ABBA - The Visitors

image232
I väntan på Benny. Stikkan Andersson till vänster i bild.




Jag har arbetat på Julius Kronbergs ateljé på Skansen varje sommar sedan 1985.

Bland besökarna finns alltid ABBA-fans som kommer för att se ateljén.

Vid den senaste Eurovisionschlagerfestivalen kom många ABBA-fans.

Varför?



image230

 

ABBA:s sista skiva; "The Visitors" spelades in 1981. Rune Söderqvist, som var ABBA:s album-designer fick inte veta vad skivan skulle heta, när den skulle designas.

Men han visste att en låt hette "Like an angel passing through my room"

Rune Söderqvist letade alltså upp en miljö med änglar.

 

I Julius Kronbergs ateljé hittade han Eros - som visserligen är kärlekens gud i den grekiska mytologin - men eftersom han är försedd med vingar så får han passera som ängel.

Fotot togs som sagt 1981, då gruppen var på väg att lösas upp.

Medlemmarna i gruppen ser inte så glada och kärleksfulla ut längre. Eros närvaro till trots.




image231
Singeln har inte samma foto på omslaget som LP:n

 

ABBA-fanclub är särskilt starka i Australien, men det finns även många fans i Tyskland och Holland.

 

De blir alltid så oerhört glada när de äntligen kommer till ateljén.

Man hör dem på långt håll, hur de suckar när de närmar sig huset, hur de tystnar när de går uppför trappan och hur de nästan svimmar när de kommer in.

Jag frågar ofta om de är ABBA-fans, innan de hunnit säga något och de blir alltid lika förvånade.

- How did you know..?


image233
Foto: LenaK - här utan vare sig ABBA eller deras fans



 

 Jag brukar hjälpa dem att få ett foto där de poserar som ABBA.



 

De är verkligen som moderna pilgrimer. Synd att jag inte har pilgrimsmusslor att sälja i ateljén. Jag hade kunna bli rik.

Jag har inte ens vykort till salu. För övrigt får jag inte sälja någonting i ateljén - men Skansen hade kunnat ha det till försäljning i sina butiker.
Men de satsar numera på vykort med söta kattungar, flygfoton över Stockholm samt kungafamiljen.

De gamla byggnaderna lyser med sin frånvaro bland Skansens upptryckta vykort.




image234
Vykort från 1922 - här med originalmattan - numera på evig konservering






Vykort från Kronbergs ateljé har inte funnits sedan 1922, då ateljén kom till Skansen. Det var Wilhelmina von Hallwyl som såg till att ateljén kom dit och att Skansen lät trycka upp vykort med två olika motiv från ateljén.

Märkligt att man inte värderar sina hus bättre.

Vykort är den bästa PR de kan få. Dessutom betalar folk för att få sprida reklam om Skansen.
En söt kattunge är inget specifikt för just Skansen, det är inte ens en av Skansens kattungar på de bilder man köper där. Och flygfoton över Stockholm..? De kan man köpa på Arlanda eller i Gamla Stan.


Var någonstans i hela världen kan man köpa vykort från Skansens hus och gårdar?

Ingenstans.

Var finns Skansens hus och gårdar?

På Skansen.

Var borde det finnas vykort med motiv från Skansens hus och gårdar?
...

Jag har tjatat i några år - men numera sparar jag min röst - det är inte lönt. Dessutom tjänar jag inget ekonomiskt på att Skansen säljer vykort.

Jag tjänar inte ens på att Skansen får fler besökare.

Jag har sämre lön än de som jobbar på McDonalds. Det är en ynnest att få arbeta med kultur. Därför arbetar vi kulturarbetare helst gratis på museer - vi får vara glada över att vi får komma in på arbetsplatsen utan att betala entré. Varje dag. Det blir många skattefria kronor i månaden.

 

...

  

En av medlemmarna i ABBA:s fanclub i Australien - Graeme Read - skrev dagbok om sitt och sin pojkvän Grants resa till Sverige och besök på Skansen - jag var dock inte där vid tillfället - de kommer ofta när ateljén är stängd.

Kul att läsa om hans intryck av Skansen som någonting "pre-IKEA".

Hans brev finns att läsa här, jag citerar valda delar (resan gjordes 1993):



By the time the plane landed I had lost the plot just a bit. I kind of floated out of the plane into the terminal. Inexplicably, as we entered the terminal building, an Abba song was playing over the speakers. It was too much, tears started rolling down my face. As we walked along the terminal in a daze, my eyes were darting everywhere - a Swedish duty free store, a Swedish Donald Duck comic, a Swedish newspaper, a Swedish ice cream, Swedish chocolate bars, Swedish people, Swedish CDs.......information overload...not coping...TILT! 

---

British Airways informed us that our baggage had not arrived and would probably arrive the next day. They would deliver it to us. They gave us a small kit with toothbrush, razor, shampoo, cologne and paper underwear. The underwear was made out of some sort of white paper fibre with tiny little ventilation holes. And it stretched to fit. Incredible - as if I'd wear paper undies around Stockholm. 


We went outside to where the airport buses were lined up. I wanted to get down on my hands and knees and kiss the ground. Grant thought we might be arrested so I resisted the urge. The Airport bus was fantastic - only 50 kronor. Arlanda Airport is a long way from the city. The taxis also had a set price - from the airport to anywhere in Stockholm for 250kronor ($50) - how sensible, how Swedish. I loved the bus ride into the city, I looked at everything. The scenery was spectacular. Now and then there were typically Swedish buildings that I just wanted to jump out and hug. We passed a big IKEA sign - proof that we were actually here!

