The Hot 100 2009

  • The List
  • 18 December 2009
The Hot 100 2009

Compiled by List staff through a painstaking process of review and debate, the Hot 100 is the comprehensive list of Scottish creative talent, covering both individuals and organisations who’ve made a standout contribution to culture in 2009. This year’s list favours the new faces who’ve made an impact, supporting courage and creativity above all else. Comment online at or write to

100 Susan Boyle

Cultural phenomenon
Scoff, as you might well do, at the corrosive effect of reality TV on our nation’s cultural fabric, but there’s no overlooking the perverse appeal of SuBo. She’s either the first true representative of the media age’s democracy of choice, or just temporary tabloid fodder. We suspect the latter, but appreciate too that her ascent to the ridiculous heights of her current fame couldn’t have been achieved without some vocal talent. (JE)

99 Canongate

Publishing Giant
Canongate bagged many column inches with their UK re-releases of David Simon’s Homicide and The Corner, but it was the pioneering September release of Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro in print, ebook, audiobook, and iPhone formats which forced the Edinburgh publishers to the frontline of digital publishing. (DP)

98 Brewdog

Fraserburgh’s firebrand brewers
James Watt and Martin Dickie have continued to rip up the rule book of beer making and marketing with provocative new releases (including Tactical Nuclear Penguin, the world’s strongest ever beer at 32% alcohol), surging sales and big expansion plans. (DR)

97 Alex Reedijk

Scottish Opera’s General Director
The quietly unassuming Alex Reedijk is on a run of success. Collaboration with his homeland’s New Zealand Opera for recent hit The Italian Girl in Algiers is set to be followed by two more full productions and another round of the 5:15 short opera commissions project. (CM)

96 DF Concerts

Concert Promoters
It was another strong year from DF. In other words, huge Hampden concerts from artists like Take That, AC/DC and Coldplay, the second year of the rebranded Edge Festival in Edinburgh in August and yet more record-breaking sales for their flagship event, T in the Park. (DP)

95 Peter Irvine

Hogmanay hero and authority on Scotland
Pete Irvine’s Unique Events company has prepared a great line-up for their 2009/2010 Hogmanay schedule, with five days of celebratory events stretching over the decade divide. We’ve also just been treated to the latest version of Scotland the Best, Irvine’s personally-researched and indispensable guide to this noble country. (JE)

94 Ian Rankin

The Don of Crime Writing
Another Rebus-less year for the bestselling Edinburgh-based crime author, but he managed to keep busy. As well as numerous media appearances, he introduced a new cop protagonist, Malcolm Fox, in September’s The Complaints and has created a new story for Hellblazer character John Constantine in debut graphic novel Dark Entries. (DP)

93 Irene Macdougall

Hotshot actress
One of the original members of Dundee Rep’s acting ensemble and a founder member of Stellar Quines, Irene Macdougall enjoyed a triumphant 2009, winning the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland’s Best Actress gong for her commanding performance as Martha in the Rep’s production of Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. (AR)

92 Susan Calman

Funny lady
This very magazine once dubbed lawyer-turned-stand-up Calman as ‘a wee lassie with a big future’. And ‘09 may well prove to be the moment she broke through. A successful Fringe show based on a heckler who said he wouldn’t bed her even in the event of her being ‘the last woman on earth’ has been complemented with many an appearance on Radio Scotland. (BD)

91 Adam Stafford

Genre-spanning creative talent
Extreme multitasking from the Y’all Is Fantasy Island frontman in 2009 as he released a solo album of experimental composition, Awnings, directed music videos for Twilight Sad and screened his own breathtaking short film, The Shutdown, which played to huge acclaim internationally and won both the jury and audience prizes at the Jim Poole Scottish Short Film Awards. (KI)

90 Regular Music

Gig promoters
One of Scotland’s biggest gig promoters all year round, Regular’s name has become synonymous with the annual series of summer concerts at Edinburgh Castle. July ‘09 saw Duran Duran, Simple Minds and Crosby, Stills and Nash grace the Esplanade, while Rod Stewart has already sold out the first of two dates in 2010. (DP)

89 NEoN

Digital festival
Dundee’s inaugural digital arts festival was a big hit in November this year. As well as a forum for digital talent to get together with their peers, the event offered a chance to hear from the likes of Bud Luckey (Pixar) and catch the amazing Video Games Live orchestra meets gaming experience. (HN)

88 Tommy Reilly

Indie kid
He won T4’s Orange unsignedAct (basically the X-Factor with indie and a whole lot more talent) with his heartfelt indie musings and his first single ‘Gimme A Call’ went to number 14 in the charts. Since then he’s played loads of gigs including T in the Park, Homecoming Live: The Final Fling and Lovebox. (HN)

87 Richard Jobson

In 2009 Jobson made further adventures into exploitation cinema with arguably his most entertaining — and certainly most relevant — film to date, New Town Killers (a tale of murderous bankers hunting down their impoverished parkour-skilled prey) starring Dougray Scott giving his best performance in years. (PD)

