the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

All ABBA, All The Time


Have you ever found yourself feeling like you’re going a little insane? I don’t usually talk about these things, but you’re all my friends and Google doesn’t spider everything so it remains on the internet forever, so I’m safe, right?

On Mother’s Day, I posted a video of ABBA singing “Mama Mia.” I thought it was a cute idea. Today, I apologized to the mommybloggers by posting another ABBA music video, “Does Your Mother Know?”

Now, I remember ABBA as a youth, but their music means little to me, unlike that of Bruce Springsteen or Prince.

But something strange and magical happened today. After posting those two videos on my blog, I have became ABBA obsessed. I spent all night reading about and listening to ABBA. I even downloaded a documentary about them — in Swedish! I saw them win Eurovision in the seventies with “Waterloo.” I listened to their hits. I learned from Wikipedia that the name ABBA is the combined first letters of the four group members — Agnetha, Anni-Frid “Frida,” Benny, and Bjorn. I’ve become fascinated by the behind-the-scenes romances — the marriage of Frida and Benny, the breakup of Agnetha and Bjorn. For several hours, ABBA has become my life.

Why has this happened? What is going on with me? Is it stress? Sexual frustration? Is it because I got turned on by Frida bouncing on the piano bench in “Does Your Mother Know?”

Actually, no. I know this sounds weird to you, but the ABBA songs were “speaking to me,” as if they were written especially for me — as if they had some inner meaning beyond their silly lyrics. And honestly — no pot was involved, real or virtual. Could it be Trader Joe’s veggie gyozas?

I was especially taken by the lyrics of “Dancing Queen” —

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen

Friday night and the lights are low
Looking out for the place to go
Where they play the right music, getting in the swing
You come in to look for a king
Anybody could be that guy
Night is young and the musics high
With a bit of rock music, everything is fine
You’re in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance…

And guess what — it is FRIDAY NIGHT right now, as I listen to the song! How did they know? Tears were filling my eyes as I heard this. And how do Agnetha, Frida, Benny, and Bjorn know that I’m “looking for the place to go… where they play the right “music?”

I could be that guy.
I can have the time of my life.
I am in the mood for a dance
I am the dancing queen!

Or maybe I should just go out and rent Muriel’s Wedding.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Neilochka Sez: Boycott the Fashion Industry


  1. Erin


    I thought I was the only one… Thanks to you I have been listening non-stop to “Fernando”. I wasn’t born until ’79 so I missed out on most of the ABBA phenom. I am so on board now tho…

    Can you hear the drums Fernaaaaaaaaaandooooo…….

    *dances away…*

  2. plain jane

    While you are researching ABBA, will you find out where I can get that *awesome* t-shirt/dress with a giant cat on it. Maybe I will buy two, one for me and one for Crazy Aunt Purl.

    And I can totally see you in those mad, white overalls and platforms. Whadda ya think?

  3. Neil

    Jane — Forget the t-shirts… the boots are totally hot.  And don’t you think Frida is still very good-looking?

    Erin — Have you seen this video for Take a Chance?   Totally cool!   If you were here, I would definitely dance with you. 

  4. Erin

    So much commentary…. That video rocked. What is up with Frida bouncing around at the end? Talk about SEXUAL….those Swedes, I guess they know how to keep warm…ay? 😉

  5. Jack

    I had two posts on Abba last year that continue to drive traffic to my blog. The abbanatics are nuts.

  6. LisaBinDaCity

    Yes this post is seriously gay 🙂

  7. stepping over the junk

    I love that song, it always does something to me. I saw Mama Mia in NYC and it stayed with me for a long time, the music and energy…

  8. Ariel

    Muriel’s Wedding is one fab movie and ABBA still rule! They had the best hair, the best clothes… Come on Neil, don’t tell me you haven’t secretly tried to picture yourself into one of those crotch-hugging tight white overalls, uh? “The Name of the Game” still makes me cry to this day…

  9. Otir

    This is not gay but might be freudian as ABBA means daddy in Hebrew.

  10. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    Have you been taking Sophia’s meds??

  11. Jennifer

    Ironies abound. Guess what I got for mother’s day? Two tickets to ‘Mama Mia’.


  12. Neil

    Jane Poe — No, but I’d like to try.

    Otir — I didn’t think of that! No wonder why ABBA is so popular in Israel.

    Ariel — white is not really my color, but I have thought about the overalls.

    Stepping Over — I never had any interest in seeing Mamma Mia, but now I’ve changed my mind. Did you know the two guys from ABBA also wrote the music for the musical Chess!

    Lisa B — But “gay” in a really good way.

    Erin — You need to dress as Frida for your 70’s party!

    Jack — Checking out your posts…

    Jennifer — I’m flying in so we can go together!  We’ll go dancing afterwards.

  13. Akaky

    Neil, the stress is clearly getting to you. Take a prozac and lay down for a couple of hours. Get some sleep. You’ll feel better.

  14. deannie

    I loved ABBA the first time around too. How can one NOT be moved by “Chiquitita”? Or how about “Thank you for the music”?

