Joel’s in a spin over plate shortages

Blackpool plate-spinner Joel Hatton ***PHOTO by Andy Payne
Blackpool plate-spinner Joel Hatton ***PHOTO by Andy Payne
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Heard the one about the plate-spinner who keeps running out of plates?

There’s no punchline – he needs more plates.

Joel Hatton, whose family own Harrowside chip shop 
in South Shore, tours the UK as part of Gerry Cottle’s 
circus troupe.

His act involves zooming around on roller skates, trying to collect 12 spinning plates from sticks, while being attacked by clowns.

“Needless to say, it’s complete chaos and plates get smashed all the time,” said the 24-year-old.

“But that leads to a serious problem – it’s a nightmare trying to get enough plates.”

The former Bispham High School pupil added: “Once we arrive in a town for a show, I’ll go to all the local charity shops and buy every dinner plate they’ve got,” said Joel.

“I get plenty of funny looks, and even more when I tell them what I do for a living.

“The problem is there are only so many charity shops and by the end of the week I’ve often run out. So I need some help getting a stock of spares just in case.”

Joel got into plate-spinning while working at Blackpool Tower as a Ring Boy, the bloke, as he puts it, who “cleans up and does all the dirty stuff that no one else wants to”.

He said: “There were always props lying around and one day I picked up some plates and had a go.

“I found I was pretty good at it, I learned how to unicycle as well, and it’s just led to a career.”

He has spent the last three years touring the country with different circus’s, before joining Gerry Cottle’s company in February.

He’s currently in the midst of a nationwide tour which comes fairly close to these parts when it plays in Manchester, at the Etihad Stadium, during the Easter school holidays.

“It’s a hectic way to make a living – we arrive at a different town each week, build the tent, do shows, then move on to another town,” said Joel.

“The worst thing about it is not being able to watch Blackpool FC. I’m a big fan and I wear the shirt wherever I am.

“But I wouldn’t really want any other way of life. Working in a call centre or an office would be my idea of hell.”

The only thing he’s short of is plates.

Anyone who has an old set they want to get rid of can contact Joel’s dad Darren on 07852 188751, who will collect the plates himself.