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The Seduction of the Minotaur

You may not believe me, but I have been trying to get into the Colisseu Balear, the Plaça de toros (Palma bullring), for at least five or six years, to no avail.

When there is no activity, the place is always closed. And when there is a bullfight, or a concert, or whatever, access is strictly limited to those with a valid admission. But I did not want to take photos of a concert, or a TV show or a bullfight. I was and still am interested in the place, the characteristics of the place, the aura, the architecture, the history, the true nature of the Macarena.

Well, yesterday I happened to drive past the Colisseu Balear and, lo and behold, the gates were open. I parked the car and sneaked in, expecting to be thrown out again by some busybody guards within no time at all. But no. I was unhindered and undisturbed and could spend some twenty minutes minding my own business and clicking away until my camera memory disk was completely full.

I am not much into bullfights. I have only ever seen one proper one in my life, one half proper one with young bulls, without any bloodshed, and a couple of corridas and bullruns in the south of France, with the bulls being chased towards the bull ring. But I can’t help associating the bullfight and the Plaça de toros with artists like Picasso or writers like Hemingway. Entering a bullring, even an empty one, confronts one with an air of temerity and a sense of carnage; there is blood in the air, want it or not, quite possibly in a seductive sort of way. The last bullfights were fought here, or should I say, staged, some two weeks ago (August 9th). Since then there had been a concert, and tomorrow (August 24th), a bull jumping show will be put on, an acrobatic kind of bullfight with no blood and with no loss of bulls’ lives.

The photos were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 22nd, 2012. The time was 15:33:31 and 15:28:16, respectively.

2 replies »

  1. Actually the vote wasn’t merely symbolic. As far as I know, the Catalan Parliament voted against it, and it is in fact legally forbidden in Catalonia. While Catalan nationalism certainly played a role in this vote, it is also true that a lot of people just don’t like bullfighting, and even more people (the majority) are just completely indifferent. In order to put it in perspective: for every single aficionado, how many Barça fans could we find? One thousand? Ten thousand? Bullfighting had already been languishing for many decades before the prohibition. Meanwhile there is an archaic, almost aristocratic, beauty in it, perhaps because there is also beauty in tragedy, perhaps because toros are a relic of times bygone. But if you are against animal ill-treatment, you have to choose: you can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg.

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