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90 Years of the Sun Also Rising

In Pamplona at the moment, we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the publication of Hemingway’s novel, The Sun Also Rises (a.k.a. Fiesta).

 

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There are several activities organised, and a large exhibition in the Plaza del Castillo of photos from when he visited Pamplona – of him, and taken by him and his friends.

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Some of the places he stayed are still here, under different names to those used in the novel, some have changed.

It was interesting to see that Heminway, though he never ran with the bulls himself, did get gored by a baby cow, which they release in the plaza after the encierro.

 

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I was struck by a quote they have printed on one of the posters, which he wrote to a friend: “Pamplona is the most enjoyable place you’ve ever seen.” It was true then and it’s true now.

And my good friend JD Martins would agree.

 

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Have you had One Night in Pamplona?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lines written in Pamplona

In the thick of the festival of San Fermines now.

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A couple of dangerous and incident-filled bull runs the last two days. Reminds us that this is not a joke, and it reminded many of us of the way the bull runs used to be – before anti-slip coatings and better street surfaces.

I’ve been busy with kids and having meals with friends on our street, and have only gotten to see the fire works once, the bull runs on the telly, and haven’t been near the bull ring yet.  It reminds me of a poem I wrote during my first San Fermin festival – exactly 20 years ago (my mother-in-law was astounded when I told her we met that long ago!).

Lines Written in Pamplona

 

I have held my red bandana aloft,

Tied it round my neck

And worn it proudly:

Opened champagne at noon;

Held a candle at midnight.

Sung and danced and drank and walked and watched

And smiled in between.

But to experience San Fermin;

You need to have no need for sleep,

A body unaffected by alcohol,

The pulling power of James Bond,

The stamina and sperm count of a bull;

A bottomless stomach, to hold all there is to taste,

The ability to float above the crowds, so dense;

And omnipresence.

 

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Yes, that was in the days when you could take a bottle into the packed Plaza Consistorial – and I was a young man!

Now I spend the afternoons doing thinks like bringing my kids up on the big wheel and having a picnic as the heat of the day dies down.

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And another poem, before my first ever San Fermin lunch, of which my son just shared his first ever this year – he’s 7 months.

Lines Written in a Spanish Home

 

A stranger sitting at a Spanish table,

Eating things he never thought of

In ways he never knew,

Listening to the lunchtime

Talk of the household,

In another language he does not know;

But understanding something of the banter,

Wishing he could speak;

Thinking;

If, he could

Live like this.

 

5/7/96

 

 

San Fermines 2016

Things are all set here in Pamplona for this year’s famed “running of the bulls” festival.

The barriers which will keep the bulls from the public on their way through the town are in place, the TV cameras are set up along the route, the stages are constructed in various plazas.

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La Plaza del Castillo, with San Fermin figures over the band stand and the stage ready for concerts.

 

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Bull Run Barriers along Santa Domingo and the Town Hall square, with some tourists taking in the scene.

 

Today is the day of the Peñas. This afternoon we were treated to a parade of giants, and this weekend many folk are getting a head start on the carousing.  I’ll hear how hard the party is later tonight as the stragglers stagger home past my bedroom balcony.

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Giants dancing along Calle Estafeta.

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The corner of Mercaderes and Estafeta will have bulls rather than giants taking the corner come Thursday morning.

I’ve written about the fiesta before, but a few things are worth mentioning this year –

The new city council have taken the pains to put recycling dumpsters in place as the replace the vacuum refuse disposal system for the festival, which is a great thing for the environment, considering the enormous tonnage of trash produced during the festival.

They have also decided to spray hydrophobic pain on the walls of many streets to discourage the out of hand urination that takes place  – believe me, I’ve seen some stuff, and it’s just ridiculous, so I hope it’s a help, so when we walk through the town with our kids in the morning, we’re not jumping streams of urine.

Last, but not least, my good friend JD Martins has a great novella which will give you a glimpse of the whole thing in 25 thousand words, with a great story and some sexy scenes to boot!

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And as one of the characters says – if you want to run with the bulls, you have to stay more than one night. Study the route, figure out where you want to run, read about it, watch the videos of the previous runs, and get to bed early the night before. It’s no joke. You wouldn’t want your One Night in Pamplona to be your last night on the planet.

 

September Starts

September again; it comes so quick, as a good song says…
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The housemartins are ready for the new season (the swallows use another set of wires).

The heat here disappeared and a storm saw the start of the school year last night but the next festival in Pamplona is already setting up…

San Fermin Txikito
The city of Pamplona used to be divided into three Burgos. This is mine.
The celebration of the privilge of the union of these three (592 years ago) takes place on the 8th of Sept. Small San Fermin, or San Fermin txikito takes place at the end of September.

