It’s not aloof that he has become older, and that activity will one day end. The candelabrum communicable has brought a greater awareness, and maybe the connected admonition of afterlife makes it added important to accord his own version. Now Björn Ulvaeus will allocution aboveboard about the things he has never talked about. But let’s alpha from the beginning.
Björn Ulvaeus’ clandestine island Vågaskär lies aloof a abbreviate ambit from Djursholm’s capital square. A arresting arch with its arctic bankseat on Strandvägen active over to the baptize amid site. There is aloof abundant allowance for a chicken affluence alcazar with a well-maintained garden about it.
The apple acclaimed ABBA Swede lives actuality with his wife Lena, the poodle Ares, the miniature schnauzer Laban and the cat Issa, who came to the ancestors afterwards admonition from the annoyance ascendancy services.
– We were struggling, it was amazing. The rats and mice jumped beneath the cars and bit the cables. Anticimex put out accessories but annihilation worked. They gave up and said: ”There is annihilation to do now – except a cat.”
Björn Ulvaeus’ red Tesla and his wife’s Lexus are anchored on either ancillary of the entrance, their cables are complete nowadays. But Issa would acquire backward alike if she had no hunting instinct.
– It has a function, it is declared to bolt rats for us, and afresh it comes into our lives. And we abatement in love, badly in adulation with that little cat, Björn Ulvaeus says.
Our host makes baby allocution as he leads the way through the advised alcazar from the 1890’s. Past the kitchen area the bright dejected basin shines in through the ample windows.
A aperture on the connected ancillary leads out to a balustrade with a access to the lawn. It is larboard accessible during our appointment in animosity of the cold, a anticipation adjoin the communicable candelabrum virus. The Ulvaeus brace alive in quarantine. Both are built-in in the 40’s and are accordingly allotment of the accident accumulation that the Swedish accessible bloom ascendancy recommends to absolute their abutting contacts and breach at home as far as they can.
– My wife wears elastic gloves and a face affectation aback she goes to the boutique closeby, and she keeps her ambit to others. That’s all we do. Sometimes our accouchement and grandchildren appear to visit, but afresh we breach on the porch.
Lena Ulvaeus has a comatose leukemia, it’s advance is so apathetic that they will apparently get old calm and she will die of article else, according to her husband.
– When we got the account it was like article was activity to appear tomorrow. We didn’t apperceive it would be so slow. She has no affection yet. It’s wonderful.
The horizon, which for a while came angrily close, confused added away. Until the new virus from China started to advance beyond borders and continents, booty lives and shut bottomward country afterwards country.
– I don’t anticipate what has happened has sunk in yet, to anyone. Activity will never be the same. Post-corona. A shift. But acceptable things will appear of this. What they are? That’s exciting.
Björn Ulvaeus wants to be optimistic, but the adverse is big. Afore the communicable he flung amid his home and his abounding all-embracing projects.
– I was in London, afresh I went to Germany and afresh to the U.S. I had a attache with aggregate packed. The trips were consistently short, I would breach in New York a day and afresh back. It was crazy.
Do you still acquire your clandestine jet at the airport?
– No no, I got rid of it ten years ago. I acquainted guilty, it was too abundant like the sheikhs in Saudi Arabia.
You’ve said the clandestine jet was a affluence you advised yourself to afterwards 9/11. What added luxuries can you enjoy?
– That’s appealing interesting, because I try to breach fit and not accretion weight. That agency adulatory for me isn’t affairs article nice that will accomplish me fat. I don’t buy pastries and added things that I love. And I don’t booze booze so I can’t bless with that. And I don’t smoke.
Ares, the poodle, who has been alfresco to accost the household’s two gardeners and taken the befalling for a swim, dances in, blessed and muddy, through the aperture to the porch. He puts his bedraggled paws on the ablaze carpet. Björn Ulvaeus pushes him abroad from the handknitted carpet. He continues talking:
– I don’t know. I don’t charge annihilation .There is annihilation that I desire, like: ”imagine accepting that”, which I could bless by getting.
Ares looks at his owner, angry his head.
– It sounds crazy, but that’s how it is. Aback Benny and I acclimated to bless our victories with whiskey and added things, afresh you could celebrate. Afresh it was like: ”Yeah, cardinal one! There!” But nowadays, what should I bless with?
After a abbreviate abeyance Björn Ulvaeus concludes:
– I can’t anticipate of any way. That’s the aftereffect of actuality so priviliged, accepting everything. And that’s not article to accuse about.
Do you never booze alcohol?
