles a beret. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Traffic Signs with Berets

Traffic signs don't get any better than these! The top was taken in Grandas (Asturias), Spain; the middle picture in Budapest, Hungary, the bottom picture in Prague, in the Czech Republic. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wim Schram

Wim Schram (1914 - 2009) was a Dutch painter, who's only acknowledgement came from the rest-home that exposed his paintings. A remarkable man, who's inspiration was Vinvcent van Gogh ("Rembrandt is cold, lifeless") 
Wim Schram, sitting outside rest-home De Flesseman in Amstardam, October 2006. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Billy Mackenzie

Billy Mackenzie was a singer with The Associates, famous for his operatic voice and love of whippets,berets and, tragically, for his suicide. 
On 22 January 1997, depression and the death of his mother are believed to have contributed to Mackenzie's suicide. He overdosed on a combination of paracetamol and prescription medication in the garden shed of his father's house in Auchterhouse. He was 39 years old. Now a significant cult figure, much of his musical legacy has been released in the past few years.
A particularly enjoyable story is that when he was dropped by his record label, they called him into the London office to tell him. Mackenzie argued that the least they could do after that was to pay for his taxi ride home, so they agreed; the record company assumed he lived in London, whereas Mackenzie actually lived in Scotland and took a taxi all the way there at the company's expense.
Thanks, Jon

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Álex Angulo

The theatre, film and television actor Álex Angulo died in a car crash last week on 20 July while travelling through La Rioja. Álex Angulo was 61 years old.
The Biscay-born actor was a highly respected and much-loved figure in the film industry. After beginning his career as a theatre performer, a profession that he never walked away from, he rose to permanent stardom in 1995 thanks to his performance as the priest Angel Berriatúa in The Day of the Beast, by Álex de la Iglesia, for which he was nominated a Goya for Best Actor.
From the moment he made his silver-screen debut in 1981 until his untimely death in 2014, Angulo worked on over 60 feature films, and countless shorts, theatrical works and television series, such as Periodistas (1997-1999), thanks to which he found considerable fame all over Spain. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Bro!

Yes, it is that time of the year again, 25 July, the date of my Beret Spy Brother Emile's birthday. Many happy returns, Bro!
And in his honour, a few more of his recent spy photographs from the Netherlands:

Thanks, Emile.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Basque Street Photographer Jontxu Fernandez

Jontxu Fernandez is an amateur photographer, 42 years old who lives in Sopelana, a little village near Bilbao, in the (Spanish) Basque country.
He works as a video postproduction and camera recorder. His love of photography was given through his father mainly, always taking photos with his Yashica. Jontxu became more interested in photography in high school, where he made a black and white laboratory and started to experiment.
 The last two years I have been more active in my photography and I must confess that making digital photos has given me more freedom. Now I have the lab at the computer and I can check the results in a more comfortable way.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

'The Dictator' DVD Release

Sacha Baron Cohen's film 'The Dictator' DVD Release was promoted by a group of sexy dressed young women and a goat in Beverly Hills.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Harvey Buttonshaw - Australian Veteran of the POUM and Anarchist Militias

A most interesting tribute, written by Joe Toscano:

Buttonshaw was born in England around 1915. He volunteered for service in the Spanish Civil War as an 'ILP supporter' and initially fought alongside George Orwell in a Trokyist militia, the P.O.U.M. He delighted in telling the story of how he told George Orwell to keep his head down or he would be shot. Just after he uttered his warning, Orwell was shot through the neck.
When the P.O.U.M militias were destroyed by the communists, he joined the anarchists and fought in F.A.I. anarchist militias on the Aragon front and Catalonia. With tens of thousands of other participants in the Spanish Civil War he fled over the Spanish border into France. He managed to stay out of the camps the refugees were herded into and with the help of some of the French Anarchist Groups he made his way to Paris just as WWII broke out. The only way he could escape from France after the Nazi invasion was to join the French Foreign Legion.
Harvey Buttonshaw - veteran of the POUM and anarchist militias
He was posted to West Africa by the Vichy government and found himself fighting for the Nazis. He deserted and then began a remarkable story of courage and luck. Four of them escaped the Foreign Legion. They crossed West Africa and the Sahara desert. He was the only one who survived. He made his way across the Sahara desert on foot until he bumped into British soldiers in Libya.

