Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Natural Horse Handlers

Although I am not much of a rider, I love looking at horses - an easy pastime when back in the Netherlands and observing my niece Chaja at work. 
Needless to say, wearing berets is solidly embedded in Chaja's genes too. Nice to see though that she is not the only Freestyle instructor wearing berets. 
Meet Caroline Wolfer, a Swiss instructor of natural horse handling with obviously a large selection of boinas Tolosa Tupida.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

More from Sarajevo

From photographer Brad Hobbs
"In response to a translated English-to-Bosnian encounter on the streets of Sarajevo: I was attempting to speak and learn about this interesting face. A passer by heard me struggling with the Bosnian language and offered to help me out. I asked ; "How do you feel about Sarajevo now and back then" "Sarajevo je i uvijek bio moj život" he replied which translated to "Sarajevo has and always has been my life". I was so caught up in the whole translating process I forgot to ask a name."

Monday, November 28, 2016


As always on the lookout for beret related material, I came upon a tourist web site from Bosnia, praising the beauty of Mount Igman.
I have no doubts the environment is beautiful now, but to me, Mt Igman is still strongly connected to the war and the atrocities committed upon Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs from this beautiful hill overlooking the city.
Alas, in my mind it may feel like yesterday, it is of course 2 decades ago and these days, one can find shepherds with black beret roaming the fields and mountains around Lukomir again. Much better than the berets fixed in my memory. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Los Monegros

Los Monegros is a comarca (county) in Áragon, Spain. It is located within the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca. The area is prone to chronic droughts, and much of the area is a natural region made up of badlands. The Sierra de Alcubierre mountain chain crosses the comarca from Northwest to Southeast. Its maximum elevation is 822 meters, at the mountain called Oscuro. The climate is semiarid, with scarce rainfall and high temperatures in the autumn. The area has numerous saltwater and freshwater lakes, including the Lake of Sariñena and the Lake of la Playa.
In December 2007, the local government in their infinite wisdom announced that the comarca had been chosen for the site of the Gran Scala, a huge European project to build a "destination city of leisure for all ages." Designed to include numerous theme parks and casinos, the area would become one of the primary entertainment centers of Europe. I prefer to see the sites of the shepherd above, leading his flock through the Monegros badlands. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Martha Raye

Martha Raye (1916 –1994) was an American comic actress and standards singer who performed in movies, and later on television. She also acted in plays, including Broadway. She was honoured in 1969 with an Academy Award as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for her volunteer efforts and services to the troops.
On November 2, 1993, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton for her service to her country. Part of the citation reads:
“The great courage, kindness, and patriotism she showed in her many tours during World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam conflict earned her the nickname 'Colonel Maggie'. The American people honour Martha Raye, a woman who has tirelessly used her gifts to benefit the lives of her fellow Americans."
Raye's personal life was complex and emotionally tumultuous. She was married seven times and was a devout Methodist who regularly attended church, read the Bible daily, and even taught Sunday school classes.
Raye was conservative, affirming her political views by informing an interviewer, "I am a Republican because I believe in the constitution, strength in national defense, limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility as the concrete foundation for American government. They reinforce the resolve that the United States is the greatest country in the world and we can all be eternally grateful to our founding fathers for the beautiful legacy they left us today."
She was buried with full military honours in the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, post cemetery as an honorary colonel in the U.S. Marines and an honorary lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.

Friday, November 25, 2016

George Brent (& Betty Davis)

George Brent (1904 –1979) was an Irish-born American stage, film, and television actor in American cinema.
During the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922), Brent was part of the IRA. He fled Ireland with a bounty set on his head by the British government, although he later claimed only to have been a courier for guerrilla leader and tactician Michael Collins.
Brent was married five times and carried on a lengthy relationship with his frequent Warner Bros co-star, the beret wearing actress Bette Davis.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Cura Malal

Cura Malal is a small town with only 95 inhabitants, surrounded by golden grasslands in Argentina’s Buenos Aires province.
Mercedes Resch together with her partner Fernando García Delgado has revitalized the village that was close to extinction. In 2010 they started their project which resulted in participation of 160 participants from 13 countries.

