So Frenchy So Chic

Victor Kline

A sunny Saturday afternoon provides the perfect backdrop for French crepes, champagne and chanteurs.
So Frenchy So Chic

So Frenchy So Chic, but also so Sydney! A hot summer afternoon and evening, a lot of very tasty food, a range of champagnes and beers, good music, plenty of grass and space, plenty of children, courting couples and families. Good humour, good times.

Back in the middle of the last century we took other cultures and their events and tried to eliminate them, force them into an Australia mould they could never fit. Wog food, strange wine, wine in fact of any description, foreign melodies, foreign dancing. Stop it we said!

By the Seventies and Eighties, we had swung right round to cringing at our own inadequacies in the face of foreign delights. How could we compete with the cuisine and the elegance of the French? What did we have to do to mould ourselves to fit their norms?

Now at last, much like the Americans managed to do one hundred years ago, we delight in the foreign touch and merge it effortlessly into our style of life. So Frenchy So Chic is just such an example. Peerless french sausage and crepes, French champagne, and a few French people saying 'Merci Madame' or 'C'est pour vous monsieur'.

But this is a Sydney event, just like the Taste of Sydney, or the Taste of a dozen others. Relaxed and sunny, we dance to the music of some great bands, we drink a 'modest' amount, we tie floral bouquets in our hair and we Sydney-a-fie.

As the lead singer of the headline act, Babylon Circus, says at the beginning of their set: 'It's time for la musique et le bruit.' (It's time for the music and the noise). Well, the music is great and the noise isn't too bad because we are surrounded by the grounds of the beautiful St John's College at the University of Sydney.

The music is good throughout the afternoon, but for me Babylon Circus is the pick. Reminiscent of The Cat Empire, they are vibrant and engaging and the perfect performance for the occasion. They are kind enough to keep going long after their scheduled time and the audience is very pleased they do.

The event costs $86 (free for children), but for eight hours and several bands, you will have to say that is good value.

So Frenchy So Chic
With Lilly Wood & the Prick, Féfé and Babylon Circus

St John's College, University of Sydney
Sydney Festival
www.sydneyfestival.org.au
18 January
What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Victor Kline started his working life as Sydney's youngest barrister. He is now Editor of the Federal Court Reports, and an award winning playwright, director and actor who has worked extensively in theatre in Sydney and off Broadway in New York. He is also author of the novel Rough Justice and the bestselling memoir The House at Anzac Parade. His new novel The Story of the Good American is publishing shortly.