Imagen de Bicinova2. Running Bull, la primera mountain bike de España llevó el nombre del encierro.

Running Bull, la primera bicicleta de montaña

Running Bull fue el nombre de la primera mountain bike que se fabricó en España. La idea fue de BH (Beistegui Hermanos SA) que quiso trasladar en 1983 a Europa este tipo de bicicletas que ya amanecían en Estados Unidos. Peugeot preparaba su modelo Velo Tout Terrain y precipitó el desarrollo de una evolución del cuadro de las BH California pero con ruedas de tacos de 26 pulgadas y cambio de fricción. Faltaba un nombre americanizado que tan bien había funcionado con las BMX Free Style California y decidieron que “Running Bull” era a la vez cercano y emanaba los valores de fuerza que tienen el toro (como habían hecho anteriormente con la bicicleta Gacela.)

Todas sus piezas fueron fabricadas en el entorno de la fábrica de BH en Eibar salvo la cubierta, la cámara, la corona de velocidades y algunos de los cambios de velocidad que procedían de Alemania. Cuando salió esta bicicleta al mercado llamaba la atención el tamaño y la posibilidad de ir por cualquier terreno sobre ella. Para ello incluía comodidades como el cambio de cinco velocidades y el asiento con muelles. Unas de las pruebas de que esta bicicleta aprovechó la evolución de las BMX que trabajaba BH son las ruedas de colores, la almohadilla embellecedor del manillar y los mangos a juego con la combinación de azul y gris que tenía este vehículo. Además, el manillar también era alto porque se utilizó el mismo que ya estaba fabricado para las California. El nombre de Running Bull decoraba en azul la barra transversal inferior del cuadro y un toro terminaba la sentencia con una actitud trotona, recordando a uno de los del encierro de Pamplona por Sanfermin.

Un toro trotón era el símbolo de la primera bicicleta mountain de BH. Imagen de Bicinova2.
Un toro trotón era el símbolo de la primera bicicleta mountain de BH. Imagen de Bicinova2.

Detalles técnicos de la bicicleta Running Bull

La bicicleta Running Bull disponía de cinco velocidades gracias a cinco coronas diferentes. Algunos modelos montaron Triplex que se fabricaban en Itziar (Deba) y otros Sans-Huret fabricados en Alemania -actuales SRAM-. Los frenos eran de tipo Caliper de tiro lateral de pivote sencillo fabricados por Manufacturas Olivares con la marca Olimpic Balon que equiparon también a la Bicicross BH y a las California. El cuadro era de acero hecho en Euskadi y con ruedas la bicicleta alcanzaba los 18 kilos. La corona del piñón era de Maillard.

Las fotos y la información son de Bicinova2 y de Bicicletas Rioja Sport.

Modelos de las bicicletas BH de 1983
Modelos de las bicicletas BH de 1983
Miguel Goñi ©Sanfermin.com

Las mejores fotos del encierro Sanfermin.com de 2016

Se acerca Sanfermin 2017 y ya hemos pasado el primer peldaño de la escalera. Ya conocemos las ganaderías para los encierros y es por tanto un buen momento para hacer balance y recordar las mejores fotografías del encierro de Sanfermin que realizamos en nuestra web. Aunque siempre puedes ver las mejores fotos del encierro en Sanfermin.com hemos querido destacar estas porque por una cosa o por otra las consideramos las mejores. La familia recibe, se atiende particularmente, y si alguien necesita argumentos se los daremos porque todas tienen los suyos.

Hay imágenes donde no entiendes cómo no ha pasado nada, donde no entiendes cómo ha ocurrido algo, donde amas al toro, donde le temes, donde admiras a los corredores, donde los admiras menos, donde te das cuenta que un toro de Miura es tan alto como un frigorífico… Pero lo que queda claro tras verlas todas es que esta tradición del encierro de Pamplona es increíble y debemos preservarla cuidándola como podamos. Unos de los responsables de cuidar esta tradición son los fotógrafos. Ellos y ellas, son los intermediarios entre el público y los protagonistas de encierro, tanto como la televisión, porque congelan instantes que parece que es imposible que hayan ocurrido. Y lo hacen subidos a un palo, con seis o siete kilos en la mano y otros tantos a la espalda, mirando con un ojo por si necesitan saltar para que un corredor escape o que no te pille el toro, madrugando para escoger un buen sitio, aguantando a unos borrachicos aburridos, cuidando el material y dándolo todo. Por eso los fotógrafos para nosotros son tan importantes como los corredores, como los toros, como quienes que colocan el vallado, como la gente que vela por la salud y la seguridad, como los de la tele (quienes transmiten y quienes observan), como los de la plaza de toros o los corrales del Gas o como los que no van a correr porque están cansados o sin condiciones.

Sirva esta serie de imágenes como homenaje a todos los que han venido, vienen y vendrán por Sanfermin.com para contar este espectáculo tan singular y especial como es el encierro de Sanfermin.

Postales de San Fermín. Encierro.

Una postal de 1955 alertaba del encierro de Sanfermin a la mayor agencia de Nueva York

Actualización 7 de febrero de 2016.

Nos escribe Juanjo y nos comenta que los códigos de barras se inventaron en 1948 y la postal lleva uno de ellos, por lo que si dudamos entre 1933 y 1955 debemos optar por la fecha posterior a 1948. Gracias por la colaboración.

Actualización 5 de enero de 2017. 13:49 p.m

Nos comenta un familiar que el corredor con bigote y jersey que sale frente a las astas es Paco Gómez, portero de Osasuna y del Real Murcia.

5 de enero de 2017. 11.30 a.m.
Por quince dólares hemos visto una postal a la venta en ebay que encerraba tras de sí mucho más de lo que parecía a primera vista. Parecía solo una buena postal antigua del encierro, sin embargo, escondía también una curiosa historia del encierro de Sanfermin en Pamplona, el relato de la fiesta de Janet Harper a Jay Culver, uno de los mayores editores de Nueva York. Inicialmente el anverso de la postal nos presenta una imagen del encierro de sanfermin en blanco y negro de buena calidad, con la manada compacta y varios mozos en cabeza. El encuadre es bastante frontal y la imagen está bien enfocada en la zona principal. La fotografía está obtenida seguramente desde el lado derecho del vallado, el que linda con el actual Paseo de Hemingway y la calle Juan de Labrit, desde una posición bastante baja. Vemos caras reconocibles y enfocadas, fotógrafos con traje, corredores bien vestidos y algún pañuelo al cuello. Si alguien se reconoce que nos ayude y nos escriba a info@sanfermin.com. Podemos ver en la imagen, al fondo, lo que hoy es la tienda de Kukuxumusu de la calle Estafeta 76.

