ABBA in films…

7 07 2009

ABBA, when we think about this logically, is probably all Now and no Then, but this is my blog, and after all time is simply a construct of the middle class bourgeois reclining on their chaise lounges… or something like that. In any case, while ABBA has been around only since the 70’s they have been referenced in pop culture  a lot… an awful lot. More than the Rosetta Stone probably, and that has been around for a significantly greater amount of time.

One of the greatest accolades for a band is to have their music featured on the soundtrack to a film, and even greater accolade is for viewers of the film to hear nothing buy your band perform for the entire duration of the movie. Surprisingly, ABBA has had this many times. I say surprisingly, because although I confess a love for (most) ABBA, it really is a bit of a joke that they ever achieved the fame and fortune that they did. Particularly in Australia. This fact is made more ironic when you consider that one of the band members (Agnetha) hated flying more than I hate those guards of the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz (read: a lot).

Anyway, I digress. ABBA has been used in movies, so now we take a look at the Then and Now of it all.

Then – ‘Muriel’s Wedding’. 

foxy ladies know how to rock a white bell bottomed toilet cosy

foxy ladies know how to rock a white bell bottomed toilet cosy

Anyone who has ever watched  a movie marathon with a middle class Australian woman, or any variety of Australian gay man will have seen both Rachel Griffiths and Toni Colette on stage at Hibiscus Island dancing to Dancing Queen and followed Muriel’s journey with her friend Rhonda to becoming Mariel Heslop, the Mariel Van Arkel and finally returning to a burnt out garden, a dead mother and an ice queen mistress cleaning the bathroom as Muriel Heslop all over again. What other epic filmic journey could make one laugh so hard at someones life and then be brought down to earth with those fateful lines

Mariel… I can’t feel my legs

Of course, there are ups and downs, and fancy that, all of them are inexplicably linked to an ABBA song. But poor Euro-pop loving Muriel/Mariel takes it one step further and makes her whole life about ABBA. Example:

When I lived in Porpoise Spit, I used to sit in my room for hours and listen to ABBA songs. But since I’ve met you and moved to Sydney, I haven’t listened to one Abba song. That’s because my life is as good as an Abba song. It’s as good as Dancing Queen

Moving words… truly moving. Yet somehow, every time I watch it, I can’t help but be swayed into believing that she really means what she says. If you ask me I would have preferred to have my life like Fernando, which did much better on the charts.

In my opinion any film that can be so camp and also have the line

Sorry Mum. You know I love you, but you drive me crazy. And you three, what a bunch of cocksuckers.

in the last three minutes can do whatever the hell it wants with the music in the background. And Rachel and Toni clearly don’t mind… both of them are now filthy rich and famous.

Now – Should I just start out by telling you that I have a massive predisposition in writing this. I welcome comments and opinions, but I’m fairly sure I’ve made my mind up on this then and now already. And now… it ain’t looking pretty.

dramatic scenes like this one inspire and dazzle

dramatic scenes like this one inspire and dazzle

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders (again) recently brought my attention to this film with a scathing parody. It is ‘Mamma Mia’. I will start this part of the post by expressing my greatest sympathy to Meryl Streep for ever starring in this.

 How does everyone know the words? Why is your hotel so high up a hill? Why… and this one really bugs me… why does seeing your ex lovers in your goat-house (don’t get me started on the goat house) send you into an epileptic conniption so great you have to cross yourself to get over it? I have a suspicion that the crossing of yourself was to try and get rid of the demon that possessed you to sign onto this movie. It may be, the worst movie ever, and I have seen films by little known gay, zombie obsessed, older man director Bruce La Bruce.

If you would like to use ABBA in a film (or stage musical which will become a film) at least write a story that involves the songs, instead of simply surprising us with sudden plot revelations, like the fact that (wannabe) Athenian godess Donna Sheridan has the nickname ‘Chiquitita’. How very convenient when she has started crying and an ABBA song about crying also exists. Speaking of plot revelations… no, you know what, I can’t even bring myself to do it.

