Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Basque Themed Ceramics

Not unlike beret manufacturers, there were many small ceramic artisans and potteries in the first 2/3rds of last century and many jumped on the fashion of the idealized Basque way of life.
Most were concentrated in the south of France, in the Basque provinces and Béarn, Gaïtaud in Pau was one of the better known. 
Interestingly, the fashion was so popular that even potteries in Alsace and the far north of the country, in Picardie, manufactured Basque themed pottery. 
Vases, milk cans, ash trays and figurines in traditional Basque outfit, and beret, of course. 
Some pieces fetch huge sums of money; others can be found on sites like Ebay for no more than $20.00

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Paul Strand

Paul Strand by Walter Rosenblum
Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 – March 31, 1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. 
His diverse body of work, spanning 6 decades, covers numerous genres and subjects throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
Barbara Hawk, Taos, New Mexico, 1931, a photo by Paul Strand

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Southern Hemisphere Summer Holidays #9

Kurt Westergaard, the man who made the famous Muhammad drawings with a special edition of his Free Speech drawing

Friday, December 25, 2015

Southern Hemisphere Summer Holidays #7

Christmas - Extra!

One of the most important Basque Christmas traditions is Olentzero, a charcoal-burner, who comes to town late at night on the 24th of December, to deliver presents for children. There are many variations to the Olentzero traditions and stories connected to him, sometimes varying from village to village. 
The first written account of Olentzero is from the 17th century. Around 1952, a folk group (Playing traditional songs and dances) called "Irrintzi elkartea" from Zarautz (a town by the sea in the Basque Country) began to revive the Olentzero traditions and, soon, these traditions began to spread outside their town to the rest of the Basque Country.
Today Olentzero is celebrated all over the Basque Country and co-exists with the Three Wise Men and Santa Claus. Nowadays, Olentzero is depicted as a lovable character, widely attributed to being overweight, having a huge appetite and thirst. He is depicted as a Basque peasant wearing a Basque beret, a farmer's attire with traditional abarka shoes and smoking a pipe. Sometimes his face is stained with charcoal, as a sign of his trade as a charcoal-burner. 
On Christmas Eve, groups of people or children carry effigies of Olentzero around on a chair through the streets, singing Olentzero carols.
Marry Christmas, you all!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Southern Hemisphere Summer Holidays #1

Not a long holiday, this year - just over a week and from 29 December all will be back to the usual situation.
All berets ordered between today and 28 December will be posted on the 29th.
Meanwhile, on The Beret Project every day one inspirational, funny, shocking, beautiful beret picture!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Schubert: Sonata in B flat, D960

Sviatoslov Richter’s studio recording from 1972, a performance that’s both intimate and shattering.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Astrid Roemer

Surinamese writer Astrid Roemer, 68, has been awarded this year’s PC Hooft prize – one of the most prestigious Dutch awards for literature. The jury said Roemer’s novels are a ‘literary portrayal of Suriname’s history’. Between the 1970s and 90s she published several novels and wrote poetry and plays. 
Her autobiography Zolang ik leef ben ik niet dood (as long as I am alive, I am not dead) was published in 2004. The award, established in 1947 and worth €60,000, is named after the Golden Age poet Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft who died in 1647.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kurt Westergaard

Kurt Westergaard (1935) is a Danish cartoonist who created the controversial cartoon of the Islamic prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban. This cartoon was the most contentious of the 12 Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, which met with strong reactions from Muslims worldwide, including Western countries. Since the drawing of the cartoon, Westergaard has received numerous death threats and been a target of assassination attempts. As a result, he is under constant police protection.
On 12 February 2008, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) announced the arrest of three men  — two Tunisians and one Moroccan-born Dane — who were charged with planning to murder Westergaard.
After the plot was foiled, the Danish secret service was made responsible for protecting Westergaard. He was placed under police surveillance when traveling to and from work. His house was fitted with steel doors, a panic room, reinforced glass in the windows and surveillance cameras.
Westergaard has been awarded the Sappho Award, an award given by the Free Press Society in Denmark to a 'journalist who combines excellence in his work with courage and a refusal to compromise'.
On 8 September 2010, he was awarded the M100 Media Award (M100-Medienpreis) by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for his contributions to freedom of opinion.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Reality Shields

