Susie Rushton: A Swedish lesson in Abba-negation

Urban Notebook: It seems we cannot get enough of the sunny optimism of "Dancing Queen" and, erm, "Does Your Mother Know?".

Share
Related Topics

Ingmar Bergman, Björn Borg (naturally), then Anita Ekberg and her fabulous chest ... giant photographs of these celebrated Swedes, and many more, are plastered patriotically on the walls of the pristine arrivals hall at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm.

Last Thursday evening, I admired them all, showing my passport to the immigration official next to a picture of Roxette, and thought I must have missed the Abba group shot of Benny, Björn, Anni-Frid and Agnetha. But the Swedes, it turns out, are not nearly as keen on their improbably melodious countrymen, pictured below, as we Brits.

This year, Mamma Mia! The Movie became the highest grossing film at the British box office (£67m, beating even Harry Potter) and the DVD shifted 1.7 million copies on its first day of sale last week. The greatest hits collection Abba Gold went to No 1 in the UK this summer – for the fifth time. It seems we cannot get enough of the sunny optimism of "Dancing Queen" and, erm, "Does Your Mother Know?". Thanks to Mamma Mia!, a generation of kids too young to remember the Seventies now know the words to "Honey, Honey" and are demanding the Abba SingStar karaoke game for Christmas. But, over in the motherland, Swedes themselves are seemingly ambivalent toward their biggest musical export, much in the same way that – in the better-off suburbs of Stockholm – Ikea isn't really a shop at which you admit buying anything other than meatballs.

On Friday night, the national Abba-abnegation was all but proven when my friends Emma and Andreas took me to a fancy dress party. The theme was the 1970s. Anywhere else in the world, this is concomitant with Agnetha wigs and "Money Money Money" on a loop. But the guests, to a blonde, wore giant Afro wigs and nary a spangled jumpsuit was in sight. And what did the speakers blare out all night long? The Rolling Stones.

Brit of a mistake

G-A-Y IS the biggest lesbian and gay club night in Europe. A cult event in London's West End that charges considerably less on the door than the average stadium venue, it still manages to book big names; the Spice Girls, Madonna and Björk have all played sets there, while Kylie is a regular. At G-A-Y, stars forgo honeymoon suite-sized dressing rooms in the hope that the pink vote will burnish their credibility. On Saturday, Britney Spears, below, was due to play at the club's new home at Heaven.

Whether it was because she was "relaxing" in the VIP room or simply uninterested, we'll never know, but she refused to go on – and riots ensued. Well, Britney, you messed up. You might think the job description allows diva behaviour: on tour, Mariah Carey reportedly insists on pink toilet roll and "doesn't do stairs", while J-Lo faxes over a two-page list of requirements in advance. But a plain old no-show hits a bad note.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: The West flounders in the Middle East morass

Independent Voices
David Tennant as Hamlet  

To vote no or not to vote no, that is the question... Although do celebrities really have the answer?

David Lister
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition