Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 - A Year in Review

As the year comes to a close, I thought it was time for yet another "Year In Review" post.  Though for me this year has been full of ups and downs, I think 2017 overall turned out to be a pretty okay year for this blog.  I know that over the past couple of years, especially earlier this year, I've been pretty inactive with this blog and didn't post that often, but slowly I've began to come back to this blog and post quite a bit more.  Plus, for the first time in forever, I started posting new ABBA drawings! :D

This year, my blog turned 5 which is a really big accomplishment.  I can't believe that it's been 5 years since I created my blog and soon enough it's going to be turning 6! :O

I'd say that this year my ABBA collection has grown considerably.  I was really lucky to find Voulez-Vous at a convention earlier this year and I absolutely love that album!  My best friend Eleonore also sent me 4 wonderful singles which I could not be happier with!  And then there's my recent purchase from ABBA the Museum.  I'm really surprised and happy with how much my collection has expanded and I hope that 2018 will bring me even more ABBA things to collect!

And this year I've made quite a comeback to my YouTube channel as well.  In August I reached 300 subscribers, and with all the new activity with my random compilation videos (that I will do a proper post about in the future!), I've reached 400 subscribers in just a few months!  I'm absolutely honored to have so many subscribers and I'm really excited to be sharing lots of new content!

Also this year my book "The Story of ABBA for Young Readers" turned 1!  I can't believe it's been 1 year already since I released my updated book and I am so honored by all the attention it's received.

I'm really looking forward to what 2018 has to bring for us, especially in the ABBA world since we should be getting more information on Virtual ABBA. :D  Happy new year everyone, and I hope 2018 will bring lots of wonderful news and exciting things for everyone!

-- Becky/ABBAFan456

ABBA: When All Is Said And Done Drama-Documentary - A very negative review

You guys knew that I'd eventually get my hands on this documentary, didn't you.  As someone who's very against tribute bands and how they always mess things up and get things wrong, let me tell you, after watching this documentary, tribute bands seem like the most amazing thing ever, aka, the documentary was that bad.  As soon as the documentary was released, I'd seen so many reviews saying that it was totally not worth it and it was so horrible.  To be honest, I think this documentary would make people hate ABBA more than try to tell a nice story about Agnetha and Frida which it absolutely failed at telling.  This documentary was horrid and absolutely disgusting and if I had to rate it, I would give it the worst rating ever.   And today, I am going to share with you my thoughts on this horrible documentary and show you all how horrible it is so that you don't have to watch it.
This is the first thing that the documentary shows.  I think "contains some elements of fictional dramatization" is an understatement!
As pointed out by other people, the fact that they did not use ABBA's logo shows that this is not an official production.  (Also many thanks to Nina Ríos for uploading all of this to youtube!)
I was only two minutes into the documentary and already I hated it.  The acting from the people playing ABBA were horrible, and after seeing these four individuals as Bjorn, Benny, Frida, and Agnetha, I feel like taking back everything I said about the Ted Gardestad movie because the actors in that look just like ABBA compared to these actors.

Let me introduce you to
Fake bjorn, the lyricist (he's not a guitarist)

fake frida

fake benny, the songwriter (he doesn't play piano)

and fake agnetha
and also fake stig

also starring fake old frida

and fake old agnetha
 Whoever picked out these actors must not have known what ABBA looked like or was drunk or something when they picked these actors.  It's hilarious that they just slapped wigs on them and were like, "there you go, now you look just like ABBA!"  Also the fake Swedish accents...  Man, why is it that they always have to have these stupid fake Swedish accents?

One of the things that this documentary seems to want to say is that ABBA destroyed Agnetha and Frida's lives.  The narrator says things like "Two women made ABBA one of the biggest bands of all time, but did ABBA destroy them?" and "Living very separate lives, Agnetha and Frida's fates were still intertwined.  ABBA still haunted them."  It makes it seem that Agnetha and Frida are both very depressed people because of this, have no enjoyment in their lives, and gained no enjoyment from ABBA and the band.  It's almost like ABBA shouldn't have existed in the first place if it was really that painful (which I highly doubt!)

