When I initially came up with the idea of doing a documentary on bullfighting in 2017, I was unsure of what direction it might go in. I wasn’t sure if it would be in any way interesting to a UK audience either. But my reasoning for carrying out a piece like this was (partly) for that reason. At home, it’s probably the case that people don’t fully understand what happens in a corrida de toros (bullfight). That’s natural, I don’t think anyone (myself included) would have been able to describe the different stages of the bullfight.
Neither could they flag up the varying arguments that are circulating in relation to bulls. I met someone last night who described it as a “hot topic”, and it is. Anyone that I’ve spoken to has some opinion of bullfighting. The intensity of their feelings on the matter changes as much as their opinion, from those who are moderately for, to those who are vehemently against, and vice versa. I hope that the final product will reflect this.
One word that came up constantly in interviews struck me as interesting; “respect.” According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of that word can either be “an act of giving particular attention” or “high or special regard”. I couldn’t help but wonder if “tolerate” would be a more appropriate word. Respect implies some sort of involvement with the activity, whereas tolerate doesn’t. Or at the very least it implies less involvement, and a sort of neutrality. Perhaps it’s a language issue, which is the cross anyone who’s done translations will know all about. That being said, it is at the same time a pressing issue, never mind a language one.
Just a note on the language, while we’re on the subject. It’s been really refreshing to be back and speaking Spanish again after a year break from it. I have to admit, my level of Spanish has probably dropped since I was last here. That’s normal enough, but I’ve really enjoyed using it. Moreover, I’ve enjoyed using it in situations that I’ve never done before. I’ve really enjoyed throwing myself into the world of bullfighting, and getting up to speed with the vocabulary, the specific terms, and the interviews. This leads me to my next point; some of the interviews (for your benefit) are not completely translated. I’m not sure a UK audience will fully grasp the terms, or the significance of some things. They haven’t been left out but the translations have been adapted to help understanding on the part of the listeners.
Whatever your thoughts, or my thoughts, or anyone’s thoughts on bullfighting, it’s clear that this topic remains of interest. It’s interesting on far too many levels to appreciate in a 28-minute radio documentary. It appeals on a human level, a national level, a continental level. It has international implications, it has day-to-day implications. When you look at this all, it’s next to impossible to fit this all into under half an hour. I’ve said previously that, if I’m lucky enough to do this as a job, it’s something I would love to return to. There’s so much I could have talked about, and so many more people I could have spoken to. I guess I’ll just have to come back out one day?..
In terms of a conclusion, I have one. And it’s not what I expected when I was planning this. It’s not wildly off target, but it is slightly different. What I can say is that what I’ve found over the past three weeks has been thought-provoking. The trick is editing all that together into a coherent 28-minute piece. What is the conclusion? Well, you’re just going to have to stay tuned for more news in time. Watch this space.