Friday, 9 April 2010

Bravo, October 1974: ABBA, love the Swedish way

Two happy couples are making the music in the Swedish top group: in the last issue, we introduced Anna & Björn, who are married to each other. This time, it’s Anni-Frid & Benny’s turn – a typical Swedish love couple.

Anni-Frid & Benny: “Waterloo’ stopped us from getting married.”
Two small, silver friendship rings are the only ‘official’ sign that Benny and Anni-Frid are in love with each other since five years. They are living together in the suburb Rosengarden, 30 kilometres outside Stockholm.
Anni-Frid has been married once before. She already has two sons, aged 6 and 9, that you wouldn’t expect the blonde 28-year-old Swede to have – she looks that young. “I got married to my adolescent love when I was seventeen, and that was simply too soon,” Anni-Frid says. “We got divorced after five years of marriage. In mutual understanding. I see my ex-husband and my children regularly. Despite everything, this marriage was a great experience for me, and that’s why I would love to get married again...”
Benny doesn’t have anything against marriage either. He reveals: “Actually, we wanted to get married once. The date was set, the invitations had been sent – but at the last moment something came in between: our Eurovision victory in Brighton with ‘Waterloo’. After that, we received so many offers that we had to postpone our wedding, that had been planned in July. Maybe we’ll have time for it next year, in January we will finally have two weeks off...”
Both of them are convinced that nothing will change their way of living together, just because of a marriage certificate. Since five years, Benny and Anni-Frid have been living in their wooden bungalow with their dog Zappa. The chores have been divided efficiently: Benny is taking care of the music, and Anni-Frid of everything else: the housekeeping, the mail and the money. “Anni-Frid is very independent and much cleverer in business matters than me,” Benny admits. “She knows exactly what she wants...”
Apart from that, Anni-Frid is responsible for ABBA’s stage outfits and show. She designs all ABBA costumes, she draws them and makes them, together with a seamstress. Every costume costs up to 1000 German Marks. The girls’ costumes are usually a little cheaper, because they are showing more ‘skin’.
While Anni-Frid gets most of her chores done at home, Benny has to drive 30 kilometres to Stockholm every day in his brown BMW. It’s there where he writes new lyrics in his office or produces records by other artists in the studio. Most of the time, he doesn’t come home until nine or ten in the evening. Is there any private life left for the both of them in these circumstances?
“We mostly have time for each other in the weekends. Then we drive to our sailboat,” Benny says. “It’s anchored on a lonely isle. The boat carries the name Simona, has two sleeping cabins and a real kitchen. We own it together with Björn and Anna. Mostly we go out on 48 hours long non-stop sailing trips. Two weeks ago, we were experiencing shipwreck and we were rescued by a fishing boat...”
During the entire interview, Benny and Ann-Frid are cuddling each other. Most of the time, Benny calls her ‘Frida’, and she gives Benny a kiss or wraps her arm around him. That’s why I ask a candid question: is it true that Swedish girls always take the initiative and that they are easier to conquer than girls in other countries?
“It’s definitely not easier, but rather more difficult,” Benny thinks. “Swedish girls know exactly when they want to do what with who. Swedish girls are not easily taken off guard, like it is often claimed. But when they love someone very much, then they commit to that physically as well.”
Anni-Frid adds: “It even gets to the point where the girls are allowed to bring their boyfriends to their homes, even to stay the night. At least, this was the case with me. When I was sixteen, I made love to a boy for the first time and I could also talk openly about that to my parents. Putting your trust in each other – that’s the most important thing...”
Benny and Anni-Frid want to raise their child in that spirit as well. Both of them agree that they want a child. But when, that’s just as problematic as the date of their wedding. When Bravo paid them a visit, they were extremely busy with the preparations for ABBA’s big European tour. The tour kicked off in October and will continue until the end of December. It will lead them through Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, France and Italy. ABBA will perform in Germany from November 18 until November 30.
The hits ‘Waterloo’, ‘Ring Ring’ and ‘Honey, Honey’ are all present in the set list, that has been compiled by Benny. Apart from that, a couple of Swedish folk songs, tailored for pop, and the latest songs from the upcoming ABBA album ‘So Long’. “I’m a little scared of giant tours like this,” Anni-Frid admits. “You are on the road constantly, you have to get up on stage every night and your are completely exhausted afterwards. There’s not much time for love in these circumstances...”


Iris said...

Thank you , Michel, for posting all those awesome Abba articles . I am also so happy to see the old Bravo stuff again . You do a great job with your blog .

Iris from Germany

Michel said...

Thanks for your comment, Iris. Good to hear that you are enjoying the blog.