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Abba great unwilling to be Stockholm 'billboard'

Abba great unwilling to be Stockholm 'billboard'

Published: 16 Dec 2011 15:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Dec 2011 15:52 GMT+01:00

Abba founder Benny Andersson wants Arlanda airport to take down a giant picture of him welcoming visitors to Stockholm after a decision to go ahead with a controversial revamp of a local landmark leaves him unwilling to be associated with the city.

“I have no desire to be a billboard for a city that makes unreasonable decisions like this. I am not available for use anymore. I have not met a single person who is in favour of a highway straight through town”, said Andersson to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Slussen, a central area of Stockholm named after the locks between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea, was last made over in 1935.

In 2009, the city of Stockholm announced a new design featuring two linked pedestrian bridges and one for automobile traffic.

However, from the very introduction of the new plans there has been massive resistance to the proposal, the winner of a 2009 competition to design a plan for the area.

When the building proposal was up for a vote in City Hall on Monday, Andersson went as far as saying he would reunite the former super group for a gig in aid of stopping the plans.

After several hours of debate, the council had on Monday eventually voted in favour of the controversial plan to renovate Slussen.

The opposition attempted to stop the measure by submitting a motion requesting it be sent back for further debate, but this motion was voted down 51-48.

Andersson told DN that he is unwilling to be associated with Stockholm the same way he has previously been, following the decision,

“This is important and the redevelopment of Slussen is a major planning decision. Why should I support a governing body that clubs through an important issue like this based on only three votes outweighing the opposition”, Andersson told Dagens Nyheter.

Andersson also said he thinks that the “face of Stockholm” should be deputy mayor for culture, Madeleine Sjöstedt, rather than himself

Sjöstedt, who refused to listen to Andersson's and other Swedish celebrities' pleas to save Slussen, would be a more appropriate front to the billboard at Arlanda instead, according to Andersson.

“Although, ironically, most people will not know who she is”, he said to the paper.

The question of Slussen's revamp remains a hot topic. Construction is expected to begin in 2013 and to be completed by 2020.

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

15:57 December 16, 2011 by Dazzler
What a giant self indulgent douchebag he is.
16:05 December 16, 2011 by Opinionfool
He reminds me of England's Prince Charles as someone resistant to architectural change and having a pompous "only my views count" attitude. So yes please Arlanda do take down his photo. Who wants to be reminded of such a luddite.
16:05 December 16, 2011 by nlidukdese
Alternative headline: Abba great unwilling to accept democratic decision in Stockholm.
16:47 December 16, 2011 by spo10
I'm sorry but I do not get the title at all. "Abbe great unwilling to be Stockholm 'bilboard'". Seriously TheLocal, you can do better than this. No need to be so sophisticated with your headlines because you will end up being criticized anyway since you usually commit grammatical errors or typos on your articles.
16:52 December 16, 2011 by Opinionfool
@spo. It took me (a native English speaker) some time to parse that headline but it does eventually make sense. Sticking some punctuation in there would help though. "Abba great, ..." or "Abba-great ...".

Mind you with this nonsense he is creating the title should perhaps be "Abba grate ..." which is what their music always did with me.
18:28 December 16, 2011 by Greekfan
The trouble for me when I read the articles in the Local is that The Local is not Sweden's news in English, it is Sweden's news in American. The two are not the same. Words are often used differently and spelt differently, the sentence construction is frequently different. So I find myself having to reread a lot of things.

As to the subject in hand I am with Benny on this one. If he no longer feels proud to be associated with Stockholm then why wouldn't he want his picture taken down?
18:40 December 16, 2011 by Steggles
I don't know anything about Madeleine Sjöstedt.......but I do believe Benny know's exactly what he's talking about and the majority would be behind him.
18:48 December 16, 2011 by Opinionfool
@Greekfan. Yes, but as an English speaker I translate to/from American in my head.
19:04 December 16, 2011 by medicinem4n
This website's use of the word "great" strikes me as non-standard. I've only ever heard native speakers of English use that word in the plural in this context. Such as in: "all the greats were there: McCartney, Townshend, Bono".

I don't think using it in the singular is part of standard English. I would've written something like "Abba star".
20:35 December 16, 2011 by Vitas
No! Slussen must be rebuild. I think Benny Andersson have never been in this crazy busstation under t-bana. It is so calt in winter and dirty in summer. It is shame for capital to have something like that in center. I think the same about T-centralen.
21:17 December 16, 2011 by The Nine
Benny says that he has not met a single person who is in favour of the proposed redevelopment of Slussen. However, it seems that in true Swedish style, non of those opposed to it are actually prepared to stand up and be counted, or make any kind of public response to this. (don't want to make any fuss, and just accept the states wishes)

I note the comment about Benny Andersen being akin to Prince Charles and his hatred of modernization. I think that is a bit unfair. I lived around Slussen for 5 years and it serves a very cultural service to Stockholm. It is about as Boho as Stockholm gets and it is a creative hub for that city. Maybe it might benefit from a face lift but not a redesign.

Every good record store, venue, bar, vintage instrument store, is centered around there, and it is a focal point for creative minds. if it is turned into a motorway, Sweden will lose that to the world, and lose the hub of the wheel and the creative nursery that has made waves across the globe.

