9th September 1999

Bangalter, 38, is tall, slightly rumpled, bearded, hair thinning, handsome in a cinema-studies-professor kind of way—he’s funny, good with eye contact, palpably eager to make himself understood. Today he’s wearing fashionable motorcycle boots, black jeans, an unstructured suit jacket, and a big drapey scarf, perfectly tied, framing a neat Daft Punk pyramid of bare chest. De Homem-Christo is one year older, and a lot shorter. He has long stringy metal-guy hair and weary pale eyes, and his black boots have gold spurs. Everyone calls him Guy-Man.

Bangalter talks a lot—about art, and technology, and blockbuster movies like Star Wars, which he loves. De Homem-Christo barely talks at all, which is disconcerting at first and then sort of fascinating…

They met in the eighth grade in Paris, and for years would do anything but play music together. They’d go to movies, museums, the library, argue about Warhol and Kubrick and Kraftwerk.

All the soldiers looked exactly alike except one. He looked a little different as he had been cast last of all. The tin was short, so he had only one leg. But there he stood, as steady on one leg as any of the other soldiers on their two. But just you see, he’ll be the remarkable one.

On the table with the soldiers were many other playthings, and one that no eye could miss was a marvelous castle of cardboard. It had little windows through which you could look right inside it. And in front of the castle were miniature trees around a little mirror supposed to represent a lake. The wax swans that swam on its surface were reflected in the mirror. All this was very pretty but prettiest of all was the little lady who stood in the open doorway of the castle. Though she was a paper doll, she wore a dress of the fluffiest gauze. A tiny blue ribbon went over her shoulder for a scarf, and in the middle of it shone a spangle that was as big as her face. The little lady held out both her arms, as a ballet dancer does, and one leg was lifted so high behind her that the tin soldier couldn’t see it at all, and he supposed she must have only one leg, as he did.

He saw the same children, the same toys were on the table, and there was the same fine castle with the pretty little dancer. She still balanced on one leg, with the other raised high. She too was steadfast. That touched the soldier so deeply that he would have cried tin tears, only soldiers never cry. He looked at her, and she looked at him, and never a word was said.