By Gerry Cottle, Helen Batten
Gerry Cottle, a stockbroker's son, ran away to hitch the circus while he was once simply 15 and shortly married into Britain's oldest circus dynasty. In time he used to be the landlord of the largest circus on the planet until eventually his growing to be cocaine habit resulted in his arrest and financial disaster. He recovered, and, ever the showman, went directly to make hundreds of thousands with the 1st ever non-animal circus, the Moscow and chinese language nation circuses, and the Circus of Horrors.
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Additional info for Confessions of a Showman: My Life in the Circus
They were seen as very posh and everyone treated them with great respect. While everyone was very British and polite about it, I still felt my mother’s extreme disappointment. But my wedding was a turning point. At last I was doing something ‘normal’ – something the neighbours’ children did, something she could talk about – and I think the wedding and the quality of the guests surpassed all her expectations. Maybe the circus wasn’t so bad after all. So I had my wife and I was a fully paid-up member of the circus community.
Unfortunately the fixer turned out to be a conman. The count was all washed up with nowhere to go and no money to leave. Well, all credit to his lordship, he pulled himself together and eventually managed to get a circus up and running and touring not only South Africa but Swaziland and Rhodesia as well. 37 Cottle Book 3rds 28/7/06 11:38 am Page 38 Confessions of a Showman Brian prospered. He learned how to train animals and fix the circus machinery. The count was livid. Brian was out of a job.
Betty is a bit more reserved, but they all like to drink. One night we had to take Julie home from the pub strapped to the car’s roofrack because she was so plastered and making so much noise. They teased me constantly. It hurt at the time, I desperately wanted to be accepted. I got on better with their boyfriends. Mike Denning lived with Baba. He was incredibly nice, laid-back and full of bonhomie. Everyone loved him and he’s one of these people who makes friends instantly wherever he goes. Billy Wild was a bit different but we were still great friends.