Gimme gimme gimme a Björn after midnight

IMG_5027So we were talking about our arrival in Stockholm, a few hours before the feared interview of Björn, songwriter for ABBA. Before going on with my story, which will be, you have no doubt about it, neither excessive nor voluntarily catastrophist, I am keen to precise that those two days (barely) have been filled with laughter, emotions and friendship. I knew Will (not that much) and just like I imagined, harmony has been confirmed (euphemism). But there was also JB, the cameraman and film editor, patient and never directive, Jeremy, journalist for Télé 7 Jours[1] who joined us and with who we giggled so much and finally Jojo, nanny for stars, a figure on her own who would deserve her own series (she SPEAKS to the plane before getting on) (we found crazier than me). On the other hand, Björn Ulvaeus is a living proof that you can be an international star, sitting on a (deserved) pile of gold, and simply stay a good man (well my analysis is based on the hour we spent together but he would have had reason to sigh believe me).

Shall we move on?

11h45: We land in Stockholm. Through the window, I can see only snow, forests and small lost red houses. I love when the first impression of a place I don’t know meets perfectly what I had pictured in my mind.

11h48: after custom gates, we are face to face with a 5×12 meter poster of ABBA. I take another Immodium.

11h53: Will asks me if I know at least which one of the two men I going to meet. I point at Benny, of course. Will pulls a strange face, as if he was realizing he brought Forrest Gump to Stockholm.

12h30: Arrival at Rival hotel, owned by Benny, Björn’s career partner and friend (for the girls, it is less clear, the two couples exploded in flight which triggered the group separation). Björn was with Agneta, so Will explains. « OK so Björn is straight, that’s an interesting information », I reply (and I mentally cross out my question about how difficult it is to be gay in Sweden). Will hesitates slightly before laughing and strangely does not mention anymore that he’s a fan. I sense our harmony is getting loose.

12h32: Rival hotel is impressive. The design is totally 70s, with a touch of Swedish chic (we’re in Ikea’s country, aren’t we?). The press agent, Ann-Sofi, is 22 and could be Agneta’s daughter. She warns us right away that we can forget about autograph, song for our mummy and all other inopportune love demonstration

12h33: I hide away the picture of Violette I brought especially for an autograph and kiss goodbye my proposal of an improvised duet in tribute to my grandmother. “It will give us extra time for questions”, Will pleads. That guy, always looking on the bright side of life. Gets on my nerves.

12h36: Will suggests we rehearse a bit. He’ll be Björn and I Forrest, basically. Ok, I say. (Freaking out).

12h38: Will loses his composure as I mumble my questions. The fact that I was not badly speaking English on purpose is now reaching his mind, I can see it. I can feel this kind of things.

12h44: I’m done with the run-through. I can hold on for six minutes. “OK listen, just focus on the pleasure you’ll have, it will be a blast. Worst case, we do post-prod. You’ll come to the studio to say you sentences again if pronunciation… well you see what I mean, don’t you?” Will reassures me with a flat voice. After that he runs to the toilets and makes a weird noise which does sound like a sob.

12h45: To relieve the pressure, I decide to do a few mindfulness exercises. To think only of  my breathing and nothing else than my breathing which is, admittedly, very random. Not visualize the moment I will REALLY sit in front of Björn with, all in all, nothing else than a Chinese portrait and my basic English.

12h46: My first question is looping in my head. It will be key. If it comes out of my mouth clearly, then I’ll be more confident and the rest will unfold just like the final scene in Billy Eliot. Or in Flash Dance. Or in Dirty Dancing. Come on, if that silly of Baby is capable of turning into a sensual bombshell, I don’t see why I couldn’t be in a sort of trance during which I would speak English fluently. It seems we use only 5% of our brain. There’s for sure a Robert & Collins hidden somewhere in the 95% left. I simply need to find it basically. As well as the key.

12h47: “Hello, Björn. At first, I wanted to say you very sincerely: Thank you for the music[2]. This is a good introduction. Then I engage on: “If I feel sad, I put your disks and I feel better. If a party is a little gloomy, we just have to listen one of your hits and everyone is dancing. Are you aware of that, Björn?”

12h48: All is fine up to now. It got this under control. Let’s do a bit more mindfulness. Air goes in my trachea, I follow its path to my lungs. My chest lifts, slowly. I feel oxygen entering my blood vessels. Chilled out, that’s how oxygen is. Not stressed at all, cushy. While I mentally accompany my breathing in, I take note of my thoughts and put them away in a corner. Theeeere we go. All is but quiet and deli…

12h49: I’m chocking. Help. Air went in but does not come out. I’m going to die of hyperventilation. I’m drowning guys. Nine one one.

12h53: The press agent wave to us, we can go. I get up with a sort unsynchronized movement. I am actually going through this, it is a nightmare. Rose, now you can cry your eyes out so that I wake up. I promise I will not say anything even if it’s four in the morning. Me too I want a hug anyways.

12h54: No sign from Rose. I am ACTUALLY that close from interviewing of the biggest star of pop music.

