Sunday, 7 June 2009

Pop Foto, January 1977: ABBA’s Anni-Frid had to hide her homesickness

A hilarious article from Dutch magazine Pop Foto. No other Dutch magazine could make up such funny stories with the available pictures.
What on earth could make you unhappy, when everything is going your way? When the Californian palm trees are swaying gently behind you and all doors are opening for you? What could you miss when you are smiling in front of a bunch of photographers, the television cameras are following every step you take and the hotel manager takes a bow like a pocket knife? What else is left to crave for? Your children perhaps, far away in the cold Sweden.

ABBA’s Anni-Frid made a full disclosure in the warm south of the United States. Something that placed Pop Foto’s detectives in Holland and Sweden in a dilemma for more than a year, was solved by our American photographer in one day. With the help of no other than Anni-Frid herself! What exactly are we talking about? About the mystery that has been on our industrious editorial staff’s mind for quite some time: Anni-Frid’s children! Ever since ABBA became known to the world, Anni-Frid strongly denied that she had any offspring, Benny joined her wholeheartedly, and the record companies in Holland and Sweden didn’t know how loud they had to say ‘NO’, whenever Anni-Frid’s (and Benny’s) children even were the subject of conversation. But once Anni-Frid arrived in America, she forgot about all her restraints. Her homesickness gave her away. The first few days in the country that ABBA wants to conquer went pretty well. There was so much to do; running from one television studio to the other, dress rehearsals, photo sessions and all those other things that you are expected to do during a promotional tour, that Anni-Frid fell asleep in the evening as soon as she hit the pillow...

But as the days went by, and Anni-Frid got used to the maddening American pace, the craving for her two children, from Anni-Frid’s previous marriage, started to get to her. Usually, she went to see the two children, that are placed in a foster home in Sweden, as much as she could. It had become a regular habit of Anni-Frid and Benny in the winter holidays to take their children (Benny has two children from a previous marriage as well) to a typical Swedish cottage, to spend a wonderful skiing holiday there. But they couldn’t go ahead with it now and as the month of December drew closer towards Christmas, and Anni-Frid had to stay in America, she felt unhappier. She became snappy, first towards press and television people and then towards her fellow ABBA-colleagues as well. Björn got told off when he tried to cheer her up and Agnetha stayed away from Anni-Frid as much as possible. And then Pop Foto’s photographer entered the scene...

The aforementioned detective noticed, just like all other people surrounding Anni-Frid, that something was wrong. But instead of being frightened off by this, he stuck around her and waited for his opportunity. That opportunity came when Anni-Frid, in between two television recordings, went for a walk in the park near the television studios all by herself. Like a true detective, the man with the camera followed Anni-Frid without being noticed and he hid himself behind a giant palm tree, when the Swedish singer sighed and sat down on a park bench. While holding his breath, the industrious Pop Foto man waited for the following things to happen, but nothing happened. Anni-Frid kept staring at the ducks in the pond melancholically. After fifteen minutes, our photographer took up all his courage and sat down on the bench next to Anni-Frid. “Erm,” he started courageously, “what’s the matter with you! I’ve been watching you for days now and erm... I think you behave like a raging spider. Are all Swedish girls like that?” Despite her homesickness, Anni-Frid had to smile. “Of course not,” she said. “I’m just craving for my children!” Our honourable photographer almost fell off the bench. This was a downright confession! “Your children?” he asked seemingly stupefied. “Yes,” Anni-Frid nodded. “I have always kept from the press that I have children. I don’t want them to be bothered by journalists who want to know all sorts of things about them. They are living with foster parents, but I see them very often. Until now, we’ve always been together at Christmas time, cosily joining together around the tree and things like that. In Sweden, Christmas is the biggest celebration of the whole year. And now they’re alone...” The photographer just sat there quiet as a mouse, until Anni-Frid suddenly got up, straightened her shoulders and composed herself. “You know what I’m gonna do,” she smiled. “I’m gonna take them on a vacation, when things have settled down and we’re back in Sweden. And until then I will have to hide my homesickness.” And after these words she walked, a little relieved, back to the studios, to Benny, and Agnetha and Björn... and all her other ABBA-commitments.

5 comments:

George said...

Is this some kind of a "joke article"? And what kind of magazine is this?
Foster parents???
And in 1976 ABBA were in the US only in October for a couple of weeks, full two months before Christmas which Frida so longed to spend with her children, according to this bizarre concoction.

Anonymous said...

This article did make me laugh Michel,If they dont have a story they invent one hehe,Thanks for shareing as the pic is beautiful
JS

Michel said...

Actually, these articles from Pop Foto magazine were not meant to be a joke, but reading some of them back now, they are definitely funny.
The thing is that this magazine was mostly aimed at very young teenagers, so I guess they thought that the content of the articles should be easy to read and understand. The magazine was more about the pictures, and they were indeed beautiful.

Bonnie Rrrr... said...

I must have this article somewhere! Unbelievable, the stories they made up every time. Back then I never questioned them, but then again I was a young teenager!
Poor Frida.... ;-)

Michel said...

I had just turned eight years old when this article appeared, so what did I know...
I remember that I couldn't wait for the next Pop Foto to arrive, because it mostly had some great ABBA pics and posters in there.