A Celebration of
The Reform Club and Spain
Thursday 16th May 2013 at 7pm
The evening will commence with a Reception at 7pm., to take place on the Gallery, when members will be invited to enjoy acorn-fed Iberian ham and Gazpacho, served with Gonzalez Byass’s Palo Cortado Leonor sherry. Dinner will be served at 7.30 pm in the Smoking Room, prior to which Father Jorge Boronat will offer Bendecir la mesa
Musical entertainment will be provided between courses when Isabel Maria Martinez Garrido, guitarist, and Ricard Rovirosa, pianist, will perform some memorable Spanish pieces by, among others, the composers Manuel de Falla and Enrique Granados. The evening will be further enhanced with an address by Alexander Rupert Fiske-Harrison, renowned academic, writer, broadcaster, and actor, who will speak on ‘The British and the Bulls: A History of Love and Hate from Charles I to Churchill and beyond’ Alexander, pictured in the photo is a sought after speaker whose topic is guaranteed to provide much food for thought.
The Club is honoured that the Spanish Ambassador to London, His Excellency Frederico Trillo-Figueroa will be present. His Excellency will be accompanied by Mr. Fidel López Álvarez, Minister for Cultural and Scientific Affairs.
Embajada de España en Londres
Oficina de Asuntos Culturales y Científicos
INTRODUCTION OF THE SPEAKER ALEXANDER FISKE-HARRISON
(Reform Club May 16th 2013)
Ladies and gentlemen
As you all know it is nearly impossible to resist Audri’s enthusiasm when she is on the march; so, I have no option but to go along and, i must confess, happily become another victim of her charm. Thanks to her initiative and the support of some others we all are here tonight enjoying a delicious Spanish dinner and prepared to listen to our speaker.
When Audry invited me to look for a speaker I was thinking on someone knowledgeable of both Spanish and British cultures. The task seemed easy, since I had nearly a million Britons living in Spain to choose from, but I finally decide to get someone living in the UK; at least it was much cheaper.
Tonight speaker, Alexander Fiske Harrison, is, first of all, son of a former Reform club member and very appropriate for tonight speech, because he loves his country and Spain too He’s an Oxford graduate in biology, actor, writer and journalist, runner before Pamplona’s bulls and even torero!
In the summer of 2008 Alexander Fiske Harrison was acting in a play two streets from this club, in the Jermyn street theatre. That play went so “well” that he decided to give up the stage for the sand of the bullring and moved to Spain to write about the – for him – alien world of the Spanish fighting bulls.
By the spring of 2010, the London times was calling him “the bullfighter-philosopher”, even though he had never fought a bull (and he never made it beyond the second year of his doctorate in philosophy!)
In 2011 his book “into the arena” was published and was shortlisted for the William Hill sports book of the year award, even though he wrote in the book, and in the daily telegraph on the eve of the prize-giving, that bullfighting is definitely not a sport. No wonder he did not win.
Tonight we have the opportunity of listening to a real Oxbridge British on his personal experience in Spain. The title of his speech is “The British and the Bulls: a history of love and hate from Charles I to Churchill and beyond”.
With you Mr. Alexander Fiske Harrison.
Su Excelencia, my Lords, Ladies and Gentleman,
When I originally came up with this title, I thought I would be speaking for longer, so forgive me if this seems a little shorter and more anecdotal than you might have hoped.
So, for my first anecdote: the day after published my book Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight (http://www.intothearena.co.uk), I was in a taxi on my way to be interviewed on the BBC. The driver, hearing the address, asked what I was going there for. I said I was being interviewed about bullfighting.
“Oh, I can’t be having with that…”
“…I know,” I said, “it can seem terribly cruel…”
“…no, it’s not that.”
“My mother always told me never to play with my food.” [Read more...]