Now the village is alive (very much so, there is no cemetery!) and populated by a large variety of people, professions and backgrounds. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Samuel Davide Hains

An interesting young boinero from Australia: Samuel Davide Hains (24).
"I am a web developer, mystery blogger and jazz kitten.
I am wearing Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls I found in a vintage store in Tokyo, a beret given to me by my dear uncle, a black turtleneck from Uniqlo, a tote by my favourite feminist provocateurs, Ladies of Leisure that says "Feeling Myself" because self love is underrated, and my shoes are Nike.
My style is bucolic socialist with improvised elements (like jazz). Sometimes I just wear something random, like a lab coat!
I admire the style of Trotsky in leather, Albert Einstein, John Coltrane. I'm not only inspired by people, but places and ideas. I spend a lot of time down at the docks and source inspiration from the architecture."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton (born Helmut Neustädter, 1920 –2004) was a German-Australian photographer. Interested in photography from the age of 12, he worked for the German photographer Yva (Elsie Neulander Simon) from 1936.
The increasingly oppressive restrictions placed on Jews by the Nuremberg laws meant that his father lost control of his factory; he was briefly interned in a concentration camp on Kristallnacht, 9 November 1938, which finally compelled the family to leave Germany. Newton's parents fled to South America. Helmut, just after turning 18, left Germany on 5 December 1938. At Trieste he boarded the Conte Rosso (along with about 200 others escaping the Nazis), intending to journey to China. After arriving in Singapore he found he was able to remain there, first briefly as a photographer for the Straits Times and then as a portrait photographer.
Newton was interned by British authorities while in Singapore and was sent to Australia on board the Queen Mary, arriving in Sydney on 27 September 1940. Internees travelled to the camp at Tatura, Victoria by train under armed guard. He was released from internment in 1942.
After the war in 1945, he became a British subject and changed his name to Newton in 1946. In 1948, he married actress June Browne, who performed under the stage name June Brunell.
He was a "prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras was born in Alghero, on Sardinia. The island has always deeply influenced his aesthetic.
His fashion debut was the result of a lucky chance. In 1987 a fashion house in Rome asked him to design a prêt-à-porter collection. Their invitation was due to his dual baggage of skills: cultural – Marras has always involved himself in every form of artistic/creative expression – and technical. The latter is based on his know-how of materials and forms which he developed within his family’s business of a number of shops they owned in Alghero.
This combination of intellectual input and practical experience provided him with solid foundations on which to build his first, eponymous collection. In 1996 he was asked to present an haute couture show in Rome. The key elements of his style were already clear to see: the focus on craft techniques; Sardinia as a source of inspiration that is never reduced to folkloristic kitsch; the recurring theme of the ligazzio rubio (which in the Sardinian language means a “red thread”), which becomes a fully-fledged hallmark of his style.
His work as a stylist takes him all over the world, but he persists in living on Sardinia, aware as he is that the island gives him his energy.
He lives in Alghero in a big home/workshop on a hill high over the sea. He shares his home with his family/tribe, who take an active part in his creative work.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull were a British rock group, formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967. Initially playing blues rock, the band soon developed its sound to incorporate elements of British folk music and hard rock to forge a progressive rock signature. The band was led by vocalist/flautist/guitarist Ian Anderson, and have included other significant members such as guitarist Martin Barre, keyboardist John Evan, drummers Clive Bunker, Doane Perry, and Barriemore Barlow, and bassists Glenn Cornick, Jeffrey Hammond, and Dave Pegg.
The group first achieved commercial success in 1969, with the folk-tinged blues album Stand Up, which reached No. 1 in the UK charts, and they toured regularly in the UK and the US. Their musical style shifted in the direction of progressive rock with the albums Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, and shifted again to hard rock mixed with folk rock with Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses. Jethro Tull have sold over 60 million albums worldwide, with 11 gold and five platinum albums among them. They have been described by Rolling Stone as "one of the most commercially successful and eccentric progressive rock bands".
The last works released as a group were in 2003, though the band continued to tour until 2011. In April 2014, as he was concentrating on his solo career, Anderson said that Jethro Tull were finished.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Madonna by Herb Ritts

Herbert "Herb" Ritts Jr. (1952 –2002) was an American fashion photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits, often in the style of classical Greek sculpture.
After studying art history and economics, he became interested in photography when he and friend Richard Gere, then an aspiring actor, decided to shoot some photographs in front of an old jacked up Buick. The picture gained Ritts some coverage and he began to be more serious about photography.
He photographed Brooke Shields for the cover of the Oct. 12, 1981 edition of Elle and he photographed Olivia Newton-John for her Physical album in 1981. Five years later, he would replicate that cover pose with Madonna for her 1986 release True Blue.
On December 26, 2002, Ritts died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 50.