Sin embargo, lo más interesante se encuentra en el reverso de la postal. Allí vemos que Janet Harper le envía una misiva a Jay Culver desde Londres a Nueva York un 31 de julio. La dirección de destino es el 660 de First Avenue, en Nueva York, y nos ofrece la pista de un posible negocio de Culver (Culver Service). Con estos datos encontramos que Jay Culver es el fundador de Culver Pictures que desde 1926 estuvo recopilando un increíble archivo de imágenes de Estados Unidos en esa dirección de NY.

Janet Harper escribe emocionada la postal intentando trasladar su testimonio a este importante editor:

“Estimado Mr. Culver. Este año excitación mi excitación es alta. Aquí, los hombres y los niños corren delante de los toros cada mañana mientras dura el festival. En la calle principal de esta pequeña ciudad en España (Pamplona) a menudo unos pocos son corneados y, a veces, alguno muere. Pero el espectáculo continúa! Vi mi primera corrida de toros, un verdadero espectáculo, demasiado sangriento para mi.”

Postales de Sanfermin. Jay Culver.
Postales de Sanfermin. Jay Culver.

Según un artículo de Joe Mysak en el Columbia Daily Spectator del uno de diciembre de 1978, Culver Pictures es comparable en tamaño con Associated Press o United press en esas fechas. La importancia del destinatario de la imagen es relevante porque Janet Harper le avisa del evento que ha presenciado en Pamplona a uno de los editores más importantes de Nueva York.

columbia_1978-12-01_0001-4

El año de la carta a Culver

Tenemos dudas de si la fecha de la misiva es 1933, 1936 o 1955. El sello de Royal Mail nos deja claro que salió de Londres el mismo día que fue firmada, pero la grafía no nos permite ver si es 33, 36 o 55. Tenemos detalles para ir afinando. Descartamos 1933 porque el sello de Air Mail corresponde al UK Inland Airmail Delivery que entró en vigor en 1934. Lo que nos despista es que en la imagen intuimos una segunda valla en la parte izquierda de la imagen. Las imágenes de 1936 nos ofrecen unos vallados mucho más poblados y no despejados como vemos en la imagen de la postal. Sabemos que el doble vallado se instaló en 1941 después de que un toro de Sánchez Covaleda lo atravesara en 1939 causando el terror en el entorno de la plaza. Por lo tanto, datamos la carta en 1955 mientras no tengamos más información o menos dioptrías.

En 1955 Hemingway había vuelto a Pamplona por Sanfermin (retornó en 1953) y de nuevo muchos extranjeros reactivaron su interés por nuestras fiestas. No conseguimos seguir la pista de Janet Harper, pero es evidente que quiso trasladar su impresión a este importante editor neoyorkino. Harper es un apellido muy ligado a editoriales como Harper & Brothers pero no tenemos datos suficientes para tirar de este hilo.

El vendedor de la misiva es MMG Vintage una de los especialistas de venta de este tipo de productos de Ebay que suele comprar stocks y venderlos sueltos. No parece que sepa lo qué significa esta carta y se presenta como una foto más del encierro.

La postal es la número 260 de la edición de AJSA. Hemos consultado el libro de postales de Javier Soria, Miguel Echague y Juan Ramón Corpas (Postales de Pamplona -Ed. Caja Pamplona-) y no hemos encontrado ni la imagen, ni referencias a la editorial. Tampoco hemos encontrado citas ni en las obras de postales de la Editorial Txartoa ni en otras, pero quizás alguien sabe algo y nos lo puede contar porque 260 números de postales dan para muchas historias escritas.

Lo que no sabemos es si Mr. Culver recomendó las fiestas, envió reporteros o adquirió imágenes para su archivo…

 

 

Ganaderías para Sanfermin 2017: se estrenará Puerto de San Lorenzo

En la tarde de hoy, la Comisión Taurina de la Casa de Misericordia de Pamplona ha hecho públicos los nombres de las ganaderías que participarán la Feria del Toro 2017. La principal novedad es el debut de la ganadería salmantina de “Puerto de San Lorenzo”. En el ciclo, que tendrá lugar en julio del próximo año, volverán a lidiarse en Pamplona los toros de Victoriano del Río, cuyos ejemplares resultaron ganadores del premio “Feria del Toro 2016”, así como los astados de Jandilla, que con el toro “Decana” lograran el premio Carriquiri del pasado año. Completan la nómina de ganaderías que lidiarán toros a pie, los hierros de Miura, Cebada Gago, José Escolar, Núñez del Cuvillo y Fuente Ymbro, habituales de la feria sanferminera. Con este anuncio se cumple el primer hito de la feria taurina que organiza la Casa de Misericordia de Pamplona desde el año 1922.

El listado completo de ganaderías reseñadas es el siguiente:
MIURA de Lora del Río, Sevilla.
VICTORIANO DEL RÍO, de Guadalix de la Sierra, Madrid.
Hros. de D. JOSÉ CEBADA GAGO, de Medina Sidonia, Cádiz.
JANDILLA de Mérida, Badajoz.
PUERTO DE SAN LORENZO, de Tamames, Salamanca.
JOSÉ ESCOLAR GIL, de Lanzahíta, Ávila.
NÚÑEZ DEL CUVILLO, de Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz.
FUENTE YMBRO, de San José del Valle, Cádiz.

Un reportaje de Cultoro tv puede servirnos para hacernos una idea del trabajo de los Fraile en esta ganadería.

Running of the Bulls Balconies. Sanfermin, Pamplona 2017

Ya tenemos tus balcones para ver los encierros de Sanfermin 2017

Sanfermin.com y Sanfermin By Locals un año más han preparado una oferta de balcones para ver el encierro de Sanfermin en Pamplona del 7 al 14 de julio de 2017. Además, disponemos de un balcón exclusivo para ver el Txupinazo situado junto al Ayuntamiento de Pamplona para disfrutar de una experiencia inigualable.

La oferta de Sanfermin.com incluye guía y desayuno pero puede ser ampliada con diferentes actividades como el Tour del Encierro o los fuegos artificiales desde la terraza del Baluarte. Visita nuestra web y conoce a nuestro equipo y nuestros productos.

