Friday, July 04, 2008

Abba: The Movie from Hell?

Mamma Mia! mania abounds. I've never seen the stage show, never wanted to. It's sounds awful, though someone I work with got a couple of free tickets and left the theatre thinking 'why do I watch all these dreary plays when all I really need is this?', and vowed to see as many musicals as possible because they lifted her mood.

Well good for her.

But it doesn't do it for me. The clips I've seen of this film look stunningly bad. I saw one of Merly Streep emoting while singing The Winner Takes It All at the edge of a cliff, while Pierce Brosnan just stood there looking dumb, and it was REALLY bad, embarrassingly over the top. I stood rooted to the spot with horror. But it's got good 'buzz' as they say in the biz.

So let's talk about our life with Abba.

We've all had one, if we're over a certain age. When I was a teen, everyone liked Abba (or is it ABBA?). We queued around the block to see ABBA: The Movie. You couldn't avoid them. I remember them winning the Eurovision Song Contest and that was it, a radio staple forevermore. The only single of theirs I ever bought though, was Knowing Me, Knowing You, but I liked the odd hit. By the time Auntie Barbara was practising her tap-dancing to Super Trouper in the kitchen, however, it was all over for me. I'd kind of gone off them anyway. Well, punk happened, you see. Then ska. Then came the New Romantics. By the time they split up I'd completely exorcised them from my life. They seemed obsolete and daftly 1970s. An embarrassment.

I didn't give them a second thought until about 1988 when I chanced across a video of their hits and realised how many great hits there actually were. By this time of course, they'd become kitschy camp - look at those outfits, ahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!, etc. Then there was Erasure, Muriel's Wedding, Bjorn Again - they didnt' stand a chance of being taken seriously ever again.

Miraculously, that's all changed. MOJO did an ABBA cover a few years ago and eveyrone realised what complex songs they wrote and sang and a legend was properly born. Now I look at them differently. Still not keen on Gimme, Gimme, Gimme and Does Your Mother Know, and all the late period disco numbers though.

But now this and they're happening all over again. Still, it's totally and utterly inoffensive to hear ABBA songs everywhere. It could be worse, it could be Simply Red.

For the record, my favourite is The Name Of The Game.

Still don't want to see that film though.


Chris Hughes said...

"Auntie Barbara practising her tap-dancing to Super Trouper in the kitchen"

We need to know more. We seriously need to know more.

Five-Centres said...

Well, she was in a panto and a scene require tap-dancing, and Super Trouper because of its tempo was perfect for practising too, apparently.

In the actual show it wasn't Super Trouper she was tap-dancing to, though. I couldn't tell you what it was.

And she lived in Porsmouth.

Her tap-dancing days are behind her now. These days she just goes on cruises all the time.

Roman Empress said...

Those musicals are poison and if a friend tries to get me to go along with them they get a flat 'no' without explanation. All musicals are dreadful.
The Name of The Game is my fave too funnily enough and for new years, Happy New Year is hard to beat.
One of my fave memories is my sister getting the Super Trooper album in the 70s and Mum and Aunty Kath spending all the festive season getting pissed out of their brain and dancing to it.

Chris Hughes said...

Marvellous. Did everybody have an Auntie Barbara? I certainly did.

I love Abba. We had Greatest Hits Volume 2 (the grey one with that picture) and Super Trouper.

The one thing that sticks in my mind about Super Trouper is the line from Happy New Year about "Who can say what we'll find, what lies waiting down the line, at the end of '89." I remember thinking 1989 sounded like a million years away.

That, and Noel running a competition on Swap Shop about what a Super Trouper actually was.

Matthew Rudd said...

Yep, I remember the Trouper competition too. We had the Arrival album, the one with the band in the helicopter, and my mum liked When I Kissed The Teacher.

Oddly, I've written about Abba on my blog today too, expressing no desire to see the movie but now a mild curiosity about the stage show. I just think that the strength of the songs will always justify anything constructed around them.

SOS for me, and that synth noise between verse and chorus. You should download Peter Cetera's version from iTunes, it's ace. Really.

Planet Mondo said...

I've never really been an Abba fan- although I do like 'Does Your Mother Know' 'Ring, Ring'and 'Honey, Honey' - most of the others sound like they've been written by robots and tested in wind tunnels.
This has surely got to be the worst musical.

Five-Centres said...

I've not seen it Mondo (obviously) but yes, it must surely be up there.

What next? Rain Or Shine - The Five Star musical?

Anonymous said...

I already kinda commented on this, but on BMTV's blog about the same subject (the vile Mamma Mia movie) a couple of days ago.

Basically in concurrence with you.

rockmother said...

Abba? What that well-known clog-dancing trio from Cheadle Hulme? ((C) Alexei Sayle)

I remember Abba winning the Eurovision Song Contest and my best friend Linda (or Lindy-dear as her Dad used to call her) getting the album for Christmas. She was really posh and had a playroom with a hifi in it. We use to argue which one was going to be Agnetha - I always lost - and reluctantly sang along doing Abbba dance moves to the record - which comprised of looking happy, bending your legs a bit and staying on the same spot. Later we used to snigger at Su-pah Pah Troo Pah Pah on Top of The Pops - mainly because they looked awful in their outfits and a bit fat. I think my favourite is Gimme Gimme Gimme because it is a bit more meaty and disco-ey. Punk and ska were by far the better option and have stuck with me for life whereas Abba sort of haven't. Incidentally, I posted up a picture of Abba wrapped in bacofoil this week. Oh dear - I must stop wittering.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I have never, EVER danced to an Abba record, and I never, EVER shall. "Oooh, it's 'Dancing Queen', come on everyone..." Not me, mate, I'm off.

And as for this "musical", I'd rather go on a hot date with Nigel Havers.