Camden Town in London is the same. It is falling down in parts, but creatives gravitate there from all over the world, and to change it too much would stop the talent and aspirational minds wanting to be there. Benny Andersen is not being an old fart like Prince Charles. He is considering the legacy, the legend and the vibe that Slussen has created over the years. he is not thinking about architecture.
21:18 December 16, 2011 by Opinionfool
@Vitas. I have been there many times but I try to avoid it these days as you say cold in winter, dirty in summer, and unsafe all the year. I drive over it now. Old film, say of the day Sweden changed the side of road it drove on, shows it at its best but that was long long ago.
23:05 December 16, 2011 by Vitas
Yes. I know there is old film with Slussen. But when my relatieves come to me in Sweden I really dont know what to show them in Stockholm. Really I am russian. And I can compare Moscow with Stockholm. And what I see? Dirty Slussen. For 10 years renoverad T-centralen. Sergels torg maybe? I have been in a lot of small citiec in Sweden. So Stockholm is ugliest. In t-centralen I think I am in country of third world.
14:09 December 17, 2011 by sheilerama
I'm an American who was just noticing that there must be a Canadian in the house... of the Local. Americans never use the term 'what's on' whereas Canadians, especially those in Toronto do with some frequency. While you all in Yurp might not distinguish between the two countries, and, hey it's ok, there are such beings as monarchs on the Canadian currency. In the US, it's just formerly elected but currently dead white guys on our currency. Plus a little difference in approaches to war mongering, to name another example.
14:48 December 17, 2011 by cogito
by Greekfan

"The trouble for me... is Sweden's news in American....Words are often used differently and spelt differently," #6

Seriously? You have difficulty if the word is spelt theatER rather than theatRe?

Or is this an example of Brit. humor...or, humOUR, if you prefer.

@sheilerama (#14) The Yurps are often geographically challenged.

But, shhhh, don't tell tell them.
15:08 December 17, 2011 by visitorfromnowhere
Where is the freeway that he is referring to? Is it the easternmost pair of bridges?

Is that going to increase traffic?

I can't tell whether it is better or worse. What is the big problem with the new plan? What will be lost?

Thanks
16:29 December 17, 2011 by glamelixir
HE IS GREAT! Hahah Love it.

Btw, it is going to take, officially, 8 EIGHT years to be built. Can anyone imagine the traffic nightmare and the amount of money they will spend? Considering how slow construction workers build in Sweden with their neverending fika pauses it will probably turn into 10.

I am with you Benny. They can fix the pee smell and all the things people complain about with less money, time and inconvenience.
18:24 December 17, 2011 by BillyB
Talk about throwing your rattle out of the pram

What a childish brat.
21:30 December 17, 2011 by Greekfan
Ah ha. I am being got at. Now I know I've joined the club. Ho ho and a Merry Christmas to you all.

Are there many people who think that nothing should be done to Slussen? It is simply the scale of the proposed changes that is the problem. It looks like someone's get rich quick sceme to me. I think something much simpler is needed. Something needs doing to it; it is hardly very salubrious as it is. I do agree with "The Nine" that it should keep its creative cultural air. Every major city needs districts like that.
01:55 December 18, 2011 by maxbrando
Why is everyone so down on this man? Stockholm, and all Sweden, gets a great deal of publicity by using his name, photo and reputation for nothing! Would Steven Jobs have done the same?? Not on your life. That cheap b...... screwed everyone he could.
03:36 December 18, 2011 by visitorfromnowhere
Can somebody please explain what exactly the problem is with the new design?

I looked at some of the pictures and it seems that there are two different plans, one with curved buildings and the other with square buildings.

Where is this freeway about which he is upset?
07:35 December 18, 2011 by dukesy
Unfortunately,it would appear that Benny is having to learn the hard way,that polotics can be a dirty game.

I know from experience in the UK, most times these sort of planning debates are agreed long before any debate in council goes ahead,but for my safety`s sake i wont name specifics.

But please Benny,dont tarnish Abba`s reputation by getting involved in this sort of business. I havent seen the plans,being a Brit, but i can sympathise with Benny and probably alot of his fellow Stockholmers,when he says that various councillors,(dont know what you call them in Sweden) wont listen to their constituants,and are determined to press ahead,regardless......id be rich if I had a pound for everytime thats happened over here in UK,

As for Benny being called a Luddite, well at least the guy opened his mouth and tried to object, I assume he must have seen the plans,and as for a comment that hes probably never been there, since he is born and bred in Stockholm,that comment was a bit daft.

I respect any man or woman who has the bottle to argue with city hall,after all look at some of the rubbish my own council spend tax payers money on.

One last comment, so Benny cant accept a majority dicission......who was the majority,and if `the discission is so right for Stockholm`, then why not hold a further debate and maybe improve on whats proposed. if its so right and good,then further discussion wont harm it.......will it. Or is someone affraid of something else.........think about it.
09:38 December 18, 2011 by Attestupa
From my viewpoint, Slussen is dreadful. It ruins Stockholm, which is the most beautiful capital in the Nordic countries. It must be redeveloped somehow. Having said that I feel that Segeltorget is really naff. That should be rebuilt too.
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