Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bullfighting Bravado; The Silent Sorority; Horrors at Home; Espe Exits; Noche Nostalgia; Carnaby Conundrum; and The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B.

Spain's bullfighting industry is not in good shape. Corridas are now banned in Cataluña and elsewhere and recession-hit ticket sales are way down on earlier years. Worst, the numbers who profess an interest in the activity (never called a sport) are declining with each passing year. All in all, then, who can blame aficionados for getting excited about the return of the corridas to the TV and, now, by a stellar performance from Spain's leading proponent of the 'art', José Tomás? At the weekend, José catapulted himself into the pantheon of the greats by taking on all six bulls and despatching them so successfully that he earned eleven ears and a tail. If you know nowt about bullfighting, let me tell you that this is truly exceptional, reducing observers and critics alike to tears and stretching to the limit the ability of the latter to coin appropriate superlatives. I say Tomás despatched all six bulls but one of them, in fact, was pardoned for his 'nobility' and courage and was allowed to leave the ring to, one hopes, a nice bit of studding. All-in-all, it may have been a once-in-a-lifetime event and you can read more about it, in English, here. The irony is it took place in France, at Nîmes. Lucky Frogs, some would say. Barbarians, others.

The 19th century author of The Bible in Spain – George Borrow – also wrote a couple of semi-autobiographical novels. The first was entitled Lavengro and the sequel Romany Rye. In the former he writes of visiting a pub called The Silent Woman, which is an unusual name for a pub. But not unique, as there appear to be several of them in the UK and at least one in the USA. The sign for each of them appears to be a woman carrying her head in her hands.

Late this afternoon, the young lad from next door told me his Mum needed me to come urgently. And so I went, to find Ester in quite a panic about something called a libélula in the house. I didn't know what this was but, from the description, I had the impression it was some sort aggressive insect some 6 inches, or 10cm, in length. With Ester and the kids hovering in the hallway, I ventured into the lounge, pulled back the curtain and discovered a 3 inch dragon fly. Which I caught in a tissue and released, on Ester's instruction, at the far end of the garden. To show her gratitude she went shopping with me and, having paid for her own stuff, used her Large Family discount card, to bring down my bill as well. The checkout girl didn't turn a hair but I can't see this happening in the UK.

The feisty woman who's been the Presidenta of the Madrid region for a number of years has announced her surprise retirement from politics. A number of commentators have suggested the PP Party will be losing its most liberal member. Since some regard her as being to the right of Genghis Khan, this came as a surprise to me. And then I recalled that the PP politician charged with reviewing the abortion laws is a member of the extreme right Opus Dei group of the Catholic Church. And we were back to relativities again.

I saw a reference today to a Saturday night show I used to watch when I first came to Spain – Noche de Fiesta. Or 'Party Night'. This was remarkable for two things or perhaps 3, technically. The two hostesses were astonishingly pretty, both having been Miss Spain. And the show ran from 11.30 to 2.30am. Giving you an idea why peak viewing time in Spain falls after midnight. Or it used to; perhaps things have changed now.

Finally . . . This foto shows just how unreliable at predicting retail trends I am. The shop opened 3 or 4 years ago and is not in what you'd call a busy street. So I inevitably forecast it wouldn't last through the recession. But it has so far, despite no visual evidence of customer afluencia, as they say here. So, maybe there are other reasons for keeping it open than turning a retail profit. And I can be forgiven my error.


Anonymous said...


On Espe:
Graeme from SoW (what happenned to him?) believed she was the devil incarnate and that she was somewhere to the right of Pinochet himself. But that's Graeme for you.

I actuall think she was a liberal in more sense than one. Madrid is now a 24/7 city (almost the only place in Spain) thanks to her.

As opposed to some members of the PP she is quite liberal on social issues. 2/3 weeks ago she sent a twitter in support of/to the masturbating-on-youtube lady councillor, although, I don't recall her disclosing whether she was also into masturbating herself (as did other politicians).


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Only cowards engage in bloodsports. Only greater cowards still go watch them from safety.


Colin said...

Maybe, Alfie. But I don't regard Sr Tomás as a coward. Especially as I think he came back from a serious injury last year.

But, true. the toros bravos don't have the odds in their favour.

Colin said...


Yes, I had Graeme in mind when I wrote that. Don't know where he is these days. I checked the other day and I think it was May last time he wrote. I miss his (very consistent) posts. I do hope he hasn't gone where I went for a while.

The problem with the word 'liberal' of course is that it's been thoroughly devalued. And now means different things to different people, even within the 'economic' and 'social' camps. I don't know enough about Espe to know in which category/subcategory she fits. But I see she's not given up work and has asked for a job in the the national tourism body. A dedo, of course.

You mean other politicians admitted to self-pleasuring? I'm surprised, especially if one of them was the 92 year old whod just died.

Anonymous said...


No, these were (somewhat younger) ladies from IU, but not Carrillo (97). One of my favourite politicians. Not being sarcastic.
He was from Asturias. And one of the last active participants of the civil war.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Do I understand you well that getting injured is a sign of bravery these days? And here I always thought it was a sign of clumsiness, or plain bad luck. I know this 6-year old who always rips up his trousers and his knees and gets his fingers caught between door and doorpost. Must be a veritable Hero of our Age!


Colin said...

Alfie, Alfie, Alfie. Setting up a straw man and knocking him down is below you. Of course, I don't believe that getting injured is a sign of bravery. The bravery comes before the injury. Or death.

Whatever one feels about the corridas, I think it's indisputable that the toreadors who take the risk of serious injury and death are brave men, though on a scale of Not Very Brave to Stupidly Brave. I'd think the same about an idiot who got into a lion cage with the intention of strangling it to death. Not so sure about tiger hunters in howdahs.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Allow me to disagree. Bravery (the true kind) is something else. This is mere recklessness, inspired by money or vanity.


Perry said...

Senhor Mittington,

The Corrida is a spectacle, not a sport. I have enjoyed your various musings on the subject of mayonnaise, but now in this matter, I rather think you may have egg on your face. It requires cojones to face a fighting bull, even the cows of that breed are pants wettingly, daunting.

Thirty years ago in Olite, I hopped over the barriers erected in the Plaza de Carlos lll during the Fiesta in September. There was a cow inside the makeshift arena and it being around 10-00, I was unfueled by alcohol. The tension and excitement I felt, by choosing to be so close to danger, was intensely exhilerating. You won't get me to make a parachute jump, but those fleeting moments in Olite had a profound meaning to me, which I still cherish.

You may disapprove of the Corrida, but do not disparage the courage of toreros, especially to their faces. They are deeply proud of their chosen calling and are not likely to cut you much slack. Least said, soonest mended is my suggestion, or as Clinton once remarked, "Don't ask, don't tell".

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

Banderillas at dawn!

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