Finally facing my Waterloo

When I was a little girl in the 1970s, ABBA was big. In fact, they were bigger than big, they were huge.

It’s fair to say that like most girls my age at the time, I was in love with ABBA. Specifically I was in love with Agnetha and Frida.

Four ABBA albums and three corresponding fridge magnets

Georgina from across the road would come over and the two of us would put my ABBA albums on and sing into our hairbrushes, pretending to be the two Swedish singers, who in our eyes were more beautiful and glamorous than anyone we could possibly imagine. Georgina would be Agnetha and I was always Frida.

After my friend Rachael and I left Denmark following Eurovision a few weeks ago, we made a beeline for Stockholm. The purpose: to visit ABBA The Museum.

Building with lights spelling out "ABBA The Museum"

What can I tell you? It’s not a huge space at all but ABBA The Museum is one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. It comprehensively covers its subject in every way imaginable.

There were stories: who they were, when they met, when they won Eurovision in 1974, what happened next, and how they broke up.

Waterloo costumes

Fernando and Australia

There were mocked up sewing rooms full of fabrics, offices with memos, holiday houses that they worked in and dressing rooms in a mess.

There was memorabilia: costumes, a complete display of all records released, a display of many of the gold and platinum albums, and much, much more.

ABBA discography

ABBA gold and platinum records

ABBA the museum - costume gallery

cats costumes

But that’s not even the best bit. The absolute best thing about ABBA The Museum is that it understands and caters for its visitors. Throughout the museum there are interactive activities that allow visitors to participate in the ABBA dream.

You can be the producer that has a go at mixing a song to achieve the ABBA sound (turns out I’m no Quincy Jones).

You can sing and dance on stage as the 5th member of ABBA (I danced completely out of time but didn’t care).

You can ‘audition’ in a recording booth which scores your karaoke performance (Rachael and I sang together, and I use the term ‘sang’ loosely as we actually laughed till we wept at how bad our Australian accents sounded put together with ABBA’s music; we didn’t score well).

And you can have your photo taken and avatars created of all four ABBA members (but with your face) which you then dance as (I busted moves Bjorn would’ve been proud of).

Avatar Len

Basically ABBA The Museum gives the little kid in us the opportunity to go back in time and relive singing ABBA songs into a hairbrush and dancing like Agnetha and Bjorn, Frida and Benny, on a pretend stage in our living rooms.

In short, it was ABBA fan heaven.

I felt perfectly at home.

Four cut out figures of ABBA with Frida's face swapped for the writer's face


Communicating With the Past


This gallery contains 9 photos.

Yesterday I went on a tour of the Telstra Museum with some old work colleagues of mine. Located in Hawthorn, the museum houses a fascinating array of telecommunications equipment from highly technical back-end equipment to phones of both the novelty … Continue reading