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Abba’s Super Troupers Land at the O2 in London

6 Dec

Abba Super Troupers The Exhibition opened at the O2 in London on 6 December 2019 and is scheduled, to the delight of Abba fans visiting London, to run through 31 August 2020.

The new exhibition occupies a 14,000 square foot space within London’s home of music, offers a musical journey into the phenomenon that is ABBA (Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid (“Frida”) Lyngstad)  while offering visitors a time capsule of the 1970s and 1980s, a period when the band’s eight albums and many singles dominated the global charts.

The exhibit charts their music, lyrics, creative process and influence as one of the most iconic pop bands of the modern age. It examines ABBA’s rise to global superstardom through a series of atmospheric rooms, exploring each of ABBA’s multi-million selling albums, alongside the band’s personal and public journey.

ABBA first burst onto the UK music scene with a dazzling win on 6 April 1974 at the Eurovision Song Contest at the Brighton Dome, with the song that would become their first UK chart-topper, “Waterloo”. 

The exhibition has been conceptualised and curated by Jude Kelly CBE, a renowned theatre director and the former artistic director at The Southbank Centre.

ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition displays an array of objects that include:

  • Personal artefacts from each musician’s youth that provide an insight into their pre-ABBA lives, including Björn’s school report, his military book and photographs from his time in service, and pictures of a 13-year-old Frida in a jazz band as a beatnik teenager.
  • Key items from the height of the band’s heyday, reflecting on both the personal – such as a collection of behind the scenes photos taken of the band on their ‘77 Australian “Arrival” tour – and the professional, with iconic items from the height of their success, including a limited-edition replica of the ‘Star Guitar’ played at Eurovision ’74, signed by all four members; over 40 Gold Discs from ABBA’s personal archive, including “Dancing Queen”, their biggest selling single, worldwide; a collection of exquisitely designed, image-defining costumes and personal clothing.
  • A recreation of superfan Andrew Boardman’s Manchester living room, a veritable shrine to ABBA memorabilia. Andrew began collecting 40 years ago, having fallen under the band’s spell when, at age 16, he first attended an ABBA concert. This room explores the notion that ABBA may have the most ardent and committed fans of any contemporary band.

Visitors are fully immersed in the ABBA story through the ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition’s theatrical staging, including:

  • A recreation of the Eurovision Song Contest stage at the Brighton Dome, where, from lush deep theatre seats, fans can watch the performance.
  • Multiple photo-opportunities, where attendees can capture themselves beside:
    • A full-sized replica of the helicopter that graced the cover of “Arrival’.
    • Replicas of the iconic “Super Trouper” album cover costumes.
    • A life-size replica of the scoreboard that saw ABBA secure Eurovision Song Contest victory (despite null points from the United Kingdom…).
  • A glimpse inside the band’s POLAR Studios, where the hard-working pop perfectionists refined their defining harmonised sound, with interactive elements that include a voice recording booth and mixing desk.
  • Ending the experience on a  high, guests are invited to sing, dance, add to fan mail, explore memorabilia and indeed say “Thank You For The Music” in The Legacy finale, as a specular audio-visual backdrop documents the very best of the band’s successes.

TICKETS

Tickets are sold in 30-minute entry slots. Anticipated average dwell time within the exhibition is 90 minutes.

Adult £27

Adult Return £59 (up to a maximum of 4 visits)

Child £13.50 (children under 5 go free)

Tickets available at abbasupertroupers.com or by calling 08442 491 000*

OPENING TIMES

Mon – Wed 10.00 until 19.30 (last ticket 18.00)

Thu – Fri 10.00 until 20.30 (last ticket 19.00)

Sat – Sun 09.30 until 19.30 (last ticket 18.00)

Closed 25th December 2019 and 1st Jan 2020

 

