21 SEPTEMBER 1991, Page 26

Loads of bull

Sir: Sorry to disagree with Sir Raymond Carr on the subject of Spain (Books, 7 September), but it is not true that bullfight- ing is no longer popular among Spaniards. Nor is it correct to imply that support for bullfighting has declined with Spain's pro- gression to democracy and membership of the European Community.

Like Sir. Raymond, having not been to a fight for many years, I assumed that the corrida had degenerated into a tourist attraction. It has always been a minority interest in Spain; but, as I learnt on a visit earlier this summer, after several years of neglect bullfighting is now fashionable again. It is actively supported by 'yuppies', by intellectuals, by the King and by mem- bers of the Socialist government who like to be seen at the plaza de toros of a Sunday afternoon.

At the Feria de San Isidro in Madrid this year bullfights were held on 26 consecutive days, more than anyone could remember. The best tickets were being sold on the black market at up to £500 each; and the highest-paid matadors were earning £80,000 each for an afternoon's work.

Irritating as it may be for many people to learn, Spain's national fiesta is flourishing. Simon Courtauld

Inglewood Lodge, Kintbury, Berkshire