‘Row, Anna’ is A New Classic For Sure

Biz-Ney have knocked it out of the park again, as they so often do. What IS it with their catchy tunes and heartwarming moral stories?? They have me singing for days and days afterwards.

Anyway, I’m a little bit late to the party on this one, but I managed to see ‘Row, Anna!’, about a girl who leaves her home to sail across the sea in a rowboat to replace the paperweight of a woman in charge of a smelting company. Also, she meets a guy who can shapeshift, but he’s TOO good at it and he’s having an existential crisis.

Instant classic, obviously. I like how it was made in close association with Melbourne’s plate aluminium boat industry, so all the shipwright techniques seen in the film are pulled from real-life research. So there’s the inspiring scene where Anna goes down to the docks and sings a song about how she’s going to go sailing into the sea to find her identity, and also the greatest marine welding techniques known to man. For you see, her town is struck by a terrible blight…a blight that makes everyone forget how to weld. And since welding is their main industry outside of importing papayas, that’s really bad for everyone. Anna knows from her crazy grandfather that meeting with this CEO from across the sea and learning the sacred marine welding techniques is the only way to save her hometown, which of course requires the safe return of the CEO’s beloved paperweight (which was stolen by the shapeshifting guy), so then…

Ah, here’s me just telling you the entire plot, when you could watch it for yourself. I will say it’s a credit to Melbourne based stainless steel marine welding┬ácontractors, especially at the end when the whole town… I can’t tell you that! But it’s such a great ending. Such great songs. I love it so…

-Marissa

Pirates, for Fun I Guess

Probably the worst thing about working at the docks are the pirates. No, not actual, criminal pirates…I’m talking about the cosplayers.

I don’t really know how they have so much time on their hands- must be arts students or something- but anyway, they’re always hanging out here, doing some kind of live role-play where they pretend they’re pirates. And then they go on adventures…ugh, I don’t know. They’ve skirted the edge of stuff that’ll get them banned from the place, but never quite crossed the line. Thing is, the industrial areas aren’t that safe for idiots with no safety equipment. Most of the stainless steel marine fabrication in Melbourne happens right near us, and I’ve seen those idiot cosplayers getting a little too close for comfort. Marine welding just isn’t that safe if you don’t have the proper training. Not that I’ve ever done it- mostly just wanted to go into motor repair myself- but the hazard pay some of those guys get is immense. Props for anyone who’s willing to dangle from a harness and weld a massive ship hull, or…whatever it is those guys make over there. It’s definitely marine fabrication, and there are definitely a lot of sparks involved.

Whatever…if some cosplayers want to escape from their daily lives by dressing up as pirates and pretending they’ve come ashore to chat up tavern maids and drink rum and sing shanties, then…no, that’s still pretty weird. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

I don’t know how they manage it either, since it’s pretty modern around here. They’re chatting in exaggerated accents about hoisting the mainsail, while a few feet away there are people trying to work on aluminium plate boats. Pretty sure they didn’t have those back in the Golden Age of Pirates. Guess I can admire the strength of their imagination…

-Niall

Paper Boats Just Need Motors?

We’ve never once succeeded at the Paper Boat Race Championships, but that’s no reason to stop trying. One day, this shall be a great mainstay of Melbourne, even a tourist attraction. But for now, it’s mostly just a laughingstock that amuses people every year. They’ll get their comeuppance, I swear it.

‘Just do little boats with no people in them!’, they all say. But that would defeat the entire purpose of it being a RACE, now wouldn’t it? I’m not putting up with people putting their little paper boats onto the water and trusting fate to see them over the finish line. No, they need to be manned, crewed, occupied. Nothing else matters.

This year, we’re looking at outboard motor services. Melbourne’s industry has helped us in the past, but there’s only so much you can do when a boat is made of paper and can barely support the weight of a person, let alone an entire boat motor. Still, I feel like there are ways you can make them more structurally sound. I recently took a trip to Japan to undertake an entire origami course, and the secrets of paper folding were unlocked in my mind. So much wisdom, years and even centuries of fantastic technique…I feel sure that this will be the year we finally make it work.

We’ll need to look into this motor business, in any case. Do they make motors that are lightweight enough for boats, or will we have to have them custom made? It’s only for one race, so perhaps they don’t need to be the most durable. One use, and that’s it. A disposable boat motor, that’s what we need; lots of them, in fact. Obviously I still have all my old Melbourne outboard motor repair connections, because they’re the ones who keep telling me that this idea is crazy. But once I present my disposable motor idea…they’ll come around.

-Penelope