Björn in Metro
So you’re the new Alan Whicker?
Yes, in a way. I like my home city very much so when CNN asked me I thought: why not show the world what it looks like? I’d never thought of myself as a travel presenter until the offer came up. Sell Stockholm to me. What I like about Stockholm is it’s a convenient size. It’s a capital with everything you need but it’s not huge. The population is about 1.3million, which is nothing compared with London, Paris or New York. That means more space and a lot less queuing.
How does Sweden differ from Britain?
I lived in the south-east of England for six years, which is among the most densely populated areas in Europe, and there was a lot of queuing. But as people Swedes and Brits are getting more and more alike.
Isn’t the city about to open an Abba museum?
I’m not sure what’s happening but there is going to be a touring exhibition called Abba World. I don’t want to run a museum about myself so I’m keeping my distance.
Is he jealous you grew a beard like his?
Ha ha, I’ve never asked. I grew the beard in 1981 so I’ve had it for a while. I can’t even remember the reason I started growing it, I must have wanted to hide my face or something. The likelihood of me shaving off my beard is as far away as the reunion of Abba.
How much would it take to get you all back together?
I’d like Abba to be the group who said they’d never make a comeback and never did. We’d be the only ones, I think.
You suffer from long-term memory loss. Has it helped banish thoughts of Abba’s costumes?
I cringe when I see some of them but it was glam-rock days and everyone looked like that. If you look back, people such as Gary Glitter looked more hideous than I did. At Eurovision in 1974 I was a bit overweight and the outfits were very tight. The costumes at the beginning were awful but near the end of Abba we got very sophisticated.
I’d like Abba to be the group who said they’d never make a comeback and never did. We’d be the only ones, I think
Are you sure it’s not short-term memory loss?
I mean, how about an Abba reunion? No, no. That won’t pay off! The memory loss is hugely exaggerated. I was on a radio show and I told them my episodic memory wasn’t very good. It’s the sort of memory where you can vividly remember where you were and you can even smell and pinpoint how you felt at that point. I have precious few of those and I envy anyone able to relive their happiest moments.
Will Britain ever win Eurovision again?
It’s a matter of having a good enough song. I’m still a firm believer in that. Sweden hasn’t been very good either.
Have you ever thanked anyone for the music?
It would be the Beatles, absolutely by far the most influential and most important band for Benny and me. It was the idea that two people in a group could write their own songs and we thought, if they can do it, why can’t we? That changed everything for us. Before the Beatles, songwriters were very anonymous people and nobody paid any attention to them.
On an Abba pilgrimage, where in Stockholm should one visit?
Metronome Studio is where we recorded our early hits. It hasn’t become a tourist attraction and only the most avid fans find it. The studio is untouched from the days when we recorded there and the same guy has been running it since 1971. I’m amazed he hasn’t cashed in.
How do you feel about tribute act Björn Again being named after you?
It’s pretty cool. Whenever I have to call people back I say: ‘Hi, it’s Björn again.’ Benny hasn’t said he’s jealous but I bet he is!