For me, September started with dental surgery, but I’ll save you the photos of that…

Anyway, ’twas a good summer.
Apart from sitting on the beach and visiting home, I watched three seasons of Mad Men, read half of MR James’s Ghost stories, and all of Lonesome Dove, wrote a novella, and almost all of a novel (still not ready for submission, albeit) I put on a few kilos, saw several species of raptors every day and a few foxes and roe deer around, but got few decent photos, made a saw horse (as well as cut and constructed a few walls of logs) and mounted a headboard in the village house.
Sawhorse

headboard

What I haven’t done is write many blog posts, but I hope to rectify that this autumn..

I did scribbled a few more poems, one about mountain biking, which I didn’t do enough of this year, really – sticking to my desk instead.
Here are a few more of these…. two are inspired by having a child ask the questions we never got good answers to in our day… at least I didn’t.

Along Hallowed Paths

Old friends we seldom saw
Except in photos or in a bar,
But who shared a hobby, such as
Biking or hiking, where we are alone,
Never enter our thoughts upon the
Mountain; only when we return to recount.

However, now they are gone from those
Groups in the bar relating their days in
The saddle, their face comes to mind any time
We sit upon a mountain bike, it seems,
Every crazy climb and mental descent,
Every path picked over rocks and
Gravel track or long asphalt road
Through fields and forests
Is hallowed ground.

Dogs don’t go to Heaven

They told me dogs don’t go to Heaven.

If so, then much less the wolf,
Nor would the fleet deer flee.
If there are no dogs allowed,
Then neither birds nor bumblebees
Enter, I’m sure. Who visits flowers, then?
None need, for they are also absent.
Mountains there are equally bare
Of the forest that covers the one before me.
When they tell me of Heaven, I can hardly
Imagine how the water flows and falls there,
Or why one would swim in the wide blue sea
Without a fish to see.
They tell me
Dogs don’t go to heaven, so I’ve decided
That’s not somewhere I’d for ever want to be.

Thoughts on Obvious Questions Reappearing as a Parent

Why did Cinderella have to go home by midnight anyway?
What kind of fairy godmother gives a taste only to take away?
Was it because young ladies do not linger out all night?
Yet for the rest the party was in full swing when she took flight.

Control and strict rule sets of the time seems to be at base,
For readers to learn early how a suitor should give chase
And girls be given freedom only in small doses, lest
They reject the men who’d take them and clutch it to their chest.

The Poplars and the Church Tower

The church tower of Olleta has stood five centuries
In the fork between the river and the gulley;
The row of poplar trees four fewer, but for forty
Years now have stood a few feet taller; a monument
Of Nature making the village square shadier.

But they won’t stand longer,
For they’re coming down this week;
Some to make room for renovations to the church wall,
Lest it fall in ruins – after all, ’twasn’t built to last this long –
And the rest to return the view
Of the sun-drenched sandstone
From before it was shielded by such tall trees;
Proving man prefers to gaze upon
The wonder of his own creation.

Summer Poems

Sometimes it feels like a nuisance, as a writer, to be a poet too.
So many hours can go by just making some short poems as perfect as I can make them…
But you can’t escape the way the writing comes.
Here are a selection of this summer’s work…

The Weight of Centuries

From the hilltop, the plain extends into haze,
A mosaic of mixed farming and forests
Even against the noise of the swish of
Windmills, the insects persist, cicadas trill, drill
Butterflies flutter across this pre-alpine meadow
Which has persisted despite pine plantations
Roads cut into the red earth
I sit on a fallen stone wall on which so many days have stretched,
Spying small valleys into which vineyards have been etched
And I feel the weight of centuries.

Spanish Holidays

I have returned from my homeland to my adopted home
And wonder now where to take my holidays.
I watch tourists of my same shade trail past
This terrace exploring the old town of Pamplona,
Its small cobbled streets, of which I live in the thick.
It’s a privilege to drink this beer here, in holiday clothes
With nothing to do but write and raise my child, and
While aware this is my own particular “first world problem,”
I wish still to somehow, for some days, “get away from it all.”

Tethered Walk

The ultimate experience of
A walk into the wilderness
For most – that stroll in swimsuit
Along the surf alone
While the family builds sandcastles,
Untethered to anyone – is now tainted
By the telephone taken along.

Last Bastions for All to Admire

The last bastions of utter luxury
Still stand,
And we can look upon them
And wonder
What it must have been like
For those
Who were able to enjoy them
In purity,
Before the rest of us arrived
Upon the sand.

In an Old Farmyard

Sun warms a wall, formerly whitewashed,
Now sand blasted to expose the beauty of
Raw stone and soft mortar in irregular mosaic.

Similar pillars stand centuries, supporting
Painted red gates that seldom open upon
A lane left to the birds and other wildlife,

Now a road to nowhere in time, like byres
And empty stables into which swallows
Still swoop to suspended nests of soil through
Slit windows, simply monuments to former toil.

