Sunday, September 30, 2018

No Caps - Berets Only

I have come across a lot of stupid signs in my life; most of them pretty harmless like "No shirt, no shoes, no service" or "Don't sleep on the grass", but sometimes a sign can feel very offensive. 
The (Australian based) Bank of New Zealand for example, tells people entering the bank's premises to take off their hat and yes, that includes berets!
The sign shown here, offered by a French stationary supplier, should be used in any public (and private) space really, as far as I'm concerned. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Vintage Breton Photo's

A collection of vintage photo's of fishermen from Brittany, dated around 1900-1910. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

British made Free French Airborne Beret

Sometimes, looking on Ebay for vintage berets, one comes across a real treasure.
This 1944 paratrooper’s beret for example, made by the” British Beret Basque Ltd.”
The beret was issued to commando’s/paratroopers of the "Free French", fighting the Nazi’s and Vichy French Government. 
The winged badge is numbered 875; a truly rare find. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Luc Magerman, 'Chechiaista'

My good friend Frans (from Belgium) forwarded me an article about the passing of Luc Magerman, a most colourful and interesting character who coincidentally also wore a chechia
Mr Magerman taught in such an inspirational way that he inspired dozens of young people to study biology, chemistry or medicine.
He joined the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; the church whose god looks like a tangle of spaghetti with two meatballs and a colander as headgear. "Joining the Church and becoming a pastor was his way to question the absurdity of faith in the Christian creation story," said his brother Kurt.
Famous is how he proved that human hair contains proteins by setting his beard alight. 
Mr Magerman was born in the town of Zottegem, which is worth an anecdote in it's own right: When Dutch speaking people hear the place name ‘Zottegem’, they smile because the word ‘zot’ means ‘crazy', a person who is a ‘zot’ is a fool. ‘Gem’ means ‘place’ or ‘home’, like in English place names that end on ‘-ham’ (‘-heim’ in German). ‘Zottegem' is then 'the town of the fool'.
But in old Dutch, the word ‘zot’ meant ‘sweet’, a contraction of the modern Dutch word ‘zoet’ with the same meaning. Zottegem therefore means ‘the sweet town’, ’the pleasant place'.
Thank you, Frans

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami (1940 –2016) was an Iranian film director, screenwriter, poet, photographer and film producer. An active film-maker from 1970, Kiarostami had been involved in over forty films, including shorts and documentaries.
Kiarostami had worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, art director and producer and had designed credit titles and publicity material. He was also a poet, photographer, painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. He was part of a generation of filmmakers in the Iranian New Wave, a Persian cinema movement that started in the late 1960s using poetic dialogue and allegorical storytelling dealing with political and philosophical issues.
On 8 July 2016, Abbas Kirostami’s body arrived in Tehran from Paris; a crowd of Iranian film directors, actors, actresses and other artists were in Tehran airport to pay their respects.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Prieto Manuel Benitez

Prieto Manuel Benitez (1912 - 1991) was a Spanish painter and medal sculptor.
Manolo Prieto in El-Puerto-de-Santa-María, 1929
His most well-known graphic work is a silhouette of the Osborne Bull (1956), originally an Osborne Group advertisement but so successful that it has become the “cultural and artistic heritage of the peoples of Spain” according to a court ruling.
He is also the author of various designs of medals, such as those found in the municipal museum of his hometown El Puerto de Santa María, some with erotic themes.
Prieto was also a recognized militant of the Spanish Communist Party. During the Spanish Civil War, he supported the Republican side and collaborated with drawings for Altavoz del Pueblo and newspaper El Sol, in addition to being artistic director of a newspaper for the V Army Corps. 
Later, during Franco's dictatorship, he illustrated articles in the national press under the pseudonym Teté, worked for theNational Factory of Currency and Stamps as sculptor of medals, and received numerous prizes. He achieved great recognition for his designs of bullfight posters.
The Junta de Andalucía registered its famous design of the bull, of which up to five hundred were distributed alongside hundreds of roads throughout the country.
Manolo Prieto once expressed his disappointment because, after all he had done in artistic matters, of the very different registers he had played in the plastic creation, he will end up being known, generally, as the author of the bull on the road.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Over 25% Off Super Lujo-Grandes!

