President Trump's state visit to Paris on Bastille Day was greeted by the military band playing a medley of Daft Punk tracks. Trump adopted exactly the facial expression you'd expect of a 71-year old politician attending a public event and encountering unfamiliar music, whereas President Macron felt free to crack a smile.1 2
I really hope this doesn't give anyone any bright ideas for whenever Trump's state visit to the UK finally happens. Even if they manage to have the Queen accompanied to the event by one of the younger members of the royal family, so as to spare us the spectacle of Prince Charles looking grumpy if the medley somehow fails to feature anything from the Three Degrees, I'm dreading what sort of musical choices the UK government might make, and what sort of music Tory spin doctors might think it appropriate to include3 that the MayBot might conceivably react positively to.
Whether that was a tactical move for the cameras or a genuine reaction of a 39-year old to hearing a familiar track, it's impossible to say. The impression I have of Macron is that he's been concerned to establish himself as a bit more highbrow than Daft Punk, but what do I know?4 ↩
Personally, I was a bit disappointed at the choice of a medley of Daft Punk tracks: for my money the single most awe-inspiring music they've ever done is Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger and I'd have just as soon heard that in full. I don't know if it would be as striking when played by a brass band, but for my money it was the standout track the first time I heard Discovery and it still is to this day. ↩
There again, last time we had a government whose leaders professed to be in tune with popular musical taste, we got New Labour. Perhaps it's best that everyone leave the MayBot to be true to her actual musical tastes, with the most up-to-date musical track on her Desert Island Discs being ABBA's Dancing Queen. That's a perfectly legitimate point at which a notably staid career politician who is now approaching the tail end of her fifties might have disengaged from following popular music. ↩
I suspect that if I spoke French I could find all sorts of French newspaper articles on that topic on the web, but over here in the Anglophone media world the focus seems to have mostly been on how Trump reacted. ↩