If my husband has any complaints that I’ve transported myself back to 1980 and have been listening to ABBA all afternoon, he has only himself to blame.
He broke all the rules on what books to buy for me for Christmas. He decided to steer away from both politics and cookery books. He has sworn off buying fiction for me after the scowl he got for buying me a Danielle Steel book.
He came up trumps with ABBA: The Treasures, though. It’s a very personal memoir of their touring days written by Ingmarie Halling who was in charge of their dressing room and wardrobe on 3 major tours in the 1970s.
I love it. It’s easy to dip in and out of. You are guaranteed squeals of delight from any ABBA fan. There’s a bit of history, some great anecdotes and some reproductions of tour documents. My favourite is the “rider” stipulating what must be in the band’s dressing rooms. Drinks include 2 bottles of French champagne (well chilled) and a bottle of Scotch. I guess that was fairly tame compared to some bands.
Spare a thought for the road crew, though, who were only allowed a limited amount of beer and only at certain times of the day. They were allowed 3 sandwiches per person at lunchtime and two each in the evening. Doesn’t seem a lot for people who had a very physical job. I was particularly amused by the rations for the 12 musicians and the 3 choir girls.
One of the most perceptive phrases in the whole book was when she was talking about the logistics of such a tour. “I think it was easier to be punctual back then when there was no internet. Nowadays you can blame broadband problems, bad connectivity and dead mobile phones!”
It feels more like you’re sitting round a table with her, sipping chilled wine while she’s telling you her story, laughing with her at every turn. The joy she feels at recalling the events of nearly 40 years ago jumps out at you and you simply can’t stop yourself from smiling.
If you love ABBA, you have to read this delightful book. You can get it here on the Waterstone’s website where it is on offer. My husband paid full price for it in the shop. I’ve just told him of the offer and that sound you can hear is him wailing.