ABBA Miracle!

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ABBA Miracle!

“Half awake and half in dreams, seeing long forgotten scenes…”

This morning, in that magical half-world between sleep and waking, I imagined that Frida, accompanied by Benny, would perform “Andante, Andante” at the ABBA Day in Sweden this year.  Then I imagined all four of them would be there and perform “The Way Old Friend Do”.  I also dreamed that I was up in the country at my grandparents’ house for school holidays in the 1970’s… where I received my very first ABBA tape!

Then I heard the news and I immediately thought it was 1st April… an April Fools joke…  but it’s 28th April 2018 and it is OFFICIAL news… ABBA HAVE RECORDED TWO NEW SONGS: “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”.  At least one to be released in December and the video will be performed by the new Avatars from the upcoming “Live” stage shows.

To top that off, a little later, my partner puts his phone down in front of me and starts playing a new track… FRIDA’S new version of “Andante, Andante” which proves that her voice is as beautiful as ever.  Of course, it was a little disappointing that it was sung in Spanish but the other news completely removed all the sting from that.

What an amazing day to wake up to… an ABBA MIRACLE!

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New interview with Bjorn:

https://www.facebook.com/michel.zondag.1/videos/1629818167072729/

 

 

Radio interview with quotes from Gorel Hanser (Manager):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fewl1C2IhmY

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ABBA’s return to the recording studio is one of the most long-awaited, surprising band reunions in music history – and here’s what to expect from their “magical” reconciliation and their first song in 35 years.

In an exclusive Australian interview with Fairfax Media, long-time ABBA business partner and confidante Gorel Hanser, who was in the studio for the reunion recording session, reveals: It’s a ballad.

The song, I Still Have Faith In You, was specifically written for this reunion by the ABBA men – Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson – and is not a dusty composition pulled from the bottom drawer from the 1970s.

It’s sung together by the ABBA women, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, re-igniting their instantly recognisable vocal duel but with neither taking a solo lead.

And the making-of story behind this reunion was a warm, emotional affair when the four band members – two pairs of former spouses – finally came together again to record their first music since 1982.

“It was wonderful,” Hanser says. “It was magical. It was a very warm, relaxed, happy atmosphere, no hard feelings, no stress… it was like 35 years hadn’t passed. Like back in the old days. It was very emotional.”

The band left the studio “very happy, all of them”.

In a statement, the ABBA members said: “We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go in to the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and that we only had been away on a short holiday. We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good.”

The recording session was driven by a semi-reunion project flagged two years ago, a vaguely defined show involving ABBA reproduced as digital avatars. That ABBA-avatar project is still going ahead but now with this new original music attached, Hanser says.

“Along the way, Bjorn and Benny talked about maybe it would be good to have a couple of new songs included in this show… and then they wrote some new songs for this show. This was something that gave them the idea of writing something new for ABBA, for a special cause, for a special project.”

The band has recorded two new songs: I Still Have Faith In You, which the world will hear for the first time when the avatar show is revealed in a TV special in December, and another song, Don’t Shut Me Down, that is likely to follow as a single release when it premieres on the avatar tour.

“The first song is more of a ballad, the second song is more of an up-tempo song,” Hanser told Fairfax Media.

And how did the band go about matching the ABBA sound of the 1970s and 1980s to a new era?

“I think you do it the same way as you have always done it – the best you possibly can,” Hanser said.

“They have always done it their own way. They did it today the way they always did. The way Benny writes music. And the lyrics are more mature… the way they are today.”

You will recognise ABBA, no problem – but it is ABBA 2018.”

As to the question fans worldwide now want answered: Does this mean a possible on-stage reunion? Hanser has bad news.

ABBA famously knocked back an offer of $1billion to reunite for a world tour and apparently it’s the same response now.

“No,” she says. “They will not be performing as a group again.”

That leaves the avatar tour as the only live hope for the ABBA faithful, and that tour is certain to include Australia, where the band first exploded as a music force in 1975.

“Australia is a dear, dear country to ABBA, absolutely,” Hanser said.

By Neil McMahon @ Sydney Morning Herald.

 

Please, Mr Postman

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Please, Mr Postman

This morning I stumbled across an email notifying that a package would be delivered for my partner today.  It included the option to select “safe delivery” so I responded that it could be left at the front door.  I was then out of the house for the rest of the morning, thinking it would be delivered regardless of me being there to sign for it.

When I get home after midday I see a card in the letter box saying the parcel can be collected from the local Post Shop after 4pm today.  Damn!  I had just been at that very shop half an hour before, how annoying to have to go back there tomorrow when I already said to leave it at the door.  (It was actually small enough to go in the letter box anyway).

I walked back into the garage and was about to close the door when I see the postman come around the corner and stop to deliver something to the house across the road.  So, with the collection card in hand, I crossed the street and asked if he had the item with him.  (Sometimes they are delivered by a separate van service).  He did, now I have it and I don’t have to make a special trip to the Post Shop tomorrow.  (No, I didn’t complain about the disregarded delivery instructions!)