Also, of all the pictures that they have to use to introduce the band ABBA, they just have to use that one picture which involves tin foil.  You know, that picture?  Of all the pictures, why do they have to use that one?  I'd think they'd want to use one of ABBA's most well known pictures, like the ones of them in the cat dresses.  But nope.  It had to be that one picture that a lot of us dread.

Also, whoever created this documentary got a lot of facts wrong.  While watching this, I couldn't help
but notice that there were so many things that were messed up.  Firstly, the 1977 tour was not the first ABBA tour.  ABBA toured around Europe in late 1974, early 75.  Maybe because they weren't super famous at the time the documentary decided to eliminate the 74/75 tour from existence.  Also, the 1977 tour did not start in Australia.  there was a European leg of the tour before hand.  The fans weren't as "crazy" as they were in Australia, but it was still important. 

Before I continue on with the messed up facts, I have to talk about these horrendous, absolutely 100% inaccurate costumes.  I would say I am quite an expert when it comes to their costumes as I've been working on remaking them all for my dolls, and these are not ABBA's costumes.

The only costumes that looks the slightest bit like their actual costume is Frida's and that looks pretty horrible.  I don't think Agnetha would be caught dead in that costume.  I'm just...  there are no words that candescribe how horrible these costumes are.  Now this is what ABBA's costumes looked like.

 The back of Agnetha's real outfit is certainly not that low and the collar on the fake outfit....  what is that collar?  Is it even a collar?

According to the documentary, Agnetha was heavily pregnant when filming the additional scenes for ABBA the Movie in Stockholm.  If you consider 3-4 months pregnant "heavily pregnant", than okay, but I'm fairly certain that it's early in the pregnancy.

Also according to the documentary, the Chiquitita music video was filmed on a set.  A set complete with fake wind and everything it seems. 

And yet according to Raffem, it says "The single 'Chiquitita' was not promoted by any new video as it was released in January. Two videos were made in February in Leysin / Switzerland where ABBA were filming the BBC-special "ABBA in Switzerland".  The first video was filmed in the mountains outside Leysin and the second one in the hotel lobby. Very cheap productions with ABBA sitting in the same position during the whole song and miming."
Like what I said about the Ted Gardestad movie, they seem to not know which hairstyles correspond to which year.
Fake Frida's hair in 1979:

Frida's actual hair in 1979:

Fake Agnetha's hair in 1981:

Agnetha's actual hair in 1981:

Fake Frida's hair in 1978:
Frida's actual hair in 1978:

Also I find it funny that Bjorn and Benny's appearances do not change at all throughout the documentary, despite the fact that Bjorn grew in a beard in 81 and hasn't shaved it since.
Fake B&B in 1981.  Please tell me that guy in the center is not supposed to be Michael B. Tretow!!
Frida performing in Boston
Also apparently, according to the documentary, ABBA never performed in Boston because Agnetha got sick and was traumatized from the flight.  ABBA did in fact perform in Boston, though Agnetha was sick, and they only canceled the Washington DC show.  Just saying.  And also, nobody could be so heartless about Agnetha being traumatized from being in a crazy plane flight.  Honestly, I hardly doubt Stig was that nasty to her, yelling at her about the money and not caring about her health.  It's all exaggerated.  And apparently Bjorn and Benny really don't care about her because they didn't even come to check on her.

I notice that this documentary tries very hard to show Agnetha and Frida as perfect people who are misunderstood (and very depressed) and always try to make Bjorn and Benny out as the bad guys.  Like, they show Bjorn as very loveless, that he has no love for Agnetha or the children, only cares about the band, and is nasty towards Agnetha because of her anxiety.  I really doubt that as well.  I think Bjorn was probably a very supportive husband, and he missed the children a lot as well while on tour, and though he did care about the band, he was a husband and father and would never disregard his family.  They also put too much focus on Agnetha, as if she is the main person of ABBA, and Frida, Benny, and Bjorn are not important to the band.  It seems ABBA stands for only Agnetha in this documentary.

Also attending the ABBA the Movie premier was the worst thing ever for ABBA and Agnetha hated every bit of it.  That part was definitely over dramatized, especially with Frida, who they were going on about having issues with her own children and missing them, showing no sympathy for Agnetha who has just given birth 2 weeks prior.  Seriously?

