Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thank You For the Music

I have always been very fond of ABBA. As a child, they were one of the few modern groups my parents enjoyed - otherwise a household situated firmly in the early 1960s of my parents' teen years, ABBA represented one of their rare forays into musical modernity. We all enjoyed ABBA, enjoyed the costumes and the dance and the infectious music.

My favourite band member was Frida, by a country mile, partly because she (like me) was dark-haired and dark-eyed, and partly because I thought she was feistier and cheekier than Agnetha. Even at 7, I liked feisty and cheeky in a female role model!

My girls, now almost 7 and 5, love ABBA too. Truly, madly, deeply they love them. My eldest, who loves to sing, has lyrics sheets for a few songs and belts them out at random intervals (it is endearing, if ever so slightly disconcerting, to hear Waterloo floating out of the toilet at top volume, although, as my husband remarks, it is oddly apt as well). My 5 year old is more about the dancing. She can do all the moves, and makes up her own dances, and emotively performance-arts to Fernando, The Winner Takes it All, and Chiquitita, her eyebrows waggling dramatically to denote the shifts and turns mood in the song.

So when I heard that the ABBA World exhibition was coming to Melbourne, I had mentally bookmarked it as a possible school holidays activity. I was delighted to be saved the trouble and expense when Nuffnang organised a family day at Federation Square today, which included family tickets to the NGV's Rupert Bunny - Artist in Paris exhibition and to the second ever day of ABBA World. Score!

My girls had some interesting observations about the Rupert Bunny exhibition, but I'm planning to save them for a post I'm working on about children and art appreciation. The highlight of the day for them both, though (and, truth be told, for me, ABBA tragic that I am) was the 80 minutes we spent in ABBA World.

ABBA World is ... intense. It is very full of sound, colour and movement, and thrillingly stacked with interactive activities for the kids and I to enjoy. While my husband long-sufferingly remained outside with the baby sleeping in her pram, A, E and I perused ABBA films, ABBA costumes, sang ABBA songs, had our photos taken as part of ABBA album covers, and read / listened to the detailed commentary of ABBA's journey. E, my 5-year-old, found the detail a bit much at times, but A and I were both a little bit nerdishly entranced at it. We came out singing a three-part Mama Mia and sang all the way home. It was really a fantastic exhibition, and excellent fun for both those who remember ABBa and those whose parents inflict ABBA on them at regular intervals ;-)

The folk at Nuffnang have kindly donated free double passes to ABBA World to all the family day attendees for giving away on our blogs. This is about $53 of value (yes, it isn't cheap, this exhibition) and the tickets must be used by 4 July 2010. So here is the deal:

If you are interested in a double pass to ABBA World, and are either in or prepared to travel to Melbourne, leave a comment telling me which is your favourite ABBA song, and why, by 5pm on Friday (25 June). I'll select my favourite answer and announce the winner on the morning of Saturday 26 June.

Have fun!


  1. It was so lovely to meet you and your family Kathy! I have to say I surprised myself how much fun I had at the ABBAworld exhibition, it is really well put together. (Obviously I am just commenting not entering your competition!)

  2. (I hopped over from PlanningWithKids)
    So many Abba songs! My favourite I think would be 'Super Trouper'. It was on an LP I had called '1981 In the Bag' and my friend and I learnt all the words, made up a groovy dance and performed it at Brownies. No performance inhibitions when you are only 8, maybe I will find that place again at ABBAworld LOL :)

  3. Hi, great post, I'm a huge ABBA fan!! My favourite ABBA song? Well that would be Mamma Mia because it brings back fabulous memories of the summer of '76...and gosh this is embarrassing to admit...but when I was in 5th grade I loved ABBA so much that my friends and I actually formed our own ABBA group, put together matching costumes (think yellow t-shirts, rolled up jeans and rainbow socks!!) and performed Mamma Mia in front of our class to a cassette tape. Let me tell you, we even had the side to back moves rehearsed to a T!!! I am 40 something now, and still, everytime I hear Mamma Mia it takes me back to that classroom in 1976 when for a brief moment, my dream of actually being Agnetha from ABBA became reality...!!!

  4. Winner Takes it All.

    It moves me. It used to move me ironically, and then one day I realised that the irony had gone and I was just moved.

    And that's the beauty of Abba. We love them ironically and we love them without irony at the same time. It is a very happy post-modern state of being.

  5. I'd love to travel down and see it with my friend...

    I wanna sing it out to everybody
    What a joy, what a life, what a chance
    One of favourite is your title...

    Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
    Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
    Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?
    What would life be?
    Without a song or a dance what are we?
    So I say thank you for the music's usch happy song ...I could sing it all day.
    I loved the musical I saw on my birthday 7 yrs ago and the movie was auper.My little boys thought I was mad singing and dancing along.

  6. Brilliant answers each and every one!

    Susannah, Super Trouper to Brownies ... love it. And like you, Linda, I had my ABBA moment in front of the class (with Waterloo in my case ;-)

    Trish, Thank You for the Music is one of my three all-time favourite ABBA songs and I am so enjoying the notion of singing & dancing to the embarassment of little boys!

    Penni, I had never before thought of the embracing of ABBA as a postmodernist construct, yet I see entirely how it is, now that you've pointed it out.