I feel I will become to angry if I continue talking about this film, and may even unrepress my memory of Pierce Brosnan singing or Colin Firth dancing shirtless in ‘Aphrodite’s fountain’… I will leave you with one thought. I watched the French and Saunders sketch while I was watching Mamma Mia (which I had to do in two sittings) and when I looked up from the sketch playing on my computer, I honestly thought, I had somehow managed to get the sketch onto my television. I could not tell the difference between the two. It was not until Sofia (in yet another delightful Ancient Greek blue and white pinafore) fainted to the floor I realised and thought gosh… there’s no way even french and Saunders could act that poorly.

So… For The Win – I hardly think I need to go on here. But I will say that for now, I’ve played all my cards and the winner will indeed take it all. Then for the win.

Then – 2

Now – 1

Any questions? Comments? Disagreements? If enough people tell me I’m wrong, by popular vote I will have to give the points to the losing film… It’s kind of the early stages of a voting system I guess.



6 07 2009

Some things have come a long long way since they were thought up.

Fertility, used to be the be all and end all of the world. How many babies can one woman pop out to provide a source of work for the family, heirs to the throne and delightful dinner party conversation. Then, it became apparent, that children, are not all they are cracked up to be. And while I would not know myself, I am assured by many people, and repeated graphic instances on television, that childbirth is roughly the same as a summer vacation the the third layer of hell (oh, literary).

In steps contraception. The often debated miracle of contraception is completely contrary to the miracle of giving life. However possible, we will stop those gosh forsaken sacred little swimmers from reaching the prize at the end of the tunnel. But whatever is however possible, and how have things changed?

Then – Let’s begin with an age old classic. The chastity belt. Designed to hinder the sperm-egg race so much that they never even leave the starting block. In that regard, gosh dang this thing would be effective, but I guess, like everything, there are some drawbacks.

the old school has become new

the old school has become new

Firstly, many of you will know that that whole “down therea” is sometimes a rather moist place… particularly when it hasn’t been allowed to breathe for fourscore and twenty days while the nobleman is riding across the plains. Ladies have needs, and those needs can lead to moisture. And that moisture my friends, can lead to rust. With chastity belts around since 1700, and stainless steel not making an appearance until the 1904… well, go figure.

I should note a special place for the male chastity belt here, which often came with large spikes to prevent excitement at all. Ouch!

Going back even further we find records that Egyptian women were using a pessary (that my friends, is a word I only just recently learnt) lubricated with honey and oil (which sounds lovely) but filled with acid … stuff (not as lovely). Effectively, they had created a spermicidal intravgainal pill. Good on them, especially considering that sperm cells would not be discovered for thousands of years. Gosh darn Egyptians were ahead of their time.

Some other ancient cultures in Asia and Europe may have also been using rice paper and beeswax (respectively, not together) as an early form of cervical cap. Clearly, there was an udnerstanding that if whatever that guy is letting out of himself gets in, it’s all over red rover.

Finally, a herald back to simpler times proves not so simple, with hundreds of records of early herbal remedies for pregnancy recorded around the world in forgotten medical transcripts. I bet none of them tasted too great.

Now – The array of choice in a modern world is quite amazing really. Though, anyone speaking about modern contraception would have to start by mentioning the Pill. Some consider this the greatest leap forward in the women’s movement. Others, not so much. Others, are sometimes religious.

The pill works on hormones or something like that (I could explain, I choose not to) but basically means, if a woman has it every day, she can shag till her heart’s content, and never have to worry again… well, except about infections, and making sure she isn’t smoking (can ruin the effectiveness of some pills), and that she has it at the same time every day, and that she remembers to take it, and that she didn’t throw it up for some reason, and that… well, the list goes on. Still, if it was a choice between having a pill each day, or putting beeswax up my hoo-haa, I know I’d be asking for a glass of water and a doser box.

The other big player on the contraception field would have to be the condom. I was hesitant to put it in here, as condoms of some sort or another have been around for nearly 200 years (mostly as a result of a fear of syphilis), but let’s talk rubber and latex (not in a catsuit kind of way… not in this entry anyway).
hard to make sheep guts glow in the dark... hence the move to latex

hard to make sheep guts glow in the dark... hence the move to latex

Condoms as we know them have been around since just before the turn of the 20th Century. You know what though, there’s not really a lot of funny stuff to say about condoms. They’re pretty effective if you stick them on your erect penis in the right way, and hard to make jokes about… Disappointing really.

