When my parents 1954 came back to Stockholm after a journey to southern Spain, my father showed an astonished family his 8mm-films from the trip, films which included some minutes of bull-fight from Malaga. That was my first contact with ´los Toros´- apart from, of course, the fantastic book “Fernando, the bull” by the two gentlemen Munroe and Leaf, which had been published around the beginning of the Spanish war. Much later it was to be copied by the Disney-company to become the charming animated film, which every X-mas can be seen on the Swedish television and thus creating new Swedish aficionados.
I am sad to admit that I didn´t watch my first corridas until July 1967, in Pamplona, but those ones -including Antonio Ordonez, Diego Puerta and a young Paquirri - were enough to convince me that this kind of art was something for me. And the following years having seen as well the Peralta brothers perform their Rejoneos - bullfighting on horse - I felt myself hooked as a pike, which is a good feeling...
However, everyone should know that normally you have to visit many corridas in order to be lucky to see one or two of the really good ones. How do I know when I see a good one, people ask. Well - you will notice when it comes - if it does.
Most people know that Ernest Hemingway was a true aficionado, and a good introduction to the subject is to read his “Death in the afternoon”. Maybe somewhat less known is that as well such a peaceful person as Lorca was a true friend of the corridas:
“I think bull-fighting to-day is the most refined popular amusement in the world, it is the most cultivated drama in which the Spaniard sheds his tears and spleen. It is the only place to visit, to be sure to see death vealed in the most flashing beauty. What would happen to the spring of Spain, to our blood and to our language, if the dramatic trumpets of the bull-fights should stop sounding?”
Federico García Lorca (1936)
And well-known is of-course now, that the Nobel-Prize-winner (2010) Mario Vargas Llosa also is a great admirer and defender of El Arte, and that he accepted to become Honourable Member of the ´Pena Taurina Los Suecos´, where you find the majority of the real Swedish ´Aficionados´.
I can not like my fellow-socios in PTL present an impressing list of dozens of Plazas de Toros they have visited, mine is till now only Pamplona (28 years) - Tarragona - Barcelona - Val de Morillo - Quito - Marbella - San Pedro - Fuengirola - Ronda - Malaga and Sevilla, but more to come, I am still young.
To the list of cities having bull-rings I made a good effort to add Stockholm, an effort that after two years of formal struggling with the authorities of all levels, finally ended with a “no approval” signed by the temporary Prime-Minister... (1993), a project included an "Encierro" in the Old Town.