Friday, November 18, 2016

"Our guests don't drop in from the mountains"

This article by Wall Street Journal reporter Felix Kessler (with many mistakes and inaccuracies!) was sent to me by an American customer who found it folded in one of his books. No exact date, but it must be the early 1980's.
The article largely describes the decline of beret (and general hat-)wearing and ends with a really beautiful quote: when the reporter asks the hat clerk at elite restaurant Maxim's about berets, she replies that she never handled a beret from a diner. Then the maitre'd' chips in "Our guests don't drop in from the mountains"!


Black Friday or Viernes Negro is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). 
Since 1932, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S.
South Pacific Berets is, as the names implies, far from an American business, but why not celebrate along with our neighbours across the Pacific.
This Friday (starting NZ time – ending US Pacific time) massive discounts on some of the world's best berets!      (As long as stocks lasts)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Two More Boineros From Friesland

Two more colourful characters from the Dutch province of Friesland.
In the 60s of the last century there was a TV series in the Netherlands in which a shoemaker appeared. The shoemaker was called Eusie. Now, Thones Swede from Hindeloopen was also a shoemaker so in little time Thones became known as Eusie.
Thones Swede had his own shop. He was obsessed with music and was an active member of the local bands at the time.
Next is Jurjen Sluis, the town crier of Hindeloopen (photo 1950). 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pieter van der Brug

Pieter van der Brug (1897 - 1993) started his career as a painter/decorator, but over time, evolved into an land- and cityscape painter.
Living and working in the Frisian town of Hindeloopen, many locals and local buildings found their way to his canvasses. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Doede Smith

A beautiful boinero from the Netherlands:
Doede Smith (Noppe) lived as a hermit in an old houseboat just outside the town of Hindeloopen (Dutch province of Friesland) and had little need of luxuries and comforts.
Doede was "a little slow". He said he was poisoned while in military service and "that had beaten him in the head". He was living as a loose laborer and worked for anyone who wanted to hire him. And he could work! 
If given an old pair of pants or jacket, he continued to thank the giver for a long time.
Doede died in 1974.

Monday, November 14, 2016

P.G. Wodehouse in Camp Tost

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881 –1975) was an English author and one of the most widely read humorists of the 20th century. Although most of Wodehouse's fiction is set in England, he spent much of his life in the US and used New York and Hollywood as settings for some of his novels and short stories. 
PG Wodehouse (third row, third from the right) in 1941 in camp Tost among multiple boineros

In 1934 Wodehouse moved to France for tax reasons; in 1940 he was taken prisoner at Le Touquet by the invading Germans and interned at Camp Tost. Wodehouse famously said there: "If this is Upper Silesia, one wonders what Lower Silesia must be like..."

Sunday, November 13, 2016

C'était une belle nuit [It Was a Beautiful Night]

Two students find love in a library under unusual circumstances.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Iakob Nikoladze

Iakob Nikoladze (1876–1951) was a Georgian sculptor and artist. 

The Georgian National Museum, Iakob Nikoladze House Museum is dedicated to his works and was established after his death in his home-studio in his native town of Kutaisi. The museum houses sculptures, sketches, photo and documentary materials.
His first artistic training Nikoladze received at the Moscow Stroganov Art School and the painting school of Odessa. In 1899 he went to Paris, where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts  for some time studying as a student of Auguste Rodin. After returning to Georgia, he became a professor at the Tbilisi Art Academy during the 1920s.
Nikoladze designed the national flag of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921), which became the flag of Georgia again after Georgia's independence from 1991 to 2004. In 1939 he joined the Communist Party.
A large part of his work are portraits, including representations of Lenin and Stalin . 
Nikoladses ashes were  buried on the Pantheon on Mount Mtatsminda in Tbilisi.