---


One of our priorities in visiting Sweden involved the album cover for "The Visitors". I'd always been intrigued by it. And, after an American fan wrote to me many years ago saying that he "didn't like the cover of The Visitors album because he didn't approve of the things it suggested", I absolutely fell in love with it. Julius Kronberg's Atelje (studio) was located in Skansen, a kind of open air museum and zoo. It was in this studio that Abba had posed for the cover of 'The Visitors' and 'One of Us'. We headed out to Skansen.


We had a good look around at everything before heading to the studio. We wanted to appear cool. No point rushing there, foaming at the mouth. On our travels we saw a lot of animals including "Björn the Bear" (again). Why are all the bears in Stockholm - both real and stuffed - called Björn? Why aren't they called Benny?


We moved towards Kronberg's studio in a relaxed fashion (Abba fans? Us? Don't be silly!). It was a tiny little building that looked like it came right off the pages of an old book. Apparently it was originally located elsewhere in Sweden and had been relocated to be part of Skansen. We went up to the door and........it was locked. Dammit! A sign said it was only open on certain days of the week. I had a tizzy fit right there on the spot. Thoughts of breaking the lock rushed to mind and then left just as quickly. What to do? Give up? Or come up with a devious plan to get our own way?


We put our nasty-thinking hats on and conspired to develop a plan. It went something like this. I rushed up to the information centre at Skansen a little out of breath, a little emotional; 'We've just come all the way from Australia to see Julius Kronberg's studio and it's closed. I can't believe it."


They looked at me cautiously. Was this man about to pull out a gun? "Sir, the studio is only open on certain days of the week". Me, acting even more agitated: "Well, we've come all the way from Australia for one reason, to see Julius Kronberg's studio. How can it be closed?". They were looking seriously concerned at this point.


The woman serving me directly made a telephone call to someone. She then advised me that there was a walking tour of Skansen at 1pm. This tour had now been completely diverted so that Grant and I could see inside Julius Kronberg's studio. Bad luck for anyone on the tour who didn't want to see it! I "calmed down" and thanked them profusely for their help. All we had to do now was wait until 1pm.


For the next 1½ hours we walked around Skansen again. We paced. We argued about nothing. The anticipation was getting to us. Finally, at 1pm, we were at the meeting point for the tour. It turned out to be a very intimate affair with only a few other people joining us. A lady in a rather strange but cute costume, presumably of some historical importance, arrived to be our tour guide. She was wonderful.


She took us into wooden cabins and showed us how Swedes would have lived hundreds and hundreds of year ago. Let's just say the term "studio apartment" didn't come to mind. Everything was so cramped. No privacy. The beds and furniture were, umm, let's just say "pre-Ikea". Our tour guide's commentary was fascinating. I felt my mind being broadened just listening to her. It was no longer enough for me just to be an Abba fan and be fixated about Sweden - I now wanted to know as much as I could about this country and it's people.


The big moment arrived. She fumbled with some keys and finally turned the lock that opened the studio. The other people on the tour strolled in casually. Grant and I maintained an eery silence while both feeling completely hysterical inside. It was dark and much smaller than we'd imagined. Our guide opened the curtains to let some light in. I gasped. The painting. That painting. It was gi-normous. It dominated the room, dominated everything. And the colours of the room were shocking to me. Nothing like the cover of the "Visitors", no reds and dark browns. Everything had been achieved with careful placement of photographic lighting.


I was overwhelmed. I took a flash photo. Not allowed. Told off. I fumbled with the camera to take some more shots without the flash. The furniture wasn't in the right places. I tried to take everything in but I was panicking, acutely aware of the few short minutes we would have in this magnificent room. We took photos of each other ala "The Visitors" cover. We looked around again. And then it was over - time to leave.


We thanked the guide over and over again and even asked if we might take a photograph of her. She reluctantly agreed. Somehow we had to preserve as much of this experience as possible. We stumbled out of Skansen and headed back to our hotel. How could I have realised, on December 7th, 1981 when I received my first copy of "The Visitors", that 12 years later I would have had a close-encounter like this?



---

   

I år kommer ateljén att vara öppen i augusti, klockan 11-17 varje dag.

Här är några länkar till olika ABBA-sidor, samt Skansens sida om ateljén och min sida om Julius Kronberg på MySpace:

ABBA-art

ABBA - the site

Gay Stockholm

ABBA i Stockholm

Julius Kronbergs atelje på Skansen

Julius Kronberg på MySpace här finns fler länkar för dig som vill se mer av Kronberg

Kommentarer:
Postet av: meta

Har de inte ens de gamla vykorten i stadskvarterens postkontor? (Nu var det ett tag sen jag var in där och kollade, men där borde det finnas.)

25.04.2007 @ 00:31
Postet av: LenaK

Meta:

De har ca 5 vykort med vyer från Skansens byggnader - mycket vackra - men om man letar efter dem i vaktstugan så får man titta noga - och helst vara lång - för de sitter högst upp i vykortsstället på väggen.

Sen har de ca 20-30 vykort med annat.

25.04.2007 @ 00:48
URL: http://lenak.blogg.no/
Postet av: meta

Så trist!

28.04.2007 @ 10:15
Postet av: LenaK

meta:

Och jag kan inte över huvud taget förstå det.

Vykort är billiga att producera, genererar en bra vinst och tar inte mycket plats.

28.04.2007 @ 18:46
URL: http://lenak.blogg.no/

Skriv en ny kommentar:

Navn
Husk meg ?

E-post:

URL:

Kommentar:

Trackback
Trackback-URL for dette innlegget:
http://blogsoft.no/trackback/ping/5421450