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Daft stereo types

James Cary


I happen to be good at wrapping presents. Give me some scissors and sellotape and I can wrap anything. And it'll look good. Seriously. And yet, I'm personally not fussed about wrapped presents. As an uncomplicated middle-aged man (very much the Michael McIntyre stereotype), a present is a present. My wife likes a bow and nice paper - a bow that is quickly untied and expensive paper that is quickly torn and destroyed. Such a waste. Surely the point of wrapping paper is to conceal the present until the very last minute? Look! A present! Exciting. Ooh, I wonder what it could be? How could I know? It's been wrapped up. Unwrap it and ta-daaaa!! Oh, how lovely. A plastic bag will do this perfectly well at almost zero cost. But somehow, birthday presents for my wife require something more than the plastic bag from the shop the present was bought in.

If stand-up comedy has taught us anything over the years, it is this: men and women are different. (As are cats and dogs in very amusing ways). This kind of comedy material can be tiresome - but why? Is it because the differences  between the sexes are so obvious that they are no longer funny? Or is it because the differences are not as great as we might think? As a society, we like to think that men and women should be completely interchangeable, even though the sexes are very much not the same. I have noticed that girls tend not to make very good gun and battle noises. But there are larger more objective differences: Men don't have wombs (see Life of Brian) and are ten times more likely to go to prison. Women have wombs and are at least three times less likely to commit suicide or be diagnosed with autism. These are glaring differences. The fact that women tend to like flowers, romantic comedies and nicely wrapped presents is no big deal. But it's still a deal.

The gender difference reared its head for me the other day and ruined something. More specifically, it ruined my enjoyment of one of the catchiest songs we've all heard in a long time. At first, I was grateful. I needed a new earworm. My previous one had been, rather surprisingly, 'Gay Bar' by Electric Six - a Ramones-like two minute explosion of guitar. But along came Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky'.

What an extraordinary track. It sounds like how an Apple product looks. Contemporary and classic. Fresh, yet carefully chiselled. New but familiar. It reminds you of a previous Daft Punk hit, 'Voyager'. You know the one. It was endlessly used on the endless number of endless Channel 4 Top 50 countdown shows. And 'Get Lucky' sounds equally endless, like it could play forever. Some have already made hour-long looped versions of the song and put them on YouTube. At time of writing, one of these hour-long loops had 350k hits.

But after several hundred listens, you start to wonder what the song is about. Here it's slightly baffling. Some of the song reflects the cyclical melody, with words about the 'legend of the phoenix all ends with beginnings'. Then a few lines about identity: 'We've come too far to give up who we are'. This chimes with the official video in which the two Daft Punks, robotic Stig-like men, have an identity crisis and kill themselves by blowing themselves up with bombs and fire. Interesting.

And then the creepy part, containing the song title: 'She's up all night to the sun. I'm up all night to get some. She's up all night for good fun. I'm up all night to get lucky'. So what's the plan? Well, I'm a man and she's a woman so we want slightly different things out of this evening. She predominantly wants to party until daybreak rather than have sex. But I'd like some. So I'm staying the distance because if I hang around long enough, she might get weary. And then I'll 'get lucky' with a partied-out over-tired woman. Nice plan. Doesn't sound like either party are enjoying good fortune here, the lady especially.

Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky' is like a Class A drug. Alluring, exhilarating, glamorous and highly addictive - because it's ultimately unsatisfying, as well as pretty tawdry. It's like a turd in a beautifully gift-wrapped box. But I thought I wasn't into wrapping, being an uncomplicated middle-aged man. In this song's case, however, I'm all about the wrapping. So much for gender stereotypes.