Yes, PERFECT timing … the magic of SYNCHRONICITY strikes again… I must be still on the right path for my life and making the right choices!  🙂  

 

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Garbage

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On Thursdays, I usually put the garbage bins out at around 8 am because they’re never collected until Thursday afternoon.  Last night, Wednesday, I had the thought to put the bins out then… so I did.

This morning, at 7 am, I was still in bed when I heard the Garbage truck collecting our bin.  Good thing I listened to that thought last night!

Synchronicity.

Gold Coast

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We recently spent a week on the Gold Coast, a last minute arrangement to get some sun and relaxation.  We arrived on Saturday afternoon, checked in to our room then went for a walk to the main shopping area about 20 minutes away.

After checking out where the restaurants were, we found the local Woolworths to buy a few supplies for our unit.  Supplies in hand, we decided to take the long way out of the shopping complex, then walked back up the main mall to check out the restaurants in that area.

As we were about to head back home we noticed a couple of faces heading our way that looked familiar.  At that very moment, taking the other exit from the supermarket we chose not to, were two friend from Melbourne we had not seen in a couple of years.  They live on the other side of the city and we travelled thousands of kilometres to The Gold Coast to run into them!  They were there for the weekend.

We organised to meet on the Monday and had a lovely afternoon catching up … all thanks to the amazing SYNCHRONICITY in my universe.

Preview Selection

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This is the original INTRODUCTION from 2013 to my memoir ABBA, DR WHO & MEN which will be re-written soon. 

 

FOLLOW ME:

 

Imagine this…

Before we are born we’re presented with a number of “life stories” to choose from.  A number of options for the path we’ll take in our life.

Would we choose the easiest life story?  Would we choose the one with the greatest fame or fortune?   If this was real then most of us would wonder why the hell we chose the life we have now with the struggles and pain we go through.  Such choices would come from a very “human” way of thinking.

However, at the time we are still able to see things from a “universal” perspective instead of the more limited perspective of our human experience.  So in this circumstance what “life story” would we choose?

The real question is…

Would I choose the life story I’m currently living?  If you asked me this 40 years ago, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago I would have said no!

If you ask me the same question today then yes, I would choose this life story.  I would choose all the hell I went through… the fear, self doubt, pain and failure… the joy, happiness, fun and victories.

The revelation I have come to is I am who I am today only because of all I went through over the past 50+ years.  Without fire, heat, pressure and time there would be no diamonds!

Now, looking back from here, I can see why I’d choose this life.

Come with me and I’ll show you why …   

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

“I close my eyes and my twilight images go by all too soon, like an angel passing through my room”  –  ABBA

4Feb2013:

These are the days of my life … from when I was young and restless to feeling bold and beautiful!

That’s a little joke my mum would appreciate, if she were still here.  In fact, this project is dedicated to my mum, Wanda Young.  In many ways she was responsible for all the different periods and what even feel like different lives I’ve lived within this particular life … the ABBA time, the Doctor Who time, she even influenced the current GLBTIQ Community Group that I started.

I’m calling this book “ABBA, Doctor Who and Men!”, because that basically summarises my life up to now.  That journey was mainly focussed around three particular areas … ABBA Fan Club times, Doctor Who and the Doctor Who Fan Club time, the many years of my “big gay adventure” that all started in 1975.

In 2012 I started a local GLBTIQ social and support group here in Wyndham, in the west of Melbourne, with the help of Wyndham City Council.  Wyndham covers Werribee and surrounding suburbs and is the fastest growing area in Australia.  At the time there was nothing here in the west specifically for GLBTI residents.

We planned our very first event for “Meet Your GLBTIQ Neighbours” to be held at Cafe Aroma in Watton Street, Werribee.  Mum was unwell so I flew up to Maitland to visit her the weekend before this event.  I didn’t explain to her specifically when the event was or how important it was to me but she must have sensed it.

She’d been very sick in one way or another for a long time.  Arthritis and skin cancers that needed to be cut out, one had recently been removed from her face that was not healing well and had resulted in some medical issues that put her back in hospital.  She had lost a lot of weight and was no longer “full of life” as she would usually seem.

That weekend, as I said goodbye and stepped out of her room into the corridor, I began to cry because I had an overwhelming sense that it was the last time I would see her in that frail 83 year old body that was now failing her.  On my way out, I stopped up on the hill beside the wing of the hospital where her room was, under a beautiful old tree, I could see the window of her room.  With tears in my eyes I waved goodbye.