 

Citroen Cactus y el encierro de Sanfermin

El Citroen Cactus inspirado en el encierro de Sanfermin

Seguro que lo has visto por la tele porque lo están volviendo a poner, nos referimos al anuncio del Citroen Cactus que realizó hace un año la agencia Havas bajo el lema “Efecto Made in Spain”. Este anuncio tiene como protagonista a este vehículo fabricado en España y nos cuenta cómo las personas que han adquirido por el mundo este Citroen adquieren también valores de la cultura de España. El anuncio está rodado y editado con la máxima calidad y su punto culminante es cuando un propietario se encuentra con un reno polar en una carretera boscosa y no puede continuar su camino. Él se baja del coche con un pañuelo al cuello y cita al reno como si fuera el encierro de Sanfermin consiguiendo solucionar la situación.

Citroen Cactus y el encierro de Sanfermin
Estilazo de este mozo para llevarse al reno polar de la carretera y continuar el camino.

Nos invitaba por Twitter Javi Villaverde a decir algo sobre este anuncio porque le sorprende que no se haya escuchado mucho sobre el mismo a pesar de ser bastante bueno. Y tiene razón, la verdad es que el anuncio es muy bueno y la referencia a los encierros de Sanfermin quizás es su punto culminante. Según hemos visto en los comentarios del video que colgó en su día Citroen, a los espectadores les gusta el anuncio y el momento culminante que simula sanfermin se lleva las principales alabanzas. También hay críticas por estereotipar la cultura de España en siesta, paella y sanfermin. La agencia jugó intencionadamente con los tópicos dentro de otra característica muy de aquí como es el humor.

Havas pretende descontextualizar costumbres habituales en España que son muy poco habituales en Alemania (Siesta), Singapur (Paella) o Finlandia (Encierro) y que provocan sorpresa y admiración. La agencia preparó una campaña de lanzamiento y seguimiento que funcionó muy bien y que puedes seguir a través de Twitter o Facebook con el hastag #efectomadeinspain.

 

300.000 vehículos de Citroen para 60 países

En la actualidad, cinco modelos de la gama mundial de Citroen se fabrican en Madrid o en Vigo que son Citroën C4 Cactus, C4 Picasso, Grand C4 Picasso, Berlingo, su versión Berlingo Electric y el C-Elysée. En 2015 se fabricaron 300.000 vehículos de esta marca que se vendieron en 60 países de todo el mundo.

Criminal Minds, Beyond Borders. Running of the bulls. Mentes Criminales, sin fronteras.

La serie “Mentes Criminales: sin fronteras” resuelve un crimen en Sanfermin en su nueva temporada

La cadena de televisión Cuatro estrenó ayer el primer episodio en España de “Mentes Criminales: Sin fronteras”. Desde Sanfermin.com nos fijamos en esta serie porque el capítulo 12 de esta primera temporada tiene relación con Sanfermin y con Pamplona. Desde CBS lo ha bautizado como “El Toro Bravo” para todos los idiomas y la acción se resume en que esta sección del FBI tiene que ir a Pamplona durante la celebración de los encierros de Sanfermin para resolver el crimen de una turista americana extraviada de la que aparecen solo las orejas. El argumento plantea motivaciones políticas en el caso y Gari Sinise (Jack Garret en la serie) y los suyos tienen que investigar en un ambiente toruno y sanferminero.

 

El equipo de Mentes Criminales sin fronteras en el capítulo El Toro Bravo.
El equipo de Mentes Criminales sin fronteras en el capítulo El Toro Bravo.

El extremo culminante del episodio, con toro incluido, fue filmado en el Pico Riveria Sports Arena, un lugar que alberga exhibiciones con caballos, rodeos y conciertos.

La gente del equipo de dirección ha querido hacer guiños a lo que conocen de España y Sanfermin con menor o mayor acierto:
Annie Funke (Mae en la serie) se refiere en un momento de la investigación a Messi y Cristiano Ronaldo, como cuenta Erica Meredith una de las guionistas de la serie en la web oficial de la serie. Otro de los protagonista.

-El técnico analista de la serie Tyler James Williams (Monty en la serie) analiza las reglas para correr el encierro y cuenta que no se puede correr con móviles, ni tocar a los toros o quedarse parado. Además, Monty bautiza a uno de los desaparecidos en el capítulo como Xabi Alonso, como señalan en la web de la serie: “inspirado por una estrella de fútbol nacida en la región”.

Mentes criminales sin fronteras Xavi Alonso
Mentes criminales sin fronteras Xavi Alonso

Alana de la Garza (Clara Seger en la serie) es agente Supervisora Especial y habla de la descripción de Pamplona de Ernest Hemingway en referencia a la novela Fiesta y a que visitó Sanfermin en seis ocasiones. Se nota que leyeron este artículo de Sanfermin.com sobre Hemingway.

Annie Funke. Mentes Cirminales sin fronteras en el encierro de Sanfermin
Annie Funke. Mentes Cirminales sin fronteras en el encierro de Sanfermin

-Para las escenas con toros de la grabación del capítulo el equipo de producción compró un toro al que bautizaron como Shadow. Durante dos días se esforzaron

Mentes criminales sin fronteras. Encierro de Sanfermin
Mentes criminales sin fronteras. Shadow es el toro con el que evocan el encierro de Sanfermin

Todavía no hemos podido ver un avance del capítulo pero tenemos varias fotografías de la acción. La que ilustra la noticia sucede en una plaza a la que han bautizado como “Plaza Vasconia” donde se puede leer en  euskera junto a la bandera de España y la Ikurriña: “Honramos a los que lucharon por la libertad y sacrificaron la suya, honramos a los caídos, crearemos el futuro con el que soñaron. 6 de julio de 1978.”

El capítulo se estrenará en Estados unidos en tres meses donde los primeros han marcado una audiencia de 8,2 millones de personas.

 

 

 

Pioneras. Sanfermin.

El documental Pioneras cuenta la historia de las primeras mujeres en las peñas de Sanfermin

Nos cuenta Rafa Aguilera que ya está lista la versión definitiva del documental PIONERAS que cuenta la historia de las primeras mujeres que se apuntaron a las peñas de Sanfermin. Este grupo de mujeres recibió el pasado 11 de julio el galardón “Festa” de la peña Los de Bronce destinado a reconocer públicamente a mujeres que han contribuido a que los Sanfermines sean unas fiestas de las que podamos disfrutar por igual. Según cuenta Aguilera, “Con Festa además queremos recuperar historias que queremos que puedan inspirar a quienes luchan contra la discriminación por razón de sexo.”

