A Musical Interlude

There are three bloggers who may well unfollow me shortly, at least until they reach the end of this post – assuming they still follow me just now, of course; I’m exposing the gargantuan size of my ego by assuming they do.

The three – Steve, Susie and Hugh LOVE all things Eurovision whereas my love for it has faded over time with the increasingly ludicrous definition of the Euro bit and the regional love fests that mean the voting is, essentially, rigged, even if the reason is only to stop another egregious war.

But once I loved the whole thing. And especially when ABBA won with Waterloo. Cue music.

https://g.co/kgs/jEKIyR

It’s iconically Swedish, as in off the wall, to take a classic pop structure and tune and write a song about a war that took place 150 years  before without the Swedes even coming on as second half subs.

The ABBA playbook that followed, however, is extraordinary. I didn’t realise it as it came out, though. We’d just had the Beatles. We still had the Stones. They’ve been lots with the longevity. Every generation has bands and songwriters who create a major body of work.

Few, though, have consistently nailed pop as Benni and Bjorn did. I’m not sure who else.

As it happened, I was never a major lover of ABBA. My dad, now that was different. For a man whose musical taste jammed the brakes on with Glenn Miller’s death, he found a new set of gears with ABBA. He had this little cassette player and you would hear one or other voice floating down the stairs when he worked on his poetry in his study. We thought him developing a sort of harmless musical senility but I think, looking back, he was onto something.

Sure I liked the tunes, thought most of the lyrics were, I thought, a bit meah and generally, having tapped my foot when the song was on, I would move on to whatever was next in the charts. And I’d not buy an album or be seen applauding them. Heaven forbid.

What I didn’t appreciate was how cunningly seduced I was being (grammatically that sentence is as compelling as a Jeremy Corbyn question). I bet there’s a gerund and/or a subjunctive in there somewhere, not that I have a clue.

The subtle and cunning line that runs through ABBA’s career, the storytelling, was brought home to me as I sat in the Circle of the Aldwych Theatre and watched and listened and foot tapped and clapped along to Mamma Mia. Sure, I was there because one of the Vet’s bezzies has stepped into the young lead as Sophie the daughter (said friend was ace, btw – Go Georgie) and we were lending our support. After all, I go to the real theatre. I’m a  sophisticated consumer of live entertainment. I would normally scoff at watching a musical, but, you know what? This I enjoyed.

I think, now I’ve had time to consider, I enjoyed it because the story had some nice twists and turns, the songs are both achingly familiar and take the plot forward and the ludicrous 80s costumes and platforms are like Cadburys cream eggs – nostalgic, sweet and tacky and probably best left to the memory than actually experiencing them again.

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I had the flares back in the day, though I didn’t have platforms (but I wanted them) and I channelled my inner diva into blue check and green tartan. That said, taking in the whole spectacle I realised it’s wrong to be snotty and culturally superior about what might be pap. Because well-made pap is still enjoyable and it’s good for you if it makes you smile. Anything that makes you smile has to be encouraged.  I’m glad I re-embraced my inner pop lover. Now where’s my silver space suit; I want to go to Eurovision. After all, ten years ago I’ve not lost it…

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… so how hard can it be to get it all back?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in humour, memories, miscellany, music, theatre, thought piece and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Musical Interlude

  1. Ritu says:

    Great photos and post His Geoffleship!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. At one time I’d be able to tell you all the UK entries and where they came. I can just manage our winners and Sir Cliff losing twice. We used to get pad and pencil and score our favourites. I haven’t got the winner right on first listen since Abba actually. Now we hate it. Hate the noise, the fluff, the faffing about and the endless shouting of the comperes/hosts on the biggest ego trips of their lives. For the UK, taking part is the kiss of death to their career, be it old or new. Just my opinion of course. Great post Geoff, signed an avid Abba fan!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Abba was pretty good in my book. The group had some awesome tunes.
    Great picture. 😀 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Erika Kind says:

    Wow, cool photos! I always liked ABBA and still do 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Smith says:

    Love the photos – great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. trifflepudling says:

    I second that! Seems like we’re not allowed to let something make us happy, eg Guardian snooty reviews of Ed Sheeran. People generally buy into music which makes them feel better, but a certain arty section seems to feel that unless something makes you feel guilty and worthless, or like killing yourself, then it’s not authentic. Rant, rant.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jan says:

    That look is so you! I can take or leave Abba.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    In between listening to Eddy Arnold and Johnny Cash, I discovered and loved ABBA. My children were forced to listen to their greatest hits growing up. They survived. Good for you getting out and supporting the vet’s friend in theater, even if it was a musical. Just be grateful it wasn’t La La Land!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. willowdot21 says:

    I am not convinced!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Phil Taylor says:

    I live in the States and over the past few years became aware of and envious of those of you on the other side of the pond because you have Eurovision. At some point over the past year I wrote in a post about wanting a WorldVision competition so the U. S. could participate.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One night the TV is turned off! My mum used to say ir was never as good after Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson won it.Huh!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m still here, Geoff. So pleased you enjoyed Mamma Mia the musical. I’ve seen it six times (including once on Broadway) and I love it. It’s such a ‘happy go feel good’ show. I’ve even written about the film, and ABBA were my first choice for my current weekly musical feature, which I know you participate in every week (including the one where you posted an advert for a chocolate spread, instead of a song 🙄)

    As for Eurovision, in spite of the United Kingdom never having a chance of ever winning again, it’s still one of the best camp night’s in, anybody could wish for. The problem is, is that the BBC need to get serious about in. With those viewing figures, I’ve no idea why they still don’t (despite writing to them several times and complaining).

    Like

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