Saturday, February 28, 2015

Brig. Gen. Oscar E. Davis' Green Beret

I found this beret on an Ebay listing, the original green beret that once belonged to United States Army Brigadier General Oscar Esko Davis. 
Brig. Gen. Oscar E. Davis served 31 years with the US Army. He served in World War II, the Korean and the Vietnam War.
A native of Tucson, General Davis was commissioned through the ROTC at the University of Arizona in 1941. He is a combat veteran of World War II with the 541st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division, Korea as a battalion commander in the 45th Infantry Division, and Vietnam as the deputy of 1st Brigade, a separate Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, and as assistant division commander, 1st Calvary Division. After 31 years of distinguished service, General Davis retired from XVIII Airborne Corps as the chief of staff.
The interesting thing about this beret, one of the earliest US Green Berets, is of coarse that it is a Basque beret! There were no standardized military berets in the US Army at the time and the general wore a French made Basque. 
A nice piece of history and wouldn't it be great if all those US servicemen who moan and whine about berets on internet forums knew about this..?  love it!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Steve White and the Protest Family

Steve White and the Protest Family has been been together since 2009 and are best described as brash, witty, political folk/punk. You're as likely to find them playing to striking workers on a picket line as in a Camden pub. 
They're regulars at the Stow Festival in Walthamstow every year, and for two years they've hosted a Love Orient Hate Racism event in conjunction with Leyton Orient Football Club and the Kick It Out campaign. 
Steve himself is a dedicated boinero with a good collection of berets to choose from. 
The picture of Steve toasting the much-missed Kirsty Macoll was taken before a gig at the Bread and Roses in Clapham, London which was raising much needed funds for striking teachers from Lambeth College. 
"Steve White & The Protest Family remain the best band on the circuit, and are, without a doubt, the most personable, charming, comradely way of trojan horsing militant messages into unsuspecting audiences....." - Chris Fox
Photos  Dave Winter, Theo Michael and Paul Rutland

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Margaret Bourke-White at the Chrysler Building

American photographer and journalist Margaret Bourke-White (1904 - 1971) perches on an eagle head gargoyle at the top of the Chrysler Building and focuses a camera, New York, New York, 1935.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Noel Fullerton's Camels

Noel Fullerton was born in 1934 in Adelong, Australia. He met Isobel, his wife, in kindergarten and remained together, marrying at 16 years of age. 
The father of eight children,the grandfather of 32 and great grandfather to 7 children, he is seen as the patriarch of the Fullerton family. 
His interest in camels began after moving to the Northern Territory in the early 60s and being introduced to Sallay Mahommod, one of the only surviving camel workers at the time. The first ever camel race in Alice Springs was held along the Todd River with Noel pitted against Kurt Posel.
Needless to say, Noel lost,and he's been making up for it ever since. Noel has contributed to all previous Camel Cups, his camels only losing on a handful of occasions. He owned some of the fastest camels in Australia, holding many of the nation's records. Including 42mph clocked by Marindy Mick and a time of 27 seconds for 400 metres run by Sweet Alice in 1984. 
Noel is seen as the grandfather of the camel industry in Australia. He is now a legendary figure, a "Camel Man", whose knowledge of camels and expertise with them, made the Lions Clubs of Alice Springs Camel Cup the premier event of camel racing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Marie Louise Berneri

Marie Louise Berneri (1918 – 1949) was an anarchist activist and author. She was involved with the short-lived publication, Revision, with Luis Mercier Vega and was a member of the group that edited Revolt, War Commentary, and the Freedom newspaper, which is still being published by the Freedom Bookstore in London. 
She was a continuous contributor to Spain and the World. She also wrote a survey of utopias, Journey Through Utopia, first published in 1950. Neither East Nor West is a selection of her writings (1952).