El documental “Pioneras” recoge los testimonios de algunas de estas mujeres que recibieron este galardón bajo la dirección compartida por Iñaki Redín y Marga Gutierrez que han conseguido un trabajo muy interesante que merece ser visto y compartido. La producción corresponde a Tripulante Produce y Nafar Telebista y cuenta con la colaboración del Gobierno de Navarra y el Ayuntamiento de Pamplona.

Pioneras, otra historia de San Fermín from Tripulante Produce on Vimeo.

Las mujeres que recibieron el premio Festa de Los de Bronce y participan en el documental son Alixi y Maite Urrestarazu, de Alegría de Iruña; Camino Aizpún, de Anaitasuna; Bakartxo Legal, de Armonía Txantreana; Elena Arrieta, de Donibane; Pili Irazabal, de La Jarana; Mª Carmen Oskariz, de Los de Bronce; Maribel Olazarán, de Muthiko Alaiak y Sole Aristu, de Sanduzelai.

 

Premio Festa de los de Bronce. Sanfermin
Premio Festa de los de Bronce. Sanfermin
Twitter Lebron James

Lebron James confunde el encierro de Sanfermin con los Chicago Bulls

Recientemente en una entrevista le preguntaron a Lebron James, jugador de los Cleveland Cavaliers de la NBA, sobre su lista de deseos (Bucket List) a realizar antes de morir. Es muy típico en Estados Unidos realizar estas listas y es habitual preguntar por ellas. Lebron apuntó que al haber participado durante doce años consecutivos en los play off de la NBA ha impedido cumplir sus deseos. El jugador de los Cavaliers resumió ante la pregunta que le gustaría acudir a la famosa carrera de caballos del Derby de Kentucky o ver en directo el Gran Premio de Mónaco de Fórmula 1. Uno de los periodistas le preguntó específicamente por el encierro de Pamplona en Sanfermin y Lebron James respondió: “¿Correr con los toros? ¿Qué significa eso? ¿Te refieres a Dwyane Wade? (Es un jugador de los Chicago Bulls) Iba a decir que no empieces con eso, hombre. No. Yo no voy a correr con toros no estúpidos.

De estas palabras se desprende que o bien Lebron no conoce el encierro de San fermin de verdad o bien que pudo más un enfrentamiento existente entre Lebron y Wade. Dwyane Wade juega en los Chigago Bulls y tiene una polémica cruzada con Lebron James por lo que es normal que al referirse la pregunta al encierro con los toros se acordara antes de Chicago que de Pamplona.

Texto Original en THE SCORE:” The NBA can feel inevitable, even if it’s not. Before the game, LeBron was talking about things he wanted to do, after calling the World Series a bucket-list event for him. He said he’d go to the Kentucky Derby or an F1 race in Monaco, but 12 straight years of the playoffs has precluded both. He talked about college football stadiums he’d like to see. He was asked about attending the running of the bulls in Pamplona. He said, “Will I run with the bulls, what does that mean? You talking about (Dwyane Wade)? I was gonna say, don’t start that, man. No, I’m not running with no damn bulls.” Texto original en The Star. 

© The Score
© The Score
© Pío Guerendiáin. Tim Pinks viendo el encierro de verde en la ventana.

FROM UNBRIDLED ANTICIPATION TO EXHAUSTED CALM, by Tim Pinks

San Fermin ‘16 and a San Ferdream

San Fermin. Two of the greatest words in language.

‘’And so have ended the Fiestas of San Fermin…’’ Some of the most melancholy words…but so they sang, and we sang too, with the closing ‘Pobre-De-Mi’ ceremony, as this year’s Fiesta faded explosively away – only in Pamplona can something fade away ‘explosively!’ – and thus the unbridled anticipation of July 5th gave way to the exhausted calm of July 15th.

And personally, due to circumstances, I have not had such a San Fermin in a feria long time, (gawd-awful pun…sorry!) Actually, not so much as ‘in a very long time’, but ever, in a way, as something special happened which I’ll come back to at the end of this piece, as it involves me and I usually prefer not to be the centre of attention but to participate, and be involved in, and then be swamped and finally submergedby fiesta.

Writing about myself is just not my thing, (although I have to occasionally) especially when it comes to writing such things as these Sanfermin.com articles, as I would rather write about other people and events than myself. I honestly like neither the ‘me’ in ‘media,’ or indeed the ‘i.’ Which leaves us with just the ‘da’ and I have no idea what that might mean. Hey ho, la-di-da…

But first things first. Along with the melancholy of saying goodbye to fiesta, we also had the sadness of saying adios, (hopefully, actually, just ‘hasta luego’) at a special Mass, to three true Sanfermineros who left us over the year. More of which below. And then, at the end of August, came the shocking and incomprehensible news of the oh-so-sudden and unexpected passing of that great running man, Julen Madina.

Some events are just unthinkable in their shocking “I just can’t believe it” suddenness, and Julen’s death was one of those. I didn’t know him too well but had a wonderful chat with him at Bar Txoko this year after one of the runs, and all I can say is he was on top form, with his personality, charm and charisma shining through. He was more interested in me than talking about himself. I may write more about him another time, but I did do a piece on him for these pages, after I’d had a long telephone conversation with him a couple of years ago, and, for those who are interested, you can read it here.

Julen Madina. Un corredor sin igual.
Julen Madina. Un corredor sin igual.

However, some words have to be said, and I shall leave them to his great friend Joe Distler. These words are not something Joe wrote after deep thought, for some newspaper or magazine, rather they were straight from the heart and direct off the cuff comments to me in a private email after Julen’s death. So with his direct permission…take it away, Joe.


‘As for Julen I have been in a state of total depression since he died. We had run together for over 40 years since we were practically kids. He was one of the first Spanish runners to recognize us as equals. This means nothing to young runners today but for years the Spanish, except for Atanasio, looked down on us. Miguel Angel Eguiluz, Chema Esparza, Jokin Zuasti, Javier Solano (yes, he was a good runner before becoming the voice of encierro,) Antonio Campeon and Julen came up to me one day before the run and one after another wished me “suerte”. It was like receiving the Academy Award. Hard to realize how important that was to us as foreign runners.

Then I was the first foreigner ever invited to the Runners’ Breakfast at Casa Paco on the 14th, followed by Jim Hollander and now we outnumber the Spaniards.

Over the years the friendships we have made with our Spanish bull running friends in Pamplona have become an important part of our lives. There is a mutual respect and understanding of living all the traditions of the encierro and sharing great moments both in the streets and elsewhere. All of us who run will cherish Julen as one of the great Maestros of all time and a run will not go by when we won’t think of him.

