My first pencil case…

… or, at least the first one I remember, was an ABBA one. It was from 1978 (thank you ebay) which would have made me five. Yikes. It is still around somewhere in the parents’ house, covered in scrawls and with a broken zipper. 

Next ABBA memory is of having pneumonia and my aunt Agnes (who I always thought looked like Agnetha) taking me an ABBA magazine in hospital. Late seventies, I guess.

Next memory involves watching Top Of The Pops in order to see ABBA and being eventually rewarded with their performanace of Super Trouper. That was 1980- I was 7 and not quite ready to immerse myself in pop (that happened two years later and kinda hasn’t stopped).

So, what have we learned? Abba was my first musical love? This fag was way ahead of her time, ladies.

The whole Abba revival business rather left me cold and I didn’t think much of them between 1981 and whenever the silly Erasure business happened. 

However, as one looks back over the music that has gone through these ears since I were a tot (you can really tell I have no more study obligations, can’t you?), some Abba stuff is just pretty amazing. I lean towards the later, divorce-laden miserable HappySad stuff, so I really need to get my Ultimate Abba playlist up here (like my Emmylou Harris one).

As for the Mamma Mia movie? I think the final paragraph of the review in the Guardian puts it best:

Some songs are easier to incorporate than others. Waterloo is saved for the closing credits, perhaps because screenwriter Catherine Johnson didn’t grasp its metaphorical quality, and that she would not in fact need a vast Napoleonic army to troop across the island. But there is one very famous Abba number which is entirely omitted. That is a crying shame. I have an idea for the way in which it could yet be included, should an extra scene be needed for the DVD. There’s a six-year-old boy on the island called Fernando, and caring Meryl Streep suspects that poor little Fernando could be hearing-impaired. She sits the little lad down, takes out a set of drums and bangs them close to his ears; with tears pouring down her cheeks, she sings to him a single, heart-rending question …




  1. conortje

    I am so completely sick of Abba I must admit. Why does every bleedin’ gay bar in the world insist on playing them repeatedly? I have heard just about all their hits WAY too many times. Talk about overkill. I can still just about manage the odd cover version though like Sinead singing Chiquitita or The Czars’ Angel eyes.

  2. robin

    Was gonna chime in here until I remembered that I’d already professed my affection for ‘Super Trouper’ elsewhere on this here blog… oof… still dizzy from that VP debate last night…

  3. orn

    we do need your abba playlist filled with all the sad and meaningful after divorce songs and btw, wast this part 27 on your way to become a gay???

  4. eguinan

    Conor: Goodness! I’m with you on Abba overkill though. I can certainly live without ever hearing I Have A Dream ever again. Just bought ‘The Visitors’ remaster though and it’s an excellent and kinda dark intelligent pop album. Recommended.

    Robin: Amazing (and annoying) that Palin didn’t goof it up completely, but I don’t think it was enough to save McCain.

    Orn: I think I’ll just post the tracklist of The Visitors! and I’ve totally lost count of the gay thing. There’s bound to be a Carpenters moment or something involving the Man from Atlantis soon! 🙂

  5. travelling, but not in love

    And was there ever a film that never needed to be made as much as this one? I was dragged along to it in the east end nad it turned out to be the effing singalong version.

    It was full of Chingford housewives on their way home from shopping up west, singing along to chiqi-effing-tita.

    Lord have mercy. And because everyone was singing it was impossible to sleep….

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