    Neil, get off the computer. Go outside and exercise to this music, even is it just walking fast. You ARE stressed and if you really want to be of constructive assistance to Sophia, take care of yourself first or you will have nothing meaningful to give. Get enough rest, drink your water and eat some vegetables. This is what mommybloggers around the earth are thinking right now, so if you are really a good boy, you will go do these things RIGHT NOW.

    Love you! Mean it! 🙂

  15. The Cynical Girl

    No, this post isn’t gay.

    It’s a little Swedish, though.

  16. whoorl

    That dude’s overalls.


  17. psychomom

    My brother went through this a few years back, some sort of awakening.
    I agree with Deannie, Go outside and play.

  18. Margaret

    Are the lyrics telling you to do anything dangerous?

  19. Neil

    No, just to dance and have the “time of my life.”

  20. Lynnster

    (this post isn’t too gay, is it?)

    I dunno, Neil… you called yourself a queen, after all…

  21. V-Grrrl

    Y’all, we need to stage an intervention. From Bruce Springsteen to ABBA–the man has hit a new low.

    And yes, that post was so gay….

  22. Jack


    My posts on Abba weren’t all that exciting, but like I said every week I see that they bring traffic to the Shack.

  23. Mariana

    And now you’re passing your obsession to me?!?!

  24. Dana

    Well, I predicted that. As soon as I saw the second video in one week, I knew you were headed down the slippery slope. Now go watch “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” It will lend a whole new dimension to your Abba problem.

    My son would totally wear the white flared pants if he found some. But what the heck is UP with the overalls and the puffed sleeves?

  25. Caron

    Just returned from my niece’s dance recital where, of course there was an ABBA number. It’s mandatory, isn’t it?

  26. Nics

    How weird! There was a junior orchestra playing in our local shopping centre this afternoon and I swear, every time I walked past they were playing ‘Waterloo’, I’ve been humming it ever since I got home!

  27. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Two words: Camel toe.

  28. Jenn

    totally gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that…. but seriously, very endearing and besides ABBA rocks!

  29. Geeky Tai-Tai

    Back in the day, I was totally into all things disco — I even took disco dance lessons. I was HOT! I’ve gotta tell ya’ though, I thought ABBA sucked then and I don’t understand their renewed popularity. Really, I don’t get it.

  30. Erin

    I can’t help it… I adore CAMP. I love that part of Muriel’s Wedding when the girls put on the ill-fitting white satin outfits and awful wigs and do the choreographed dance. I’m a cheese bucket…and I am “A dancing queen…”

    p.s. Neil, for you, my costume from the 70’s Party a couple years ago…. Not ABBA, but VERY campy…

  31. Neil

    Erin — you, babe, are a total dancing queen.

  32. Sam

    *Takes deep breath and thinks hard about first comment on Citizen of the Month*

    I must admit, I was watching Eurovision the other day and thought ‘If only ABBA were in the contest this year, they’d take these tacky poppers back to school.’

    Still, I’d never refer to myself as an ABBA fan in front of anybody real.


  33. Sam

    I must admit, I was watching Eurovision the other day and thought: ‘If only ABBA were in the contest this year, they’d take these tacky poppers back to school.’

    Oh, and this is my first comment after reading (and enjoying) your blog for quite a while.

  34. NSC

    Here’s my ABBA story of shame.

  35. ren.kat

    Well, if the groomsmen at Muriel’s Wedding all look a bit like Liza to you- well, maybe you should have a heart-to-heart with your true self? 😉

  36. Mike F

    As Cher’s Character in Moonstruck says:

    Snap out of it.

  37. Karl

    Absolutely gay.

    Nevertheless, I now have “The Winner Takes it All” zipping through my grey matter.

    Damn you.

  38. Neil

    NSC — if a macho guy like you can listen to ABBA, I feel safer now.

    Sam — I’ve been so curious about Eurovision that I’m downloading some of this year’s contest… uh let’s just say I’m not going to say how…

    Ren.Kat — I love Liza!

  39. plain jane

    RE: “Ren.Kat-I love Liza.”

    Ok, now we know you are gay. Give it up Sophia, it will never work out. 😉

  40. wendy

    “Have you ever found yourself feeling like you’re going a little insane?”

    Almost every moment of every single day.

  41. N

    Oh Neil, I LOVE ABBA’s music… it brings back a lot of memories.

    The videos? I think they’re the only thing worse than that episode of Charlie’s Angels that was shot at a roller skating rink… and that says a lot. 🙂

  42. rockytinkabell

    Hi people.. abba is cool.. i guess.. i was only born in the 90’s so i don’t really know much bout the songs.. so yeah..

  43. Lefty

    You gotta love that choreography.

    “Okay ladies…turn and face each other…now back-to-back…face-to-face…great job…back-to-back…now side-to-side for the dramatic profile shot…aaaand…back-to-back…now break it down!”

  44. Ahsan M. Khan

    Hi. Been a long time since you did this but I’m doing it tonight. ABBA does have this effect….attracting you back into the abyss of your yester years. I was born in 1969. I am not even a westerner. Yes ABBA and Boney M were my first exposures to western music in… of all the places… Saudi Arabia. Imagine a Pakistani doctor born and brought up in Saudi at the age of 42 spending his night listening to ABBA and looking then up on the internet.
    “Have you ever found yourself feeling like you’re going a little insane?” What are you talking about I am in that phase right now 🙂

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