If Julen had died on the horns of a bull I would have been sad but not destroyed as we all know what dangers lies in running. But for a powerful force like him to go the way he did is debilitating. I had spoken to him three days before he died, talking about his recovery from being gored a few weeks before. He and his new Lady were planning on visiting me in my home in La Villajoyosa.

I am weak even writing this as I am so affected by his death.

Con un abrazo, Joseph.

foto-2-julen-madina
Julen Ayerbe Madina, 1954 – 2016. Un caballero, maestro y mozo extraordinario

foto-3-esquela-de-julen
And now, after that truly moving tribute, back to the article. Normally, as I said, I try not to stand out, so let’s start with a wee message to one very important person, who, as I said at one point pre-fiesta at a rather surprise event I was invited to participate in, “wasn’t exactly here, but is around here.” I’d arrived in town for one night on Friday 1st July, and the city’s band, La Pamplonesa, were having a pre-fiesta concert in front of the town hall that evening, to be followed by some local singing and dancing with Navarran jotas.

A little clip of La Pamplonesa, Friday 1st July 2016. The whole concert’s at the end, for those like me who love ‘em!

It was a proper concert too, with a big stage for the band, (it’s a big band.) Along with Director J. Vicent Egea, there are 46 musicians. That makes them bigger than The Rolling Stones! Hundreds of chairs were laid out for people to sit on with many others standing around or dancing, all enjoying the music. Little did I know that it had been arranged that I be invited onto the stage (see? Pamplona – they grab you and make you a part of them) to say a few words to everyone, between the end of the band playing the concert and the start of the jotas.

This was all down to being chosen by Kukuxumusu to be awarded their ‘Guiri del Año’ – Foreigner of the Year – prize. (More of which later, due to the previously mentioned unease with ’me, centre of attention, media stuff, etc.’) Gracias Manuman, for arranging that little bit of public speaking…you may be a cross-dressing six and a half foot tall blue bull sometimes but you’re also a cabron! So beware, Mr. Testis, because my revenge will be sweet… If you ever see me with a large pair of scissors, you’d better start running ‘cos I’m going to de-cojon you.

Oh, by the way, I’d also like to say thanks to Laly Jausoro and Jacobo Roura Formoso. Laly had something to do with all concert stuff and my culo being dragged up on stage to make my wee speech, (and she was the singer during the folk lore part of the concert) and she helped me just feel at ease, while Jacobo, with his calm presence and reassuring sense of ‘it’ll be alright on the night,’ (plus the supply of the odd beer or two!) helped settle any nerves I had left. Osasuna, guiriak!

However, “unaccustomed as I am to public speaking” etc, but having been in town at that stage for several hours I was by then fortified by some of the local medicine, (hic) so it all went okay. Even the song I attempted to sing. I kid you not… Well, they didn’t lynch me. But then, they couldn’t catch me… In all seriousness actually, folks, never in my wildest imaginings could I ever have dreamt that I’d be standing on a stage in front of Pamplona’s iconic Town Hall, before Fiesta, making a speech to hundreds of people after La Pamplonesa had played, and with some Navarran folklore singers and dancers. I have been in Dreamland and it is beautiful.

Oh, and did I write earlier ‘a wee message to one very important person?’ Wrong. To THE most important person. And luckily, at the end of my little speech (again – ‘cos I just like saying it – on stage, with the lit up Town Hall behind me…wonderful, I never could have imagined I’d be doing something like that in my beloved Pamplona,) I did actually remember to mention the fella.


Okay, I know, it’s me…but I have to. What a pleasure and an honour.

So to mi amigo Fermin, my friend, our friend: Please keep giving us your fiesta, San Fermin, please keep trying to protect us with your cloak, oh Holy Man, and please keep covering the town with your alegria, your happiness, you magic man. Some people say you never existed, some say that even if you did, you’re dead now…but I believe differently.

For exist you did and dead you are not. For I have seen the ghosts of fiestas past dancing up on the hill by the Church of San Fermin de Aldapa, (I have you know, folks, and I can prove it, for I see them often.) And, amigos, I have no doubt that our fabled saint is among them. After all, why wouldn’t he be dancing at his own party? Just come along with me during fiesta one darkness hour and I’ll show you some middle-of-the-night ghostly magic.

Sentimental poppycock perhaps? No. Not so much sentimentality as just San Fermintality and friendly fiesta sorcery.

So to my friend and our friend, like I said up on that stage a few days before Fiesta: to a man who isn’t exactly here but is around here ¡Viva San Fermin! Gora.

Now, onwards with the scribblings. From glorious ghosts of the past to friendly phantoms of the present.

NOEL CHANDLER, DAVE PIERCE AND RAFAEL TORRES ARBIZU.

Sadly, Fiesta began once again began with a Memorial Mass on July 5th dedicated to a few people, but I shall concern myself here with just three of them. Those three were of course true Sanfermineros. I wrote ‘Fiesta began…on July 5th’ as I always think of the 5th as ‘San Fermin Eve’ and literally, ‘the advance party.’

Los tres: the Gentleman that was Noel Chandler, the Joker that was Big Dave Pierce, and the Runner who was Rafael ‘El Gitano’ Torres, from Pamplona. I’ve already written about Noel and Big Dave before, over this past fiesta year, during their gentle dance from this Earth to that Fabled Fiesta in the Sky, so I won’t repeat myself again, suffice to say you can read about them both hereand here.

But while we’re here I must just say something about Rafa Torres. I never knew him but I did know of him, of course, as he was one of that group of runners who I aspired to be like when I first went in 1984. From the 1960’s to the ‘90’s he was a true bull runner, and he was from that evocative era when just about everyone ran in red and white, as you can see from the wonderful photo below. He’s the chap citing the bull with his faja, the red sash.

Rafa Torres, with sash in hand, as he'd lost his newspaper during the run, with Madina to his right. A truly moveable feast of a photo, and a perfect San Fermin encierro symphony in red and white.
Rafa Torres, with sash in hand, as he’d lost his newspaper during the run, with Madina to his right. A truly moveable feast of a photo, and a perfect San Fermin encierro symphony in red and white.

Just for the record, the Mass was presided over by Father Felix Garcia de Eulate, but I’d like to also make a special mention of Fermin Baron, known as Pitu to his friends and to many of us as Fer Min Txo, who spoke beautifully and movingly about Noel, ‘The Welsh Lion.’

