Thursday 21 February 2019

Abba and Kim's Seventies revival

Abba in 1976
Abba in 1976
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

There was great excitement in discotheques up and down the country last night at the news that Abba are to tour again next year. And even better, they won't look all old and depressing.

They will actually look exactly like they did in 1979 at the height of their fame. Because of course, in a supreme irony, they are using technology to create holograms of Abba, to recreate a time when we think we were happier, a simpler time, before technology made the world so confusing.       

It could yet be tech's greatest achievement, to wipe out the last 40 years and reset the world at 1979, before all the bad stuff happened. Indeed, there's a general feel of the 1970s around. What with the Cold War, which has given the whole world an atmosphere of a Philip Roth novel. And then there's that crazy carry-on in Korea.

The whole of North Korea looks a bit 1970s anyway, but Kim Jong-un looks as if he's just stepped out of a James Bond film from 007's sexist heyday. The Korean leaders even had Swiss rosti for dinner. They might as well have had fondue.

And if all that wasn't enough, there was a key party going on over in the White House. It looked for all the world like suburban swinging 1970s-style, straight out of one of John Updike's Rabbit books.

A new French guy moves into the neighbourhood, with an older but attractive wife, and the local loudmouth bully with the silent East European wife hits it off with him, and adopts him, and hey whatta ya know, the wives hit it off too. And because the French people don't know anyone else, they play along and they all start hanging out together and it gets increasingly touchy-feely, until one thing leads to another. There was even dandruff involved, which in itself suggests a pre-Head & Shoulders era.

If we are going to go back to the 1970s, we should all demand to do what Abba got to do. Abba are reverting to the very best version of themselves, the time at which they were most successful and happy and looked their best. That was back when the songs were still upbeat, before the relatively weird melancholy of The Winner Takes It All.

This will suit lots of people - to erase a few of the decades. Bertie can be that guy in the anorak that everyone loved. The rest of us can revert to a time of jobs for life, hope for the future, and just two breads, brown or white sliced pan.

A time when clean eating meant washing the cabbage before you boiled the bejaysus out of it, when you only had a dozen friends but you actually knew them, a world where you could lose touch with people from your past, and where kids didn't use phones because they couldn't reach up to press Button A.

Sunday Independent

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