If they tried to get actors who looked like ABBA, could they have at least gotten an actor who looked like Linda as well?  They just chose a random blonde girl who really does not resemble Linda one bit.  Wrong hair color.  Also Peter never shows up at all in the documentary, and in the scene where Agnetha leaves the house, she only takes Linda with her and Peter is never to be seen...

In the part talking about Frida and Benny's split, they just suddenly out of the blue mention that Bjorn wrote a breakup song about Benny and Frida just like he did with Agnetha and Bjorn's split, except that they never mentioned "The Winner Takes It All" at all.  It just talks about "When All Is Said And Done."

 Plus in the scene where they show ABBA recording their new song "The Visitors" and Frida comes in with her completely new haircut, the narrator mentions how Bjorn and Benny were too busy writing a musical when that only happened a year later in 82, not 81.  And then Fake Agnetha said, "Oh it's about the cold war.  How cheery.  What ever happened to Dancing Queen?"  They act as if Dancing Queen is the only upbeat popular song that they know of and completely disregard other popular, happy songs. Like, there's "Honey, Honey", "Take A Chance On Me", and "So Long" just to name a few... 

And then after ABBA broke up, we then get very little information about Agnetha and Frida's solo careers with their amazing albums, as if they don't matter.  it's hilarious.  At least they mentioned Agnetha's solo albums and acknowledged the existence of her solo career post-ABBA, unlike that special about Agnetha in 2013.  And I'm surprised no one mentions Agnetha's marriage to Thomas Sonnenfield.  I know it was a short relationship, they mentioned everything else.

I feel like with the whole stalker thing was over exaggerated quite a bit, to make it seem like more than it actually was.  It's a very sad situation and weird event that happened to Agnetha and it's horrible, but I feel like they're taking the worst event that could possibly happen and using it just to make the drama more entertaining and that's wrong. 

And then in the end, Agnetha and Frida reunite for the first time in forever having never seen each other in so long (which I don't believe.) 

In conclusion, I am appalled by this documentary and I wish it was never even made.  I feel like they took a lot of the interviews out of context and I can tell that Carl Magnus Palm was trying to make the story as realistic as possible, though that kind of failed.  They tried to make the documentary about both Agnetha and Frida and their "horrible" lives with ABBA, but ended up making the whole focus on Angetha.  The dramatization was absolutely terrible.   The acting stank, the kids who played Frida's kids were not trying at all to have fake Swedish accents, and the documentary made Bjorn and Benny seem like the bad guys in all of this.  If you think about it, Benny too left his children behind and went through a similar situation like Frida and her kids, so why is no one making a big fuss over that?  Why is Benny still seen as the bad guy?

Also the documentary kept on talking about how ABBA only got together at the Mamma Mia movie premiere in 2008 and completely disregarded the Mamma Mia musical premiere in 2000 or 2001 where all 4 members were there, and also the Tivedshambo performance for Stig in 1986.  And the members have attended numerous private parties in the 80s and 90s, including Gorel Hanser's 50th birthday party. 

If the documentary is always talking about Agnetha being a private person, why on earth did they make this documentary in the first place?   I do not think Agnetha and Frida appreciate this documentary being published at all as it adds so much negativity to their story and makes it seem that ABBA was a horrible thing that should never have happened.

Though the documentary was a little gripping I will admit, I am so displeased with it and think that it destroys the beauty of ABBA and their music and the amazing things that they have given to this world.  It's sick how they twist everything to try and make it entertaining and dramtic.  I'm very relieved that they didn't say anything about Bjorn and Benny's wives Lena and Mona because that would be disgusting. 

So, would I recommend this documentary to anyone else to watch?  No, because you'd just be wasting your brain cells. So that is my very negative and angry review of ABBA: When All Is Said And Done, the Drama-Documentary. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thank You For The Music Live Perth, 1977

While doing research for a video that I'm working on, I cam across this cute video.

I find it to be quite fascinating how the lyrics are different from the way they are in the studio version of Thank You For The Music. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why I don't like Mamma Mia!

With the release of the new Mamma Mia! 2 trailer, the anticipation for the movie has grown quite a bit and as someone who dislikes the musical in a whole, and even more so the movie, I can't say I'm too happy about it.  I've gotten a few comments from people telling me that I shouldn't hate on Mamma Mia!, but I do and I have my reasons to hate it.  I figure it's time I list my reasons for disliking Mamma Mia! again so that everyone knows.