From the very start, where he began with, “The enormous heart of the old Welsh lion, spent from so much living, has finally stopped beating…” to the very end, ‘’There’s nothing more to say, only that we love you very much, Mister Chandler…always. See you soon, my friend. Safe journey…” he caught the mood wonderfully and emotionally, while not forgetting the other two, either. Fantastico, Fer Min Txo.

Finally, once again one has to thank that dynamic fiesta duo Bunny, and JJ (he’s nicknamed ‘Dance-Dance’ although for the life of me I can’t imagine why,) Centurion, as during a trip to Pamplona for last New Year’s Eve, they asked the previous Pastor at the church, Padre Santos Villanueva, to schedule a mass for Noel. Then when Big Dave died this year he was naturally added, and Joe Distler asked for Rafa to be included too. Such is the wonderful big Pamplona family we are so lucky to be a part of.

And so before fiesta had even begun three more, and then after it, four, of Fiesta’s great Sanfermineros joined the ever growing table where those mythical fiesteros sit. I’d love to have seen the look on Bomber’s face as Noel arrived, running like in the old days, but with glass in hand…and not a drop spilt. While Big Dave would be making them all laugh… A Lifetime of Fiesta Well Lived, Caballeros, with, now, Canito up there to take the photos. ‘Adios,’ caballeros? I doubt that, only hasta luego…

FRANSISCO CANO LORENZA – ‘CANITO’

canito-y-kukuxumusu
The mythical Canito, when he received recognition from Kukuxumusu to mark his 100 years.

I know, I know, this is becoming a parade of the passed, but I have to mention just one more man. To quote the online version of the ‘El Mundo’ newspaper, of Wednesday 27th July, ‘The mythical photographer Fransisco Cano Lorenzo, at 103 years of age, has died in the early hours of this Wednesday.’ Yup, 103 years old…and over 70 of them photographing the world of the bullfight. No, I’m not really an aficionado and I didn’t know him but I’d like to mention him.

I saw him in Pamplona, of course, but never dared speak to him…after all, what do you say to a man who knows the taurine world inside out, and photographed Hemingway, Orson Welles, Sophia Loren and, according to him, ‘the most beautiful woman in the world,’ Ava Gardner? “Hola, señor, my name’s…aw, forget it…”

He lived an extraordinary life immersed in the world of toreros, toros and corridas, and although I’m not qualified to go into it, I wanted to write just a little about him. To remember a man who contributed much not just to fiesta, but to so much more in the wider taurine world…and also, for those who had never heard of him but are interested in these things, well, they now have another name and piece of history they can look into.

Too many families and friends have lost too many special Sanfermineros this past year (the fabulous El Guti died, too, and you can read his about his unique fiesta contribution here. Fiesta and el mundo taurino have lost some extraordinary folk, but such is life, sadly. To you who gave so much during Fiesta, gracias. I wonder, how does Paradise photograph, Mr. Cano? I’ll bet with all the beauty of Earth, plus with some colours unknown to us that you’ll capture magically on film.

And so to those mozos and maestros Rafael, Big Dave, Noel and Julen…may you not only Rest In Peace when you so desire…but Run In Paradise too when the mood takes you. Our beloved City Without Equal will miss you forever.

THE HEMINGWAY FIESTA HOUSE

Julio Ubiña.
Hemingway in Pamplona, 1959. Julio Ubiña.

Here’s one of those interesting (to me) snippets of fiesta history that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, and now seems about the right time to pop into the past after the above catalogue of present day San Fermin sadness.

Before the 1959 fiesta, due to a slight mix up, Hemingway and part of his entourage had nowhere to stay. I’ve read many reasons why, in various books by a wife, an editor and even a daughter-in-law, about what might have gone wrong, but suffice to say San Fermin was approaching and they were homeless for fiesta.

In the book ‘How It Was’ by Hemingway’s fourth, and last wife, Mary, she makes no mention of any accommodation problem, just that when she and Annie Davis, (the wife of Bill, Americans who lived in Malaga) arrived in Pamplona they failed to find the house that had been rented for them, and so had to go on to the square to find everyone first. They were at a bar, of course…

In ‘Papa Hemingway’ by his then editor, A.E. Hotchner, he puts the blame onto Juanito Quintana, whose job it was apparently to secure bullfight tickets and hotel rooms, but had managed to get neither. Whether this is true or not, who knows, but Hemingway was not angry at all with his old friend, who he’d originally met on his first visits to Pamplona in the 1920’s. As I’ve noticed a couple of mistakes in Hotchner’s book, I’d like to think that blaming Quintana is one too. But…

… In ‘Running With The Bulls’ by Valerie Hemingway, (she later married one of his sons, Gregory) there is a clue that maybe Quintana was in charge of organising a few things. Valerie Danby-Smith, as she was then, was a young Irish journalist working in Madrid in 1959, and who that May had managed to get an interview with Hemingway. He invited her to join his crowd and come to San Fermin, even asking Quintana to get extra corrida tickets and a room for her.

<em>Mary and Ernest, with Valerie on the right. Julio Ubiña.</em>
Mary and Ernest, with Valerie on the right. Julio Ubiña.

She still wasn’t sure about going, but one mid-June day as she was walking past her former residence, the concierge ran out, informing her that a letter and a package had arrived for her. It was from Quintana, saying that he’d made a reservation for her in Pamplona, and that if she couldn’t come, could she let him know by June the 15th? It was now June 16th.

That decided it for her, fate took over, and she was now a part of the Hemingway cuadrilla, his ‘party’ or ‘gang.’ In a nice touch, the package that Quintana sent her contained a copy of Inge Morath’s book, ‘Guerra a la Tristesse,’ a book on bull-fighting. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked what I’ve heard about Quintana, and that little kind act just adds to my admiration. Apparently Ernest had asked Quintana to send it to her, so she could learn a little about fiesta, and whatever the truth about any mix-ups with the accommodation, he got the book to Miss Danby-Smith.

So no mention there either of any mix up, but it does seem Quintana had been asked to arrange some things and why not, as he was an old friend of Ernest’s and a native of Pamplona. Whatever the truth, pre-fiesta the Hemingways, and their friends, Bill and Annie Davis, the American couple at whose house near Malaga they were based at that summer, were heading to Pamplona via some other bullfights but would apparently be homeless when they got there.

However, a small house was found for them quite quickly, and so just before fiesta the Hemingways’ and the Davis’s soon found themselves ensconced in the aptly numbered and named, 7, San Fermin Street. I doubt even Ernest himself could have made that up. And from now on the story gets a lot clearer, thanks to an article written by A. Ollo, that appeared in the special fiesta supplement from the Diario de Navarra newspaper of July 5th, 2009.