Marie-Louise Berneri died, along with her baby, during childbirth, 13 April 1949 in London at the age of 31.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lucio Urtubia

Lucio Urtubia Jiménez (1931) is a Spanish anarchist famous for his practice of expropriative anarchism. At times compared to Robin Hood, Urtubia carried out bank robberies and forgeries throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Lucio Urtubia was born in Cascante, the fifth child in a very poor family. His father, a Carlist was imprisoned and, while in jail, experienced a conversion to communism.
Recruited for military service, Urtubia and his companions ransacked a warehouse belonging to their company and deserted, fleeing to France in 1954. In Paris he began to work as a bricklayer, an occupation he continued with throughout his life. Additionally, he became involved with the Young Libertarians of the Fédération Anarchiste and befriended André Breton and Albert Camus.
Soon after moving to Paris, Urtubia was asked to hide a member of the Maquis, Spanish guerrillas who opposed Franco from exile, in his house. The refugee turned out to be the fabled Francesco Sabaté Llopart. Sabaté stayed on with Urtubia for several years, until his death.
Sabaté guided families and libertarians exiled in Toulouse, Perpignan and Paris and members of the old Spanish CNT in Barcelona, Saragossa, Madrid and Pamplona. Before the imprisonment of Sabaté halted these activities, Urtubia began to emulate his incursions into Spanish territory. Later he undertook a series of robberies and holdups to obtain funds for the revolutionary cause. Accompanied by his inseparable Thompson machine gun which he inherited after Sabaté's death.
By this time, Urtubia's falsification of documents had begun and no guerrilla or exile left him without false papers. He united with other libertarian companions to forge currency in the 1960s. With this strategy they financed numerous groups while attempting to destabilize the capitalist economy. With these activities, in the heat of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Urtubia proposed to Simeón Rose, the ambassador of Cuba in France, to destroy American interests in France using explosives. This offer was refused, nevertheless. He then presented Ernesto Che Guevara, the Cuban Minister of the Interior, with a plan for the massive forgery of American dollars. This proposal was likewise rejected and Urtubia left the meeting disillusioned.
The masterful blow that changed his life was the forgery of Citibank travellers' checks in 1977. This criminal undertaking included 8,000 copies of 25 checks worth 100 dollars each and damaged the bank so severely that its stock price fell. The stolen money was used, as always, in the aid of guerrilla movements in Latin America (Tupamaros, Montoneros, etc.) and Europe. In spite of the audacity of the forgery, Urtubia was only sentenced to 6 months in jail thanks to an extrajudicial agreement with Citibank, which dropped the charges in exchange for Urtubia's printing plates.
His life has been a continuous adventure: targeted by five international orders, including the CIA; he prepared the kidnapping of the Nazi Klaus Barbie in Bolivia; collaborated in the flight of the leader of the Black Panthers; interceded in the kidnapping of Javier Rupérez; mediated in the case of Albert Boadella; and worked with the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación and later with the Groupes d'action révolutionnaire internationalistes. He always defended his work, saying "we are bricklayers, painters, electricians - we do not need the state for anything"; "if unemployment and the marginalization created revolutionaries, the governments would already have ended unemployment and the marginalization". Urtubia continues to live in Paris and is now retired.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Josef Matthes

Josef Friedrich Matthes (1886 –1943) was head of the short lived Rhenish Republic. He was born on February 10, 1886 in Würzburg. He moved to Switzerland in 1909 and worked as an editor in Baden. By 1918 he was editor of the Social Democratic Party of Germany's newspaper in Aschaffenburg. In 1921 he was convicted of libel and sentenced to 6 months in prison after accusing the major of hoarding food. He fled to Wiesbaden, then under French occupation, where he worked as editor of the magazine "The Torch" (Die Fackel).
In early 1923 he was co-founder of the "Rheinischer Unabhängigkeitsbund", which sought independence for the Rhineland. In October 1923 he and his supporters seized the city of Koblenz in a putsch, founding the Rhenish Republic with Matthes as its leader. The power of the new government relied essentially on the French occupiers and the "Rhineland-protection forces". A massive wave of looting by the peacekeepers led to resistance in the population. By November riots led to killings in clashes between the security forces and opponents of the separatists. The strength of the resistance proved to much for the government and the "Republic" collapsed. Matthes fled to France.

By 1930 he was working as a journalist in Paris. After the Fall of France in 1940 he was arrested. In the following year he was extradited to Germany and deported to the Dachau concentration camp. He died there on October 9, 1943.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Notebook (Le Grand Cahier)

Towards the end of World War II, people in big cities are at the mercy of air raids and death by starvation. 
A desperate young mother leaves her 13-year-old twin sons at their grandmother’s house in the country, despite the fact that this grandmother is a cruel and brutal alcoholic. Previously pampered, the twins must learn how to survive alone in their new, rural surroundings. 
They realize that the only way to cope with the absurd and inhumane world of adults and war is to become completely unfeeling and merciless. By learning to free themselves from hunger, pain and emotion, they will be able to endure future hardships. 
Meanwhile, the twins keep a written record of all they have witnessed during the war – the “Notebook”. 