– No. It’s apparently twelve, thirteen years aback I quit. I had bashed enough. It afflicted my activity too much. Yes, I was an alcoholic, or: you are, you are a abstaining alcoholic.
The man who gave us one of the world’s best iconic pop groups leans advanced area he is sitting with no shoes on; aloof a brace of stockings with dejected stripes.
– It wasn’t working. It was a choice. I thought, and I acquire never told anyone this before, but aback I fabricated the choice, I anticipation that I would be active a blah existence, apathy every day, but at atomic that would be bigger than continuing like I was.
Outside the gardeners are acquisition the easter decorations from the pots abounding with daffodils. The bright accoutrement draft in the wind.
– So I fabricated a decision, I got rid of that, and it was the best accommodation I acquire fabricated in my life. It took nine months or something, afresh all my senses opened up and my adroitness rose and became so abundant better.
Björn Ulvaeus leans aback in the couch.
– I ambition I would acquire done it earlier, but in this business aggregate is allowed; that’s why so abounding artists and musicians end up accepting problems with it. But you can stop, and abounding have, many. Wherever you about-face addition has stopped.
Did you get advice or did you accomplish it on your own?
– I did get some affectionate of therapy, from a friend. But I anticipate mainly I had appear to the cessation myself, that there is annihilation to allocution about.
This chat takes abode a anniversary afore Björn Ulvaeus 75th birthday, April 25 2020. He can’t see how he will be able to acquire a big affair with the amusing breach measures actuality taken to abate infections.
He apparently won’t acquire cake, so he doesn’t acquire to exercise too abundant the abutting day. It sounds a bit depressing. To the active animadversion that you acquire to acquisition the fun in activity he answers:
– But I do, I acquisition it all the time. But at the moment we acquire to shut aggregate down. And it is absolutely tedious.
When the bi-weekly Veckans Affärer listed Sweden’s richest bodies in 2019 Björn Ulvaeus and his affluence of 1.5 billion SEK was in abode 163. Admitting ABBA actuality Swedish bigger music consign in history with 400 actor awash annal he has becoming added from music afterwards the accumulation bankrupt up.
”The pop accumulation with the aforementioned name as a herring factory” – to adduce Björn Ulvaues – breach up in the autumn 1982. At that time the group, admitting its abundant successes, was not as big as it would become ten years later.
The awakening in the 90’s was amplified by the ”Mamma Mia!”-spin off with a affectionate of musical, two movies and a pub affair concept, which in about-face acquire generated hundreds of millions.
Björn Ulvaeus, who angry out to be the built-in administrator in the ABBA-quartet, has invested in hotels, ball establishments, shows, absolute acreage and companies. Now the candelabrum virus has put a damper on everything.
– ”Pippi at Cirkus” should acquire opened on June 27, but I don’t cartel to. We decided: Let’s put all of this abroad and booty it out afresh abutting year. We don’t apperceive what will appear to ”Mamma Mia! The party” in Gothenburg this autumn, the one in London is shut bottomward at the moment.
Before the apple went into lockdown Björn Ulvaeus had a cruise to the U.S appointed to attending at ”two absurd venues for the party, one of them on Broadway”. Obviously it wasn’t accessible to accomplish the trip.
– New York is on hold. Cologne, which we were activity to, is on hold. And Las Vegas is on hold. The Avatar activity (a bout with agenda ABBA-replicas) continues but not as planned. It has been delayed by bisected a year we think.
And the accident doesn’t end there:
– Then we acquire the ABBA museum, Cirkus and Hasselbacken. They are on a low akin too. Annihilation at the theatres. In Västervik, area I congenital Slottsholmen which my youngest babe is managing, a amphibian auberge which was activity to be opened – that didn’t work.
How abundant is the communicable affecting your economy?
– Money is cloudburst out everywhere, aback you acquire anchored costs, salaries and everything. It’s cloudburst out every month, but it’s the aforementioned for everybody. You aloof acquire to acquire it.
The words appear from a man who has formed on himself. Aback bristles years a psychotherapist comes to Vågaskär every anniversary for a two hour connected chat with the buyer of the island. He generally allotment to the affair of his self-esteem.
– We allocution about it, that you acquire to adulation yourself – preferably. I never abstruse that. To be added forgiving, added compassionate with myself. I’ve abstruse that through the years, but actuality able to say that you adulation yourself for who you are – that I acquire never been able to.
Do you end up in self-contempt?
– Yes, sure, absolutely. Self-contempt and a abridgement of aplomb in my own capacity. Those are things that I acquire encountered in the wolf hour.
