Now, isn’t it serendipitous that as I sit down to write this piece on a languid Sunday afternoon, with a benign sun struggling to peep through the clouds into my rain-kissed windows, the Romedy Now channel switches to Mamma Mia for the umpteenth time! And for the umpteenth time I am enthralled by it, as I was with the musical in London’s West End a few years ago.
It’s not surprising then that, while in Stockholm last summer, almost to the day, I made my way to ABBA The Museum on an equally overcast afternoon with my Swedish friend Bianca (aka Blondie for obvious reasons), heart joyous and feet dancing to Mamma Mia, here I go again...
ABBA The Museum is no ordinary museum. It’s interactive, personal and an experience where you become part of the story. The story of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid... You journey with them from the inception of the group in 1972, until their dissolution 10 years later. It’s a journey full of foot-tapping, succour-for-the-soul music with spectacular ‘over-the-top’ costumes in shimmering satins encrusted with rhinestones, enslaved in steel chains, fringed with leather and frills on flares. Crotch-hugging, high-waisted, bell bottoms so tight you wonder how they didn’t cut off the blood supply to those dancing legs. Silver boots vie with passionate purples,royal blues and tangerines. Metallics rule. Bling is all-pervasive. It is ostentatious and loud. It is a kaleidoscope of myriad colours and a cornucopia of the band’s concert footage, artefacts, interviews, clothes, albums, personal pictures, guitars and cars, et al.
Twenty minutes was all we lasted before we made a run for the door. The rain had stopped and the shimmering pallor of a watery sun was welcoming. We’d had a stupendous day with two contrasting experiences tucked under our belt, neither of which could be missed. The balmy outdoors brought the blood right back into our faces and we traipsed back with a song on our lips and a spring in our step once again. Am glad we did it when we did, for two days later, on Blondie’s birthday, I tripped over the wedge of the door, unaided by alcohol mind you, went flying face down and broke my toe. It took three big Swedes to get me off the ground. Ah well, what can I say ?