Friday, February 20, 2015


A special day for me today, this day that I turn 52. And I treat myself on this short video of the Paris Fashion Show 2014 which is literally loaded with the most interesting and unusual berets (and the people underneath wearing them).
And, as the saying goes: Make my Day, Buy a Beret!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pitika Ntuli

Pitika Ntuli (1942) is a South African sculptor, poet, writer, and academic who spent 32 years of his life in exile in Swaziland and the UK. He is currently Professor Extraordinaire at Tshwane University of Technology.
Pitika Ntuli has exhibited in several individual and group exhibitions in many countries in Europe and in the USA and has organised numerous international art and cultural events in Britain. Until 2010 he had never exhibited in his own country, South Africa. He has exhibitions planned in Durban and Pretoria for 2011.
Pitika Ntuli is an expert in African indigenous knowledge systems. He is a regular political and cultural commentator on SABC 2 every Saturday morning and his column is acknowledged as having increased the audience ratings of Weekend Live. He is a well-known poet and speaker who has been a keynote speaker at numerous high profile events and has read his poetry in many forums in the country and the Region.
He was the main organiser of the KwaZulu-Natal Millennium Parade and a key figure in the African Renaissance Annual Festivals in Durban. He is a frequent guest on TV and Radio and especially on many of the SABC African Language Radio stations. He was a judge for the Sunday Times Literary Awards (2009). He recently chaired the 2010 Task Team that advised the Minister of Arts and Culture with regard to cultural programmes associated with the World Cup, including the opening and closing ceremonies.
Pitika is married to Antoinette Ntuli; they have four sons, two daughters and four grandchildren.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Michel Simon

Michel Simon (1895 – 1975), was a Swiss actor. He appeared in the notable films La Chienne (1931), Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932), L'Atalante (1934), Port of Shadows (1938) and The Train (1964). The actor François Simon is his son.
Simon left his family as a youngster to go to Paris, where he lived in Montmartre. He worked many different jobs to survive, such as giving boxing lessons or peddling smuggled lighters. He devoured every book he could find. His artistic beginnings in 1912 were modest: magician, clown and acrobat stooge in a dancers' show called "Ribert's and Simon's.
Conscripted into the Swiss Army in 1914, he was often insubordinate, spending a lot of time in the stockade.
His film career was really boosted with the advent of talking pictures. People remarked that his elocution and voice tone were as original as his appearance and play. He then revealed his unclassifiable talent: action comedy, drama, tragedy, light comedy. He appeared in 55 plays from 1920 to 1965, and 101 from 1965 to 1975.

Simon was a trusted friend of elite brothel-keeper Madame Claude, who referred to him as one of her “essayeurs”: he "tried out" her new girls for her. “I could judge their physical qualities,” Claude said. “I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated, but I didn’t know how she was in bed. So I had some boys, good friends, who told me exactly. I would ring them up and say, ‘There’s a new one.’ And afterwards they’d ring back and say, ‘Not bad,’ ‘Could be better,’ or ‘Nulle.’ Or, on the contrary, ‘She’s perfect.’”
In the 1920s/1930s, Simon enjoyed associating with the Parisian lower classes.
Simon would say that he preferred "living with animals than humans". He lived for a long time in a kind of bohemian house in Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris. The house was surrounded by rank weeds, and filled with amazing bric-a-brac, including his large collection of erotica.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve ( 1943) is a French actress who gained recognition for her portrayal of aloof, mysterious beauties for various directors, including Luis Buñuel and Roman Polanski.
Deneuve first came to prominence in Jacques Demy's 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, before going on to star for Polanski in Repulsion (1965) and for Buñuel in Belle de Jour (1967) and Tristana (1970)
She has won two César Awards for Best Actress for her performances in François Truffaut's Le Dernier Métro (1980) and Régis Wargnier's Indochine (1992). She also received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for Indochine and a Best Actress BAFTA Award nomination for Belle de Jour.
Her other films include The Hunger (1983), Place Vendôme (1998), Dancer in the Dark (2000) and 8 Women (2002). In 2008, she appeared in her 100th film, Un conte de Noël.
Mme Deneuve has been a lifelong advocate of Basque berets!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Michael Steven Harper

