Hot 100 2012: 29-20
Chvrches, Cora Bissett and Grant Morrison among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012
The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.
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We used to see lots of Lauren Mayberry around The List – by the kettle, in editorial meetings as LGBT/Around Town editor. Now, a victim of her band’s synth-pop runaway success, a chat involves two weeks of chasing, a publicist, a PIN, a conference call and a ten-minute window.
Let’s be crystal clear: we wouldn’t want it any other way. Watching the band she fronts firework skywards has been a hype-fuelled, hit-making joy to witness.
‘Surreal and slightly alarming is how this year’s felt,’ she says on her mobile, having a day off on Brighton Beach.
For those who’ve missed it, trio Chvrches (singer Mayberry, plus ex-Twilight Sad’s Martin Doherty, and former Aereogrammer, Iain Cook) created a buzz after glorious power-beat-loaded single ‘Lies’ appeared on the blog Neon Gold. Soon, A&R guys were tripping over themselves to make their debut gig at the Glasgow Art School. Next single, ‘The Mother We Share’, sealed the deal, and dance-making, slick live shows confirmed their chops. ‘We’re trying to keep our heads screwed on,’ says Mayberry, a relative rookie who confesses she accidentally threw away her artist pass on a recent UK support tour for Passion Pit. And forgot socks. ‘I’m on a learning curve,’ she cringes. ‘Obviously hype means nothing if there’s no substance behind it,’ says Doherty, who’s doing a rural retreat for two weeks with the band to work on a first album, due next year. But the flash-in-the-pan finger is hard to point with synth-pop this good. ‘I guess we weren’t listening to much Scottish music when we started writing,’ adds Doherty. ‘It was mostly Vince Clarke, Robyn, Kate Bush, 90s R&B. Maybe that’s helped us sound different?’
Ignoring the hype helps too, admits Doherty. ‘Too much positive stuff gives you a big head; negative stuff is depressing. Either way you don’t get much music made!’ (CS / Photo: John Speirs)
28 Kevin Harman
Best in show
Harman may only recently have graduated from Edinburgh College of Art but he’s already making a splash at home and abroad. His outdoor pop-up work for this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival, ‘24/7’, explored 24-hour consumer culture and he topped off the year in style with a new sculpture and prints at the Ingleby Gallery. (AR)
Publishing young turk
The innovative Cargo stepped right up to the plate this year with some impressive literary action including joining forces with the Edinburgh International Book Festival and McSweeney’s to produce Elsewhere. And the guy who runs them is the sixth most eligible man in Scotland. Fact. (BD)
Making no mistakes
Knocked by the departure of guitarist Greg Paterson after the career-defining (so far) Have Some Faith in Magic earlier this year, the Rock Action-signed Errors have manned-up to life as a trio admirably. They toured and also released a well-received mini-album, New Relics, demonstrating a more electronic sensibility than before. (DP)
25 Cora Bissett
The award-winning actor, musician and director was the creative driving force behind two ambitious multi-disciplinary projects in 2012. Whatever Gets You Through the Night combined music, spoken word and film to give a theatrical tour of pre-dawn Scotland while Glasgow Girls was a musical tribute to the Drumchapel teenagers who stood up to the UK immigration authorities. (AR / Photo: Stephanie Gibson)
24 Steven Moffat
Mythbusting TV guy
The Paisley-born TV man did his best to upturn some applecarts by sneakily introducing a new companion into Doctor Who a few months early, as well as having Benedict Cumberbatch fling himself off a hospital roof in the stirring and moving Sherlock season two finale. (BD / Photo: BBC)
23 Kieran Hurley
And the beat goes on
Glasgow-based theatre-maker Hurley confirmed the promise of his first major work, Hitch, with Beats, a blistering, music-enhanced exploration of 90s illegal rave culture, which won him the CATS award for Best New Play. Proving the gong was no fluke he went on to portray last year’s riots in England in powerful new work Chalk Farm. (AR / Photo: Niall Walker)
22 The Arches
The multi-arts venue turns 21
The Arches hosted a hot bed of creative theatre talent such as Beats (see no 23) and Arches Live!, but was also home to the terrifying resurrection of Alien Wars and host to a selection of top gigs (from Damon Albarn’s Africa Express to M83) and club nights (including Death Disco’s final swansong starring Jacques Lu Cont). (HN)
21 Grant Morrison
Otherworldly comics guru
Still peppering the world of mainstream comics with surreal metaphysics, Morrison wrote more Action Comics and penned the Dinosaurs And Aliens graphic novel, going on to pick up an MBE for ‘services to film and literature’. He’s also the only person on our list to have his own convention, MorrisonCon, in Vegas. (HN)
20 Katrina Brown
State of the art curator
Brown signed off as director of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art with the bi-annual event’s finest programme to date, including new work from Karla Black, a celebration of Black Panther Culture Minister Emory Douglas and Jeremy Deller’s marvellous interactive inflatable Stonehenge sculpture, Sacrilege. (AR)