Inside the Casa de Fiesta

 

Hemingway at Bar Choko, (as it was spelt then) in 1959.
Hemingway at Bar Choko, (as it was spelt then) in 1959.

Whatever the mix up in accommodation, the house for that San Fermin nearly sixty sunlit summer’s ago was owned by a friend of Quintana’s, Jose Arrieta Lara, who lived there with his wife Patrocinio Mendizabal, and their four daughters. The newspaper article makes no mention of any problems that the Hemingways may have had with accommodation, or any failure on Quintana’s part, only that Ernest’s old friend wanted to surprise him.

The article goes on to say that Quintana was helped by one Rosalia Guerendain Larrayoz, part owner of a rather well known Pamplona restaurant that Hemingway frequented. Did I say ‘part owned?’ Yup, the other part owners being her eight, yes eight sisters, and whose collective nickname was ‘The Darlings’ which thus gave the restaurant it’s unofficial name.

Properly called ‘Hostal del Rey Noble’ it was more widely known by the nickname given to those nine sisters: ’Las Pocholas.’ Yup, ‘The Darlings.’ And with that house, so close to the bullring and by Half Moon Park, (surprisingly, still a little secret unknown by many foreigners, it seems to me) well, he must surely have provided that surprise. And as for the address, drunk or not…how could anyone forget that?

The only slight problem was one of space, as Hemingway also wanted a writing room, but with some rearranging of rooms, beds and mattresses, etc, a bit of furniture borrowed from relatives and making use of the dining room and basement, the Pamplona family managed to remain in their house while the Hemingways and their friends Bill and Annie Davis were all put up to everyone’s satisfaction.

So a bit crowded it may have been but everyone seems to have been happy and Hemingway got his writing room, too. Quintana supplied ice every day for the great man’s drinks as there was no fridge, and breakfast was included in the price but apparently Hemingway never took it. He was always first out of the house, either to go to Bar Choko, (as it was spelt then) or to watch the encierro…and sometimes no doubt both.

 

The room Hemingway and his wife Mary were in all those years ago. When this photo was taken, the room had hardly changed, apparently.
The room Hemingway and his wife Mary were in all those years ago. When this photo was taken, the room had hardly changed, apparently. Foto Calleja (Diario de Navarra)

I haven’t seen that wee house on any of the official Hemingway tours, although I could be mistaken, but every time I pass the house I say a little thank you to him. The magnificent bust of Hemingway in front of the bull ring is great and imposing and is where many folk obviously go to pay homage, or just to give a nod and a wink, or raise a glass to say ‘salud’…but my little spot is an almost forgotten house where, for all his many faults, a great man, who essentially brought us all here to this magical town, was, even though he didn’t know it then, to spend his final ever San Fermin. Muchas gracias, y salud, Don Ernesto.

Okay…it’s Guiri of the Year time…

 

‘Guiri Day!’ and the Guiri of the Year Lunch. Señor Pinks, (in green) with Mister Testis, (in blue) and assorted lawyers, attorneys and churros makers.
‘Guiri Day!’ and the Guiri of the Year Lunch. Señor Pinks, (in green) with Mister Testis, (in blue) and assorted lawyers, attorneys and churros makers.

As many people know, for many years now, (this year was the thirteenth,) Those Magnificent Madmen and their Kukuxumusu Machine have chosen someone to be rewarded as their Foreigner of the Year. There is no real criteria to be given it, you just have to go to Fiesta, love Fiesta, or just have some connection with it…really, it is just Kukuxumusu’s choice.

Now, for those who don’t believe, as I’ve mentioned and written often enough practically since I started writing these articles, that ‘being the centre of attention isn’t really my thing,’ let me tell you that’s the truth. It’s one of the reasons I had asked not to be chosen as the GdelA for several years now when the subject was brought up. But this year, for reasons too unimportant to go into here, when I was offered it…well… I had to accept.

Despite my natural shyness and media-phobia…actually, it’s not a ‘phobia’ it’s just that I think there’s too much of it and too many people seem to want to be seen, or known, or famous or just be some kind of ‘celebrity.’ There are a few reasons why I said yes, but the main one was just to say thanks to all the inmates at the Kukusylum who have been so nice to me over the years, from every shop worker all the way to the (big blue) boss, Mr. Testis. But especially to those who didn’t just encourage me to write articles for Sanfermin.com, (thank you Koldo) but those who have had to put up with my ugly mug showing itself all the time on the premises.

Thanks especially have to go to Manu who has had to deal with me and my computing neanderthalismic numbnutting nutjobbing numptyism (yes, these are all real words, all taken from the Libyan – Basque Dictionary that I’m currently compiling.) He has been a patient and kind fella these last few years putting my articles together from the jumbled jigsaw of scribblings and shots (and awful if artful alliteration) I send him…but best of all he has become a fantastic friend.

Now, without going into the politics of things, and the why’s, why nots and wotnots, there were, as many of you know, two Guiris of the Year this fiesta, awarded by two different companies. Basically, Kukuxumusu were taken over, some people left, but one of the original three who founded the company, Mikel Urmeneta, the comic, cartoon, and design genius, has started a new one, Katuki Saguyaki, and he wanted to also continue with the award and keep the original name ‘Foreigner of the Year’ too, but use it with his new company.

Yup, one guiri was a popular foreign Sanferminero who has being going for decades, is well known in Pamplona and indeed around the world for his work, (indeed, his ‘art’, for that is what it is) due to just how good it, and he, is…and the other was Jim Hollander. Just kidding folks…and sorry Jim!

Jim Hollander thoroughly deserved his award…(congratulations again, fella!) as he really is well known in Pamplona, had a photo of his chosen for the feria poster in 2002, and apart from being involved in a couple of other books, has also had a couple of his own published, including that classic Pamplona photo-book (but read the words from the various contributors too, they’re superb) ‘Run to the Sun’ and the most recent, ‘From Pizarra to Pamplona,’ which I read pre-fest and brought with me to fiesta to ask Jim to sign for me. Which he did, along with a lovely inscription.

 

The 2002 Feria poster, using Jim Hollander’s photo.
The 2002 Feria poster, using Jim Hollander’s photo.

Jim Hollander is a Sanferminero through and through, a true aficionado to hoof, along with being a world respected and renowned international photographer. Not bad, eh? And thus it goes without saying, but a richly deserved Guiri of the Year also. So, two Foreigners of the Year. I hope in our different ways we complimented each other.