1. As someone who is very against changing the ABBA songs in anyway (I'm always looking for accuracy in everything, like the way tribute bands sing the songs as well as how accurate their costumes are, but you all know how I feel about that!), I was quite upset when I learned that in Mamma Mia! the musical, they changed the lyrics to a lot of the songs.  For example, in the song I Do x 5, they say "Say I do" instead of "I love you" and that just gets on my nerves.  Also in Mamma Mia, they sing "I was cheated by you and I think you know when" instead of "I've been cheated by you since I don't know when."  And then there's Under Attack from the musical not the movie, where they changed several verses.  Basically I am very against changing the lyrics, and I could be wrong, but I may have read/watched an interview where Bjorn said that he wasn't happy that they changed the lyrics. :)

2. The whole plot of the musical is really weird.  It's about a woman who had multiple incidents with men one after the other and so the girl doesn't know who her real father is because of that.  Yes, the whole thing about Sophie wanting to invite her father to her wedding and so she invites all three of them is pretty sweet, I will admit that, but it shows that Donna is a really weird woman.  Maybe in the sequel they're going to try and justify her acts, but still.

3. In Mamma Mia! the movie, I am absolutely horrified by how untalented a lot of the people they chose are at singing.  Pierce Brosnan's singing is atrocious, Meryl Streep can't sing a steady note, and everyone sounds like they have autotune there to help them out.  I understand, they're no Agnetha and Frida, but they couldn't at least chosen some people who can actually sing.  I'm sure the actors in the film are good at acting, since that is what they are, but they're not singers.

4. From what I can tell since I have not (and probably will not) watched Mamma Mia! the musical or the movie, Donna and the Dynamos perform a lot of their hit songs that presumable they wrote.  Um, why can't it be that they're just performing ABBA's hit songs?  Why can't they just be really big ABBA fans who like to break into ABBA songs at random moments as they plan for Sophie's wedding?  :P  I hardly believe that Donna and her friends are capable of writing songs like Super Trouper and Dancing Queen.  But since I haven't watched it, there's a chance I'm wrong about this and that they really are just big ABBA fans who performed their hit songs in their band.

5. The costumes.  I have no idea what these costumes are supposed to be, since I am pretty sure that people in the 70s did not dress this outrageous.  Sure there are some outrageous costumes from that time period, but this is 100 times crazier.  Compare them to Agnetha and Frida's outfits from 1974-75.  Agnetha and Frida's outfits were pretty interesting for the time, with satin capes with floofy stuff on the edges, a paneled skater skirt, layers of gathered frills at the bottom of the jumpsuit, and knee high boots, but notice how simple the colors are and how normal they look compared to the Mamma Mia! costumes.
 I also don't like how when you look for ABBA costumes, you're ultimately going to find Mamma Mia! costumes among the results, and these costumes are definitely not ABBA costumes.  Maybe they're inspired slightly, but they are so exaggerated, they are 100% not ABBA costumes.

I understand that Mamma Mia! introduced ABBA to a lot of people and helped grow ABBA's fan base quite a bit in modern times, and I know a lot of people who only became ABBA fans because of Mamma Mia!, but not all ABBA fans have to be fans of Mamma Mia! and are absolutely allowed to dislike it, just like myself.  So please don't go telling me that I shouldn't hate Mamma Mia!, because I do and these reasons are exactly why.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My birthday present to myself - first order from ABBA the Museum!

So recently, ABBA the Museum had a recent sale of Free Shipping worldwide, internationally, for I think it was 36 hours.  All these years I have never ordered anything from the museum's web shop since everything is a little bit pricey and the shipping cost would be crazy expensive from Sweden to here, so I simply never bought anything.  But with this extremely generous offer, I really couldn't pass it up so I went ahead and bought a few items for myself!  I didn't exactly have the money to be spending on ABBA merchandise, but I consider this my birthday present to myself, so it's all good. :'D  And with the cut shipping costs, I really lucked out here!

