Thursday, June 30, 2011


Cendol is a traditional dessert from South East Asia.
There is popular belief in Indonesia that says that the name "cendol" is related to and originated from the word jendol; in Javanese, Sundanese and Indonesian language it means "bump" or "bulge"; it refers to bumpy sensations of the green worm-like jelly passed through the mouth when drinking cendol.
The dessert's basic ingredients consist of coconut milk, a worm-like jelly made from rice flour with green food coloring (usually derived from the pandan leaf), shaved ice and palm sugar. Other ingredients such as red beans, glutinous rice, grass jelly, creamed corn, might also be included.
Cendol has become a quintessential part of cuisine in Southeast Asia and is often sold by vendors at roadsides, hawker centers and food courts, like the vendor at the pictures from Malacca.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Indonesian Red Berets

No, no sudden switch to posting pictures of military berets, but this picture, the enormous contrast between the camouflaged faces, the dark uniforms and the bright red beret just struck me. Great picture, but happy not to get involved with these gentlemen.
Indonesian elite soldiers of Special Forces Commandos (KOPASSUS) sporting their signature red beret
 march during a parade at a ceremony commemorating the 58th anniversary of the Indonesian Army in Jakarta

Monday, June 27, 2011

Basco Roma e Il Berretto Spagnolo

I couldn't have imagined how many people would comment on my post Basco Roma; obviously some people have very strong feelings about Italian made berets (and anything else Italian, it seems). Mind you, only the just unacceptable have been published - there were a few more... 
What can I say apart from my replies in the comments section? Quality comes in many shapes and where it means wear-ability, comfort and good craftsmanship, the Basco Roma is definitely among the top. 
But, to cater for customers who appreciate the very high standard of the densest merino wool of Boinas Elosegui's top of the line Super Lujo, I have ordered a small number of Super Lujo's in 24.4cm (the same size as the Basco Roma), with satin lining and lamb leather headband, Teflon treated, impermeable. And, Made in Spain.
I believe the first time Boinas Elosegui actually made these!
Available from mid-July, 2011. Cost approx. $55.- (pre-orders taken - drop me a line).

The German Series #12 - Renate Rössing-Winkler

More from Dresden: Renate Rȍssing-Winkler (1929 - 2005) was a German documentary and landscape photographer.
 Between 1948 and 1951 Renate took the photography course of the School for Visual Arts in Leipzig by Johannes Wildmann. The focus of the training was on advertising and documentary photography. During her studies she met Roger Rȍssing, whom she married.
The couple spent well over 55 years together on reports - mainly from Leipzig and Dresden, but also about cities, people and landscapes in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, as well as Africa and Asia.
Renate Rȍssing was one of the most important photographers in the DDR (East Germany). The estate of the couple is kept at the German photo Library of the Saxon State Library (SLUB) in Dresden

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nostalgia of Madness

I found this beautiful picture on this web site. The contents of the site are not entirely clear to me, but the author certainly has a great collection of berets.
Many Kangols, but also berets from fashion brand Banana Republic 
and unknown brands (to me) like The Scotch House:

Friday, June 24, 2011

The German Series #11 - Richard Peter Snr.

Richard Peter (1895 – 1977) was a German press photographer and photojournalist. He is best known for his photographs of Dresden just after the end of World War II.
Richard Peter was born and raised in Silesia, working as a smith and a miner while dabbling in photography. He was drafted into the German army in 1914 to serve in World War I. After the war he settled in Halle and later in Dresden. He joined the labor movement and the Communist Party of Germany. During the 1920s and early 1930s he published his photographs in various left-wing publications. Because of this he was promptly barred from working as a press photographer when the Nazi Party rose to power in 1933. During the Third Reich he worked in advertising, before being drafted again to serve in World War II.
Peter returned to Dresden in September 1945 to find the city destroyed after the bombing of Dresden in February 1945. His personal archive and equipment had been completely destroyed in the raids. Starting over with borrowed equipment, he began to document the damage to the city and the beginnings of its reconstruction. His photographs were published in 1949 in a volume called Dresden, eine Kamera klagt an ("Dresden, a photographic accusation", ISBN 3-930195-03-8).
In 1949 Peter was expelled from the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the successor of the Communist Party, when he investigated corrupt party officials. He continued to work as a freelance art photographer in Dresden until his death in 1977, and eventually won some international recognition for his work. Peter's more than 5,000 negatives and prints were acquired by the State Library of Saxony in 1983.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The German Series #10 - Michael Roloff

