18 March 2019
By Chris Dodd
As it reaches maturity the River & Rowing Museum has accumulated thousands of objects and a cavernous archive ranging from Henley’s history to records of the Trireme Trust. Fielding telephone inquiries in the curators’ office can thus draw the unexpected. In 2006, Chris Dodd picked up a call from Tinsel Town. Names have been changed in deference to decorum and his poor memory.
Caller: ‘Hi there, River & Rowing? This is Marie-Lou Golightly, I’m calling on behalf of Harvey Wallbanger of Great Blockbuster Movies, Inc., right?’
Curator Dodd (after suitable pause to indicate ignorance of, indifference to and possible disdain for said Corp): ‘Good afternoon, Marie-Lou. How can we help?’
Marie-Lou: ‘Harvey asked me to ask – that’s River & Rowing, right? – if you can loan us a Roman-like trireme for Caesar’s Empire Strikes Back II, scheduled for shooting next fall…’
Curator Dodd (after pause to tune in matter-of-fact voice and run his mind through inventory of boats in the museum store): ‘Sorry, we don’t do Roman. We only do Greek.’
Marie-Lou: ‘You only do Greek?’ Pause. ‘Uh-huh. OK. I’ll go ask Mr Wallbanger and call you right back. Maybe Greek will do. On this number, right?’
No, it wouldn’t, and she didn’t.
In 1987, there were some sea trials of Olympias in Greece. Chris Dodd was there: