Tuesday, 30 December 2008

I Hate ABBA.

I used to like ABBA. A lot. As a teenager, when all around me were into punk music and wearing safety pins in their ears and being gruff, I conversely and I have to say, covertly, played my ABBA LPs continuously, so that I could sing Super Trouper into my hairbrush with the same aplomb as Agnetha. As soon as I saw my boyfriend walk up the path however, I’d fling it off the record player and chuck on The Sex Pistols, then nonchalantly lie back against the sofa cushions as though I’d been there all day and adopt a mean and moody look. In reality I wasn’t feeling dark at all because my internal HiFi was singing ‘Chiquitita Tell Me Truth’ and I was working hard on not sweating as only seconds before I’d been gyrating around in front of the mirror, pretending for all I was worth that I was blonde. And Swedish.
Up until Christmas Day I would have sworn a similar allegiance to the Scandinavian Fab Four but that was before Santa brought with him on his sleigh, not only a DVD of the film Mamma Mia – which I have now seen and even more crucially, heard more times than is essentially necessary without a) losing all sense of time and space and b) the urge to kill. Anyone. And to the strains of Thankyou For the Music.
So, imagine then when the six year old tore at more wrapping paper to reveal an ABBA SingStar and two microphones.
“What is it Mummy?” she asked.
“Well I think you put it into a PlayStation and do karaoke?”, I answered absently, reading the instructions.
“Oh wow! Can I do it now?”
“But sweetheart it’s only 6.45 am”.
“But it’s Christmas Day mummy. Please”. Her big eyes and plaintive little voice had no effect on me whatsoever and I was about to suggest that she read one of her books instead or indeed go back to bed but my son got in there before me.
“Let her do it Ma”, suggested my son through very hooded eyes, “Then the rest of us can go back to bed”.
“Well what am I supposed to do?” I asked as Hubby undid the packaging and stuck the CD into the PlayStation.
“Pretend you’re Benny?” suggested Hubby through a stifled yawn.
“Andersson. It’s the facial hair thing”, he added, trying to connect leads, cables and scart leads to each other.
“Excuse me?”
“Nothing a little Jolene Creme Bleach wouldn’t put right”.
It was, as my daughter pointed out, Christmas Day. We’d already been up for an hour and a half and I hadn’t got to bed until 2am. I was exhausted before I’d started and now here was my husband with his arse sticking up in the air as he fiddled around with the back of the telly, insinuating that I resembled Helena Bonham Carter. When she was in Planet of the Apes.
My hand flew up to my chin. There was, it couldn’t be denied, the odd stray hair that my tweezers and 12x mirror hadn’t detected but hirsute? No chance.
“Alice, for God’s sake” Hubby continued as he creakily and bone crackingly levered himself off the carpet, “I was pulling your leg”.
“Very funny I’m sure”, I said sulkily.
“C’mon let’s go into the kitchen and listen to Aled Jones as we peel the sprouts” and he gave me his hand and pulled me to my feet.
“That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said”, I laughed but the laughter was short lived as my eldest daughter demonstrated to the younger two how to use the SingStar and shortly, the strangulated tones of a four year old and a six year old knocking out ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’ echoed throughout the house. Thus it continued, minute after minute, hour after hour until every guest in the house was testy and irritable and this was before we’d started on the booze.
By 3pm, I was on my knees. We’d had a party on Christmas Eve, scores of people had enjoyed our hospitality and my sausage rolls had been a testimony to the crumbliest of pastry given that much of it was trampled into the carpet. My teenagers, far from going to bed and letting the ‘magic’ happen, chose instead to stay up late, so that poor Father Christmas found himself nodding off as he stuffed stockings. If it hadn’t been for Hubby poking him occasionally his sleigh would have been grounded.
From a catatonic stupor I watched the Queen make a speech to the Commonwealth. ABBA were having a breather for a minute but in their stead, Hannah Montana and Sharpei Evans aka my youngest children, dressed accordingly, were now cavorting around the dining room, their plastic high heeled, dress-up shoes, clip-clopping on the wooden floor, setting my teeth on edge.
My brother, who has one, placid, beautiful little girl who quietly reads a book or does some colouring in, was demented with the noise.
“Remind me again Alice, why we came here today? I could be at home now, pint of Stella in one hand, remote control in the other”.
“Anything I can do?” asked Dad, walking in, “Any veg to peel?” Dear old dad, he’d do anything for us but after leaving him in charge of veg preparation a couple of years ago where he reduced my two bags worth of Maris Piper into one inch dice rendering my roasties null and void, we’ve kept him out of the kitchen.We ate at 6pm.
After weeks of cooking, it was all over by 7.30 and that was only because I demanded conversation over the cheese. I fell into my pyjamas and bed soon after, my sleep assaulted by a dream where I found myself in bed with Benny and Bjorn but it was only I who had a beard. Freud would have a field day.


Mary Alice said...

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight! We watched Mama Mia last night...and sang really loudly!

Alice Band said...

Why are you up so early you crazy woman!!! By they way did my package arrive. The one for MM? So much for Royal Mail delivering it time for Christmas. If and when it arrives, just tuck in ...

Mary Alice said...

no darling...no packages have arrived :-( I will let you know.

Yvonne said...

Spooky I watched it again last night with my Mum and I sang really loudly (and badly) as well!!

It's just me said...

Mamma Mia reminds me of a lovely day out with my Mum. Although Pierce should never be allowed to sing again. Happy New Year!

sally's hubby said...


(Or at least, Mamma Mia, has yet to lose its feelgood factor with us).

Forgive us?

D. :-)

sally's hubby said...

Meant to say also...


Sally said...

Fantastic post Alice. As always. I think that you were probably here really. Our chaotic housefolds are SO similar..... Lots of love and Happy New Year.....


Jen Ballantyne said...

Well darling, I know you know what that movie did to me because you read my blog! Gosh I should have realized it was the effect of all that Abba being cornily hammered out by people that would possibly have been better off sticking to the acting side of things that did what it did to me. Glad you had a lovely if somewhat hectic Christmas, Happy New Year to you dear Alice, I hope it brings all you wish for. xxx

Jessica Sideways said...

Well, I have to say that I love ABBA and Mamma Mia but hey, after hearing/seeing it 100x in the span of 24 hours, I can understand how someone could be driven to hate it.