ABBA picnic in Camperdown Park

Held an ABBA picnic to play a new ABBA trivia board game I’d put together and have a sing-a-along.picnic

I staked a perfect spot under a tree and sent out an SOS as there were picnickers everywhere in Camperdown Park, and I urgently needed more blankets to claim our turf.

A word re: Aussie ABBA fans: we’re hugely tolerant and will put up with retro discos where only hip hop is played, endure ABBA tribute bands that don’t know the words, and pay ridiculous amounts for smoked salmon on Ryvita at Scandi restaurants. But nobody messes with an ABBA picnic, and fans scurried back to their cars to bring extra blankets.

First on the scene was G, who’d just walked the length of uber-hipster King Street while wearing his Voulez-Vous badge – woe betide anyone who would dare make fun of it, and a few paid tribute by singing “A-ha!”. “It’s not just a badge, it’s a way of life,” G said, with his proudest expression.

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Second Countdown-a-thon

We all did ourselves a favour and went to the second Countdown-a-thon, at L’s. S very dutifully spent MONTHS editing down the best bits of 70s and 80s stuff he had on VHS tapes. I went to see Mark Holden sans shirt, and this *did not happen*! Mostly because nobody could figure out how to use the remote control until we’d finished that DVD.

D is the worst music critic ever, due to saying at the beginning of every song: “This is my most favourite one ever!” S and I couldn’t contain ourselves and jumped up to dance to Leif Garrett’s “I Was Made For Dancing“. T was there, she had won Perfect Match in the 1980s and went on a lovely holiday. There were pics of her in a Perfect Match magazine having sunscreen rubbed into her back by her date. She makes great Hummingbird cake.

L had lots of 70s food, Countdown books, and Dolly mags and Cosmo and Cleo, they were all great. Stuff on how to insert a tampon and how to avoid AIDS.

There was even an article about how Madonna was “suffering over-exposure”! In the 1980s!

Where is North Rocks? More than 40km there and back, says my Satnav!

Found ABBA Photobook bargain!

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ABBA riding bicycles in Sweden.

Spotted lying flat on a box (far behind the counter at Vinnies) ready to be put on the shelves, the ABBA Photobook (with $75 price tag on it from Kinokuniya and nicely covered in protective plastic). Asked nonchalantly: “Oh, is that ABBA book for sale?” $20! I flicked through it studiously to check it was OK and the sales assistant seemed surprised anyone would want to buy it! Gave me that thrill again of finding stuff in secondhand shops when looking for ABBA stuff pre-internet!

Still on my wishlist is ABBA The Backstage Stories (my birthday this month) if anyone has a spare copy they want to offload!

ABBA monopoly fest

Just finished 8.5-hour ABBA fest, from 1pm to 9.30pm. ABBA Monopoly was played and lots of rare vids, thanks to youtube. After three hours of playing ABBA Monopoly, we still hadn’t passed Go to collect $200 even once! Because every time we landed on an ABBA song (which had a title deed) or ABBA member, we’d get so excited and chat about some aspect of ABBA trivia. The tokens are great, I had Bjorn’s star-shaped guitar. There was a disco boot, Napoleon’s hat (Waterloo), a telephone (Ring Ring), a gold record, and several others. The Take A Chance and Community Chest cards mostly had ABBA references and were written in English and Swedish. We all wanted to get the Take A Chance card that said: “Land on Agnetha Faltskog …” D said: “I’d give up several Hotels for that!” Was lots of fun.

Started with LOTS of discussion re: Frida’s latest heart-felt revelations on the Homage to Frida page. Read them here, including her four favourite dinner guests ever and her deepest held beliefs.

Also, loved watching a rare Aussie clip from 1976 that surface recently: ABBA on Celebrity Squares: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4z3SZ384wI

abba monoploy

3 hours of ABBA Monopoly play and none of us managed to make it round the board even once, despite rolling two dice at a time!!! (too much talk about the board’s ABBA-related features).

ABBA night at Imperial Hotel

Went to an ABBA Night held at the Impy Cabaret Room, Erko.

Danced the night away in a big circle, with fans spontaneously jumping into the centre and showcasing their moves when overcome by inspiration.

G had spent that morning shopping, searching for “giant inflatable pillow balloons like in the Polish TV special”, and settled on bubble-blowing kits, bejewelled fake microphones to sing into, and streamers to throw when over-excited.

Hard core fans stayed on-floor during The Visitors (to show off the fact we knew all the words), while everyone else hit the bar.

Showed first-timer L how to do the moves to SOS. Angus finally turned up to an ABBA night, which fell on a date when he wasn’t on a plane to somewhere or other.

D faced intense interrogation over why he wasn’t expressing his fandom via the compulsory non-stop dancing, and cited a “broken toe” which will take 12 months to heal!

Great drag numbers in spectacular/comedy costumes were done on the famous Impy stage (the inspiration for the Priscilla movie) to Nina Pretty Ballerina, Rock Me, Does Your Mother Know?, Tiger, and The Winner Takes It All.

Dancing Queen was played in honour of late fan John Godwin (big Agnetha fan), who was so sweet and always ready with an encouraging word and a witty line. Miss his friendly face. Did our best Bandstand Special moves in loving memory.

Finished at 2am with the traditional Old Friends Do as we all formed a tight-knit circle.

Stood outside and were told off twice by the bouncers for being too raucous. G escorted me home down King St, Newtown, exhausted on our hands and knees, after over-exertious dancing.

When not crawling, in an inspired move of anarchistic action, we pasted ABBA posters up and down King St, with G standing on tippy toes so he could place them high up enough so passersby couldn’t easily rip them down. I was laughing so hard as he was so earnest. One was still up the next afternoon!

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ABBA fans fest Nov 29

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Our soiree involved watching Countdown (top of the pops) TV specials, famous for being the launching pad for ABBA’s success in Australia.

We fast-forwarded through rocker Jimmy Barnes’ clips, and slow-mo’ed to scrutinise Mark Holden shirtless in suspenders, singing “I Wanna Make You My Lady”. Lots of slow mo for Sherbet, Skyhooks and John Paul Young. ACDC were great, Little River Band, Marcia Hines. Mark Holden explained: “Countdown was a direct line to huge paydays, millions of dollars. My first album, pre-Countdown in 1974, sold 2000 copies. My 2nd and 3rd albums [promoted via Countdown in 1975] sold 80,000 copies each. That’s a hell of a lot.”

Nice to see Bjorn doing an interview re: how important Australia was in re-launching ABBA worldwide.

Watched Molly getting sozzled during the 100th Countdown special, and fluffing his lines with Prince Charles. Overall, too many rockers and not enough pop stars! Julie Zemiro always wonderful as a TV host.

ABBA fests are renowned for a sugary overload of lollies, but this time we ate healthier foods, chicken, fruit (and Swedish pastries)!