As Graham Keeley in The Times of London writes today, my 4,000-word post on the art of toreo below notwithstanding, it is the risk that makes the corrida de toros ‘terrifyingly real’ as Adolfo Suarez Illana used to say to me in the ring, ‘utterly authentic’ as one Andalusian government official put it to me in Seville last week, ‘the last serious thing left in the world today’ as the poet Federico Garcia Lorca wrote.
I saw David Mora do amazing work in the ring in Seville two weeks ago today, and the other two toreros last year. I wish them well and a quick and complete recovery. Unlike my rather grotesque and viciously moralising compatriots writing in the comments section of The Times, who are like another Taliban in their own petit way, and who seem too dim or venomous to realise that the beef they all eat comes from cattle killed in terror – not the adrenaline of combat – at one third the age of the fighting bull, after a life massively inferior to that of the wild-roaming nature reserves that the box-office of the bull-ring pays for, and that they don’t need to eat meat at all, that all those animals die for the entertainment of their palates.
As Lord Macaulay once said, “We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.” I’d happily replace ‘ridiculous’ with ‘worrying’ in this particular case.
Writer and Actor, author of Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight, shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year 2011.
P.S. I stated my views on this event on LBC Radio soon after, and you can hear my interview here.
A major bullfight has been cancelled for the first time in Spain for 35 years after three matadors were badly gored.
David Mora suffered serious injuries and had to have a blood transfusion after he was thrown over the horns of a bull called Deslio.
Horrified spectators watched as Mora was dragged like a rag doll by the half-tonne bull until assistants managed to separate the animal from the injured matador.
Mora suffered two serious 30cm cuts to his left thigh and a 10cm cut to his right arm and was treated in hospital in Madrid.
Antonio Nazaré, the second matador to take to the ring, was gored in the right knee by a different bull which caused ligament damage. He had to be carried from the ring.
To try to save the event from disaster, a younger bullfighter, Saul Jiménez Fortés, attempted to tackle the same bull armed only with his sword.
However, he was also gored, sustaining two serious injuries to the hip and a thigh.
All three toreros were fighting last night in Las Ventas, the most famous bullring in Spain during the annual San Isidro festival.
It is the first time since 1979 that an entire bullfight has had to be cancelled in Spain.
Bullfights are usually one-sided affairs in which the animal is killed after being stabbed by picadors then tired out before the matador finally finishes off the animal with the estocada in which a sword pierces the shoulder blades of the animal.
However, the popularity of what Spaniards call la fiesta nacional (the national fiesta) is waning.
A Mori poll last year found that 76 per cent of Spaniards opposed the use of public funds to support bullfighting.
“We are seeing the ‘animalisation’ of Spain,” Antonio Lorca, who has written books about bullfighting, said. “Where once the bull was seen as a fearsome creature, increasingly it is seen as one to be pitied.”
Mr Lorca said his 25-year-old daughter, who opposes bullfighting, was typical of her generation.