Some Fun ABBA Facts…

  • At the Grand Hotel in Brighton on the eve of Eurovision, quite by accident, ABBA discovered that the organisers had booked them into the Napoleon suite.  They took it as a good omen. 
  • Least glamorous fact – in 1979, ABBA fronted a poster for British Rail and Keep Britain Tidy
  • In 1973, ABBA competed in Melodifestivalen (the Swedish qualifying competition for the Eurovicion Song contest) with “Ring Ring” but only came third. 
  • When ABBA won Eurovision in Brighton with Waterloo, the UK gave them ‘nul points’. 
  • 3.5 million people applied for tickets to their 1977 London tour dates.
  • Lasse Hallström, who directed ABBA: The Movie and most of the band’s videos was nominated for Oscars for his direction on My Life as a Dog and The Cider House Rules. He also directed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Chocolat. 
  • ABBA scored their first number one album in the US in 2008. It was the film soundtrack to Mamma Mia. 
  • By the age of 19 Agnetha was already one of the most popular singer in Sweden.
  • ABBA Gold is one of the best-selling albums of all time in the UK, outselling Sgt Pepper’s. Lonely Hearts Club Band and second only to Queen’s Greatest Hits.
  • For the Sex Pistols’ 20th anniversary shows, John Lydon (an ABBA fan since early Seventies) wanted to walk onstage to ‘Dancing Queen’ in a bid to highlight how bad music was before punk – but, despite Lydon’s intentions, the crowd roared their approval and started dancing as soon as the ABBA hit kicked in. 
  • Already a household name, Agnetha played Mary Magdalene in the 1971 Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Arrival was ABBA’s fourth LP but was their first studio release to hit the Number One spot in the UK (ABBA’s Greatest Hits went to No. 1 first).
  • Anni-Frid is a mezzo and Agnetha is a soprano. 
  • ABBA never officially broke up. In 1982 they decided to have a rest. It just went on a while. 
  • Both Led Zeppelin and Genesis recorded at Abba’s POLAR Studios.
  • After finally deciding on the name ABBA Benny flipped his “B” horizontally during a photo shoot. This inspired their official logo, though it was later given a proper design by Rune Soderqvist.
  • In 1973 after she had given birth to their daughter, Linda, Agnetha was replaced on their German tour by a lookalike. She was a local singer and friend of Anni-Frid called Inger Brundin.
  • A 1976 ABBA TV special, filmed in Australia, got more views than the 1969 moon landing in that country.
  • ABBA were the very first group from a non-English-speaking country to achieve top spots in charts in all English-speaking countries including Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mamma Mia: The Party!

The O2 is also home to the Abba dining and party experience, “Mamma Mia! The Party”. To book and more information CLICK HERE

Great Train Robbery Exhibition – Postal Museum – London

10 Oct

A new “Great Train Robbery” exhibition opened 11 October at the Postal Museum in London and will run through until April 2020.

For more information CLICK HERE

At the exhibition you will be able to buy copies of Ronnie Biggs’ autobiography “Odd Man Out: The Last Straw” as well as the special 50th anniversary “Great Train Robbery” bookazine produced by Nick Reynolds and Chris Pickard, with a little help and input from Bruce Reynolds and Biggs.  Both books benefitted from the publishing expertise of Critical Divide and Calm Productions. You can also find both books on Amazon.

 

By Comet to New York: 10 October 1958

10 Oct

On Friday, 10 October 1958 John Pickard, father of Critical Divide’s Christopher Pickard, and then director and general manager of Carling’s Brewery of Canada, took the second ever trans-Atlantic East to West commercial passenger jet flight from London to New York with a stop at Gandar. The journey on BOAC Flight 601 using the de Havilland Comet 4 took 10 hours and 20 minutes, 9 hours and five minutes of which were flight time in the air.

What follows is John’s personal report of that flight written for Carling’s from New York on 11 October 1958. We are glad to see that despite carrying his own Carling six-pack John remembered to cover in detail both the wine and food served on the flight which had 16 passengers in what was called “De Luxe” and another 32 passengers in “First Class”. John’s report also includes some observations from the London Evening News’ Alan Tomkins who had flown on the first East-West flight on 4 October 1958.

Click on the pictures for a larger image of the report.

 

Chris Pickard elected chair of the Anglo-Brazilian Society

6 Aug

Critical Divide’s, Chris Pickard, has been invited and elected to chair the Anglo-Brazilian Society.

The Society was established in London back in 1943 to help to promote close and friendly relations between Brazil and Britain and to increase Britain’s knowledge of Brazil and its culture. The Society, which is based in the Embassy of Brazil in London, is a registered UK charity that is passionately committed to raising funds for worthwhile Brazilian projects, especially those that address the needs of underprivileged children and their families.

Chris also currently chairs the LATA Foundation, but will stand down at the AGM in September after ten years as a founding trustee and two as chair.

You can read more about and follow the activities of the Anglo-Brazilian Society on its website, Facebook or on Twitter @anglobrazsoc

LATA Palace of Westminster Reception 2019

14 Mar

The annual All Party Parliamentary Group for Latin America and the Latin American Travel Association (LATA), held its annual reception in the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday, 12 March 2019.

Sir Alan Duncan

Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister at the FCO responsible for the Latin American region, who had come straight from the Brexit vote in the House of Commons, made a very entertaining speech; Hilary Bradt MBE (Bradt Guides) was inducted into the LATA Hall of Fame; and Claire Wilcox, was recognised with LATA’s ‘Special Recognition Award 2019’ for her role as co-curator of the landmark exhibition ‘Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up’ at the V&A. Mark Menzies MP, chair of the All Party Group, and Colin Stewart, the LATA chair, were the hosts, for the evening.

Hilary Bradt & Colin Stewart

Claire Wilcox of the V&A and Colin Stewart

On presenting the awards Colin said: “At LATA, we are honoured to recognise the contribution of Hilary Bradt and Claire Wilcox for driving public awareness and interest in the LATAM region. Their contribution has had a significant part to play in the recent growth and success of the region and we are delighted to be able to recognise these achievements.”

