I turned the corner, saw the building and took a few pictures. When I walked up to the door to take a picture of the plaque, I realized that the front of the studio was actually mirrored glass. Those on the outside could not see in...BUT I SAW SHAPES MOVING INSIDE. You see, if you push your nose into mirrored glass you can actually see through it. Well...after wiping the drool off my lower lip, I put my nose to the glass and watched these people. At this point, a woman came to the front door, opened it and asked me a question in Swedish. "I'm sorry," I said. "I don't speak Swedish."
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"Oh, not really." I stammered. "I'm an ABBA fan from the United States. I have a web page on the Internet devoted to them. I just wanted to stop by, take a picture of your door jamb and walk where I know they have walked. But thanks for asking."
I turned to walk away when she said, "Would you like to come in and have a look around?" Let me see if Agnetha is around."
She closed the door and left me, once again, with spittle pouring out of my mouth. "Did she say Agnetha?" I thought. "Oh dear, I am getting a tour of Polar Studios from Agnetha. I am going to die, right here. Right now."
She came back to the door and said, "Please come in. Annika has a few moments." OK, so I had misunderstood her accent. But Annika was good. I could deal with a tour of Polar Studios by Annika. So I learned to use my legs again and followed her to the reception desk and was introduced to Annika.
The first thing Annika showed me was a big wooden piano-looking, glockenspheel kind of thing (picture below). She said this was an instrument that Benny and Bjorn had invented that they had used on some of their records. That's when I asked the inevitable question, "Are they here today?"
"No," she said, "they aren't recording today. But we can look in the studio. Thomas Ledin is in there." Annika knew she didn't have to explain that Ledin had recorded some duets with Agnetha in the eighties. Today he was solo. Darn it.
After leaving the studio, someone walked by us and they were wearing a Polar Studios t-shirt. I said to Annika, who at this point had become my best friend in the world, "I must have one of those shirts. I have 1000 kroner on me right now. It's yours."
"Oh, Michael. Don't be absurd. What size are you?"
"As big as they come."
She walked around her desk, handed me a t-shirt and said, "Think of it as a gift from Benny and Bjorn." So I flew out of Polar Studios on gossamer wings and decided, even though it was 4:30 pm on the Friday before Easter, to take a bus to Mono Music. Who knows, maybe I would meet Gorel Hanser?
The bus trip took about an hour, from one end of Stockholm to the other. I got to the Mono Music building (picture below) at about 4:55 pm and saw this woman walking from a car back to the front door of the building. I followed her inside the building and introduced myself.
She said, "Well, it's nice to meet you Michael. I am Gorel but I am running to get to the airport so I have no time to speak to you now."
"I didn't even expect to meet you," I said. "But here is my card. It has my web page address. Check it out if you have the time. And tell Benny and Bjorn about it too. Thank you so much."
She left. I left. But to this day I never got an email from Gorel. Gorel, are you out there?
Forward to In Search Of ABBA Part 4: Move On