Here I go again…

MAMMA MIA!Well, tonight in Sydney with a group of ABBA fans and cinema full of subdued D-list invitees I saw a preview screening of MAMMA MIA! Apparently it was the “third official screening in the world”, though there was also one in Melbourne tonight.

I’m having conflicted thoughts about the movie at the moment. I first saw the show in London when it opened in 1999, and I hated it – the story was barely there to string the songs together, the staging seemed cheap and the whole atmosphere was very pantomime. Frankly I thought it would flop in a few months and would never appeal outside of England.

When I saw it again a couple of years later when it played in Australia I quite enjoyed the show, but it was still not great, and the storyline was still rubbish. To date I’ve seen it five times in London, Melbourne and Sydney (yeah, I know what you’re thinking, he hates it but he’s seen it five times, I have that same thought quite often).

Seeing the same show, albeit slightly modified, on the big screen with high calibre actors like Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan singing those familiar ABBA songs was a bit of a bizarre experience.

I’m not going to review the movie – if you’re interested in a highly detailed review, go to Ryan’s Incredible World, but be warned, there are spoilers galore.

One thing I will say is that seeing and hearing ‘When All Is Said And Done’ (minus the third verse) as a celebratory song rather than being “the ABBA song about Benny and Frida’s break-up” gives it a whole new context and an entirely different emotional response, which quite surprised me.

And maybe that moment illustrates the magic and continuing success of ABBA music – it can mean all things to all people, which is why it appeals to young and old, men and women, straight and gay.

I did quite enjoy the movie, though it took a couple of hours and a couple of beers to process it in my mind. It’s really a lot of fun. Go see it. I think it’s going to be as big a hit as the musical has been.

And if it introduces even more people to the real ABBA music and sells more copies of ABBA Gold and the rest of ABBA’s back catalogue, then all the better.

Facebook or MySpace?

I wrote about MySpace and Facebook for ABBA fans in the March issue of the Official International ABBA Fan Club Magazine.

I don’t get MySpace. Its entire purpose seems to be how many “friends” you can collect. There doesn’t seem to be much interactivity there. Sure you can post photos and videos and blogs and comments, but is that it? I can’t see what else you can really do there.

There are a few ABBA groups on MySpace, but they’re all very quiet, most of them with only a few members. ABBA-related acts Ella Rouge and Nanne have official MySpace profiles, previewing music and videos. That seems to be what MySpace does best, as a portal between artists and fans.

But on Facebook there are other applications – games, quizzes and whatnot (as annoying as some of them can be, and that stupid requirement to invite 20 friends is crap) – that can be added to a profile, and there seems to be a lot more interaction between friends. There are lots of ABBA groups, and some of them are quite active. Maybe not as active as some other forums out there, but they seem to be picking up.

ABBA World has presences on both MySpace (profile and group) and Facebook. So far, Facebook has attracted many members, while MySpace has attracted just a few friends.


MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIEABBA World presents the new MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE mini-site, with everything you need to know about the upcoming film – cast, release dates, posters, trailers, website links, news, reviews and more.

In latest MAMMA MIA! news, there is a new poster (see right), the CD soundtrack cover and tracklist have been released, official movie websites have been updated with all new interactive content, premiere dates have been changed or cancelled, and a new television documentary is on the way.

You can find the details of all this and much more at the MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE mini-site.

MAMMA MIA! opens in cinemas around the world from July 2008.


Chasing ABBA

DJ Billy B has a dream. To play at the opening of ABBA the Museum, to gather ABBA rarities for the Museum, to find the world’s biggest ABBA fan, and to write a new song for ABBA to record.

He also wants to document his quest on a reality show on MTV. He’s posted his “pilot” on YouTube and has a MySpace profile.

Will he succeed? We’ll have to check back with Billy to follow his progress.

ABBA the Museum opens one year from today.

Chasing ABBA Fan Search – MySpace
djbillyb2000 Channel – You Tube

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