By Gerry Cottle, Helen Batten
Gerry Cottle, a stockbroker's son, ran away to hitch the circus whilst he used to be simply 15 and shortly married into Britain's oldest circus dynasty. jam-packed with stories of circus acts long past incorrect, exposure stunts falling flat, errant clowns and lovely ladies, this identify tells the extreme tale of the final word showman.
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Additional info for Confessions of A Showman
At the end of the performance I asked the theatre staff if they had any supernatural inhabitants. They told me the story of the poor nun who got pregnant and was apparently bricked up in the theatre to die a terrible death. I was relieved when we moved out of York and spent a season touring Europe. 29 Cottle Book 3rds 28/7/06 11:38 am Page 30 Confessions of a Showman It was a great experience. I travelled across the Eastern Bloc and ended up in Israel on a kibbutz. (Remember, these were the days before interrailing and package holidays.
He agreed to put up some money for me to run my own circus. Then I found a man who called himself Captain Lewis. ) Captain Lewis was one of those characters that you find hanging around the periphery of show land. He was a marquee 39 Cottle Book 3rds 28/7/06 11:38 am Page 40 Confessions of a Showman hirer. He offered to give me a tent and all the equipment I needed in return for a share in the circus. With Brian back on the scene I had found someone who could not only perform lots of acts in the ring but most importantly take care of all the mechanics of the circus, the building and the moving of it.
He ushered me in cheerily, thinking probably that I wanted to talk about the latest poster design. Instead I dropped my bombshell. Total shock. I ploughed on. ‘I think you know it has always been my ambition to manage my own circus. ’ I thought I could detect just the hint of a raised eyebrow and twitch at the corner of the lips. He was making me nervous. ’ I was starting to stammer. Jim was not going to say anything. As I was halfway through the caravan door he spoke for the first time, ‘Obviously you won’t be spending the winter with us then.
Confessions of A Showman by Gerry Cottle, Helen Batten