Confessions of a Showman: My Life in the Circus by Gerry Cottle, Helen Batten

By Gerry Cottle, Helen Batten

Gerry Cottle, a stockbroker's son, ran away to affix the circus whilst he used to be simply 15 and shortly married into Britain's oldest circus dynasty. In time he was once the landlord of the largest circus on the earth until eventually his turning out to be cocaine dependancy resulted in his arrest and financial disaster. He recovered, and, ever the showman, went directly to make thousands with the 1st ever non-animal circus, the Moscow and chinese language country circuses, and the Circus of Horrors.

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Sample text

Joe only came there to drink and talk his way through the night with his mates, but he was very keen for me to sample the extra services the club offered. I was very nervous but after several nights he persuaded me to be introduced to this lady, let’s call her Susan. She was not your average working girl. In fact she was a wealthy woman, a doctor’s wife. The couple had this arrangement where a couple of nights a week she was allowed to come up to London. I don’t know definitely that her husband knew what she was up to, but I think he did.

All the profits could go into your own pocket. Of course as soon as I married Betty and qualified as a member of the family, I lobbied hard to get my own concession. Well, you can imagine what happened. He thought I would be dealing with a few Sherbet Dib Dabs. Instead, I scoured the country and found a fantastically reasonable confectionery wholesaler in mid Wales. There was absolute uproar. Everyone accused me of trying to steal their business; Jimmy called me all the names under the sun. After just a week Jim took me to one side.

But there was one far 28 Cottle Book 3rds 28/7/06 11:38 am Page 29 How to Marry into the Circus more important practical reason. I was a ‘josser’, not of circus blood. If I had any real intention of becoming Britain’s biggest circus owner I was going to need the contacts and cooperation of the circus community. I was only going to get this by becoming one of them. Marrying Betty should get me a VIP invitation to join the club. I saw the whole progress of my life laid out in front of me. There was one small problem.

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