This week, to "celebrate" the start of Autumn, a very appropriate (and a personal favourite) beret on SPECIAL !
The Boinas Exposición Super Lujo-Grande are the largest diameter in the Super Lujo range, a fraction smaller than the classic “tarte” of the Chasseurs Alpins. 

These majestic berets, or boinas, are the ideal outdoors headgear; impermeable and large enough to protect from pouring rain, heavy snow and bright sun.
Boinas Elósegui makes these berets only in the standard colours black and navy, but on special order, South Pacific Berets offers these berets in 7 custom colours. 100% Australian merino wool, fitted with the woven Euskal Herria ("Basque Country") label and only available at South Pacific Berets.
Available in 315mm diameter standard Black and Navy, and the custom colours Burdeo Mexico (a deep, dark maroon), Olive, Loden, Rock-Grey, Sahara, Khaki (Caqui) and Burnt Sienna. 
On Special for one week only in a limited supply from $64.50 - 67.50 @ $48.00 - 49.95!

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a 1952 American Technicolor film based on the short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. The film version of the short story was directed by Henry King, written by Casey Robinson, and starred Gregory Peck as Harry, Susan Hayward as Helen, and Ava Gardner as Cynthia Green (a character invented for the film). The film's ending does not mirror the book's ending.
The story centers on the memories of disillusioned writer, Harry Street, who is on safari in Africa. He has a severely infected wound from a thorn prick, and lies outside his tent awaiting a slow death, though in the film it is pointed out he may have acquired the infection from leaping into a muddy river to rescue one of the safari's porters from a hippo after he falls in the river. His female companion, Helen, nurses Harry and hunts game for the larder.
On his deathbed, Harry reflects on his time fighting in the Spanish Civil War (in which he dons a good Basque beret and wears the typical Republican worker's coveralls).
Considered by Hemingway to be one of his finest stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" was first published in Esquire magazine in 1936 and then republished in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Cowboy and the Frenchman

Well, here’s an odd little film.  Le Figaro decided to celebrate its 10th birthday by inviting a number of directors to make some short films.  The directors included Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard and, for this one, David Lynch.
This is The Cowboy and the Frenchman.  Slim, the foreman on a ranch, is played by Harry Dean Stanton in his first role with David Lynch.  Slim, Pete and Dusty encounter a Frenchman [of all things], on their ranch.  Slim is “is almost stone deaf from two thirty-odd-six rounds which went off a little too close when he was thirteen and a half.”
The cowboys capture the Frenchman and they find him to be suitably bizarre and fascinating.  The Frenchman who is appropriately called Pierre and who wears a beret explains that he met some very friendly people in New York who gave him some multi coloured pills which made poetry come to life and rainbows and small animals appear.  Then everything disappeared and he found himself being followed everywhere by a Native American.
The cowboys then decide to search Pierre’s bag and they discover bottles of red wine, pictures of the Eiffel Tower and Brigitte Bardot, some cheese, a plate of snails and a plate of French Fries  Basically this is a film of contrasting stereotypes;  Pierre with his beret, his thin moustache, his love letters, his poetic reminiscing for the wonders of the USA and his treasures and the cowboys with their ignorance and fondness for shooting birds and snakes, for wrestling cattle and for enjoying life around the campfire.  There are even girls dancing the can-can and singing harmonious Western melodies.
The film is shot in a suitably Lynchian style in which character traits and behaviours and exaggerated to the point of absurdity.  

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Award

As an Oscar is to actors, a Benson & Hedges FashionDesign Award was to aspiring New Zealand fashion designers. To be nominated for, or to win, one of these coveted awards, was considered the pinnacle of fashion achievement.
Trish Beach won the Leather Award and the Supreme Award in 1987 with this design. The lambskin greatcoat was worn with pleat-top cuffed pants and a floppy, large diameter beret.

