Sunday, 27 June 2010

Joepie, March 1979: ABBA feels at home on snowy mountain tops

Getting up early is a virtue that not many people possess but it looks as if the four from ABBA are not having the slightest problem with that. Not even when they – as was the case in Leysin – had partied until the small hours in the discotheque of the hotel. A gathering at 8.30am in the lobby of the hotel was on the BBC’s schedule, and our Swedish friends were right on time.

It would be a busy day, everyone had seen it coming: in Les Diablerets, a ski resort about 20 kilometres from Leysin, all kinds of recordings would be made of ABBA. On their skis, during a little presentation at a table and a couple of shots of the new single, in the snow. In other words, enough to keep the entire crew busy all day long. Leysin was still asleep when the procession of cars – ABBA alone already needed three cars – made its way through the snowy mountain roads, with Les Diablerets as its destination. In the village, they stopped for half an hour at a local store, because ABBA was not prepared for the snow.
“We thought we only had to perform in the tent,” according to Anna. “No one had told us that we were to be filmed in the snow as well. But that’s not a problem now, there are more than enough requirements here...” ABBA barely needed fifteen minutes to buy half of the store’s stock: snow boots, skis, headgear, you name it. The store manager, who didn’t get customers like this every day, was rubbing his hands together: he had never sold this amount of stuff in one morning!

ABBA had brought two special guests in their company: Linda, the six-year-old daughter of Björn and Anna, and Ted Gärdestad, a Swedish singer that is being launched internationally by Björn and Benny. It was a piece of cake for them to help their new protégée get an international television debut: in their contract with the BBC it was specifically noted that they would only come if Ted was on the show as well!
The young bloke saw a lifelong dream come true: not only did he find himself on an international television show for the first time, as the new protégée of the ABBA duo he enjoyed an enormous amount of attention from the European media as well.
“I’ve been in this business for ten years,” Ted told us in between proceedings. “In Sweden, my career has taken off already, but internationally I’m still a nobody. Recently, I’ve signed a contract with Polar Music, ABBA’s company, and only a couple of weeks later I’m on an international television show. And to think that the four ABBA members sung backing vocals on my records eight years ago...”
Less pleased with all the attention surrounding her persona was Linda, Björn and Anna’s little daughter. And her beautiful nanny, that had the special assignment to protect little Linda from too pushy photographers. “Björn has asked me to make sure that Linda gets photographed as little as possible,” according to the girl. “He fears – and rightfully so – for kidnapping when her little face becomes too familiar through the magazines. But it’s definitely not easy when twenty photographers are surrounding you constantly. Sometimes, it can drive you crazy...”

Meanwhile, it’s waiting time for the ABBA crew, because the BBC has had some problems with putting up the equipment. Not a problem for our friends, because they have been in situations like this before. “That’s the worst thing about this business,” says Frida. “All this waiting. You have to make sure that you don’t get bored at moments like this, otherwise you won’t see it through. Act as if nothing is wrong and amuse yourself with your own means, that’s the message...”
Her words had barely been spoken and off they were, headed for the snowy mountains. Benny wants to drink a hot cup of coffee first before he hurries after her. “Skiing is a national sport in our home country Sweden,” he says, in between two sips. “In the area were I used to live, it was so mountainous that we went to school on skis. You could almost say that we were born with skis on our feet...”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For this article I have been waiting for a long time!
THANK you, THANK you, THANK you :oD