As to not overspend (which I nearly did, since if I could I would buy everything in the web shop, haha!), I decided to limit myself to as few items as possible.  I wanted to make sure that I'd get something from the Pop cats line, and I thought the best product would be the cat coasters since there's one of each cat and they're pretty neat too! :D

 The next item I got was a must have for me, actually.  Back in 2012 I think it was, I had went to the ABBAsite web store and saw this gold ABBA logo key chain there and I had really wanted it.  It was so pretty and I have quite a thing for collecting key chains, so I had my eyes really set on this one.  And it took 5 years, but I finally got it and I could not be happier!  It's soooo pretty!!

And the next item I got was this poster.  It's an extremely lovely image of ABBA from the Fernando music video.  Of all the posters in the selection, I thought this one was so pretty, so I got it and now it's up on my wall, aka the great wall of ABBA. xD

 So that's all I got.  I know it's not much, but it's a lot for me, plus I didn't end up spending too much since I only got 3 things!  I'm honestly so pleased with how fast the items shipped from ABBA the museum (they got from Sweden to my house in just 2 days!!), and how easy the purchase was, so someday I am going to have to do an even bigger haul from the museum! :'D

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ted - Show Me Love/För kärlekens skull Movie

In 2018 I believe, there's going to be a movie coming out about Ted Gardestad, the incredibly talented young singer from the 70s.  I've seen the trailer, but as someone who doesn't know Swedish, I wasn't able to understand what everyone was saying, but I think I get the gist of what's going on.  I quite like how it's giving the younger generation a chance to appreciate Ted's amazing music, but I can't help but notice that from the trailer, they seem to be dramatizing Ted's story quite a bit.  I know Ted's story ended quite tragically and that there were a lot of ups and downs, but I get the feeling that they're just exaggerating the story a little.  But that's just me and I could be wrong since I don't know a lot of the context from the trailer because I don't know Swedish. :P

I think they chose a pretty good actor to portray Ted.  The actor, whoever it is who is playing him, does resemble Ted quite a bit, only I can't say he has the right voice.  His voice is definitely a bit deeper than Ted's, which was a very unique and sweet voice.  But besides that, they did a good job on that part.

They also have an actor portraying Stig Anderson, as he's quite prominent in Ted's story.  I'd say they did well in choosing the actor to play him.  The hair isn't entirely accurate, but I'm just being picky because I'm all into everything being perfect.

And yes, ABBA are going to be making some appearances in the movie too.  I'm a bit skeptical about this since when it comes to ABBA, to me it just has to be perfect. xD  In the trailer, we see Bjorn and Benny, but we don't end up seeing Agnetha or Frida anywhere, though there's a chance that these two are Agnetha and Frida, and if so, then something's up.  Hopefully the blonde and brunette pictured here are not the As from ABBA and are just Ted's fans.  (Though it could be Bjorn, Agnetha, and Frida and well, what is up with the heights??? )
Anyway, this is what Bjorn and Benny look like in the movie:

I think they did okay, as in it's not the greatest but it'll do.  Judging by the hair, I'm guessing this is supposed to be during 1976, since they look a bit like the way Bjorn and Benny looked during the ABBA-Dabba-Doo special.

There is one scene where I'm pretty sure Agnetha and Frida are shown here, but only from the back.
And I think I can confirm that it is them because I have this picture of the actress Angelina Hakansson who plays Frida.  From the angle of this picture, she does look a little like Frida, but that's only at this angle.  So I can't say much.
By these two pictures, I am so confused as to what era of ABBA they are trying to portray and what year this takes place.  Frida has the hair that she had in late 1974/early 75,
Also note that Benny in the still from the trailer is also wearing this leopard print jacket that he wore a lot in '75
but the way the clothing that she and Agnetha are wearing resemble the way they dressed in 1976.
I'm hoping that the creators of this movie at least put some thought into the way ABBA's look has change throughout the 70s and 80s because it would be a shame if ABBA just had one look throughout the movie.  Frida's hair changes enough times over the years, she deserves to have multiple look and hairstyles, same for Agnetha.  Also I hope that if ABBA are shown performing at all, that they sound like ABBA, or at least mime to the original tracks.  But this movie isn't about ABBA - it's about Ted Gardestad.   

This movie does sound quite interesting and I hope to be able to watch it with subtitles if they're going to be available when the movie comes out. :)