"Viva la Muerte ? "
Nureyev took me once more to Las Ventas, for one of the bullfights of the 30-days-30 long Feria de San Isidro. His generosity with his season tickets is legendary and one of the few possibilities for this blogger of yours to indulge in his under-cover facet as aficionado. The Right Honourable Reader has to bear in mind that it's more difficult to get a ticket to the neo-Moorish bullfight arena of Madrid when, say, El Juli is performing than to acquire an entry to Central Court in Wimbledon when Federer is trashing some poor guy.
Last Sunday everyone in Las Ventas did what is expected of them in a day of Corrida. The general public was eager to have convincing Toros and the experts of " Sector 7" were as ruthless as usual (starting a pateada just as a dissuasive strike to prevent the oreja that seemed quite probable was a particularly nasty trick). The amphitheatre officers, in red scarves that one can see in Pamplona or in a Pioneers demonstration in Red Square, engaged in histrionics to prevent people from abandoning the corrida during the last animal's turn before its death is certain. The weather helped too. Hot as an Andalusian field, without any of the irritating showers or grey ski that are as regular features in San Isidro as near-tropical rainstorms are in the lawns of Wimbledon. The bulls themselves conformed to current expectations about their bravery, meaning that if one in six is brave enough everybody feels quite happy, thank you. The picadores were booed, but that's part of the script too. The matadores tried their best, and sometimes that best is very close to boredom. But sometimes, o sometimes!, dear Right Hounorable Reader, their best is very close to an almost mystical epiphany.
Last week a bullfighter from Madrid, César Jiménez, was determined to be triumphant in San Isidro and he did managed it. He really went for it. Very close to a fatal accident, which would have happened if the horn of the bull that near-touched his body during the choreography had just deviated a few more inches.
Afterwards Jimenez justified in an interview his temerity: " Teñia que hacerlo, uno viene a Madrid dispuesto a todo y si la gente no ve que estas dispuesto a morir esto no téndria sentido". (I had to do it, one comes to Madrid ready for everything.. and if people there do not see that you're ready to die all this would make no sense).
Risking life for ephemeral Glory - Hemingwayesque stuff indeed...