x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

My Car: Mitsubishi Pajero is jest the car for former circus clown

Entertainment booker Dan Bolton's Pajero is a good size for transporting costumes and celebrities around UAE.

Dan loves the Pajero that he has travelled 140,000km in but he would quite like to try out a monstrous Chevy pickup truck, which is a good choice considering the size of him. Pawan Singh / The National
Dan loves the Pajero that he has travelled 140,000km in but he would quite like to try out a monstrous Chevy pickup truck, which is a good choice considering the size of him. Pawan Singh / The National

They say there's no business like show business and 30-year-old Dan Bolton, who is immersed in the UAE entertainments industry as a senior booker for Bareface Entertainers, can often be seen driving stars around the Emirates in the Mitsubishi Pajero he affectionately calls his "portable skip".

"I'm from a town just north of Manchester in the UK called Rochdale - it's famous as the birthplace of Gracie Fields, Lisa Stansfield, street crime and pretty much nothing else really, so I escaped when I was 16 and moved to central Manchester, where it was a lot more fun," Dan says. "My parents couldn't see what I was getting up to, so imagine all the fun I'm having now, living this far away from them for the past four years."

After graduating from high school at 18, Dan decided against university and ran away with the circus, training as a performer and touring all over the UK and Europe as a stilt walker, fire breather and, occasionally, a clown. "I've also performed for the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance as well as appearing at the Olympics in Athens as part of the closing ceremony," he says.

After the clowning around, Dan decided to move to Dubai and build a career working in the entertainments industry and, along with the new responsibility, came his new car. "It's like a tank - I'm sure the Pajero is indestructible and with all the costumes, props and general running around I do between performances and events, I need a car that's functional. It's even big enough for my stilts," he laughs. "It goes well with my personality, too, as it's aggressive and has typical small-man syndrome, yet it's bigger than most cars so it doesn't get intimidated while hurtling down Sheikh Zayed Road."

Not a mechanically minded person, Dan lists his car's technical features as: black with three doors, four wheels, a steering wheel, one indicator that works and a CD player. "That's about as specific as I get, I'm afraid - I'm useless at anything technical and often need to call my dad to get his advice on little things like changing a tyre, fuse or light bulb," he confesses.

Having bought the Pajero three years ago, Dan was enjoying the flushes of a successful career, opening a bank account, furnishing his new apartment and then buying the Mitsubishi. "It was the next thing I needed to survive. Taking taxis here is one sure way to have a heart attack by the age of 30. I needed the car to get around and, although taxis here are cheaper than home, I was easily spending Dh200 a day on the commute alone," he explains.

Four years on and the once-shining star in Dan's life has been downgraded to a Z-lister: "I'm a little over her [the Pajero] now - it's time to get something different. She's been loyal and performed well, but the scrap heap is fast approaching and the old bird is on her last legs. I've racked up over 140,000km driving it all over the UAE and Oman for events.

"Also, maybe my mid-life crisis is kicking in or I'm starting to appreciate all the sports cars out here, but I'd like something faster. I'm not necessarily a speed demon but it would be good to get something that does not leave me in other drivers' wakes at the traffic lights."

For someone claiming to know nothing about cars, Dan is quick to point out his ideal replacement is a Chevrolet hybrid pickup truck in a matt-black finish. "The Pajero has a reputation for being a skip on wheels - it's usually full of costumes, Red Bull cans or Burger King wrappers. I'm not selling this very well, am I?" he laughs. "Whereas, the Chevrolet has a reputation for being a bit flash and very chunky - it's a bully's car that hurtles down the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway and crushes anything in its path, with plenty of space for celebrities, performers and costumes." Whatever Dan's choice of new car, the show must go on.