Tag Archives: Critical Divide

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

Anglo-Brazilian Society / Anglo-Portuguese-Society Joint reception

4 Dec

The Anglo-Brazilian Society and the Anglo-Portuguese Society hosted a very special evening for members, friends and guests at the residence of the Portuguese Ambassador, to London, HE Manuel Lobo Antunes, on Monday 2 December. The societies joined forces to celebrate Christmas and the year end in style. A great way to start the Festive season.

Guest included the Portuguese Ambassador and senior diplomats from both embassies. Baroness Hooper, who is a senior member of both the Portuguese and Brazilian All Party Parliamentary groups, was present, as was Sir Peter Heap, an ex-British Ambassador to Brazil and a board member of the ABS.

The evening offered the tastes and flavours of both Brazil and Portuguese. Brazilian chef, Luciana Berry worked with the team at the Portuguese Ambassador’s residence to prepare the food that reflected both countries, while Portuguese wines and Brazilian caipirinhas were served. Brazilian musician Aleh Ferreira performed a selection of bossa nova and MPB favourites.

Chris Pickard of Critical Divide is chair of the Anglo-Brazilian Society and Sandro Carito of Carito International is chair of the Anglo-Portuguese Society.

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.

LATA Foundation Projects for 2019

14 Feb

The LATA Foundation has confirmed its 2019 charity initiatives focusing on conservation, poverty relief, education and community development. A selection of at least ten core projects will be supported throughout the year as well as one-off contributions to other essential causes.

Last year the Foundation supported projects in ten Latin American countries thanks largely to its key sponsors including Las Iguanas, Journey Latin America, Jacada Travel, Imagine Travel, Sunvil, British Airways, Belize Tourism Board and Last Frontiers(among others). LATAF also raised funds for emergency appeals such as providing nebulisers to those in need following the volcanic eruption in Guatemala.

At the start of 2019, the LATA Foundation will be supporting nine core projects with further projects planned for the rest of the year, as well as providing support for one-off causes.

Core projects for 2019 include:

Abriendo Mentes: Meaning ‘opening minds’ in Spanish, Abriendo Mentes is a small community-based project which aims to empower individuals from two rural coastal communities in Costa Rica. The charity provides innovative and engaging education programmes and activities including English and computer lessons, Zumba classes and lacrosse. These skills are critical in obtaining employment, particularly in the local tourism industry, which dominates the local job market.

Azuero Earth: Founded by ecologist Ruth Metzel, Azuero Earth Project is a conservation initiative based in the Azuero Peninsula, Panama. Dedicated to reforestation, habitat restoration, sustainable land management, and environmental education, the project aims to ensure the future of the Azuero environment, wildlife species, and local communities in this area that is fast becoming one of Panama’s tourist hot spots.

Buena Vida: The Buena Vida Foundation is an Argentine NGO that supports rural local communities to develop sustainable tourism initiatives and help generate local employment. Buena Vida nurtures and supports local cultures to hep preserve traditional forms of craftsmanship and attract revenue through community-based tourism initiatives.

Calicanto: Based in Panama City, Calicanto provides support to vulnerable women living in poor urban communities. Calicanto’s flagship programme is a seven-week course which provides essentials skills and training to help women-in-need. The final two weeks of the course consist of vocational training aimed at getting these women ready for work in either the hotel or restaurant industries. In 2018, Calicanto set up its own restaurant in collaboration with well-known Panamanian chef Mario Castrellón. The restaurant, called La Sexta, is staffed by participants of the CAPTA programme and all proceeds go back into funding the project.

Condor Trust: Based in Quito, Ecuador, the Condor Trust is an educational initiative enabling young Ecuadorians from low income families to attend secondary school and/ or have access to higher education. The ultimate aim is to support children and teenagers so that they can complete their education, find a job and break the cycle of poverty. The LATA Foundation provides funds for the provision of uniforms, books and school materials. Now some of the first students taken on during the early years of the project have graduated from university and flourish in professional jobs, demonstrating how successful the whole cycle of support can be.

Friends of Alalay: Friends of Alalay directly supports the Alalay Foundation, which was started in the early 1990’s by a 19-year-old Bolivian student who passed street children every day on her way to university and was determined to do something to help. Alalay rescues these children from the streets and offers them a loving environment living together in family cabins. Alalay also feeds, clothes and educates the children and encourages them in their future working lives. Since it started, the Alalay Foundation has helped over 10,000 children and adolescents and works with over 1,000 children annually, in the cities of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT): The LATA Foundation, works with the GCT to reduce the damaging effects of plastics in the Galapagos Islands.  With over 20 years of experience working with communities and local organisations, GCT are teaming up with Grupo Eco Cultural Organizado (GECO) to deliver a youth-led campaign to reduce plastic bag use on San Cristobal island by 50%. The project is based on a holistic approach to tackle this issue by raising awareness in the local community, working closely with local businesses and utilising the LATA connection to communicate with the tourism industry and tourists so we can all play our part in being Plastic Responsible.

Picaflor: Picalor House is an educational charity working in the small town of Oropesa and other villages in the surrounding rural area 25km outside of Cusco, Peru, to provide after-school support to students and families. Picaflor also supports the local community through hygiene programmes, taps for teeth washing and stoves for local families, having a far-reaching positive impact on the wider community.

Vidancar: Vidarte Space has several projects to help underprivileged children from the favelas of Rio de Janerio. Their main project, the Vidancar Dance School, is located in the Complexo do Alemao favela. It began in 2009 as an initiative to offer children from the favelas the opportunity to express themselves through the art of ballet. In recent years students have gone on to study and perform at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet, the ballet of Rio’s Municipal Theatre and the Conservatorio Brasileiro de Dança. Around 180 children benefit from this project on a daily basis.


The LATA Foundation is a 100% volunteer-run organisation and all proceeds raised are invested directly into its charitable projects. The LATA Foundation is proud to work with a strong network of volunteers, largely from the travel sector. In 2018, the Foundation increased the number of trustees to 12, from just eight in 2018. It is hoped that that the increased number will bring new skills and contacts to the group to help drive forward the fundraising efforts.

Learn more about the LATA Foundation at: www.latafoundation.org

Follow Critical Divide on Social Media

3 Apr

You can now follow Critical Guide on Facebook. To find the page, http://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalDivide/, Click Here and like.

You can also keep up to date by following Critical Divide’s various Twitter accounts. These include.

Critical Divide: @CriticalDivide

Brazil The Guide & Rio The Guide: @RioDiary

World Cup The Guide: @WC_Guide_2018

St Helena: @StHelenaFocus

Ronnie Biggs: @RonnieBiggsNews

And don’t forget our various web sites that cover Rio, Brazil, the World Cup, the Oscars,  and Ronnie Biggs, to mention just a few.

Critical Divide to produce World Cup Guide

4 Dec

Due to public demand, as they say, Critical Divide will once again produce a quick and easy guide to the FIFA World Cup.

Critical Divide offered a guide to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil linked to Brazil: The Guide and Rio: The Guide, and over 300,000 people used the guide over the period of the tournament.

What was to be a one off, has now been extended to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the site – World Cup: The Guide – has been full updated – most importantly with the schedule by date, team, venue and even TV. You can also follow on Twitter @WC_Guide_2018

World Cup: The Guide

Brazil: The Guide

Rio: The Guide