Michael Steven Harper (1938) is an American poet from Brooklyn, who was the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island from 1988 to 1993. 
He has published ten books of poetry, two of which - Dear John, Dear Coltrane (1970) and Images of Kin (1977) - have been nominated for the National Book Award. A great deal of his poetry is influenced by jazz and history. 
Many of his poems have been included as important examples of African-American literature and jazz poetry in various anthologies. 
Harper often writes about his wife, Shirley (commonly referred to as "Shirl"), their children, and their ancestors, as well as friends and various black historical and cultural figures.
Elizabeth Alexander and Michael Harper underneath a line of poetry

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Al Roker

Albert Lincoln "Al" Roker, Jr. (1954) is an American television weather presenter, actor and book author. 
He is best known as being the weather anchor on NBC's Today. He began co-hosting his morning show, Wake Up with Al, on The Weather Channel, in 2009. 
Roker also appears occasionally on NBC Nightly News. He holds an expired American Meteorological Society Television Seal, #238. 
Writing with Dick Lochte, Roker began a series of murder mysteries in 2009 that feature Billy Blessing, a celebrity chef turned amateur detective. The second book in the series, The Midnight Show Murders (2010), was nominated for a 2011 Nero Award.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hogan's Heroes & Robert Clary

Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom set in a German prisoner of war (POW) camp during World War II. It ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to July 4, 1971. 
Bob Crane starred as Colonel Robert E. Hogan, co-ordinating an international crew of Allied prisoners running a Special Operations group from the camp. Werner Klemperer played Colonel Wilhelm Klink, the incompetent commandant of the camp, and John Banner was the inept sergeant-of-the-guard, Hans Schultz.
But beret-wise, it was Corporal Louis LeBeau (Robert Clary) who stole the show. Free French Air Force Corporal Louis LeBeau is a Master Chef who is passionate about his cooking and a notoriously patriotic Frenchman.
Robert Clary is a French Jew who was in the Nazi concentration camps Ottmuth and Buchenwald. After Hogan's Heroes went off the air, Clary maintained close ties to fellow Hogan's Heroes cast members Werner Klemperer and John Banner, who also had their lives affected by the Holocaust. He also spent years touring Canada and the United States, speaking about the Holocaust. He is a painter, painting from photographs he takes on his travels.
Clary wrote a memoir, From the Holocaust to Hogan's Heroes: The Autobiography of Robert Clary in 2001.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Scott Wojahn

 is a composer, producer, arranger and singer-songwriter. He is one half of Wojahn Bros Music in Santa Monica, California, a boutique music production company specializing in commercials and television. 
Since 1990, WBM has created award winning original and branded music for some of the most recognizable national and global companies, from Ford to AT&T and American Idol, working with artists including Vince Gill, Buddy Guy and Shawn Colvin. Scott lives, writes and performs around Los Angeles.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Max Jacob

Max Jacob (1876 – 1944) was a French poet, painter, writer, and critic.
After spending his childhood in Quimper, Brittany, France, he enrolled in the Paris Colonial School, which he left in 1897 for an artistic career. He was one of the first friends Pablo Picasso made in Paris. They met in the summer of 1901, and it was Jacob who helped the young artist learn French. Later, on the Boulevard Voltaire, he shared a room with Picasso, who remained a lifelong friend. He would become close friends with Jean Cocteau, Jean Hugo, Christopher Wood and Amedeo Modigliani, who painted his portrait in 1916. He also befriended and encouraged the artist Romanin, otherwise known as French politician and future Resistance leader Jean Moulin. Moulin's famous nom de guerre Max is presumed to be selected in honor of Jacob.
Jacob, who had Jewish origins, claimed to have had a vision of Christ in 1909 and converted to Catholicism.
Max Jacob was arrested on 24 February 1944 by the Gestapo, and interned at Orléans prison. Jacob's brother Gaston had been arrested in January, 1944, deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, and gassed upon arrival with his sister Myrthe-Lea. Following his incarceration at Orléans, Max was then transferred to Drancy internment camp from where he was to be transported in the next convoy to Auschwitz in Germany. However, said to be suffering from bronchial pneumonia, Max Jacob died in the infirmary of Le Cité de la Muette, a former housing block which served as the internment camp known as Drancy on 5 March.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Blue Bop: Great Goatees And Blazing Berets

Blue Bop: Great Goatees And Blazing Berets includes tracks by Kenny Clarke, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk/Milt Jackson, Bud Powell, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Howard McGheeMiles Davis and Sonny Stitt.