Playwright, poet, editor and translator Michael Roloff (Berlin, 1937) emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 and became a US citizen in 1952.
Roloff works as as an editor, translated works by Theodor W. Adorno, Peter Handke, Hermann Hesse, Edgar Hilsenrath and others, writes poetry and prose.
Latest news on his web site (dating back to 2007) says: 
"I am finally writing the long planned novel 'The Darling and Monster Spiral'; some thinking on parts of it go back 40 years... The project takes me pretty well of the marriage market for about a year."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The NZ Series #18 - Gaston de Vel

Belgium born painter Gaston de Vel spent his student years at the Academie Royal des Beaux Arts, Brussels, which he first attended at age 17 from 1941 to 1945. Classes ran six days a week - "I was taught to paint directly from life, so I could learn to visualise things as an artist in colour, just like the Impressionists. Now these lessons are in my blood, a part of me."
One of his most influential tutors was Alfred Bastien, a former winner of the Prix Godecharle and friend of Claude Monet and John Singer Sargent. Gaston believes he is one of the last painters to have been taught in the classical and impressionistic fashion by a tutor directly involved with some of the leading artists of that movement.
Thirteen years were spent travelling, painting and exhibiting in the Belgian Congo until late 1960 when political events turned against Europeans. On December 15 he arrived in New Zealand with "nothing but peace and safety - it was worth losing eveything just for that" Gaston stated in an interview with the Auckland Star. Difficult years followed and initally Gaston worked as a signwriter in Auckland, eventually re-establishing himself as a professional artist.
Sunset at Mount Maunganui
Painting in a sophisticated, impressionistic style Gaston interpreted lively scenes of sun drenched courtyards, fishing ports and geranium filled cafes affording New Zealanders a welcome glimpse of exotic locations. He was awarded the Kelliher Art Prize in 1968. The 1980s saw several sellout exhibitions. Gaston's work is part of the permanent collection of Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
Gaston De Vel passed away on Saturday 17 July, 2010.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez

Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez (1935 - 1998) was born in Lindenau near Cuero, Texas. His parents were of Mexican and Yaqui Indian ancestry. When he was two years old, his father died of tuberculosis and his mother remarried. Five years later, his mother died from tuberculosis too. Benavidez and his younger brother, Roger and half sister María Guadalupe moved to El Campo, where their grandfather, uncle and aunt raised them along with eight cousins.
Benavidez shined shoes at the local bus station, labored on farms in Texas and Colorado, and worked at a tire shop in El Campo. He attended school sporadically, and at the age 15 he dropped out to work full-time to help support the family.
Benavidez became a member of the Studies and Observations Group of the US Army. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat near Lộc Ninh, South Vietnam on May 2, 1968.
The Special Operations Association is a group of veterans from all services that participated in the secret cross border operations into Cambodia, Laos and other denied areas during the Vietnam war.   
Remembering Benavidez, preliminary studies for several small sculptures depicting Roy on the battlefield, helping his fallen comrades, and a life size bust were displayed for the membership of the SOA with the assistance of Benavidez Advisory Group members. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Daniel Graves

Daniel Graves was born in 1949 in Rochester, New York. He graduated from the Maryland Art Institute in 1972 where he studied with Joseph Shepard and Frank Russell. Graves continued his studies with Richard Serrin at the Villa Schifanoia Graduate School of Fine Art in Florence, Italy
Following a course of training with Richard Lack in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he taught at the Atelier Lack Studio of Fine Art. 
In the late 1970s, Graves returned to Florence and undertook individual study with Nerina Simi who maintained a classical nineteenth-century studio. Ms. Simi was the daughter of the Florentine painter Filadelfo Simi who had studied with Jean-Leon Gerome, the head of the French Academy in Paris in the 1870s. With such a rich background of training, Graves has created a style of oil painting that blends the Florentine tradition of Simi and the master classical realist Piero Annigoni with the draftsmanship of the French artist Charles Bargue’s Cours des Dessins and Academie Julien. 
Graves painted a large number of self-portraits with beret.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gustave Courbet

Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877) was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement, with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social commentary in his work.
Courbet painted a series of increasingly erotic works, culminating in The Origin of the World (L'Origine du monde) (1866), which depicts female genitalia and was not publicly exhibited until 1988.
L’Origine du monde in the Musée d'Orsay.
During the Paris Commune in 1871, Courbet proposed that the Vendôme column be disassembled and re-erected in the Hôtel des InvalidesThis project was not adopted, but, on April 12, 1871, the dismantling of the imperial symbol was voted, and the column taken down on May 8, with no intentions of rebuilding it. 
For his insistence in executing the Communal decree for the destruction of the Vendôme Column, he was designated as responsible for the act and accordingly sentenced on 2 September 1871 by a Versailles court martial to six months in prison and a fine of 500 francs. During his incarceration, Courbet painted several still-life compositions. In 1872 he depicted his imprisonment in the 'Self-Portrait at Ste.-Pélagie', with beret.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The German Series #9 - Dresden

Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. 
Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendour. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city centre. 
Eleven square kilometres of the city centre was completely destroyed by the controversial allied aerial bombing towards the end of World War II. Who hasn't read Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five? The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East German socialist era have considerably changed the face of the city. 
Some restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche. Since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has regained importance as one of the cultural, educational, political and economic centres of Germany.
Some restoration started early on, though. These photographs are all from the late 1940's; all sculptors wearing a Basque beret.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Occitania, also called the "lo País d'Òc", ("the Oc Country"), is the region in southern Europe where Occitan was historically the main language spoken, and where it is sometimes still used, for the most part as a second language. This cultural area roughly encompasses the southern half of France, as well as Monaco and smaller parts of Italy (Occitan ValleysGuardia Piemontese) and Spain (Aran Valley). Occitania has been recognized as a linguistic and cultural concept since the Middle Ages, but has never been a legal nor a political entity under this name, although the territory was united in Roman times as the Septem Provinciæ and the early Middle Ages (Aquitanica or the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse) before the French conquest started in the early 1200s.
Currently about a half million people out of 16 million in the area have a proficient knowledge of Occitan, although the languages more usually spoken in the area are French, Italian, Catalan and Spanish. Since 2006, the Occitan language has been an official language of Catalonia, which includes the Aran Valley where Occitan had gained official status in 1990.
Written texts in Occitan appeared in the 10th century: it was used at once in legal then literary, scientific and religious texts. The spoken dialects of Occitan are centuries older and appeared as soon as the 8th century, at least, revealed in toponyms or in Occitanized words left in Latin manuscripts, for instance.
Embroidered beret 
From 1881 onwards, children who spoke Occitan at school were punished in accordance with minister Jules Ferry's recommendations. That led to a deprecation of the language known as la vergonha (the shaming): the whole fourteen million inhabitants of the area spoke Occitan in 1914, but French gained the upper hand during the 20th century. The situation got worse with the media excluding the use of the langue d'oc. In spite of that decline, the Occitan language is still alive and trying to gain fresh impetus.
"Speak French - be Clean", written across the wall of a Southern French school 
(reminds me of NZ teachers, stick in hand, enforcing English on Maori pupils in the 1930's-1960's...)
Berets with the embroidered Occitan cross can be ordered at the Musee du Beret; click here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The India Series #5 - Unknown General with Grand Moustache

I found this photograph of a general in the Indian Army and thought it was a great picture, but on it's own, not enough for a post, really. Looking a bit further, it showed that there are many beret wearing soldiers with fantastic mustaches in India!
Like these soldiers of a Grenadiers Regiment, who grow their mustaches specifically for special ceremonial occasions:
Or this para-military guard with a Western tourist, both sporting size-able specimens:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


In my search for yesterday's "Japanese Beret-Boy" I came across a number of them (beret-boys), but none from Japan.
Like this 1904 postcard from France;
Or this double-portrait by Paul O'Toole;
This undated photograph by Seydou Keïta in Mali;
This collage called :Beret boy", by Naddsy;
A beret clad baby-boy or

Haitian boy Woodley Elysee, donning an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) beret upon his arrival on January 28, 2010 in Azur, near Tel Aviv, Israel. The six-year-old, whose family survived the recent earthquake, was born with fatal multiple heart defects and currently has a life expectancy of about four more years. He was brought back to Israel by the returning IDF aid mission and the Israeli humanitarian organization SACH for life-saving open heart surgery.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Basco Roma

Out of nowhere, it seems, the Basco Roma became an instant hit with beret enthusiasts around the world. South Pacific Berets has shipped these Popular Italian Workers Berets across the globe over the past two weeks; from Australia to Germany, from Canada to Norway and another dozen countries or so more. 
New stock is on it's way, but unfortunately, I can't continue the low price of $39.50 (including international postage and handling). The record high NZ$ (versus the low US$) and increased duties and shipping costs mean an increase of almost 20%.
The good side is that I have every size and colour still in stock and will keep the price low till the end of this week. If a specific size/colour runs out, you'll get your basco send from the new stock in another two weeks (at the discounted price).

I won't raise the price of any other berets as yet, but it seems unavoidable with the ordering of new stock over the next few weeks and months...