Ah, Hogmanay. ‘Tis the season for anyone with a dodgy beard and/or a crappy ’70s hairstyle to pretend they’re in Abba. And that, as they say, is just the girls.
Yes, it’s the time of year when hundreds of clearly inebriated people pay good (a.k.a. scarce) money to sit in the function room of a soulless country or suburban hotel, consuming a sub-carvery 3-course meal and a bottle of vinegary plonk, in readiness for the night’s star turn: four eejits in white, shiny outfits attempting to convince you they are Sweden’s finest export before flatpack furniture and Dime bars. Everywhere you look, these patently talentless buffoons are trying to raise the spirit of Bjorn, Benny, Frida and Sexy Bottom, without the remotest shred of self-respect, knowing full well that their audience: A) have paid upfront and B) will be too arseholed to realise the band don’t look or sound anything like Abba.
This is where I take serious issue with the word “tribute”. Are the living bands at all happy with these (largely dreadful) impersonators? Are the dead revolving and revolting in their graves? There are thousands of these so-called “tribute” acts everywhere, impersonating everyone from U2 to Jeff Buckley (now there’s a Happy New Year party), all of whom must have benefitted fully from the sheer stupidity and gruesome opulence of the economic boom; surely to God these nixers (at least, it’s to be hoped they aren’t lucrative enough to be full-time jobs) are about to bite the stoor as people dig out their piggy banks for the first time in over a decade. Who, in 2009, is going to cheerfully pay to hear the words: “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to completely lose any semblance of my own personality and pretend to be Benny”? And more like Benny out of Crossroads, apparently.
Anyway, next year, as everyone will be reading instead of going out, I’m going to write cheap “tribute” versions of great novels, starting with Wuthering Heights-esque and quickly followed up by Dracul-ish. That should pack out Easons with punters desperate to avoid the real thing.
Happy New Year to you all, whoever you are – or think you are.