Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why is it Frenchy BUT Chic?

Hello my devoted readership,

Over the past few weeks I've been doing my official coming out as FBC! at a couple of openings (not too many, I'm still in social reclusion) and a recurring question has been: why is it called Frenchy BUT chic? It should be "Frenchy AND Chic!"
So once and for all, beloved readers, cherished fans of mine, here's the explanation.

Way back when this little Frenchy was living in a boring, sleepy town of Northwest France, before Internet ever existed in the collective consciousness, the only escapism available to bored teenagers there was through independent/underground music.
Alas, in the early 1980s French music was, to say the least, hum, something not to be overtly proud of. So like everyone else I was mostly listening to Brit imports (US stuff didn't really reached our shores) and reading lots of music magazines.
The lack of quality French music was universally deplored in their Gallic pages - along with the sad quality of the French national football team, why French movies were not more popular, and why French art doesn't export that well abroad.
You see, dear readers, French people usually have a problem with, simply put, being French.

To remedy this sorry state of affairs there was a recurrent feature in one of these magazines, aptly titled "Frenchy but chic", where were listed the upcoming records, tours and other apparitions of independent French bands such as La Souris Deglinguee, Marquis de Sade, Telephone, Starshooter, Stinky Toys, Kas Produkt, Taxi Girl and many more.
The column title itself was lifted from the New Rose-produced eponymous Frenchy But Chic album, I think (pictured above).
Anyway, all of this obviously happened before Sofia Coppola dated French musicians and before JUSTICE or Air played the Hollywood Bowl, and I was going to forget Daft Punk too. And Vanity Fair featuring Serge Gainsbourg in its latest issues.

Anyway, when looking for a name for this blog I thought it would be an apt one, what with all the French-bashing that is still recurrent in the US mainstream media. And the art media too, since French art is usually derided in there.
[In passing, I remember Rosalind Krauss in one of these boring October roundtable being all worked-up because she felt French museums mostly displayed French contemporary art. Just in case, you know, US museums were not mostly showing US art themselves, right?]

So here you are, the story of Frenchy But Chic! in a nutshell.

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