Marky Mark’s visit — City Extra

It was a warm, balmy night for Marky Mark’s visit to Sydney. We rolled up to City Extra, which has great Harbour Bridge views, and got a top spot upstairs.

ABBA fans at City Extra with Sydney Habour Bridge in background.

City Extra is a journalism-themed restaurant, open 24hrs, with a huge broadsheet newspaper menu with lots of journo-inspired foods, but during covid it closes at 12 and the menu has shrunk to fit on a hygienic, laminated A4.

Marky Mark wanted salt and pepper squid and the waiter put an asterisk next to his order so the Kitchen would make it super special. Thing is, Marky cooks for 500 people a day (with the help of just three others)  – he does 2 weeks of non-stop 12-hr days, then a week off. He’s the best chef ever, I went over for Christmas dinner a few years ago and the turkey was moist, juicy and DIVINE!!!

David popped in quickly during his dinner break, looking HOT in his St John Ambulance uniform, freshly laden with deadly plague germs from his hotel quarantine job. But he’s had 2 Pfizer jabs, so – INVINCIBLE!!

Yol left early to go to her Opera singing group. Her gorge daughter Tam has an Insta account @cunningculling modelling amazing vintage clothes she sells.

Louise tried to convince us to all to go to No Lights, No Lycra where everyone dances around in the dark, no hassles, great for your mental health. She’s danced in the dark around the world and goes to as many as she can around Australia. Us, with our ageing bits and pieces, are only low-impact disco-ers now, and mostly stick to walking to places ABBA visited when they were in Sydney.

Marky teased us with his fandom story about Bananarama! Turns out he’d caught Siobhan’s eye and ended up on stage to shriek “I’m your Venus, I’m your fire!” (with hand chorry). He ended up over-staying and as he was being dragged off horizontally by Security, he managed to rip the songlist off one of the footlights and the Bananas screamed: “How will we know what’s next?”, laughing as he was tossed back into the crowd, TRIUMPHANT!

We all fell briefly silent in a moment of sombre reflection that, despite all of us being groupies and backstagers, NONE of us had ever had sex with one of our idols, or even a tribute cover band member! We’re so Someone Else’s Story — “I don’t see myself as taking part at all”!

Then we paid the bill with our covid-economic-recovery NSW Dine and Discover 25% off vouchers and scurried to the Opera House steps for night-time pics.

As we gazed over Luna Park, we talked about the Ghost Train fire there which killed 6 people in 1979 and Louise is linked to someone who knew someone who’d perished. There was a recent TV doco which suggested they were killed by an arson attack which went wrong and was covered up by corrupt NSW police, judges and politicians.

We mused that in only 20 years, we’d all be nearly 80! And the members of ABBA are 70-75yrs. Will we ever hear their new songs while they’re all still alive? Will we ever feel too old to take pix of ourselves in ABBA T-shirts and do crazy ABBA stuff?


ABBA The Movie Script reading

As lockdowns continue to keep theatres dark on the West End and Broadway, some of us Aussie fans recently recorded our zoom reading of ABBA The Movie Script while we were in isolation. It is muchly abridged to squeeze in to youtube’s 15-min limit for unverified accounts. The 1977 movie was shot in Australia, with a script written by Aussie Robert Caswell (who later received an Oscar nomination for Evil Angels) but was mostly improvised and based on a plotline conceived by Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallstrom on the flight over from Sweden. I hope you enjoy it!

Eurovision – Australia votes 2020

Five friends doing their Eurovision vote.
Thoughtfully considering our votes, which didn’t count anyway since someone in a blue clown wig won (am not even joking).

Went round to David’s where he served exotic chocolate, 3 types of cheese and crackers, and a dip he’d found a recipe for in the back of a Fitness First magazine — beetroot, beans and garlic so we can all die healthy.

Luke’s little dog Crackpot stole the show, wanting cuddles. (Luke was away, returning to Mallacoota to retrieve his van after their earlier bushfire evacuation aboard HMAS Choules.)

I liked Diana, Casey and Vanessa. Word from our man on the ground at the Gold Coast, Angus, was that the crowd faves were Vanessa and Casey.

Continue reading Eurovision – Australia votes 2020

Eurovision slumber party!


Went to a Eurovision slumber party with scavenger hunt and bingo at Louise’s place. Started on Saturday night, watching the second semi-final, while Louise cooked delicious Ukrainian dishes – borscht soup and Chicken Kiev – to honour this year’s host nation.

It was lucky for us ABBA fans that Ukraine’s flag has the same colours as Sweden, so there were plenty of blue and yellow streamers strung around!

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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.

Continue reading ABBA picnic in Camperdown Park