Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

Thomas Page

Thomas Page was born in New York today 108 years ago. He attended high school for two years. During the early years of the Depression, Page was unable to find employment and for a brief period resorted to the illegal manufacture and sale of liquor. Page's politicization began through his involvement in the Unemployed Councils, and he joined the Communist party in 1934. 
"As I understood events in that particular era," he later remembered, "it was the Communist party who did anything. Everybody else just talked." Page left for Europe aboard the Washington, on March 10, 1937. In Spain his first assignment was to drive a truck in a convoy heading for the Cordoba Front. There he was attached to a machine gun company of the 20th International Battalion. Page was eventually reassigned to the XVth Brigade's Auto Park where he served as a driver. He later joined the Lincoln-Washington Battalion. Having proved himself in combat, Page was made a squad leader, noted for the care and time he took in training young Spanish conscripts assigned to his unit. During the Ebro Campaign, Page was twice cited for bravery. Late in the offensive he received severe wounds to his shoulder and stomach and spent much of his remaining time in Spain hospitalized. He returned to the United States on the Ausonia on December 20, 1938. Back in New York, Page worked as a guard at the Soviet Pavilion at the New York World's Fair and then in the New York fur market. When World War II began, Page joined the U. S. Army. Assigned to Company C, 376th Engineering Brigade he served in North Africa, Italy and France. After the war Page took up photography and learned camera repair. During the 1950s, he had several visits from the FBI. These eventually stopped because he persistently refused to talk to them. Later Page worked for the Bell Telephone Company until his retirement. He died in April 1985. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Emili Teixidor

Emili Teixidor i Viladecàs (1932 –2012) was a Catalan writer, journalist and pedagogue. His most notable works include Ocell de foc or Pa negre, the book that inspired the movie Black Bread.
In the war-ravaged Catalan countryside of the early 1940's a local man is accused of murder and his son sets out to find the truth. Eleven-year-old Andreu stumbles upon a crushed wagon in the underbrush at the foot of a high cliff and witnesses the dying moments of the man and boy inside. 
When police suspect Andreu's father of foul play he goes into hiding and Andreu is sent to live with relatives. There, the frightened boy creates a fantasy life but is forced to confront a world of adult deception, festering hatreds and the war's monstrous consequences.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Martí Boada Juncà

Marti Boada is a geographer, naturalist and doctor in environmental science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB).
Boada's main research fields are environmental change, urban and forest biodiversity and environmental communication.
Boada is also the man behind the exhibition Forest Art, Calligraphy of the Forest. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


 Boineros from Spain in Black & White

Monday, September 25, 2017

Boinas Industrias Tello

Like so many former beret factories in France, some Spanish manufacturers have completely disappeared. Industrias Tello for example, from Zaragoza. 
Only a few bits of evidence of its existence remain, like the 1934 invoice pictured above and the photo of the actual factory taken in the 1930's. 
In the archives of the libraries of Aragon, I found the photo below; the booth of Boinas Tello at an Industrial Fair in 1934.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Аna Kraš

Аna Kraš was born in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1984 and graduated there from the University of Applied Arts.
 Now based in New York, Ana works on different personal and commissioned projects, as well as a model.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Beach Life

Beach life in the northern hemisphere has pretty much come to an end, this time of year and for us in the southern part of the world, it hasn't quite started yet.
Of course, nothing stops you from having a good walk on the beach; beret on, shawl, winter coat, but personally, I long for the days that I need the protection of my beret on the bald part of my head again. 
And obviously, I am not the only one making the beret my (summer) headgear of choice.
Vamos a la playa!

Friday, September 22, 2017


The real-life story of a homeless man who built a shack on the edge of London’s Hampstead Heath is scrubbed down, disinfected and prettified for mass consumption.
Diane Keaton plays beret wearing widow Emily, who is struggling to meet the service charges on her portered apartment block. Naturally, having experienced the sharp edge of London’s chronic housing issues, she feels a kinship with Donald (Brendan Gleeson, gruff but cuddly), a tramp who has created an immaculately tended smallholding in the grounds of a disused hospital. 
This bond boils over into a relationship, once the film has addressed the subject of personal hygiene, the slightly niffy elephant in the room. Emily concedes that Donald is cleaner than she expected. In response, he offers her his armpit to sniff. It passes muster.
A score that sounds like it was ripped from a feature-length insurance ad twinkles reassuringly throughout. And the production design pushes an artfully homespun aesthetic so expensive-looking, it’s as if the film is unfolding in a Chelsea bric-a-brac emporium.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Amstel Beer

The Amstel brewery was founded on 11 June 1870 in Amsterdam and named after the Amstel River, the waters of which also served for refrigeration. By 1872, Amstel was annually producing 10,000 hectoliters. For the purpose of storing the beer, winter ice from canals was kept in special double-walled cellars. Originally, the beer was mostly drunk in Amsterdam. From 1883, it was also exported to Great Britain and the Dutch East Indies.
It was taken over by Heineken International in 1968, and the brewing plant closed down in 1982, with production moving to the main Heineken plant at Zoeterwoude.
Not much of a link between Amstel Beer and berets usually, until I saw these pictures sent to me by my Spanish friend Chus (thanks Chus).

