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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. filled with stories of circus acts long past improper, exposure stunts falling flat, errant clowns and gorgeous women, this identify tells the extreme tale of the last word showman.

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Unforgotten slights and insults created currents operating lower than the well mannered speak. It used to be terrifying to a newcomer like myself, part the time I didn’t have a clue what was once happening. I consider the nice matriarch Mary Fossett kicked off the assembly 12 months through leaning around the desk and announcing menacingly to Peter Featherstone,‘I knew we’d disappointed you Peter, after we didn’t get a Christmas card this year,’and it simply went downhill from there. the most goal of those conferences was once to place our playing cards at the desk and inform everybody our routes. yet there has been the main ridiculous quantity of bluffing and double bluffing occurring. each person used to be desirous to nick an individual else’s plum web site or ‘jump them’ (go within the week sooner than and break the company) and, fingers within the air, i may be the more severe perpetrator. i suppose I felt a necessity to end up to the opposite rascals that i used to be snapping at their heels. And even if we have been less than oath by no means to bare something outdoors these 4 partitions, they have been as leaky as a sieve. Spoiling every one other’s posters used to be a little a video game. so long as i used to be the winner, I enjoyed it. We wasted lots of time operating around taking down our opponents’ posters or, even worse, papering ours excessive. I acquired a distinct kick out of doing it even in my very early days – Roberts Brothers stormed Joe Gandey’s Circus threatening to kill me after I Evo-sticked a Gandey’s poster directly to a Roberts’ lorry. Evo being the glue they use to fix tents, it used to be completely most unlikely to get off. See, I’m chuckling as I write this. Now I had my very own circus I made definite my posters have been plastered totally in all places, particularly in seventy eight Cottle booklet 3rds 28/7/06 11:39 am web page seventy nine One Elephant or , Sir? London. the opposite circuses obtained completely bored to death. We quite often fell out with the Roberts and Fossetts – previous Uncle Bailey Fossett acknowledged to me one year,‘God Almighty, Gerry, your posters are all over the place at the North round. You’re advertisements 3 diverse circuses right away. ’ His nephew, Robert Fossett (Betty’s cousin, a red-headed Fossett with a mood to match), ended up knocking me subconscious whilst he stuck me papering over one among his posters for ‘Sir Robert Fossett’s Circus at Blackheath’ with one announcing ‘The substantial Circus is now at Peckham Rye’. once I had regained awareness I went over to the Fossetts and after an hour of shouting we agreed a truce. None folks ever particularly sought after all-out struggle. the following yr the Roberts, cheesed off simply because we had over again controlled to bag Wembley in the course of September, grew to become all our path arrows around the other way so the general public have been going around and around the North round thoroughly misplaced and fuming. i used to be all the way down to their website like a shot. good, they gave me a cup of tea and pretended to be sorry for a nanosecond sooner than their genuine animosity burst forth and we ended up having one other large shouting fit. yet circus parents’ bark is worse than their chew and so much quarrels are resolved after all. even though it needs to be acknowledged every person overlooked me on the Circus vendors’ conferences from approximately this time on.

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