I turned and walked to the car, drove to the airport and got on the plane.  Somehow, feeling numb and disconnected from any real emotions I arrived back in Melbourne, drove the 45 minutes from the airport back home, got in the door, was greeted by my partner David and our two fur kids, Merlin and Millie, went up to David, hugged him and absolutely burst into tears.  I told him I felt that was the last time I would see mum.   And it was…

When I saw her that last time she had said to me twice: “I’ve had enough, Mickey, I don’t think I can put up with any more of this”, and I said to her: “Mum, you’ve had an amazing life, you’ve raised three very strong and responsible children, you  have three amazing grandchildren, you’ve survived a very difficult life, you should be so proud of everything you’ve done in this life, but if you’ve had enough, if you really want to go, then just … let go! Because I promise you, that you’ll simply leave here and it’ll be just like you walked across the room.  You’ll be fine, you’ll be happy, you’ll be free of the pain, free of the struggle, free of the body that’s giving out and letting you down even though your spirit could go on forever, because your spirit does go on forever.”

So it was the very day after our first hugely successful event for “Meet Your GLBTIQ Neighbours” or “Wyndham Rainbow Neighbours Inc” as we are now called, that I got the news she had passed.  If we lost her the day before or even on the day of the event I would never have been able to do what I did that day with so many people there, the things we had to do to encourage, inspire and begin this process of a new community group.  So, her timing was perfect, she must have sensed it literally hanging on that extra day and putting herself second right to the end.  Another fallen hero!

 

5Feb2013:

 At the moment I’m sitting in the backyard of our home in Werribee.  Everyone who comes here says how beautiful and peaceful our yard and our home is, surrounded by trees and tall hedges, the birds, the water fountains, the flowers, plants, the buddas (we are not Buddhist by the way) and it’s a beautiful summer day here in Melbourne.  A new year, a new phase in my life and it feels the right time to start this process of looking back over the first 50+ years of this life.

So this book will cover thoughts, recollections, memories and stories initially sorted into various years because that’s really the easiest way for me to remember.  As with most things in life, the end result may be a little different to what I initially planned.

As I became a teenager, the two things that I became interested in, and passionate about, were ABBA and Doctor Who.  ABBA was the first music that really captured my attention and resonated with me, and it still does.  I’ve listened to ABBA since 1975 and I still love their music after 40+ years.  The ABBA phenomenon will always be part of my life, and the four of them, Frida, Agnetha, Benny and Bjorn are like extended family.  It feels like they’ve always been around and the day one of them passes will be absolutely devastating, just as it has been for me when some of the Doctor Who people have passed.

Liz Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) passed unexpectedly about a year and a half ago now.  That was very difficult because she had been in my life since 1975 as someone I enjoyed watching and had always brought happiness to my life, just as ABBA and Doctor Who have always been a source of great happiness and escape from life’s stresses.  However, there have been times when some of the fans have also been a source of those stresses.

I started watching Doctor Who in 1975 and Tom Baker was my first and favourite Doctor.  The day that he passes will also be devastating and I hope that’s a long time away.  We have lost far too many Who people in 2011/2012.  To name a few, we lost Liz Sladen, Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier), Mary Tamm (the first Romana) and also Directors, Producers and others, which is made even sadder now because 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and we won’t have them as part of the celebrations.

Apart from ABBA and Doctor Who this book will also cover my “born again” times in various Pentecostal Churches, my spiritual journey, and my struggle with being gay which are all neatly wrapped up under the “men” part of the title.

Looking back, all that’s happened in my life is clearly part of the spiritual journey that I’m on this time around.  I’m amazed that I became the person I am today.  I am proud of who I am today.  Just as I’m sure mum and all those who have gone before are proud of me.

But enough about death … this is about life!

So let’s move on to when things really start to change … 1975!

©MICHAEL YOUNG 2017

FOLLOW ME 1

Exercise

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SYNCHRONICITY can still happen even when you feel physically out of synch…

Yesterday, I had the sudden thought to pick up my phone and send my partner an SMS at 9:26am:

“R U a NO for exercise tonight?”

He replied at 9:28am (unusual because he normally does not answer his phone at work):

“OMG!  I literally thought to just pick up my phone to let you know about that …  No, I will give it a miss until I regain my strength.  I was about to suggest you should Give it a miss as well…”

I replied:

“Yes, I will … but at least the synchronicity still works … the rest is a real struggle today …  😦 ” 

 

The magic of the universe! 

 

 

 

 

Hair

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Decided to go to my hairdresser this morning, on a whim, to get a shorter restyle.  No appointments so just drop by, queue and wait your turn.  I arrived there 15 minutes before they open so I could be first in.

He started cutting my hair, two others arrived after me and took a seat in the waiting area.  Then, this big, loud guy comes in, sits in the cutting chair next to me and interrupts the conversation I’m having with Steve, the hairdresser.  I understand immediately that he is loud because he is insecure but he still annoyed me.

Then Steve and I both realise that last time I was there, this same guy came in and sat in the same place and did the same thing … Steve was amazed.  I had the chance to explain to him that was just another example of the magical ‘synchronicity’ that happens in my life.  The universe’s way of showing me that I am exactly where I should be in my life journey.  LOVE IT!

 

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=stevie%20pete%27s%20men%27s%20cut%27s

 

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