Easier to make jokes about is a new trend emering amongst the moral young. Doing it up the bum as a form of contraception. I don’t really know that I need to say anymore about that other than “wtf!!!!” which is probably what a lot of young women say when they get into the situation of telling a guy that they don’t want to stop being a virgin, nor do they want a baby, so can they please be done up the bum.


It hurts more than they would have thought.

For the last word on contraception I refer you to those masters of comedy, French and Saunders…

So… For The Win – As much as doing it up the bum as a form of contraception might have put a dent in their chances, I think that having access to easy stuff like condoms and the pill beats putting an acid filled butter menthol inside your vagina, or having a sheath to cover your penis made out of the intestine of a pig is a great advantage. So here’s to (one of the) joys of latex, and a win for now.

Then – 1

Now – 1


3 07 2009

The first in a series of investigations about whether life was really better in the glory days of the past, or if the modern wonders and marvels of the world have made our existence a truckload better (example: if trucks had not been invented, the awesome phrase ‘a truckload better’ would not be in play… conversely, if trucks had not been invented then over 5 190 people would not have died in 2004). Sometimes, the competition will be a close call, other times, probably not so much. Who can really tell.

As a fitting start to competetion, blogging, is the first cab off the rank.

Then – technically blogging did not exist until 1999, so the then is not too distant. Let’s cast minds back into the depths of our knowledge and beyond to investigate just how people emptied their brains to anyone who listened in the good old days.

soapbox - travel edition

soapbox - travel edition

A favourite of mine would have to be the time honoured soapbox. In days gone by, all one needed to do was not wash for several weeks, overdose on some prime quality laudanum or other easily available massively debilitating mind altering substance and find yourself something high and tall.

I think there is a certain amount of irony in the fact that these people are generally considered crazy unwashed masses, yet choose to stand on boxes made for soap. Who was it that used all those boxes full of soap – if common theory is to be held true, certainly not the lunatics of the world who re-appropriated them into stages of drivel.


Sometimes it helps to imagine a cross culture of the past and future. Imagine if you will a seventeen year old girl in Ye Olde Somewhere-or-Another on a box, wild untamed hair stinking up the breeze and screaming:

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Did Thou All Hark

Angela and Paul are Totally Betrothed

Thine Hast A New Recipe for Mutton

Thou Must View My Recent Vacation Pictures

Of course at this point, near total madness would be achieved, as photographs were yet to be invented for some time.

doogie - also travel sized

doogie - also travel sized

Now – Weblogs… or Blogs are a dime a dozen, I say, ironically adding mine to the… blogosphere, as it has been called. Blogs, as mentioned before came into their own right at the end of the 90’s, when the Internet became much like flying, and instead of being accessible only to the elite or very rich, or those who actually knew what it was for, it spread like a virus infested virus into the homes and pornographically inclined minds of children and otherwise faithful husbands everywhere.


Now everyone has always liked telling other people how they feel. It is in fact part of our society, and it would seem (more alarmingly) that people actually care what others have to say. So, with the ease of word processing our private thoughts became part of  the public domain (If there is one thing I have learnt from the bloggers I adore, it is that puns pay).

My earliest memory of blogging (which is entirely based on falsehood) was Doogie Howser M.D, who in fact never published his thoughts anywhere, but the general idea was there, here’s my thought. Take it, run with it, comment on it and call me a fag because I had a typo. Used to be that trolls lived under bridges in fairy tales, but now they invade the lives of poor narcissistic people like myself from all over the world

So… for the win – Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all about my love of the crazy nuts of the world, and that’s what this decision came down to. When I think about it I would prefer my crazy person out in public, spitting vitriol to all and sundry, rather than lurking in forums and chatrooms, waiting to pounce on my poor spelling and overuse of the punctuation I like the most (the ellipsis, for those of you who might have an interest). So here’s to the soapbox, and a win for then.

Then – 1

Now – 0