Monday, February 29, 2016

Musée Félix Gresset

This is not a museum like any other. At the heart of the picturesque village of Chantegrue, there is an exposition of wooden creatures of all kind. The Felix Cresset museum, named after the creator of these half-beast half-demons objects, shows  a magical and fantastic universe, the animated universe and enchanted forests of the Haut-Doubs.
Cresset Felix was  ​​a small farmer in Chantegrue. Once retired, he became the mender of the town. During these days he maintained the roadsides, unearthing branches and roots, bits of misshapen wood. Where most see only shapeless twisted branches and stumps, he sees a hidden world of pets, disturbing beasts, wild geniuses. And over the years, it's a real bestiary it develops.
His daughter, Martine Cresset, remembers her  father's passion debut: "He began by making a bird using branches. And my cousin, who studied fine arts in Autun, said: but it's beautiful what you do uncle! And suddenly it pushed him to continue. "
Birds, ducks, snakes, mice, these are all kinds of animals that inhabit then the front of his farm. By a stroke of paint, a notch sketch using an accessory, it shows what he himself perceives immediately.
After his death in 1993, his children decided to bequeath his works to the town, making it an open museum, accessible to all. Arranged around the fountain with wooden animals seem to drink. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Robert Colquhoun

Robert Colquhoun (1914 – 1962) was a Scottish painter, printmaker and theatre set designer.
Colquhoun was born in Kilmarnock and was educated at Kilmarnock Academy. He won a scholarship to study at the Glasgow School of Art, where he met Robert MacBryde with whom he established a lifelong gay relationship[1] and professional collaboration, the pair becoming known as "the two Roberts". He joined MacBryde on a travelling scholarship to France and Italy from 1937 to 1939, before serving as an ambulance driver in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Second World War. After being injured, he returned to London in 1941 where he shared studio space with MacBryde. The pair shared a house with John Minton and, from 1943, Jankel Adler.
Colquhoun's early works of agricultural labourers and workmen were strongly influenced by the colours and light of rural Ayrshire. His work developed into a more austere, Expressionist style, heavily influenced by Picasso, and concentrated on the theme of the isolated, agonised figure. From the mid-1940s to the early 1950s he was considered one of the leading artists of his generation.

Colquhoun died, an alcoholic, in relative obscurity in London in 1962.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Marcel Koller

Marcel Koller (1960, Zürich) is a former Swiss football player and current head coach of the Austrian National Team.
Koller played his entire career for Swiss club ‘Grasshoppers Zürich’. In these 24 years he won seven Swiss championships and five Swiss cups. For the Swiss national team he got 56 international caps, scored 3 goals and participated at Euro 1996.
On 4 October 2011, Koller was appointed as the new manager of the Austrian National Team.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Australian Jungle Beret

Image result for australian jungle beret
When Australia entered the war in the Pacific, soldiers required a drastic change from their heavy wool uniforms and steel helmets.
Uniforms in heavy-duty, but light weight cotton were introduced, including the Jungle Beret.
Originals now fetch high prices at collectors sites. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Burrnesha or Virgjinesha - the Balkan's Sworn Virgins

Balkan sworn virgins (Albanian: burrnesha or virgjinesha) are women who take a vow of chastity and wear male clothing in order to live as men in the patriarchal northern Albanian society. To a lesser extent, the practice exists, or has existed, in other parts of the western Balkans, including Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Dalmatian hinterland (Croatia) and Bosnia.
The tradition of sworn virgins developed out of the Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit (The Code of Lekë Dukagjini, or simply the Kanun), a set of codes and laws developed by Lekë Dukagjini and used from the 15th century until the 20th century. The Kanun is not a religious document – many groups follow it, including Roman Catholics, the Albanian Orthodox, and Muslims.
The Kanun dictates that families must be patrilineal (meaning wealth is inherited through a family's men) and patrilocal (upon marriage, a woman moves into the household of her husband's family). Women are treated like property of the family. Under the Kanun women are stripped of many human rights. They cannot smoke, wear a watch, or vote in their local elections. They cannot buy land, and there are many jobs they are not permitted to hold. There are even establishments that they cannot enter.
Diana (pictured) was 17 when he decided to become a burrnesha. Now aged 60 he swims regularly in the cold, grey Adriatic. At school, flouting hostile opinion, she wore trousers, played football and got involved in fights. Her only concession to her gender was her long hair, until she cut it, aged 17. She told her father, she wanted to be a sworn virgin and that her mind was made up. She would not take no for an answer.
Recalling his oath, Diana strikes the table. Then takes another drag on his cigarette. Even as a young girl, aged seven, he had started smoking the lula, the long Albanian pipe.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Aberri Eguna

