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Thank you for the loo sick: the Abba show that conjures up a ’70s nightclub

14 December 2017

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Friday night and the lights are low – looking out for a place to go? Then the Southbank Centre has you covered. As the final instalment of its programme devoted to Nordic arts and culture, the institution has teamed up with Stockholm’s Abba Museum to stage an exhibition dedicated to the globe-bestriding Swedish popsters.

Abba: Super Troupers’ is billed as a ‘one-of-a-kind exhibition’ that will not only explore the group’s history but that of the UK in the 1970s. The exhibition evokes a Britain riven by strikes, political instability and questionable haircuts – all in all, an ‘impossibly gloomy’ place, as Abba founder Bjorn Ulvaeus put it to the Guardian.

Attractions include a voiceover by former Pulp frontman (and committed Abba fan) Jarvis Cocker, a replica of the Brighton hotel suite in which the band stayed during the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest and, somewhat gratuitously, an attempt to recreate the distinct atmosphere of a 1970s nightclub toilet, complete with graffiti, fag butts and vomit stains. Mamma Mia!

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