Friday, September 21, 2018


Cartoon (2007) held by the New Zealand National Library:
A tagger is annoyed that a mountain scene being painted by an artist wearing a Basque beret is on a part of the wall that he wants to tag.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Mystery Of The Two Sonny Boy Williamsons

Nowadays it would be called “identity theft”, but when he took the name Sonny Boy Williamson in the early 40s – a moniker already held by a distinguished blues singer and harmonica player who had been born in Tennessee on 30 March 1914 – the man born Aleck Ford, in Glendora, Mississippi, knew exactly what he was doing.
Alex or Aleck Miller (né Ford, possibly December 5, 1912 – May 24, 1965), known later in his career as Sonny Boy Williamson, was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter.
He was an early and influential blues harp stylist who recorded successfully in the 1950s and 1960s. Miller used various names, including Rice Miller and Little Boy Blue, before calling himself Sonny Boy Williamson, which was also the name of a popular Chicago blues singer and harmonica player. To distinguish the two, Miller has been referred to as Sonny Boy Williamson II. It is believed that Miller adopted the name to suggest to audiences (and to his first record label) that he was the "original" Sonny Boy.
The cynical act of mimicry was designed to further his career, and, decades later, the exploit prompted a funny and moving song on Randy Newman’s excellent album Dark Matter. On ‘Sonny Boy’, Newman sings from the perspective of the man now known as Sonny Boy Williamson I, about how “This man stole my name/He stole my soul”.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Teilhard de Chardin

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (1881 – 1955) was a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of the Peking Man.
He conceived the vitalist idea of the Omega Point (a maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which he believed the universe was evolving) and developed Vladimir Vernadsky's concept of noosphere.
Although many of Teilhard's writings were censored by the Catholic Church during his lifetime because of his views on original sin, Teilhard has been posthumously praised by Pope Benedict XVI and other eminent Catholic figures, and his theological teachings were cited by Pope Francis in the 2015 encyclical, Laudato si'. The response to his writings by evolutionary biologists has been, with some exceptions, decidedly negative.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Te Wei

Te Wei (1915 - 2010]) was a Chinese manhua artist and animator. He is probably best known for the 1956 short animated film TheConceited General.
From about 1960 he worked in an ink-wash animation style that was influenced by the painter Qi Baishi. Not permitted to carry on his animation during the Cultural Revolution and placed in solitary confinement for a year, Te Wei regained a position of artistic influence in the late 1970s and the 1980s with a series of animated films in painterly style.
The 1980s would be an intense period for Te Wei, who found himself in charge of some 500 workers at the studio. Still benefitting from state funding, the studio produced some of its most acclaimed and experimental work. Having stepped down as studio president in 1984, Te Wei directed the feature film Monkey King Conquers the Demon (1984), based on Journey to the West, and the acclaimed Feeling from Mountain and Water (1988), that would turn out to be his last film.
In 1989, the communist party honored Te Wei by naming him one of the four outstanding filmmakers in China's history.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Revolution in Dinkelland

This short film shows mayor F.P.M. (Frans) Willeme of the Dinkelland municipality in the Netherlands. 

On 6 November 2007, the three aldermen of the municipality of Dinkelland withdrew their confidence in Mayor Willeme, which led to a management crisis in the municipality. In a carnavalesk way, Willeme called for a revolution, shouting out “alle macht aan het volk” (“power to the people”).
On December 12, 2007, some 1500 residents demonstrated on the village square to keep Willeme as mayor, but Minister Guusje ter Horst of Internal Affairs decided to dismiss the mayor with honors as of 1 March 2008. She also advised the city council to dismiss the aldermen.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Monchito Merlo

At thirteen years Monchito Merlo was already a professional acordionist who debuted on radio and shortly after on television.
At the age of fifteen, he recorded his first LP and, to his own surprise, was in high demand at festivals and received more recording offers and important contacts.
A studious, temperamental and enterprising young man, his ability and fame crossed the Argentinean borders into Brazil. The states of Rio Grande Do Sur, Santa Catarina, were getting to know Monchito Merlo.
Merlo became the voice of the Argentine coast, playing the sweet melodies that became the soul of the Chamame.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Basque Anthropology/Ethnography

Anthropology is the intellectual result of the comparative methods developed in the earlier 19th century. 
Theorists in such diverse fields as anatomy, linguistics, and ethnology, making feature-by-feature comparisons of their subject matters, were beginning to suspect that similarities between animals, languages, and folkways were the result of processes or laws unknown to them then. 
For them, the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was the epiphany of everything they had begun to suspect. Darwin himself arrived at his conclusions through comparison of species he had seen in agronomy and in the wild.
The study (sometimes scientific, often not) of people and ethnicities became very popular early last century.
The Basques, a unique people in Europe, were often portrayed on postcards, pointing out various characteristics in their appearance.