Aberri Eguna ("Fatherland Day") is a holiday coinciding with Easter Sunday which has its roots in the Basque nationalist movement. It was first organised by the Basque Nationalist Party on 27 April 1932 in Bilbao, then consisting of a demonstration of some 65,000 participants which ended at the Sabino Arana House. 
It has since become the unofficial Basque national holiday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sharpeye's Catalan Berets

It is not often that I recommend berets that I don't stock myself - for the simple reason that I aim to stock all berets that are worth stocking!
However, there are exceptions. Sharpeye's Catalan Beret is such one.
Not a beret in the strict sense of the word; it is a cap in the shape of a beret, a composite of 6 pieces of felted wool - similar to a newsboy cap. The most interesting feature is the headband, which is contrary to Basque berets, fitted on the outside and surprisingly, giving a very comfortable feel.
The 6 triangular panels that form the beret, come together under an added leatherette piece resembling a cabilliou (the "wick" at the centre) and the beret is fitted with a comfortable (roomy) cotton lining, labeled both on the in- and the outside.
I have to confess to really liking this beret; I bought two (navy and camel) and just heard from manufacturer Barrie there is now a grey version too (and I am sure I'll be donning one soon enough!).
You can easily spend a good 1/2 hour reading about Sharpeye, his life story, designs and journey through the London fashion world here, or follow his blog here
Meanwhile, I'm keen to explore his idea of exterior headbands further. I already found out that Sharpeye isn't the first to work this principle; a lady from Tardets (Basque village of Soule, France) hand-made some 300 pieces a year for former French manufacturer Beighau under the 'VERGEZ Tardets' label.
To be continued...

Monday, February 22, 2016

Madjid ben Chickh

I found these pictures on the blog of Madjid ben Chickh, a gay writer/photographer from France.  
Beautiful writing and interesting texts; highly recommended (alas, in French only...).

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Kiss at City Hall

The Kiss at City Hall In Paris became an emblematic iconic image symbolising the end of the Second World War in Europe. It turned photographer Robert Doisneau into a household name but the image and how it came into being has courted controversy.
Controversy has surrounded The Kiss since it emerged in the ’80s. As it became more lucrative, several couples claimed it was them in the photo. Doisneau eventually admitted the snap was not spontaneous – he got the couple to pose for him. Actress Francoise Bornet even sued for a share of the royalties. Ms Bornet claimed the photo captured her and her boyfriend, Jacques Carteaud.
Her suit failed but she managed to get a print bearing the photographer’s signature and stamp, which she sold 12 years later, in 2005, for €155,000, ten times the expected price.
But while arguments raged over who are the kissing couple, the family of a Dublin auctioneer have claimed it was their father in the picture who was accidentally caught in the background wearing an iconic French beret. Colette Cody and her brothers have long maintained the passer-by in the black beret in The Kiss At City Hall In Paris is their father, Jack Costello.
The Dublin auctioneer was on a motorbike pilgrimage to Rome in 1950 when he walked into photographer Robert Doisneau’s passionate shot and unwittingly became a star, the family claims. 
However  Doisneau’s descendants say that the man in the beret was Canadian Gerard Petit.
French-Canadian Marc de Mauregne says he was the man kissing in the picture.
Mr Costello died in 1983 aged 74, three years before the picture was found in the archives of a Paris photo agency.
It was only ten years later that his son, John, spotted the image on a poster in a Dublin shop. The family were immediately convinced of the identity of the man in a beret.

