ABBA! There, I have said it, and already as you read this you are falling into one of three groups of people.
Group One is that band of devoted followers. To you a tribute act is not really a tribute but a pure and simple sacrilege. The chances are you are either Swedish, related to a Swede, a Eurovision fanatic or else trapped in some 70s time warp hell where ‘Wizzard’ drop by after lunch at Christmas, and Match Of The Day is still your main supply of footie on the telly.
Group Two members are currently running around looking for soap to plug their ears with until the very mention of “that band” is finished. These are the people who if the neighbours are playing Abba they will turn all speakers to the wall and blast out Metallica or such metal hammers as Spinal Tap! Most members of this group are male. Single males will not own an Abba record whilst married men tend to find the introduction of Abba by their spouses goes as far as their CDs going before AC/DC and Aerosmith in your music collection (assuming of course the strict alphabetical filing is adhered to!).
Group Three is the final grouping and that is where I now find myself. Turn on the radio and Abba are on and you can think that’s okay. When it’s back to back ABBA you start to get worried. When it’s three in a row and the realisation dawns that the CD has been put on then that is just a step too far to bear. I am in this grouping now but my dearest daughter is doing everything she can to move me to group two, the Abba-haters. And soon.
At nearly three, (I was informed the nearly bit is very very important!), she has been chewed up, swallowed and spat back out by the Abba revival. Not that they ever went away for long enough to require reviving. My sisters-in-law introduced her to Mama Mia the movie recently. And she loved it. Then they moved on to teaching her the words, I even suspect that some of the carers in the crèche are teaching her the words as well. She has since picked up a (sparely cute) little dance routine from somewhere; again suspicion falls to the crèche.
And all I hear from day break to bedtime is: “Mama Mia! Here I go again. “Doobie doobie doobie!” “Hold on a sec!” I hear even the most ardent ABBA-hater amongst you cry before you hide behind your pint of cider hoping no one else heard your outburst. Those are not the correct words as far as the seventies pop classic are concerned. But they are correct in the world of “Mama Mia – a musical tribute by a nearly three year old” and woe betides you if you sing the version as written by Benny and Bjorn.
We went away for a long weekend recently and ABBA was the constant companion in the car. That track, Mama Mia, seemed to be every third or fourth song played. I blame D’ Better Half for that. There was some secretive song selection going on to which I was not a party to. So Dublin to Cork was filled by Sweden’s finest pop exports. The return trip was no different either. Mind you, by the time we got back home the “doobie doobie doobies” were gone and D’ Better Half & the nearly three year old were at least singing the right words. “Mama Mia! Here I go again. My My! How can I resist you?” (Just in case anyone was going to Google them!). So at least something good came out of my trial by ABBA.
Until the next morning when the car started, the CD kicked in and the “doobie doobie doobies” were belted out once again. And I said a four letter word no nearly three year old should ever hear her rocker father say. “ABBA!”
So in tones of sarcasm usually saved for use outside the family circle I said quite simply, “Thank you Sweden! Thank you for the music, the songs they’re singing! Thanks for all the Doobie Doobie Doobies!” Sounds familiar actually! Hey Benny! Bjorn! Can you guys do anything with this?