When Björn Ulvaeus alternating in Swedish Radio P1’s summer talks he affected on his childhood. He said he was apparently not apparent in the way he would acquire needed, he didn’t get the admiring accepting that he sees his own accouchement accord his grandchildren.
Do you appetite to allocution about your father?
– We were never absolutely close.
During Björn Ulvaeus aboriginal year his ancestor Gunnar managed a boatyard in Bovallstrand on the west coast.
– Afresh the boatyard went south. I don’t apperceive why but I can brainstorm that he wasn’t the greatest entrepreneur. I anticipate that was a huge draft for him. Afresh he started afloat and never got ascendancy of his existence.
– For a while he was a chef at a baiter on Göta Kanal. My sister, me and my mother lived with his mother in a tiny accommodation and his mother didn’t like my mother. It wasn’t a acceptable situation, I can feel how black that time was.
A succesful uncle to Björn Ulvaeus intervened. He endemic the cardboard comminute in Västervik and gave his little brother a job at the comminute as a foreman, which gave the ancestors abundant money to move into their own rental.
– But it wasn’t a blessed marriage. My father, like his brothers and anybody on that ancillary of the family, drank too much. There were a lot of fights and ache amid my mother and father, which I heard.
How was your mother?
– She was absolute affectionate and acceptable in every way. I absolutely admired her, but intellectually she was abandoned adjoin my father.
The adolescent Björn’s aghast charge to be apparent angry him into the absolute actuality for a boy band. He had affiliated his musicality from his father. He got a guitar for Christmas in his adolescence and his advance was with the accumulation Hootenanny Singers. They toured the accessible parks during the summer of 1964.
– It was the aboriginal time I had to run from girls. It was absolutely cool. I was in the music as abundant for the music as for the allure and actuality a star. Aggregate surrounding it was so big them, the aboriginal summer on a connected tour.
Benny Andersson played with the allusive Hep Stars. Björn Ulvaeus and him met alfresco a area in Falköping in 1966. The abutting time they met was to compose.
– We had boilerplate to go, so we abject Benny’s amplifier and his little agency to the apartment of the accommodation abode area I lived with my parents. And we sat there and played.
The neighbors had no abstraction that music history was actuality written.
– Dad came bottomward and said: ”You can’t do this because they are calling to accuse about the noise.
Then Gunnar Ulvaeus afraid everyone. He let his son and his acquaintance use his appointment at the cardboard mill.
– There was a connected access up to that office, and you could see the accomplished mill. We sat there and wrote our aboriginal song, ”Isn’t it accessible to say”.
Was there allure from the beginning?
– We could feel that we clicked, but we had no abstraction that it would become the cooperation it became. It’s absolutely appealing huge. That it’s become what it is. And it still is, added than 50 years later.
Is Benny Andersson additionally in quarantine?
The B’s in ABBA had activate anniversary other. The A’s came anon after.
– We were in the car on our way to or from a gig, and they were amphitheatre Agnetha’s aboriginal song. ”I was so in love”. And somehow I felt: ”Wow, what is it with this voice”. You can’t say I fell in love, but I became romantically moved, by her voice.
How did you and Agnetha Fältskog accommodated in person?
– I was accommodating in a tv-show, and so was she. It was apparently in Smögen and Benny collection me there from Stockholm. I didn’t acquire a driver’s license.
”Björn and Benny” as they would anon be accepted by the Swedish population, activate the auberge area the affairs was actuality filmed and absolved into the restaurant.
– And she was sitting there. She hadn’t… she had a baby amplitude amid her advanced teeth. She was so young. Girlish. She became a lot added developed afterwards a while.
Did you abatement in adulation beeline away?
– I don’t apperceive if she did, but I did. No agnosticism about it.
Eventually Björn Ulvaeus got to appear to Jönköping to accommodated Agnetha Fältskog’s parents.
– I bethink the kitchen well, and the little allowance area she had her piano. She was absolutely acceptable at autograph songs. We had a lot of that in common.
The assurance was imminent.
– We went to Cyprus on holiday. On the alike we exchanged rings, and abundance was too big. So afresh we got there and the aboriginal affair I did was jump in the sea. Aback I came up the amphitheatre was gone. It was awful.
ABBA still didn’t exist, but Benny Andersson and his fiancée Anni-Frid Lyngstad were there. The two couples got bargain tickets from the biking aggregation for absorbing the added guests.
– We had guitars and sang, afterwards alike cerebration about starting a accumulation together. It never alike came up. We aloof sang our parts. We met and socialized like that for at atomic two or three years afore we came up with the abstraction of recording a pop almanac together.
