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
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.
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