I was going to write this article as an FAQ, but I could only really think of about 3 questions. The problem is that I'm writing this before we've really told anyone that the site exists. So no one has asked us anything frequently enough yet! (If you want to ask us some questions, please use the contacts link to leave us a message :-)
Instead I'll go through a little bit of the history of the site and how it came to be.
On 24th August 2002, Robert J Applegate posted on rec.juggling in article <wkD99.109$1Y5.firstname.lastname@example.org> asking for information about hat juggling and manipulation. I responded with some general advice about hats, some ideas of where to look for more information and a vague offer to "together a page or two of hat advice".
Mike Armstrong called my bluff, emailed me and we started to talk about things in more detail. Anxious to avoid re-inventing the wheel I spend a good couple of hours searching the web for information on hat manipulation and found relatively little that was of any use.
There was obviously a big hat shaped gap on the internet. Mike and I agreed that hats seemed to be becoming very popular at the time and on the 29th August 2002 I sent Mike an email outlining some ideas for the site.
On the 3rd of September 2002 we spent a good half hour hanging out in a chatroom with a few friends trying to decide upon a name for the site. Somewhere in amongst the not-so-sensible ideas (takeyourhatoffmessaboutabitandputbackon.com was just one that we rejected :-) Luke Burrage suggested trickswithhats.something and after thinking about it for a bit, Mike and I agreed.
The following month saw Mike and I trying to write down and name all the tricks we could think of to do with a hat. We compiled a list, and set off for the 9 day Bristol Juggling Convention.
After a few days of drinking inordinate amounts of sherry, some skittles flavoured vodka and generally relaxing we finally got around to tracking down Luke and his video camera. A few hours later and Luke had a tape full of us doing hat tricks ready for editing.
We got all enthusiastic about the site, ran a hat workshop, told a load of people the website address, watched proudly as they all went off to buy hats with a promise to check out the website in a couple of weeks time for more information.
I put together a set of pages, and then promptly failed to do anything useful with them for the following couple of months. It wasn't until January 2003 that I finally got around to writing the behind the scenes stuff that drives the site.
It's only now, at the end of January, that the site is in a position where we can start adding content to it. After a bit of pestering from me, and some subtle hints on public forums such as rec.juggling Mike has spent some time writing up a load of pages and the tricks section is filling up fast!
Hopefully, over the next few weeks, months, years the site will grow into a useful and comprehensive resource for hat jugglers. To do this though, we need your help. If you have any ideas for articles, pages, video clips of tricks you do that we haven't covered yet... Anything at all.
If you want to get involved in any way shape or form, your help would be very much appreciated! Just let us know using the contacts page. The link is just there on your left.
(Little Paul - It's a height thing...)