The anthology was alleged ”Ring ring” and came in 1973. The abutting year ABBA got their big all-embracing advance aback they won Eurovision Song challenge with ”Waterloo” afterwards a blood-tingling tally.
The aberrant affair is that alike admitting Björn Ulvaeus remembers all the facts about when, area and how, he has no memories of the absolute experiences. It’s like he has never stood on the date in Brighton with his aerial platforms and the starry guitar in his hands.
– I acquire added memories from the houses area we lived and the things that happened in them than I acquire of ABBA. Afterwards acceptable Eurovision song challenge we came home: I lived with Agnetha on Lidingö – there has been so abounding houses through the years – and I bethink one morning in particular.
He can still see it:
– Agnetha was sleeping. I got up and stood in my underwear, attractive at myself in a big mirror we had, and I thought: ”You can’t attending like this if you are a pop idol”. I had acquired a lot of weight. Agnetha adapted banknote pudding and I ate too much. I was chubby, you could say. You can see that in the pictures from Eurovision song contest. I attending like a sausage in my trousers.
For the adolescent Ulvaeus-Fältskog brace the ABBA decade and starting a ancestors happened at simultaneously. Their aboriginal child, the babe Linda was built-in in 1973, the aforementioned year as their admission album.
When the accumulation breach up in 1982 Linda was nine years old and her little brother, Christian, was axis five. During Linda’s aboriginal nine years ABBA had produced eight flat albums and toured Europe, Australia, North America and Japan.
How did you do that?
– Well, it wasn’t that hard. Now in hindsight I can accept Agnetha so abundant better. She absolutely didn’t appetite to leave and do advance and all that. She didn’t appetite to leave the children. I was a lot added into it: ”But we will alone be gone for one or two days.”
The apple bout ”ABBA – The Tour” with concerts in North America and Japan didn’t appear until the autumn of 1979 and the bounce of 1980, and they would be their last.
– We were coerced. I anticipate Frida anticipation it was fun, and maybe Benny did too. But I was blood-warm and Agnetha didn’t absolutely appetite to. It was some affectionate of compromise.
Before the big apple tour, ABBA only did TV in Europe, according to Björn Ulvaeus.
– We larboard the U.S. They said ”you acquire to tour. You acquire to go to every boondocks and every radio base there.” We said: ”Then we will skip the U.S”. It was a acquainted choice. We had a lot of top 20 songs there anyway. We could acquire been a lot bigger in the U.S if we would acquire gone there, but we didn’t, because we had children.
The attitude was not accepted with the almanac characterization administrator Stikkan Anderson and others.
– They went crazy with us because we didn’t bout more, but I can acquaint you the acumen we are sitting actuality today: the actuality that we concentrated on autograph music and recording instead. It’s so abundant added important. Who will bethink who was touring in the 70’s? Does it bulk today? Not at all.
Despite the efforts to accent ancestors life, their adulation didn’t survive. Afore the end of the 1970’s Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog’s alliance ended. The accommodation was mutual, according to Ulvaeus.
– It’s not like one of us was absolutely sad. It was a failure, sure, and you are sad about that, but we both accomplished that the best affair we could do was to part. We grew apart, which you generally do aback you ally young.
The plan for Linda and Christian was their own apartment in both homes and a chargeless alternating living.
– We anticipation about aggregate custody, that they could be with whoever they chose. You shouldn’t do that. But it seemed so great, as if accouchement could decide: ”I’ll go to dad tonight.” It’s not like that.
The ancestors acclaimed Christmas calm and on Christmas Day 1978, Agnetha Fältskog confused to her new house, abutting to their aggregate one.
– Afresh on New Year’s Eve, Benny and Frida who additionally lived on Lidingö were accepting a party. I went as a bachelor. And Lena was there. I came with addition girl, but she saw herself defeated.
Two canicule afterwards ABBA went to the U.S to participate in a star-studded bright with the brand of Bee Gees, Donna Summer and Rod Stewart. As usual, Björn Ulvaeus remembers what happened off-stage vividly.
– Thomas Johnasson, our bout promotor, payed the bills for our rooms, our suites. He couldn’t accept it aback he saw the buzz bill. It was astronomical, because I had been lying there all the time talking to Lena in my room. It was so romantic.
The aroma of aliment spreads from the kitchen in the alcazar on Vågaskär, area Lena Ulvaeus is advancing lunch. She and Björn Ulvaeus acquire the developed daughters Emma and Anna together, and grandchildren.
– We fell in adulation immediately. It’s so aberrant that you are a available one week, and afresh you aloof abatement again. But it charge acquire been appropriate aback we are still appropriately married, so abounding years later.
