Niche Interests

On Saturday I went to the ABBAMAIL convention, Mad 05 (mini ABBA Day 05), which was great fun. This was about the fourth or fifth ABBA convention that I’ve been to and perhaps the most interesting.

Previous ones I’ve been to have had clearly defined themes, whereas this one was a little more general. To coincide with a visit to Australia by ABBAmailers, Ryan and Andrew, this was an ABBA update, complete with recent video footage from the premiere of “Mamma Mia” in Stockholm. The convention, however, was inhabited clearly by a group of “ABBA fans”, with most preferring classic ABBA and solo performances and recent public appearances to the recent solo work of Agnetha and Frida, in particular. When Agnetha’s video clip for “What Now My Love” was shown, for example, there was clear discomfort in the room. The three-and-a-half minute “pash fest” in the Swedish forest (very Scandinavian cinema in its style) was not warmly welcomed.

And yet, curiously enough, a recently released tabloid program about Agnetha (and her stalker) seemed to appeal to the voyeur in ABBA fandom. I thought it was disturbing, however, to watch fans laugh at the stalker, Gert, dismissing him as a nutter, when there was something about him which, to me, suggested a much deeper, and more concerning, psychosis.

However, on a personal note, I really enjoyed the footage of the Swedish Mamma Mia opening. Although I did feel a little sad when Agnetha and Frida didn’t appear on stage along with Bjorn and Benny. In their own eyes, I sensed a little disappointment their contribution to ABBA wasn’t really acknowledged.

Another highlight for me was the BAO performances at Skansen, especially the presentation of the recent Svensktoppeng hit, “Du Ar Min Man” and Benny’s comments about the musical, Kristina appearing on Broadway with Helen Sjoholm playing the lead role.

As opposed to Lily and Pat who I have met previously, I also got to meet some ABBA fans who I’d never met before, including Norma Parker and Chris Patrick, though I was disappointed not to have chatted with Angus Kidman, whose work I have enjoyed for a number of years.

In the time since I have been quite social. I caught up with Yvette for brunch on Sunday afternoon. Pat was staying with me on the weekend, and between the three of us, we had a great time chatting about lots of things, including Yvette’s recent month-long trip to Mongolia.

I also caught up with Ryan and Graeme last night for a drink or twelve and tonight it was a blogger meetup. So yeah, I guess it’s been a reasonably busy few days.

Mini ABBA Day – James, Judy, Andrew

Tomorrow is looking like a great day, with a lunch planned with a prominent figure in Sydney local government and tomorrow night, Colin and I are going to the Opening Night of the Australian Opera’s production of “Death In Venice”.

I’ll write more towards the weekend…

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