Björn Ulvaeus on Abba: It all started with a ‘romance’ with Benny

World

Björn Ulvaeus on Abba: It all started with a ‘romance’ with Benny

As the latest iteration of the Swedish phenomenon is about to explode, the hitmaker recalls the night it all began

Helen Brown

Anyone planning to stock up on artificial bougainvillea this week is bang out of luck. The designers of Mamma Mia! The Party have bought all the hot pink blooms in Europe (and sent to the US for more) in their quest to transform a former nightclub space at the O2 Arena in London into the courtyard of a Greek taverna.

“It was really a terrible sight in here,” says Björn Ulvaeus, a founder member of Abba and the brains behind this latest extension of the band’s legacy, as he leads me into the venue. “Dark, ugly, horrible sticky floor ... But now look!”

He wafts an arm up from the stone-tiled floor, past a fountain, ferns and frescoes towards two tiers of balconies, all lined with prettily set blue-clothed tables...

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