At the Waterfall

Waterfall echoes white noise,
Breeze whispers through oaks.
Observing butterfly lawn,
Lounging on picnic blanket
Under piebald white and blue sky,
But unable to block out banal
Banter and utter bollox of
The barbequing family
Who parked their car beside us.

I’ll Take the Moon

Over festivals all very stimulating,
With curves as wonderful as any in creation
During a night as long as stars can sustain,
A concert of the songs of our
Latest pandemic’s potentially greatest loss,
A spectacle of lights and dazzling objects,
I’ll take the moon,
Rising orange in third quadrant
Past the Pyrenees.

Interview with JD Martins about his book, One Night in Pamplona.

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DOB Today just before the festivals, I have the great pleasure of having a few minutes to chat to J.D. Martins about One Night in Pamplona.
Hi JD. Great to have you back to talk about your new book. Thanks for taking the time. I know you are busy getting ready for the festivals, so I’ll try keep this short.

JD Thanks. Good to be back. Yes, we are all excited about San Fermines starting in just a few hours.

DOB So, this book is another erotic romance in the City Nights Series? Why Pamplona?

JD Yes, like the other city nights books, including One Night in Madrid, my first novella, it is an erotic romance set in one city and has to tell a story over the course of just one day in less than twenty-five thousand words. I know some readers of One Night in Madrid were a little disappointed that the story did not continue, but that was due to the constraints of the series. Perhaps one day I will continue Danny and Aishling’s story… But to get back to your question, One Night in Pamplona is a more traditional romance of boy meets girl and they hit it off straight away. I chose Pamplona because I know the city well having lived there a while, and because it’s a really amazing place, especially during the festivals. It’s the perfect place for two strangers to be thrown together and have a great time together, sharing amazing experiences to lay down a foundation for their a common story.

DOB So the story takes place during the festivals?

JD Yes, from ten in the morning on the 6th, to ten the following morning.

DOB That’s an intense twenty-four hours! I’ve experienced them myself and you can fit a lot of life into that day.

JD Indeed! The city goes twenty-four hours a day during the festivals, so there’s no need to stop partying if you have the stamina.

DOB I’m guessing your characters do?

JD Ha! Yes, they’re both young and energetic.

DOB Tell us about them.

JD Well, Jeff is from Boston, where he works in a law firm. He’s on a tour around Spain and has of course read his Hemingway and knows he needs to stop in Pamplona to run with the bulls. He’s on the look out for a lady friend to spend the day with, and he meets Idoia, a local girl who’s up for some fun with this tourist. Unfortunately, Jeff only has one night there, which is a disappointment to Idoia. What really upsets, her, though, is that he wants to run with the bulls, something she thinks is reckless and idiotic.

DOB I see. We’ve both run with the bulls, though, JD, so I can’t fault the man.

JD That’s true, but, as Idoia says, not the first night without any sleep or idea of what to expect. We spent a few mornings watching the Encierro, and we knew what it was about. And I for one, had a good night sleep before hand, and was stone cold sober.

DOB Me, too. Sounds like a strong-minded young lady, Idoia.

JD She is. One of the important themes I wanted to have in the book, without being obvious about it and ruining the fantasy of it, is something that has been given a lot of attention last year and this year in San Fermines – sexual harassment by drunken men who think they’re having a bit of fun when really, they’re overstepping the mark by a long shot. Idoia’s is always in control of the situation. She knows what she wants from him and asks him for it. He is very willing to give her it, of course, and readily follows her lead, only going as far as she is comfortable with.

DOB Sounds like a strong character readers will identify with.

JD Hopefully so.

DOB Apart from a bit of nookie, what else do the characters get up to during their night?

JD As you know, there’s a hell of a lot to see and do in San Fermines besides drinking and running with the bulls. They see a few sights, watch the giants in procession, see the Peñas – the marching bands for readers who don’t know them – and of course watch the fireworks in the Citadel.

DOB A complete day! So, does Jeff run with the bulls in the end?

JD I’m afraid I can’t say. He has to weight up the ambitions and desires of a day and a lifetime, let’s put it that way.

DOB I think that is a good way to put it. I’ve read the story myself and I just wanted to see how you’d answer. Any more novellas in the pipeline?

JD Perhaps after the festivals I’ll start working on a One Night in Boston. I will be set in the snowy cold, though, to make a change from the sultry nights of Madrid and Pamplona.

DOB Well, what better excuse than the cold to make a couple cuddle close? Before you go, let us know where we can get our hands in One Night in Pamplona.

JD Yes. The novella is out on July 29th, and it is on pre-order now at the reduced price of just 99cents on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZMO4226
if you order it before publication. You can also get it from various vendors via the Tirgearr Publishing website. http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-pamplona.htm
You can find me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JDMartinsauthor

DOB Sounds like a great deal. Well, JD I’ll let you go and put on your white and red clothes and have your almuerzo before the rocket goes off. Feliz Fiestas, as they say.

JD Cheers for having the chat and have a good festival yourself, David. And careful with those bulls!

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