Harvey returned to England and joined the merchant navy eventually reaching Australia in 1949. He worked around Australia in a variety of capacities and eventually settled down in Lovers Hill in the Otway ranges in Victoria building his own home with his own hands.
At the end of his life, Harvey was honoured by both the French and Spanish governments for his contributions. He lived in the bush at Lavers Hill with his long suffering wife, waiting for death. His life was full of periods of energy and utter exhaustion. I can't remember if he had any children, all I can remember is that he made his way to Australia after WWII, put his head down and did what every immigrant did, make a buck, built a home, got married. Life went on and on, the past became a blurred memory until his interest in his past was rekindled by his contact with this group of young anarchists who thought they could change themselves and the world.

Harvey Buttonshaw died in the mid 1990's after living one of the most interesting lives possible. He didn't believe in God or the state or leaders. He had no faith in government. His newfound brush with fame was due more to his ability to survive than anything else. I thought he may have some answers, maybe he knew the purpose of life. He'd survived while his comrades died. He was covered with the stench of death but survived. Why was he spared? I asked him, he looked at me.

"Joe" he said, "I'm here and they're dead because of plain stupid luck! There's no purpose in life, no master plan, you live it, you die. Whether you live or die has no more rhyme or reason than what card you pick when you cut a deck of cards".

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Bérets and Foulards (Alpin) Universel en Couleur!

I am very proud to announce that the Bérets Universel by Boneteria Auloronesa are now also available in colour!
South Pacific Berets bought the first batch of these berets which are not available anywhere else - crazy as it is, as I honestly believe these are the very best berets one can find - anywhere!
Available in 10 pouces (28cm diameter), 11 pouces (31cm diameter) and in the grand Tarte Alpin version of 12 pouces (336mm diameter).
All these berets are of the 'foulard' quality - unequalled quality in every respect.
Click here for more information and ordering:

Bonnie & Clyde: Dead and Alive

In December, 2009 I first published a post on Bonnie and Clyde, the Depression era duo that inspired 1000's and 1000's Americans to wear a beret.
As with all the classics, one could wait for a remake and indeed, last year Bonnie & Clyde: Dead and Alive appeared as a television film. A number of actresses tried (and were hired) for the role of Bonnie, like Disney child star Hilary Duff and Lindsay Pulsipher, but in the end, Holliday Grainger got the role. 
Not exactly the success of Fay Dunaway and the massive groth of beret wearing young ladies I still have to see, but, who knows... There'll be another remake at some stage.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Orcs and Txapelas

Our present-day conception of an orc or ork is one of a race of mythical humanoid creatures, generally described as brutish, aggressive and repulsive, stemming from the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien, where orcs contrast with the benevolent Elvish race. In Tolkien's writings, orc is another word for goblin. Tolkien developed his idea of the orc from the Old English term orcneas.
In popular culture (including fantasy fiction and fantasy games), orcs are variously portrayed. Facial features tend toward the grotesque (generally a mixture of the ape-like and pig-like), and their skin typically varies from black to grey to green, and sometimes red. They may be physically stronger or weaker than humans, but always high in numbers. They often ride boars, wolves, and wargs. In many role-playing and computer games, orcs have green or greenish skin.
The relationship between Orcs and Basques is not entirely clear to me, but the fact is that the 'Orc' is used as a popular symbol in the Basque Country (especially among football fans).  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Life Of A Zoo Keeper And His Beret

This is Ernst Engler, Head Keeper at the zoo of Chessington (Surrey, UK) in 1958.
A very nice video showing the adventures of the zoo-keepers beret. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Inside the Renault Factory

A look inside the Renault factories during the 1950’s, where many workers wore berets, inside and out. 
The Renault 4CV is an economy car produced by the French manufacturer Renault from August 1947 until July 1961. The first French car to sell over a million units, the 4CV was superseded by the Dauphine.
The 4CV was a four-door sedan of monocoque construction, 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in) in length with front suicide doors and using Renault's Ventoux engine in a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.
The Renault Frégate is a full-size or executive saloon car produced by Renault between 1951 and 1960. Station wagon variants, the Renault Domaine and the Renault Manoir, were introduced in 1956 and 1958 respectively.
1959 Renault Frégate