THE PAMPLONA STORY – JULY 2010.
Ric Polansky ©
Well, it's finally arrived. Those magic days that Hemingway made so famous. Your chance to party and run in front of the bulls in Pamplona. His book, THE SUN ALSO RISES (called FIESTA) by the English publisher is about a man's personal masculinity
and how women relate and don't relate and much more concerning the hectic, romantic, festive and scenic backdrop of Pamplona, Spain.
I am proud to announce that none other than one of Pamplona’s great character's is writing the notes for the Euro Weekly. Jerry Roach, from California has been going to Pamplona for "donkey's years". This will be his 18th running. Jerry arrived there in the mid sixties and by luck happened into the very group that Hemingway ran, fought and drank with. The indefatigable Matt Carney was Jerry’s mentor. Jerry became so famous that later encyclopedian, James Michener of IBERIA book fame used Jerry as his role model for “Joe” in his subsequent best seller book about Spain, The Drifters.
Just like his God father, Matt Carney, (reread the Pamplona chapter of Michner's IBERIA) if there was a scuffle Jerry would be in the thick of it, upfront and counted.
Jerry was just recently in Mojacar but wasn't seen by many as he spent all of his time alone writing or in Chris Lowe’s Lemon Tree eating breakfast, lunch and dinner and praising Katie’s gourmet cooking.
Ric & Jerry
The famed American author, James Michener showed up here in1966 and naturally he gravitated toward our group. We were the ones everyone wanted to be with.
After all, Matt Carney was our ring leader and all others fell right into place: There was Robert Vavra, who did the terrific black and whites for Michener's book IBERIA , his friend and well known artist and American matador,
John Fulton, Kenneth Tynan the Times film critic and author of the book BULL FEVER, Hemingway look alike and professor of Spanish literature, Kenneth Vanderford, author Robert Daley, SWORDS OF SPAIN, Orson Wells, film maker and various other characters that made us renowned".
"The first thing you think about in Pamplona is the running of the bulls. That's just part, as is the morning coffee and the last "one for the road" at night. Pamplona is a conglomerate fiesta (party) in which all the parts make the whole and no one part can be singled out as a definitive factor. You have to stay the entire fair, right up to the end at mid-night when we all sing "Oh pobre mi" (poor me) the party is ending because if you haven't done that then you haven't stayed the distance, lived it through it. Hell, I know people today in New York and Los Angeles that if you put on that song they will automatically cry! Their personal emotions are that strong, vivid and moving-never to be lost or forgotten.
You might say Pamplona was a village fiesta until Hemingway wrote his famous book. After that millions have come and gone but all remember it. Quite a few have bought apartments there just to invite more friends. And to have a place to stay is to be considered one of the lucky and pampered ones.
Once having finished your pilgrimage and arrived at the sacred city you have much to do. Learn the songs, discover where people meet, learn about different sections of the city, have someone tell you about how to run the bulls, show you how to drink and make it through the day, dance the jota, learn enough Spanish to get you by. Hopefully your group leader will do that for you. You will meet a lot of genuine celebrities and more phonies than you can shake a stick at-but it's all part of the dream dance.
Surprisingly enough you're on your own in the crowds. No police involve themselves unless you're doing something ultra-rude or incredibly dumb. There is a Pamplona decorum that you will see about you, how all is meant for fun, no opinions, beliefs or fights!
Like the Van Morrison song: no method, no learning, no religion too. The patron saint (San Fermin) will protect you; unless your just plain stupid.