Dispatch #30 – ABBA

I AM a representative of the former British Empire and the current Commonwealth of Nations; I am the descendant of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the son of an RAF pilot. I did not graduate with First Class honours from Cambridge University and since then have not entered the Foreign Office’s prestigious diplomatic corps.

The Northern Plights’ documents my assessment of Sweden for the possibility of any future conquests which the British Government’s War Cabinet is not considering.

In fear of sounding like a plucky polemicist or a grouchy grump, I’ve always held a certain disdain for ‘pop music’; ‘pop’ is short for ‘popular’, ‘popular’ means ‘affordable’ and anything which is both affordable and popular is almost certainly ‘vulgar’ – I rest my case.

[enter stage left] Abba.

Abba are many things to many people – there cannot be many who have not stumbled across their glitter-laden path – to some they are the copycat pale imitators of the iconic British band and Eurovision Song Contest winners, Bucks Fizz  To others they are the unkempt glam throwbacks who launched their career off the back of the depressingly successful entertainment-vacuum musical and subsequent silver screen motion picture, Mama Mia! It would not surprise me one iota if 80 per cent of 20-somethings thought ‘the blonde out of Abba’ was called Meryl Streep and ‘one of the blokes’ was ‘in one of them James Bond films’.

They may have brought disco ball-flecked joy to hundreds of millions, put Sweden on the cultural map, possibly even have boosted its Gross Domestic Product by several percentiles, but I have always found something a smidge sinister about them. No.1 Rule Of Being an Englishman – don’t trust a man wearing Cuban heels or a woman who looks like she’s been dressed by a pimp.

What drew them to my attention was their somewhat over-zealous protection over their trademarked/copyrighted/whatevered name. So keen were they to make sure no one made money or sullied their songs using the letters ‘A-B-B-A’ that I dare say the moment any seven year old attempts to scrawl out the alphabet, a team of sharp-suited legal eagles appears over the infant’s shoulder in fear that after ‘A’ and ‘B’ he writes ‘B’ and ‘A’ and submits an entry to the end of term talent show.

Tribute acts Abba Queens, Abba Mania and Swede Dreamz Abba Tribute have all received ominous notifications NOT thanking them for the music or subsequent joy it might’ve brung; there are almost 50 such acts in the UK alone, contemplate the inevitable Japanese tribute band market and the mind both boogies and boggles.

There is probably more loose change down the back of the collective Abba sofas to solve the Third World debt crisis, do they really need to be so Money Money Money grabbing so long after the white suits and sequined miniskirts have been mothballed? It all seems so spoilsporty to my good self, but I guess in their own defence they may claim it is ♫ ♪ The NAME of the Game ♫ ♪

But whose name and whose game?

Now, the canned fish and seafood aisle is never my first port of call when I optimistically enter a supermarket in my endless and naive quest to find a Findus Lancashire Hot Pot Aga meal-for-one, but one could not help chance upon a familiarly-named jar of fishy splodge, or pickled herring as the Swedes like to call it.

Abba Seafood was set up and running in 1838, a time when Waterloo was remembered for being the battle in which your Father died rather than a disco-tastic dance floor filler. The band approached the company and negotiated a deal to ‘share’ the name long before any notion of the combo’s success had dawned. I  would humbly suggest the ‘original’ Abba would happily renege and perhaps suggest a tinker with that original ‘amicable’ deal.

The last time I saw a tribute act it was Bark at the Royal Festival Hall, did I rush out after and buy a Bark CD? No, I went out and bought every Bach long player I could get my manicured hands on, consider that Abba, if you really want to be the winners who took it all.

Abba, your attitude stinks like a, like a…an out of date jar of Abba’s pickled herrings.

Toodle pip,




ATTENTION BOTH THE FOREIGN OFFICE AND EMPIREES: Have you not subscribed yet? What else can I tell you other than Take A Chance On Me?

About The Dippylomat, Esq.

A connoisseur, a charmer and a bit of a cad.
This entry was posted in Culture, Ex pats, Fashion, Food, Gothenburg, Humour, Music, Stockholm, Sweden, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Dispatch #30 – ABBA

  1. simon7banks says:

    I wonder if I can any longer describe the rhyming scheme of Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” (fictional example: lines ending hope, speed, peed, rope) as ABBA?

    • My dear (anything but Simple) Simon,

      Your musings are of such an intellectual manner I dare say I would nead a pneumatic, industrial crane to make my ‘brow’ as ‘high’ as yours!

      All the best, good fellow,

      ~The Dippylomat esq

  2. Don’t talk about that movie LOL! or about A-Teens, when I think
    About it ;) I can’t believie they were called ABBA-teens from the beginning ;)

  3. Mavis Moog says:

    Excellent points made here, old bean. I am reminded of advice once received from a wise elder. “Even the most reasonable people are made monsters by lust for money,” she said while attempting to unzip me with her switchblade for the few shillings I had hidden in my hip-pocket. This is surely a story about some weaselly lawyer trying to carve out a reason for his existence, in a similar style to the carving my wise elder tried to give my gizzard.

    On a completely different subject, may I make a humble suggestion in my capacity of arbiter of journalistic style for the whole world? Amusing and informative as your bold paragraphs are at the top of each edition I have read them many times now. Perhaps the bold bio could move to footnote rather than lead-in and each new edition will then sport an enticing stand-alone, guaranteed to drag readers screaming from their slumber.

    Cheers for now. Mwah X mwah X.

