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)!
Held a Eurovision party at my place. We’ve all been die-hard Eurovision watchers since the 1990s, when it was first shown in Australia. Preparation: read the Des Mangan “This Is Sweden Calling” book and Terry Wogan’s “Is It Me?” and watched the two semi-finals.
My entry for Agnetha dancing video competition, which had to include lots of dancing. The slow motion move in verse 1 is Agnetha’s dance move from Dancing Queen. My living room is small, so every time I hopped sideways left for the chorus, I slammed into a wall, ending up black and blue on one side. Well worth suffering for my art, though! 😉 Props: original Matchbox Agnetha doll from the 1970s and one of my ABBA scrapbooks.
AN ABBAMAZING INTERACTIVE AND OVERACTIVE EXHIBITION
MORE than 30 years since ABBA’s first live performance in Australia at the Sydney Showgrounds in Moore Park on that wet evening of 3 March 1977, ABBA fans can relive the hormonal, adolescent dramas of being desperate teenage ABBA fans who just wanted to go to a pop concert, any pop concert, but got sucked into a black hole-ish vortex from which they would emerge singing “Mamma Mia, here I go again.” And again and again.
Cotton Ward, curator of ABBAWhirl, said: “This is a unique opportunity to see original ABBA fan material. For more than 35 years, ABBA has been one of the top three selling artists in the world, having sold 375 million records worldwide, mostly to people I know.”
“No expense has been spared in staging ABBAWhirl in my flat — genuine ABBA scrapbooks from the era, and the ABBA dolls are sitting on top of the telly.”
ABBAWhirl examines the early days of sending letters and waiting breathlessly for the latest edition of the Swedish Pop Import, the official ABBA Fan Club’s buy and swap columns, and Record Collector ads. There is a blaring, wind-up alarm clock to remind you of the many early mornings of getting up for record fairs at town halls to be among the first to get to Parramatta or Kur-ring-gai, and endless scouring through secondhand shops for memorabilia. The lunchbox, dolls, socks and full set of bubblegum cards were the holy grails. The usual finds were a couple of singles, which you already had, and maybe an old edition of an ABBA Annual or a copy of TV Week or Spunky!
A rotary dial phone reminds you of all the times fans would ring each other up with news of the latest overseas bootlegs available at Red Eye Records, or the next performance of Bjorn Again at small venues, for $10 a ticket.
Want to share your love of ABBA? We are looking for volunteers to help enrich visitors’ experience by dramatically recreating highlights of ABBA fandom. Using acting techniques gleaned from your innumerable viewings of ABBA The Movie and The Girl with the Golden Hair mini-musical, ABBAWhirl volunteers will be asked to melodramatically convey:
the crushing emotions experienced by fans when the November tour of Australia was cancelled in 1976;
the exhilarating thrill when it was announced the concert would be held in March, 1977;
the agony of the 15-year cliffhanger where a fan wrote a nine-part series for an online ABBA-list describing the events leading up to his meeting with Agnetha, but never wrote the *critical* 10th installment when actually he met her. (Visitors will be invited to interactively use their imagination to fill in the blanks.)
A fan gave us permission to use this example of how your expert ABBA knowledge can be applied when directing visitors through ABBAWhirl: “The loos? Yes, they’re right down the hallway, Sir, next to the Agnetha section, you know the one who recorded a brand new album in 2004, was recently seen with her ex in Copenhagen for Mamma Mia! and is featured in a new article just come out saying she wants ABBA to get back together briefly, and has overcome her fear of flying, and …”
Contact ABBAWhirl with your details of when you’re free during summer.