It charge additionally acquire been tricky, aback you connected with ABBA for three and a bisected added years?
– Yes, and Benny and Frida got afar not connected after. But this was afore ”The champ takes it all” and afore ”Super trouper”, afore a lot of things. And we acquainted that we had article which was abundant from an aesthetic and able viewpoint.
Björn Ulvaeus describes it as a rational decision:
– We asked ourselves: ”Can we abet in the studio?” And we absitively that: ”Of advance we can, we are affable people”. So we continued, and some of our best things were fabricated afterwards that.
Did you accumulate it civilized?
– As affable as we anytime were. Or as uncivilized. It can get acrimonious in the studio.
ABBA’s recording studio, which they congenital themselves, was anchored at St Eriksgatan in Stockholm. One of abounding moments has ashore in Björn Ulvaeus’ mind.
– It was aloof afterwards our divorce. We were continuing calm at the bond table. The night afore I had accounting the lyrics to ”The champ takes it all” and Agnetha articulate it through for the aboriginal time. It was so emotional. Our eyes were bald and we felt: ”Shit, this is something.” And it was. I can bethink that, and I feel those goose bumps.
But all the amphitheatre concerts get intertwined.
– There were lots of people, and appealing abundant the aforementioned everywhere in all the cities we came to. It’s absolute difficult to abstracted them from anniversary other.
The aboriginal gig in Sydney is an exception. It had been aqueous for three days. Rod Stewart, who was assuming in New Zeeland, alleged Björn Ulvaeus and sang ”muddy, muddy, muddy” to the melody of ”Money, money, money”.
Ulvaeus doesn’t bethink if they both knew anniversary other, but for addition from the all-around artisan elite, like bedrock brilliant Rod Stewart, to alarm him was not a big thing.
– We knew that we were one of them. We weren’t the farmers from Sweden, as we acquainted like to activate with. We knew: ”We are on the aforementioned level, we are additionally on the lists about the world.”
Thousands of admirers had been cat-and-mouse at the airport aback ABBA landed in Australia. They amidst the alley to Sydney, captivation up signs and chanting ”We appetite ABBA!” The ambassador accustomed the accumulation and greeted them.
– Nothing like that had happened aback the Beatles. It was such an amazing affair bottomward there. We were active in a affectionate of enclave, and it was absurd to leave because there were riots.
But afresh the rain came, and it didn’t stop. The concert in Sydney was an alfresco concert. The admirers was continuing beneath the bald sky and Björn Ulvaeus was afraid that there wouldn’t be abundant bodies there.
– I larboard my trailer, and they had put out planks so you could airing in the mud, to the stage. I was nervous, but afresh I ran in and saw all these people.
In pictures from the concert area ”The appearance ground” there are 30.000 bodies in the audience, continuing beneath a sea of umbrellas. Rain wasn’t the alone affair falling from the sky. The clammy acclimate had fabricated a huge bulk of beetle larvae bear and they were fatigued in, magnetically, to the white lit-up stage.
– It was aqueous beetles, they were advancing bottomward on us and bodies had to ambit them off the date during the concert.
The anguish was huge in Australia aback ABBA breach up bristles years later. In the year 2000 they were offered a billion dollars to do one added tour. They angry the action down. It wasn’t aloof about the activity demography added time than they capital to put in it.
– It would be so adamantine to appear aback and appearance people: ”This isn’t as acceptable as you anticipate it is.” Aback you acquire had a absolutely connected breach and afresh appear aback afresh as an beforehand archetype of article that was a lot added abounding of activity and activity – I was afraid of that.
It wasn’t about any altercation amid the above accumulation members, which there acquire been abounding speculations about, Björn Ulvaeus says. They acquire the Avatar activity calm and they see anniversary added a lot.
– We acquire absolute appropriate bonds amid us. You can feel them. Like we said aback we larboard anniversary added not so connected ago, maybe a ages ago: ”We acquire article absolute appropriate in that we are four bodies who can assurance anniversary added 100 percent.” It’s nice to acquire that.
Someone who remembers how it absolutely was?
– Yes, aloof like that. And what it does to you: to go through this and still be here, still actuality relevant.
What is the secret?
– The songs are acclaimed about the world. You can go anywhere, there is not a abode area they don’t apperceive about the songs, and that is appealing strange. Because I don’t accept how that happened. I absolutely don’t. The songs are aloof like that, they aloof became that. It’s appealing wonderful. I anticipate that’s what I meant aback I wrote: ”Thank you for the music”.
Translation to English: Evelyn Jones
Read the Swedish adaptation actuality
6 Tiny House Zeeland – tiny house zeeland
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