The Great Gordo Gamsby

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The Great Gordo Gamsby

Here’s one for you – How many bricks can one man have smashed on his stomach while lying on a bed of nails? For the answer we enlisted the help of the one and only Great Gordo Gamsby. “I broke sixteen concrete bricks on my stomach, breaking my own World Record!” Gordo replied proudly. “I broke that one on The Guinness World Record Show over in Milan. I actually just got back.” This seasoned strongman has been at the vanguard of the modern sideshow scene, not only here in Australia but internationally, for almost a decade.
“I’ve been to 26 countries so far,” he smiled, leaving me with the distinct impression that Gordo has well and truly caught the travel bug. “It’s rare that I’m actually in Australia at this time of year. I usually follow the summer around and go to the Northern Hemisphere for our winter. This is the first winter I’ve had in quite a while.”
So what could’ve enticed this man mountain to brave our frosty climate this time round? None other than the Gangsters’ Ball. Now in its seventh year, this unique event is billed as a swing-dancing, cabaret and vaudeville extravaganza! Gordo described his role in this spectacular as “creating a vibe where everyone feeds off each other – and to ensure everyone has the best time possible. I’m a showman, so I love putting on a performance and surprising the audience.”
Not surprisingly, however, The Great Gordo is a master of suspense and clearly enjoyed remaining tight-lipped about exactly what he has in store. “I’ve got a lot of stuff in the works at the moment so I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do just yet,“ he divulged mid-chuckle. “Put simply, I do extreme stunts – high impact and high energy. But I can say definitely expect chainsaws, swords and a lot of stunts. Quite possibly ones that no one has seen before.”
I had to hand it to him – The Great Gordo Gamsby lived up to his name and kept his composure despite my efforts to uncover the truth for you, loyal Forte reader. His stoic behaviour led me to want to find out more about the man underneath the crazy makeup and costumes – be it the sword-swallowing strongman clad in leopard skin or the pale-faced dark clown suspended mid-air by hooks – and the answer might surprise you.
“I’ve had lots of jobs over the years – pizza delivery guy, manual labour jobs, and I even worked for the Department of Education for a while. I didn’t specifically choose it but it’s definitely the most fun way I can think of to live my life. I’ve definitely made some good life choices along the way!”
From humble beginnings at Wauchope High (on the NSW Mid North Coast) the not-yet-great Gordo always knew he was a little different than the other kids. “I’m not sure when I had the realisation – I just always knew I was strong and I’ve always been a big guy!”
While most high schools around the country offer the tantilising choice of either handball or tee-ball as options when it comes time to picking a sport, the avant-garde folks at Wauchope High started a new program called Silver Circus, teaching kids all things circus related. As you’ll have guessed, Gordo’s strength and natural talent was apparent from day one and it wasn’t long before he was teaching the teachers. He was soon awarded a Sports and Arts grant from the council and as they say, the rest is history.
Fast-forward to 2014 and Gordo is the proud holder of 10 (and counting) Guinness World Records. “One of my favourites is that I hold the record for the world’s strongest tongue!” he grinned. “I pulled a car that weighed 1056kg by a hook in my tongue.” Watch every cringeworthy moment here:
If you think that’s impressive, not only is Gordo’s tongue unbelievably strong, apparently it’s also nimble. “During one of my stunts I cut an apple out of my mouth with a chainsaw – I used the dexterity of my tongue to pull it off. It’s all about knowing exactly what’s happening and simply calculating the risks.
“For sword-swallowing, I had to learn about anatomy – obviously to know where all my internal organs sit,” he added matter-of-factly. “Of course, I do a lot of mediation because most of the time it hurts! It helps me to ride through the pain threshold.”
Chatting one-on-one with the born entertainer I could hear the passion in his voice. Pain aside, Gordo assures me he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love what I do, I absolutely love it! And I couldn’t do it if I didn’t. When I’m performing I’m so in the moment. I hope to share how much fun I’m having with everyone else at the Gangsters’ Ball. The sideshow world is pretty small in Australia so we all know each other. It will have a great party vibe and I might even pull out my three-piece suit!”
Be there or be square.
Tickets for the Gangsters’ Ball can be purchased from their website
When&Where: Gangsters’ Ball, Forum Theatre – September 13
Written by Natalie Rogers