Oh…and me? Oh…dear. I’ve written a few articles from things I’ve read, robbed and plagiarised, and self-published a couple of wee tales but that’s about it. Oh, there is one more thing though…I do love, love, LOVE Pamplona very, very much. I love its people, its saint and its fiesta to the moon and back…and that was enough for me to be awarded Kukuxumusu Guiri of the Year. Or it could have just been for my staggering good looks.

And do you know what? It was an honour, a pleasure and just a bullring shaped (all round) great fun-filled fiesta thing to be awarded and be involved with. Yes, even the media stuff was a hoot, although some folk who saw my ugly mug must have wondered what the heck El Hombre Elefante had to do with fiesta…anyway…I’m sorry you may have had to contend with my unedifying visage on the tele, (jeez, I’ve actually been told that I don’t even have a face for radio!) or in the papers here and there, but remember, it’s always glass half-full time for me, fiesteros…so it was only for a smidgen of those 204 glorious hours of fiesta.

So once more my thanks to Kukuxumusu, and especially Manu, for choosing me as their Guiri del Año. Hope the cheque didn’t bounce, fellas. Thanks for a great Guiri Day Lunch at the Nainere on Saturday 9th where there were about 50 people attending and I met many other previous GdelA’s, some of whom I knew, and some I didn’t, but where it was obvious that to actually win the thing you have to be slightly off your rocker.

Ah, yes, being ‘off ones rocker’ reminds me to thank my personal invitees who ditched whatever they really wanted to do and came along in support. At least, I hope it was in support, ‘cos I actually think they came not just a free lunch but loads of free alcohol, too. Heck, why do you think I showed up?! Salud, Sanfermineros, I truly appreciated it.

Before I go, a couple of other things happened that made it a truly unique fiesta. I might even include a photo or two… (Look, as I’m talking about me for once I might as well take advantage and dilute a couple of pictures that I’m in with the friends about to be mentioned below.) Back in ’84 when I arrived for my first ever fiesta, little knowing it would be the beginning of a life-long love affair, one of the people I met on the patch of grass opposite Bar Txoko, where the gang I fell in with basically lived for the whole of fiesta was also there for his first year.

 

Ike celebrating his birthday in Pamplona in ’89. We’d get some buckets, fill them up with any old street sludge we could find…and tip the lot over him. It’s ‘cos we loved him, see…?! (By the way, he’s in the Guiri of the Year photo, too.)
Ike celebrating his birthday in Pamplona in ’89. We’d get some buckets, fill them up with any old street sludge we could find…and tip the lot over him. It’s ‘cos we loved him, see…?! (By the way, he’s in the Guiri of the Year photo, too.)

His name was Ike del Rosario (it still is) and he’s from California. He remains a great mate and one of my favourite people on the planet, but after the first ten years or so he hasn’t been able to make it back due to, well, life. He made it for New Year’s Eve once, (where he dressed up as Elvis…think ‘Filipino Elvis!’) and I think one more fiesta around 15 years ago. Actually, 1999 rings a bell.

Anyway, before fiesta the gang were in San Sebastian, and imagine my surprise and deep joy when, around midnight, in Constitution Square in the Old Town…there was Ike. Unbelievable. A couple of people knew but had kept it a secret but I had no idea. It all added to the magic of this year’s fiesta.

There was even more to come as there were two more folk there who hadn’t been for I think over twenty years, although everyone had known they were coming for months…James and Maryann from Brisbane. (Although I’d seem them in Australia since.) I first met James in Pamplona in 1986, in the gutter, basically, and thirty years later…

James and yours truly, in the gutter. Or perhaps that should read, James and me, truly in the gutter?!
James and yours truly, in the gutter. Or perhaps that should read, James and me, truly in the gutter?!

And as if with those three things couldn’t get better, well, they could. An old friend from England who had never been and who was now married and living in America came over, too. So to Tim Pollard, (and son Fergus who he came with) it was great to see you after so long and thanks for also being one of those who just made this year’s San Fermin extra special. And with one Mark Williams returning after nearly thirty years, and the ever present Alan Huggett, that meant four Reigate Hillbillies were in Pamplona for the first time. Happy Daze…

The Reigate Hillbillies. Mark, me, Tim and Alan, seconds before the town slips off it’s axis for 9 days.
The Reigate Hillbillies. Mark, me, Tim and Alan, seconds before the town slips off it’s axis for 9 days.

To everyone who had the good grace and just all round sense of fun to say congratulations or ‘felicidades’ to me for being Kuku’s Guiri of the Year…thank you. Just like the unknown folk from Pamplona who stopped me in the street to say something nice, or even to take a ‘selfie’ with me…you ‘got’ it. Thank you. (I know, I know…people wanted a selfie with me, for fiesta’s sake!) I was hailed by complete strangers who laughed with me, joked with me and drank with me. Like I said, Pamplona really does slip off it’s axis… What fun.

‘Cos that’s all it is about, being Foreigner of the year…a bit of publicity for the company, of course…but a whole lot of fun for the victim…me! And I have my ‘trophy’ proudly placed in the living room, and I’m going to keep my special kuku-tiara on until next year’s Guiri Day Lunch…when, even though they will have chosen the 2017 GdelA in June, I shall proudly, and officially, relinquish my crown, and pass it on to whoever is lucky enough to be the next San Fer King or San Fer Queen.

And finally…

Once Upon A Time In Pamplona. 1984 and how it all began…
Once Upon A Time In Pamplona. 1984 and how it all began…

Well, we are just about there, chicos. That’s nearly the end of this, and it’s certainly enough of me. The next puli, (for that is what these articles are called) will be back to the happy normal – almost nothing about me but mostly loads about everything else.

In certain photos the streets of Pamplona appear to be lined with gold, but of course the Fiesta of San Fermin can’t be all silver linings. Fiesta may seem like a fairy tale sometimes but it is real life too, after all. But during what was, in one small way, ‘my year’ I felt like I was treading on cobbles made of gold lined by pavements edged with silver.

Pamplona, I love you. You’re a dreamland, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, heaven on earth, and as a city you’re the genie out of the bottle, with dancing giants, magic people and running bulls. Pamplona and Fiesta is a magical, mythical marvel and inhabited by some of the best people on the planet and I’m a lucky lad and we’re a lucky bunch.

This video of the entire La Pamplonesa pre-fiesta concert in front of the Town Hall is for everyone, but especially for the maestro, mozo, borracho and golfo and all round huevo bueno and mi amigo, Rolf von Essen.

¡Ya falta menos! ¡Viva San Fermin! Gora!