Chris Pickard

LATA Foundation chairman, Critical Divide’s Christopher Pickard, had the opportunity to update members of the Lords, Commons, and LATA, as well as the Latin American diplomatic community in London, on the Foundation’s recent activities, including the support in 2019 of core projects in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa, Rica, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Honduras, Panama and Peru. Chris also name checked and thanked many of the companies present for their support of the LATA Foundation that had allowed it over the past decade to touch and change for the better the lives of thousands of people in just about every country and corner of Latin America.

Ending by quoting from Monty Python’s “The Bright Side of Life”, Chris said he hoped that the  LATA Foundation could continue to help people less fortunate in Latin America to be able to “laugh and smile and dance and sing” again.

The Latin American Travel Association is a membership organisation that promotes sustainable travel to the region. The membership is made up of tourist boards, airlines, hoteliers, tour operators, local tour companies, lodges & other travel and tourism related entities that operate to and around Latin America.

Count Down to Experience Latin America by LATA

24 Apr

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Experience Latin America by LATA, the new b2b trade show bringing together key suppliers from Latin America with buyers from the UK and Europe, is on track for launch in less than eight weeks time. So far the event, which is being held between 16–18 June, at 40 Bank Street, in London’s Canary Wharf has attracted around 100 confirmed exhibitors from a cross section of suppliers operating in the region. LATA has also announced details of the seminar programme with two categories – ‘Uncover’ or ‘Discover’ seminars.

Exhibitors including tourist boards such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Quito and the CTO; leading airlines serving the region such as AirEuropa, Avianca, British Airways, Caribbean, Copa, Iberia, LAN, TAM, TAP and United; hotel companies including Alvear, Belmond, Fasano Hotels, Grace Hotels and Inkaterra, are among those exhibiting and even leading cruise lines, such as Silversea, have recognised the promotional and business opportunities the event brings.

With delegates by invitation only and registration growing daily, the three-day show will bring together carefully-selected companies wishing to increase business to Latin America, including Brazil. Pre-scheduled meetings, inspiring seminars and plenty of networking opportunities should ensure a cross-section of Latin American suppliers and overseas buyers and media get ample opportunity to meet and network, learn about new products and strengthen existing relationships.

LATA chairman and Critical Divide director Chris Pickard said: “We are delighted by the response we have had for the first year from both the suppliers and the buyers – a true reflection of the interest from the UK and Europe in Latin America as a destination and the belief of the Latin American suppliers in the future growth of the UK outbound market.

“We did not make it easy for ourselves in holding the first Experience Latin America during the World Cup, especially when the tournament was in Latin America itself, but LATA is looking beyond 2014 and sees this very much as an annual event that will be a must do on the calendar of anyone involved in travel and tourism to Latin America.”

40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London

40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London

The seminar programme is a fundamental part of the experience for buyer and supplier delegates to engage, interact and learn at Experience Latin America. The ‘Discover’ and ‘Uncover’ seminars will provide education, inspiration and interaction for all delegates attending the event.

‘Discover’ seminars will be destination themed offering delegates the chance to learn about each region and specific product highlighting the incredible variety of experiences in Latin America.

‘Uncover’ seminars will look at the topical issues facing tourism to Latin America in general. Expert speakers and panellists will inform on current trends, perceptions and opportunities in Latin America, and highlight its enormous potential for increased business. Topics will include:-

  • Key sustainable tourism trends in Latin America for the next 10 years
  • How to get the most out of your social and digital media strategies
  • Routes to the UK market
  • Why adventure travel is essential to the future of tourism in Latin America
  • Key European booking trends
  • Growing niche markets in Latin America
  • How hotel and transport safety in Latin America affects you
  • Trends in cruising in Latin America.

The Experience Latin America social programme will kick off with an official launch party on 16th June sponsored by Air Europa.

Chris Pickard re-elected chairman of LATA

6 Jun

CNN Business Traveller CP 02

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) has held the first meeting of its new executive committee for 2013/14. During the meeting Critical Divide’s Chris Pickard was re-elected chairman. The other officers for 2013/14 are Sue Faithfull – Vice Chairman, Byron Shirto – Honorary Secretary, Lesley Roberts – Treasurer, Ed Paine – LATA Counsellor.

The full LATA committee for 2013/14 is:

Amanda Sweeney (Rainbow Tours)
Byron Shirto (Talking Stick Marketing)
Chris Pickard (Critical Divide)
Claudia Morales (Branding Latin America)
Colin Stewart (Air Europa)
Edward Paine (Last Frontiers)
Lesley Roberts (United Airlines)
Liza Masias (Inkaterra)
Lupita Ayala (Mexico Tourism Board)
Lyn Hughes (Wanderlust)
Priti Mehta (Silversea Cruises)
Ray Blok (British Airways / Iberia)
Sara Nozal (Aviacircle)
Simon Heyes (Senderos)
Sue Faithfull (Brazilian Chamber of Commerce)
Wendy McNeill (Americas)