Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language

bullshit, horse-shit, testosterone & pee

Bull running in Céret

Céretferia

Céret is famous for three things: its Musée d’Art Moderne1; its cherries; and its feria.

Running over Bastille weekend, the Céret feria, which finished yesterday, is a 3-day festival of bullshit, horse-shit, testosterone and pee. It is famous for its bull-running and bullfights, and for being an orgy of drunkenness that attracts thousands of revellers to the town (both the bullfights and the drunks leading to a fair share of controversy). 

The feria temporarily transforms Céret from a picturesque, tranquil, civilised ville to a loutish, shouty party-vile, where the rosé is warm, the beer is cheap and the streets run with rivers of pee. Like bulls spotting the crimson swirl of a torreador’s cape, the pissed, pumped-up rugby players thronging Céret’s streets snort, bellow and paw the ground at the sight of red-lipped girls wearing shorts, crop tops and red & yellow USAP socks. 

(Author’s note: there will be a short ‘wordy’ point to all this later, I promise: I just can’t resist sharing the stories and colour of the feria first…)

Céret’s streets are decked out in bunting in the town colours of blue and white, and lined with  bodegas – the fundraising bars and food stalls run by the members of local societies such as the clubs for rugby, swimming, tennis and judo – and stages, from which a motley selection of music booms out from 6pm-5am, including, unfortunately, Catalan tunes that kill the vibe for dancing tourists but have the locals singing along waving their hands in the air.

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‘Corridas de toros’ have recently been outlawed in Spanish Catalunya, so at the feria herds of Spaniards come to cheer on their heroes at Céret’s bullring. Daytimes mean bull running, acceptable to most as the bulls don’t get hurt. This involves an extraordinary display of horsemanship by the Carmargue horsemen & women who corral the bulls, and it is an opportunity for young men of the area to show off their musculature and beer-fuelled bravado by chasing the bulls. And while Céret ain’t no Pamplona (just two or three young bulls with rounded-off horns; a short run so they don’t reach great speeds; valtable metal barriers) the bull run is a great spectacle for all the family and even includes a special kiddies’ version (in which for once it’s the bulls that are trollied, not the runners…). 

kiddyrun

Noukie, child star of my previous post, came to the feria with her mummy a few years ago, and – seeing the bulls corralled into the lorry, asked “elles vont conduire le camion, maman?” [French is complicated: I think she said ‘elles’ here because she was asking if the cows (feminine) rather than the bulls (masculine) were going to drive the lorry.] There, that’s the wordy bit done then.

 
1. Céret’s Musée d’Art Modern is home to a series of around 30 Picasso bowls on the theme of bullfighting: after seeing these my friend – an award-winning graphic designer – was in tears because she felt that she wouldn’t achieve in a lifetime what Picasso had achieved in a 5-day frenzy of creativity.

horsewoman

photographe

bullrun

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One thought on “bullshit, horse-shit, testosterone & pee

  1. Pingback: Some bulls are only e-males | Cool lady blog

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