    • Ms Marvellous Mavis Moog,

      I believe you are on the money, as ever..it is like the members of ABBA were the first to fall for the claim/blame and letigious trigger happy culture we currently wallow in.

      In regards to your latter point, it is something I have pondered on myself; my concern is that if I do not introduce myself properly to any new Empirees then the tone of my Dispatches may appear a liitle bewildering. Your thoughts and input is always welcome.

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

  4. liz says:

    Welcome back !!! Or not? ;)

    • Oh Liz, your welcome back is made only warmer by the fact that you are a namesake of Our Good Queen.

      It is always good to be back; back with the good Lady Dippylomat and back in the Embassy Suite, everything would be perfect if I had not just been chased home by a wolf to find supper comprises of fish meatballs.

      ~The Dippylomat esq.

  5. ladyfi says:

    Please don’t tell anyone that our house is full of ABBA fans! It can be our little secret…

  6. Oh dear… so there would be no point in singing to you ” I had a dream” huh? Speaking of “dream” how come Martin Luther King and ABBA fish food got away from sueing these rascals of a disco-ball nightmare of millions? Who was first eh? “I had a dream” -isch.

    I did/do/didn’t like ABBA. Can’t make up my mind now. As always you tug at my braincells Mr. Dippylomat and they won’t stop tugging. You always manage to breach the most significant and social-stupifying subjects ever.

    One would think these guys would be humble with all that cash and fame and glory, considering they are Swedes as well. It is famous as a Swede to be diplomatic, calm and logical. Do we see logic here? Nope – I see brown-nosers. tvi tvi tvi.

    Thank you for the Music but I’ve had enough. Have you? :P

    // Elizabeth aka E or Ace

  7. My Dear Elizabeth A.C.E

    Struggling to make your mind up, you say?
    Then let me be of service:

    ~The Dippylomat esq.

  8. Got my book says:

    You never fail to trigger a smile on my face with your musings and thoughts :)

  9. Tess says:

    Dear Mr Dippylomat esq. Although I realise that you frown upon popular and commersial culture, may I just point out that ABBA have sold 370 million records world-wide. They are number 4 on the best-selling list in the history of recorded music.

    Bucks Fizz – 15 million. There is a reason they have not sold their souls to the Devil of Commersialism – not even the Devil was willing to buy it.

  10. Tyrannical Tess,

    Indeed you are correct, they are No.4 on that top-selling list, just under the drug-fuelled Beatles, the burger-munching, pill-popping Elvis and the kiddy-fiddling Jacko, such good company to be in ,-)

    ~The Dippylomat esq.

    • Tess says:

      I doesn’t matter if you’re a fat paedo on drugs as long as you are rich enough to have lawyers to prove that you’re not.

      / Greedy Tyrannical Tess

  11. Nurse Angry says:

    Ahhh, Nurse Angry sees she is in good company. Nothing personal against ABBA or pop music in general, but when her nearest and dearest calls Nurse Angry a musical snob, she takes it as a compliment.
    Nurse Angry would recommend to ABBA that they make a deal with Abba seafood for a limited edition jar, the label spelled in capitals and sporting a photo of the band in their heyday. Not forgetting a mini disco ball as a surprise inside, makes a great cat toy. Fishy splodge indeed.

    P.S.- The men in Cuban heels usually are the pimps.

  12. Nurse Angry says:

    Nurse Angry is on “vacation”, no need to worry.

  13. Carrie says:

    Happy New Year, old chap!

    One was really looking forward to reading your blog until I read the subject title! :-) But only you could write about something and make it fun to read! ;-)

    As you may already know I hate the song ‘Dancing Queen’ :-( I’d rather put pins in my eyes than to listen to that song!

    What get me the most are those ABBA tribute acts! We have one a week at the local theatre! Why!? I don’t see the point in tribute acts anyway!

    ABBAstards indeed! And Buzz Fizz rules! :-)

  14. I love dancing to ABBA. That is all.

  15. simon7banks says:

    Stick with the same intro. It still amuses me. I haven’t started a war, have I? Oh well, if I have, I’m going to declare Wales independent and 25% of me will split off.

    Just as well you said, in reply to me, “a pneumatic, INDUSTRIAL crane”, or I’d have had visions of large, long-legged birds with big tits. Ah, but the post was about Abba, wasn’t it?

  16. ladyfi says:

    Glad to see you are still alive… Awaiting next dispatch! Take care and enjoy the cold…

  17. coolfeline says:

    Long time, no see, Dippy :)
    Best!
    R. Rebekah
    [this is my new and shiny WordPress-ID]

  18. I’ve just this minute subscribed to your new blog, my good lady.

    I have been a bit quiet of late as I am neck-tie deep in an SFI course learning Swedish.

    What about you?

  19. We’ve had a snowless winter here too, bloody cold but one should be grateful for small mercies (Jag tycker inte om..snow!

    • coolfeline says:

      Jag tycker om snö!

      Right now we’re experience one of the rare snowstorms of this season.

      Are you getting any chances to practice your newly won knowledge in the Swedish language on any Swedes? ;)

      Ärans och Hjältarnas Språk! *giggle*

  20. I remembered swedish food and how i really love köttbullars when I saw your comment :)
    And now I see Abba food on your post which reminded me of everything i have eaten in Stockholm, especially Marabou chocolate which is the best!

  21. Oh, I see you’re from Croatia, I’ve eaten a fair amount of chocolate there too – and, I’ll never spell this correctly, cevapacici – or summink like that, delicious either way.

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