The bull fighter, the bull and George

I bought some ‘Poster Strips’ today. They are double-sided adhesives which ‘Hold on strongly’ and cause ‘No damage to walls or posters’. The print of a bull that we bought in Japan keeps falling off the wall so I decided I needed something a bit more permanent than blu-tack and less unsightly than sticky tape.

I used sticky tape to hang posters on my bedroom wall as a teenager. One of my favourite heart-throbs of that time was Manuel Benitez Pérez. I didn’t know that was his name until Wikipedia told me it was so. Nor did I know that he was Spain’s highest paid matador when he retired in 1971. In the 60’s I just knew him as El Córdobes, one of Spain’s most daring and dashing young bull-fighters. I wasn’t interested in the bull fights but he did look very sexy in the poster wearing his tight- fitting suit of lights.

Last year The Farmer and I were in a bar in Córdoba, Spain and I finally understood why he was called El Córdobes! He was the bull-fighter from Córdobes. It’s only taken me 45 years  to work it out!  The walls of Bar Santos are still covered with photos and framed newspaper articles of him after all these years. Córdobes is only a small city. They must have been very proud of their young hero and the international fame he achieved. I don’t know how wide his fame spread but we heard about him in the back blocks of Manchester.

Also in Spain we came across a shop selling all a matador would need to look his gorgeous best in front of a bull and a crowd of cheering Spaniards. The pants would be much too small for me and I’m only 5’2″ and those ballet shoes, so impractical for nimbly avoiding contact with a maddened 2000 lb animal.

The other poster I had was of George Chakeris. He played Bernado, the gang leader of the Sharks, in the 1961 film of West Side Story. In my poster he was  wearing a purple shirt and a sultry smile. I loved the dancing in that movie.  The Puerto Ricans,  Bernardo and his girlfriend Anita, seemed to have a lot more fun than Bernardo’s sister, Maria, and her boyfriend Tony, who I thought were too serious and soppy. George could dance. He was lithe and looked just a little bit dangerous. That’s him in the centre.

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