Meanwhile, Jack Costello’s daughter, Colette, says the family never sought any money from the photograph. Her brother, John, maintains that, despite claims to the contrary, there are too many coincidences for the man in the black beret not to be his father.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Make My Day!

It is that day of the year again, the bonetaire's birthday (53 this year, thank you) and on the promise that I'll continue using her slogan "MAKE MY DAY, BUY A BERET!", it was agreed upon with my daughter that I can publish my own post (this place behind the computer has been stolen before, on this day...). 
So, what to post on myself today? I guess this embarrassing picture of a few years back will do nicely...

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sailors and Berets

Berets have always been popular with sailors. Much comes from practicality, of course; a beret has no peak that get's in the way of machinery, cables and ropes and besides, it is a lot less likely to fly off in a gust of wind than any other cap.
The Basques were the earliest adapts of berets, actually introducing these hats to the Scots and Irish on their way to the whaling grounds off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia (giving birth to the Irish caubeen and the Scottish bonnet). 
Interestingly, these days many navies around the world move back from their traditional military sailors hat (the bachi) to berets, for practical reasons indeed. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pokłosie (Aftermath)

I stumbled upon the film Pokłosie (Aftermath) after reading an article about the new Polish Government pushing for a law change, making it punishable by 5 years of jail when suggesting that Poles actively took part in exterminating Jews during WWII. No, it's not a joke, although the good Yiddish word gotspe is well in place here.
That article, by the way, led to another article informing us that the Polish Government plans to take Jan T. Gross's knighthood away from him for expressing his views on Poles' roles during the Shoah. Gross, of course, being one of the leading and most respected Polish historians on the Holocaust. 
What is it with Poland; this incapability to acknowledge it’s past and move forward instead? Considering the Polish (Government and popular) stance of immigration and refugees, it seems not much has changed over the decades…
Alas, a few berets in Pokłosie. Not role-models exactly, but a great movie in all the awfulness it portrays. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

South Pacific Berets' Magnets

Visitors of this blog who purchased a beret from South Pacific Berets know very well: every order comes with a beret themed fridge magnet. 
After some 7 years of dong this, the collection of magnets has become rather sizeable.
Here are some of the nicest examples.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

No Pasaran!

No Pasaran is a French movie directed by Emmanuel Caussé and Eric Martin and was released in 2009.
Maxence Lafourcade, a quiet single farmer, raises pigs in the Pyrenees. His life is shaken when he learns that a highway will soon cross the mountains, through the valley, straight across his farm. To face the cynical deputy mayor and his project, he must make an alliance against his nature with a local American. Peter Konchelsky, retired and disillusioned lawyer, adopts the cause of the farmer under the astonished gaze of his daughter Scarlett. An eccentric artist, she discovers an unexpected Maxence!
Join this band of "Resistance": Ines, an écoterroriste always at the forefront of the fight, Fabrice, champion of the local rugby team who judges that his uncle the mayor lost his "rugby spirit" and Bouzigue, cousin of Maxence who fears losing customers to his service station ... "No Pasaran!"

Monday, February 15, 2016

Raymond Isidore

The House Picassiette is an example of naïve architecture consisting of mosaics of earthenware and glass, cast in cement. It is located in Chartres.
It was built by one man: Raymond Isidore (1900 - 1964). Once the house was built, he had the idea to make frescoes covering everything. His life was totally devoted to the construction and decoration of his house and garden.
The end of his life was tragic. His inspiration dried up, he had exhausted himself, he wandered aimlessly with a  tottering mind. On a stormy night, he fled from his home across the fields, a prey to delusions of doom. 
He died soon after. Despite a late success, he experienced throughout his life incomprehension and mockery.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a celebration observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it is not a public holiday in most of them.

The earliest description of February 14 as an annual celebration of love appears in the Charter of the Court of Love. The charter, allegedly issued by Charles VI of France at Mantes-la-Jolie in 1400, describes lavish festivities to be attended by several members of the royal court, including a feast, amorous song and poetry competitions, jousting and dancing. Amid these festivities, the attending ladies would hear and rule on disputes from lovers.