Stockholm, December 26: the red carpet is unrolled at the China cinema in the centre of the Swedish capital. Outside, it is swarmed with police officers, crush barriers and fans. Inside, an awful lot of Swedes and one Dutchman: your reporter, invited to attend the Swedish premiere of ABBA - The Movie, in the presence of ABBA themselves.
It seems like Hollywood: spotlights, news reporters, press photographers and thousands of fans. But still, this Swedish presentation of ABBA's first feature film isn't as exclusive as its world premiere in Holland: people were able to simply buy a ticket, as far as there were still any available.
There are cheers, police officers are doing their best to keep the pushy priers that hadn't been able to get a ticket at a distance. Agnetha, Björn, Anni-Frid and Benny have arrived, in a more than lifesize Mercedes. It is five to seven.
Before the police has been able to get there, the fans have already opened the doors of the car and the four pop stars are almost dragged out. Photographers rush to the scene, police officers are forming a chain and it's all a terrible frenzy.
Eventually, ABBA - smiling cheerfully, how is that possible - is still ushered into the cinema. In the middle of the commotion, I get the opportunity to yell at Benny what he thinks about all this.
"Fabulous! Fantastic!" he yells back, glowing with excitement and Anni-Frid - hanging on his arm - happily nods at me as well.
"What's the name of Agnetha's baby?" I ask and Anni-Frid says (because I'm now pressed tightly to the couple so that we don't have to yell any longer): "Ask Björn!" And we're already in.
ABBA is guided to the stage and someone named Claes af Geijerstam - so I've heard afterwards - a well known gentleman in the Swedish music business, starts a speech in - for me - incomprehensible Swedish. I realize that I'm probably the only foreigner here: no one even tries to speak English, until I find a kind gentleman who is willing to translate some things.
An award is being presented: a golden gong for an occasion I don't completely understand. Then Agnetha, Björn, Anni-Frid and Benny are escorted to their seats. Simply between the other guests and fans. We should have had that experience in Holland!
The movie starts, but I probably don't have to explain anything about that anymore to any Dutch ABBA fan. Afterwards, I had a little conversation with Agnetha but you will be able to read all about that in issue number 3. In that same issue, I will also tell you something about the reviews that ABBA - The Movie received in Sweden and about my visit to the ABBA empire, Polar Music. See you in two weeks!