by Alison Crisp
I’m not cruising the canals, or even enjoying a glass of wine while tucking into a fondue. No, I’m waiting in line at the Abba Museum.
My husband and daughter, Grace, are big fans of Abba and are chatting animatedly about what they are about to see.
I, on the other hand, have some ABBA lyrics playing a loop in my brain (Waterloo, couldn’t escape if I wanted to. And I so desperately wanted to escape).
I steel myself for what I’m about to be subjected to: 70s pop music and even worse, 70s fashion, bell-bottoms, big ugly shoes and shaggy haircuts.There was not a long queue so it didn’t take us long to buy our tickets (225 SEK, about $34AUD, for entry and audio tour headphones) and start super-trooping our way down into the depths of the building – two eager beavers and one sour puss.
ABBA: The Museum opened its doors in 2013, a homage to Sweden’s biggest and most successful exports – Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid.
This formidable foursome with the midas touch were together for just over a decade but their songs have lasted the test of time. It seems a new generation now has fallen in love with their highly catchy pop tunes, thanks to the success of Mamma Mia the stage show and feature film. To date, ABBA has sold more than 379 million records.
Agnetha and Anni-Frid have had semi-successful solo careers since the split in 1982, while Benny and Bjorn have had an extremely lucrative partnership producing successful musicals like Chess, Kristina and of course Mamma Mia.
Stockholm has an Ikea museum and even a Volvo Museum so it was always logical that eventually the city would honour ABBA.
The museum, while not large, is filled to the brim with memorabilia and houses lots of inter-active exhibits. Fashion devotees will be impressed (or horrified) with the large costume room solely devoted to the outlandish 70’s outfits with skyscraper platform boots and eye-assaulting coloured satins and sequins.
The sheer quantity of memorabilia is phenomenal with photos, hair accessories, wall to wall gold records, full-sized replicas of their recording studio, dressing rooms and they even have a replica of the cabin where Benny and Bjorn wrote most of their music.
They even have the helicopter from the Arrival album that you can hop in and have your photo taken in – ok, now that is pretty cool.
We wind our way through the exhibits. My entourage particularly love the private studio booths where you can tape yourself singing your favourite ABBA tune. They slip in and start to belt-out a tune that can be heard outside their booth – I slink off pretending not to know them.
Another favourite was the interactive costume sections were you can don your favourite digital costume and have yourself recorded while you sing and dance, and yes my two dancing queens felt the heat of the tambourine … Oh yeah! they danced, they jived, having the time of their lives. We had been in ABBA land for at least an hour and 45 minutes and I was ABBA-ed out. Yes I abandoned them.
Twenty minutes later they still hadn’t emerged. Okay, time to suck it up, and head back in to see what they were up to. I was beginning to fear the worst – had they broken into the costume room to try on some white thigh-high satin platforms or tried to pocket a gold album?
After a good 10-minute shuffle through the exhibit I see them, my singing Von Crisp family, Grace clanging on a keyboard and hubby strumming a guitar happily singing along to Ring Ring. They looked so much like the cheesy Partridge Family I nearly threw up on my shoes.
“Ready guys,” I enquire through gritted teeth, “the real Stockholm awaits!”.
Just as I thought I had them out the door there was a squeal of excitement. They had found Benny’s self-playing piano. The piano is apparently connected to his piano at home and when he strikes up the keys it plays in tandem with the one in the museum. Okay, I must admit that is impressive.
And I will also grudgingly admit that although I am not a huge fan of ABBA the museum is worth seeing.
If you are fans you will love it. The ABBA Museum is housed within the Swedish Music Hall of Fame on Djurgarden Island. It’s open daily from 10am-6pm (extended to 8pm Wed-Fri).
This story originally appeared on www.flightcentre.com.au