Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Manuel Benitez, El Cordobes

Taurus et Thanatos ...

this blogger captures the moment two distracted but over-zealous guests
pour D.O. Priorat wine into their lady-neighbour's glass
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The charming HonoraryConsul of La Moraleja and his charming Aura-Mazdian Wife had some friends in town and organized another charming dinner, this time indoors. (A tribute to the wonderful weather of the Ciudad is reflected on the extension of the outdoors dining season - from March to late October in "Good" years).

The generosity of our Host with the fourteen point five-degreed Priorat wine had evident beneficial effects on the guests' conviviality. ( The Priorat region is the trendiest D.O. of Spain, as we speak, since Mr Alvaro Palacios had the eonological skill and marketing charisma to produce "L'Ermita", "Finca Dolfi" and "Les Terrasses" - this last name to be pronounced with Catalan accent and not in French, please) .
Among the Guests we had a female Scandinavian stag-hunter and a male Castillian bull-breeder. Inevitably, a clash erupted between the moral-high-grounded animal-lover Nordic and the full-red blooded defender of the right to kill a 400 kg plus black beast on an arena.
The Honourable Reader will excuse this blogger of yours for not engaging in the perilous route of the Corrida debate. Suffice to say that one should always try to make horse riders in the audience fully realize that Portuguese-style Corrida with XVII Century-dressed horsemen is of an even higher standard than the Dressage final stages of the Olympics' "Concours Equestre". Once they suspect nobody works a horse quite like that, their prejudice against barbarian suffering of the animal will somehow fade away...
But the real point of the bullfight, in the arenas where to kill the Toro is allowed, is the killing itself.
I inform my fellow dinner-guests that I have taken my little tribe (Matilde, Marta and Freddy), since early years, to witness Portuguese-style corrida, no problem whatsoever. A couple of years later I bought some barrera (front row) tickets for a Corrida in Seville. Six huge animals six were brought to Death in front of our very own eyes. In silence and in due respect for the Dionysian Mistery we were fortunate enough to still be able to witness. How can one understand otherwise the pre-Christian powerful mystery of Death in the current days? (If one is not working on a hospital's emergency ward, at least) . Is it not a better pedagogical experience than hyperviolence in Holywoodoid cinema? Than San Andreas-like PS2 games? Than televised violent death on the streets of Baghdad or Bradford? How can a young adolescent understand the dark hidden face of Death in Peace times? Not the grief for the loss of a familiar face, but the inexplicable moments of the passing away, the etherization (if you are a Believer) or the collapse (if you're not) of the living anima?
Because it was not just about good Priorat and blue-cordonned food, the dinner was excellent.

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