12h55: In the lift, we’re not overconfident. William wipes his tears discreetly. I don’t know if he is moved or thinking of Marne la Coquette retirement house.

12h56: We enter the suite and see him. He is slim and looks 10 years younger than he really is. Suited suit, thin tie and sparkling blue eye. I am excited. Sexually I mean. That’s all I needed. Run Forrest, run.

12h57: Will introduces me while JB set up the equipment. There will be THREE cameras. No chance my inanity will go unnoticed thanks to an unfortunate technical issue

12h58: “She has a blog”, Will tells Björn.

12h59: “Yes”, I answer. Extremely well prononced my “Yes”, I need to point out.

13h00: Björn is astonished by the fact that I have a blog

13h02: I am astonished that Björn is astonished.

13h04: “Is it not a lot of pressure?”, he asks, looking straight into my eyes.

13h06: “Yes, it’s a lot of pressure”, I answer.

13h07: I think I have the solution, I’ll agree and repeat the last words. Clever. As a result, I am more confident. Björn confides he also wants to start a blog.

13h08: “Oh, great, but be careful, you know, as you said, it’s a lot of pressure, I mean, ten thousands of people read me every day. Before opening your blog, you have to be sure to be able to manage that”, I explain.

13h10: Will is stunned. It’s not as if Björn didn’t sell 460 million albums in 10 years and fill something like a hundred Stade de France[3]. “It might be a good idea to calm down on the pressure story…” I can read in his eyes. I need to get out of this impasse before to need to use a defibrillator on Will. I directly engage on my first question: “Björn, I wanted to thank you, very sincerely. I mean, you gave me such happiness and positive energy…”

13h12: Will wave at me just when I am about blast it with “Thank you for the music”. Caro, we didn’t start rolling!”, he whines.

13h13: Hell. I just played my only card, my only sentence that was more or less grammatically correct and it was not filmed.

13h14: Please someone finishes me off. I will not come back after such an ordeal, that’s for sure. I’ll stay stuck there for my whole life, repeating “thank you for the music”. I’ll be sort of embodying Stockholm syndrome.

13h15: Björn is in stitches. He says we always should start before cameras roll, it would be more spontaneous (eat my pussy, Björn, let’s get this over with, I’m hot to trot right now). He also says that journalists always put themselves under too much pressure, they want to ask the most unusual question but it isn’t really anyways. Worst are the ones who proudly let out “thank you for the music” looking like they think they are the first to have that idea.

13h16: I laugh (too) loudly. Come on, “Asshole of journalist”, I say, “completely silly” to dare the “thank you for the music”. Fuck. (What the fuck)

13h18: Mum, come pick me up.

13h19: Damn it, JB, start your fucking camera right now or I’ll make you eat it. Let’s get this over with. I CANNOT chitchat AND make the interview. I am that close to use my Chinese portrait, right now, see. So you say “action” or I leave.

13h22: Silence, action. Don’t care, I repeat my introduction sentence, I have nothing else for back up. Forget spontaneity.

13h23: “Björn, I wanted to thank you. Not for the music (hu hu hu) but for this happiness you gave me”.

13h24: Björn has manners. He acts as if I didn’t tell him the exact same thing 2 minutes ago and answer that he is moved every time he hears this kind of thanks. He says the idea of being a fountain of joy makes him happy, still today. I ask a question about the musical Mama-mia. Time flies, thank god he is a chatterbox. Sometimes I throw a “Yes?” or a “Yes!” or, more refined, a “Really?”.

13h45: Chinese portrait. Björn goes along. He is stuck on “if you were a movie”. He says it’s a very good question. Move it, Claire Chazal [4], it’s now up to me. He can’t find an adequate answer and asks me to keep it in mind, he will answer at the end.

13h46:  This was my last question. Houston, we have a problem.

13h47: I can’t let him know it was my last question when he is stuck with that stupid movie thing. I humiliate him, I abandon him with a failure.

13h48: “What do you look at first when you see a woman?”, I ask in despair.

13h49: Well done, Forrest, well done. Best case he finds it retarded, worst case he thinks I’m hitting on him. Will makes a weird rough sound, we’re losing him.

13h50: Björn looks at me for a long time with half a smile and answers “Her eyes”.

13h51: Björn you’re a liar but it doesn’t matter I am all yours.

13h52: Carried away by enthusiasm, I finish him off with: “Do you have any regrets?

13h53: Again long silence, again fixed gaze in my eyes, again wet panties: “I’ve done a lot of stupid things, you know. But I think that one of my biggest regrets is my divorce. It’s so much pain, when love’s ending…”.

13h55: Will cries like a young baby.

13h56: Björn’s eyes are wet. We are all aware something strong just happened. Leave us now please. I have a man to comfort. And no worries, I have all the required vocabulary, no need for a dictionary, believe me.

[1] TN: Télé 7 Jours is a French TV magazine.

[2] TN: all sentences in italic were in English in the original text.

[3] TN: Stade de France is a stadium near Paris.

[4] TN: Famous TV news presenter

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