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sheila Natusch

Sheila Natusch is no ordinary writer, illustrator, historian, naturalist, sailor, cyclist, mountain woman.
She's also a strong character, with a warm and witty personality, who makes light of her many successes and setbacks over a long career of telling New Zealand stories in words and drawings, and getting out in the mountains and on the sea to experience the exhilaration of the 'wild life' to the full.
No Ordinary Sheila tells her life story, from her upbringing on Stewart Island in the 1930s, her studies at Otago University in the 1940s, her teaching and writing career in Wellington thereafter, and her amazing adventures in the wild places of New Zealand.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Despicable Me 3

As so often happens, I find berets in places where I least expected them.Going to the movies, watching Despicable Me 3 with my youngest one for example...
Sitting mid cinema with a large Plato Grande on my head, the screen suddenly fills with a whole bunch of country hicks, all fitted with large berets. 
They are clearly based on Basques (complete with neckerchiefs, dances, etc); in the same scene features a very stereotypical Roma (Gypsy) woman (spitting, cursing, wart on the face, long skirts, the whole works...) as if the term 'political correctness' hasn't been coined yet. 
Alas, all attention is still attention; long live the beret!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mercure & Vulcain

One of the many forgotten French beret manufacturers: Mercure & Vulcain from Saint Maur des Fossés (close to Paris). The invoice is from 1934 and is all visual evidence I managed to find of this manufacturer.
The address still exists, but nothing suggests there has ever been a beret factory at this location. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

La Bête humaine

La Bête humaine (The Beast Within or The Beast in Man) is an 1890 novel by Émile Zola. The story has been adapted for the cinema on several occasions. The seventeenth book in Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart series, it is based upon the railway between Paris and Le Havre in the 19th century and is a tense, psychological thriller.
The solitary Lantier, who drives a locomotive between Paris and Le Havre, is liable to go into a murderous fit if alone with a woman he desires. He only feels secure when driving the train with his fireman Pecqueux. However, he cannot fail to notice Séverine, the sexy wife of Roubaud, the deputy stationmaster at Le Havre. She in the past had an affair with the rich and influential Grandmorin. 
The jealous Roubaud forces her to meet Grandmorin on a train, There he robs and kills his rival, but by chance the off-duty Lantier is a witness. Because he is attracted to Séverine, he says nothing to the police, for which one night she rewards him. 
Then she starts suggesting to Lantier that he should get rid of her husband, but he fails the test. Instead, calling on her one night, he has a fit and kills her. Next day, after confessing to Pecqueux, he jumps to his death from the speeding train.
Thanks, Kaar

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Stefanie Sargnagel

Stefanie Sargnagel (1986), aka Stefanie Sprengnagel, is an Austrian author and artist.
Sargnagel studied in the Richter class of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her experiences as a callcenter employee forms the basis of her first book "Binge Living - Callcenter Monologues" , which appeared in 2013.
She writes for Vice and the Bavarian Radio , for which she wrote reports of visits to the Bachmann Prize , the Vienna Opera Ball, or the FPÖ Octoberfest. Her trademark is a red Basque beret. 
Thanks Alexander

Friday, September 15, 2017

Leo E. Kok (1923-1945)

Leo Kok was born in Berchem by Antwerp, the son of Dutch Jewish parents, diamond cutter Leon Kok and Kaatje Swaab. During WWII he arrived in the Netherlands, in 1940 where he worked as a freelancer inadvertising in Amsterdam until he was arrested. He was deported to Camp Geesbrug and later transferred to Camp Westerbork.
Image result for Kok, Leo Westerbork
In Westerbork he married the nurse Kitty de Wijze. Both remained relatively long in Westerbork. They were deported on one of the last transports in September 1944 to the Theresiënstadt concentration camp. Kok was then transferred to  Auschwitz. In early 1945 he was transferred to Mauthausen by the Germans and arrived in Ebensee, one of the subdivisions of this concentration camp.
Image result for Kok, Leo Westerbork
Six days after the liberation of the camp, at the age of 22, he died in a lazaret in Sankt Wolfgang. He is buried on the Dutch war cemetery in Salzburg.  His wife survived the Second World War.
During his stay in Westerbork camp he has made drawings, watercolors and sketches that have been preserved, including portraits of fellow prisoners such as Hans Krieg and the artist duo Johnny & Jones. Kok has also made watercolors of the camp and decors for the revue of Westerbork. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Civil Air Patrol

National Blue Beret (NBB) is a National Cadet Special Activity in the Civil Air Patrol (USA).
The event is two weeks long and is set up so that the second week will overlap with the annual EAA Air Venture Oshkosh event. Participants are Civil Air Patrol cadet and senior members who must go through a competitive selection process in order to attend the event.
Participants help conduct event operations, including flight marshalling, crowd control, and emergency services. The most famous tradition of the event is for cadets and seniors to receive a blue beret towards the end of the event. Though the beret is considered to be the most widely known symbol of NBB, it is actually considered by attendees to be less important than the emblem that is pinned on the beret. 
When participants receive the blue beret, they also receive a pin of St. Alban's Cross that pins onto the beret.
Thanks Heath

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Radu Mazăre

The flamboyant Romanian politician Radu Mazăre, known for wearing a red beret (typically in the company of a group of young and beautiful women wearing red berets) has featured on The Beret Project earlier, 5 years ago (see here). 
In many ways, nothing has changed since that post as far as his corruption, beret style and preferred company goes. In 2015, during his fourth term as mayor of Constanța, Mazăre resigned amid accusations of corruption, citing the unbearable stress caused by what he claimed to be politically motivated investigations.