I have mentioned the term 'Reality Shield' before, in relation to the beret. An apt description (thanks Michael) of how one can visualize the beret to work and yes, once you follow this simple concept, it actually does miracles. 
And if there ever was a time of need for reality shields, it may well be right now. Just today in my daily newspaper: the xenofobe populistic ramblings of Donald Trump;  an interview with the just released Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer (after 14 years in detention, endless solitary confinement and torture for being at the wrong place at the wrong time); the superficialness of the much celebrated top on climate change; intense cruelty on NZ dairy cows; etc. etc. 
One would really need to have the beret pulled over the ears and eyes. What sort of beret has the density and size to protect us? I foresee a bright future for the manufacturers of Tarte Alpins...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Naomi Campbell

Naomi Elaine Campbell (1970) is an English model, actress, singer, and author. Recruited at the age of 15, she established herself among the top three most recognizable and in-demand models of the late 1980s and the 1990s, and was one of six models of her generation declared "supermodels" by the fashion industry.
In addition to her modelling career, Campbell has embarked on other ventures, which include a novel, an R&B-pop studio album, and several acting appearances in film and television, such as the modelling competition reality show The Face and its international offshoots. Campbell is also involved in charity work for various causes. Her personal life is widely reported, particularly her relationships with prominent men, including boxer Mike Tyson and actor Robert De Niro, and four highly publicised convictions for assault.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Apart from Pyrenean shepherds and the military across the world, Scouts must form one of the largest groups of beret wearers. And it is not bound by country or continent - berets rule!
French Scout leader, 1938

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Rubble Kings

From 1968 to 1975, gangs ruled New York City. Beyond the idealistic hopes of the civil rights movement lay a unfocused rage. Neither law enforcement nor social agency could end the escalating bloodshed. Peace came only through the most unlikely and courageous of events that would change the world for generations to come by giving birth to hip-hop culture. 
The film Rubble Kings chronicles life during this era of gang rule, tells the story of how a few extraordinary, forgotten people did the impossible, and how their actions impacted New York City and the world over.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Alex Salmond

Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond (1954) is a Scottish politician who served as the fourth First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014. 
Salmond was the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) for over twenty years, having served for two terms, firstly from 1990 to 2000 and subsequently from 2004 to 2014.
Politically, Salmond is one of the foremost proponents of Scottish independence, repeatedly calling for a referendum on the issue. Salmond has campaigned on global warming and in government has committed Scotland to legislation on emission reduction and the generation of renewable energy. The day after the 2014 independence referendum, at which a majority of Scottish voters chose to remain part of the United Kingdom, Salmond announced his intention not to stand for re-election as leader of the SNP at the SNP National Conference in November, and to resign as First Minister thereafter.

In September 2015, Salmond was criticised for stating that "I prefer people of faith to people of no faith or people who have lost their faith".
Angry Salmond, a Twitter parody account which introduced hashtags such as #SexySocialism and #VoteSNPGetSexy to the world of politics, is urging people to back the Breast Cancer Campaign.
Since joining Twitter in August 2012, the parody account has gained a following of over 40,000 supporters - with Angry now attempting to use this following to give a vital boost to charity donations.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bunny Rugs

William Alexander Anthony "Bunny Rugs" Clarke (1948 – 2014), also known as Bunny Scott, was the lead singer of Jamaican reggae band Third World as well as recording as a solo artist. He began his career in the mid-1960s and was also at one time a member of Inner Circle and half of the duo Bunny & Ricky.
Born in Mandeville and raised on John's Lane in Kingston, Clarke's father was an Anglican preacher. He joined Charlie Hackett and the Souvenirs, the resident band at the Kittymat Club on Maxfield Avenue, in the mid-1960s before leading the early line-up of Inner Circle in 1969.
Clarke explained that his 'Bunny Rugs' nickname came from his grandmother calling him 'Bunny' as a child because he would "jump around the house like a rabbit" and from a member of the Third World road crew calling him 'Rugs' because of his liking for sleeping on the floor.