86 David Tennant

Time-travelling Overlord
There were film appearances in St Trinian’s II and Glorious 39, and of course David Tennant remains The Doctor. But Christmas two-parter ‘The End of Time’ will be his last appearance in Doctor Who before Matt Smith takes over next year. (DP)

85 Camera Obscura

Successful indie Imps
The Glasgow indie icons’ excellent fourth album My Maudlin Career saw the light of day in April. This also coincided with their signing to the highly respected indie label 4AD, deservedly placing them on a roster which includes Bon Iver, The Breeders and TV on the Radio. (DP)

84 Julie Fowlis

Hebridean singer-songwriter
Famously beloved of celebrity fans Björk, Ricky Gervais and Phil Selway of Radiohead, Julie Fowlis continued to champion Gaelic song with her third album Uam, which featured high-profile contributions from Eddi Reader and Phil Cunningham. (DP)

83 Bebaroque

Fancy tights
The most desirable fash-pack accessories this year were a pair of Bebaroque tights. Designed by two Scottish art-school graduates and emblazoned with sailor tattoos or Chinese dragons, these superb stockings featured in Vogues across the world. (KI)

82 Vicky Featherstone

National Theatre supremo
The NTS continues to go thrive under Vicky Featherstone’s artistic directorship, with the UK tour of Ian McDiarmid’s adaptation of the Andrew O’Hagan’s Be Near Me, a Highlands and Islands tour of Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off and the Allotment site specific collaboration with community groups based in Govan being particular highlights in 2009. Next up Featherstone will sit on the judging panel for the Tron’s Open Stage playwriting competition. (AR)

81 Elph

Illustrator extraordinaire
It’s been another dead good year for everyone’s favourite graffiti artist (in Scotland anyway). He took on Rabbie Burns with his Lest Bogles catch Him Unawares solo show at Edinburgh’s Henderson Gallery in May, and has been busy with community projects, drawing and design work too. Where does he find the time? (CS)

80 Roy Brett

Sustainable Seafood Supremo
With the September opening of his own restaurant, Ondine, in Edinburgh’s Old Town, this local chef, who ran Rick Stein’s restaurants in Padstow and was chef-director at Dakota Hotels, has created a compelling showcase for Scottish and sustainable seafood. (DR)

79 Sam Paterson

Campaigner for Edinburgh Skatepark
Plans to put an outdoor skatepark in Edinburgh finally got the green light, thanks to this fella. Having campaigned for ten years for a skate facility, Paterson got his way last December, when the council approved construction of Saughton Skatepark, opening in spring 2010. We raise a scuffed skater’s hand to salute you, Sam. (CS)

78 Glasgow Podcart

Lo-fi Podcasters
This excellent, intelligent and witty weekly podcast champions new Scottish music and art. It’s run by a group of passionate volunteers who only started this year, but it’s already so popular that they’re putting on their own gigs and bringing in guests like Stuart Braithwaite. (KI)

77 Franz Ferdinand

Well-dressed Indie-poppers
Their third album, Tonight, came out in January, following months of gossip about FF’s ‘new direction’. Slick, glossy pop? (They’d collaborated with Girls Aloud producer Brian Higgins.) A ‘world music’, drum-thumping extravaganza? Actually, it was a very danceable, hedonistic disco surprise. Thumbs up to those art-school dandies. (CS)

76 Graham Fagen

Visual artist
Stirling’s Changing Room Gallery christened its new premises with an exhibition of new and existing portraits by highly regarded Glasgow artist Fagen. The artist also collaborated with Adrian Sherwood and Ghetto Priest for ‘I Murder Hate’, which re-interpreted the words of Robert Burns through roots and dub reggae music. (AR)

75 PCL

Glasgow music promoter
PCL continue to put on eclectic shows of all sizes, but it’s their share in the Captain’s Rest and Sneaky Pete’s — two of The List’s favourite small venues in Glasgow and Edinburgh, respectively — which wins them the most praise. (DP)

74 James Kelman

Literary heavyweight
Despite winning all the major Scottish literary prizes for Kieron Smith, Boy, the great man still found time to stir up trouble: his EIBF comments about the Scottish media’s over-interest in genre fiction caused waves internationally. Long may he continue to do so. (KI)

73 Wasabi Disco

New night in the ‘burgh

Kris Wasabi, the man behind Edinburgh’s best new club night, Wasabi Disco (monthly, at Sneaky Pete’s), talks us through his tracks of 2009

From day one the idea [behind Wasabi Disco] was to provide a place where friends and like-minded people could listen to good music I believe wasn’t getting enough exposure in Edinburgh. The first night was a success and since then the word and reputation has spread resulting in a diverse crowd of ‘up-for-it’ nutters: a crowd that are into hearing stuff like ‘Overpowered by Funk’ by The Clash next to Optimo (Espacio)’s remix of ‘Buzz In’ by Japanese noisniks Boris. Other great tracks that have rocked Wasabi this year are ‘15-20’ by Phenomenal Hand Clap Band, ‘Raygun’ by Mark E, ‘Piece of Mind’ by Linkwood, Ron Hardy’s edit of ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ by First Choice and, well, you can’t beat a bit of ‘Dominator’ by Human Resource to bring the madness.

A memory that will stay with me, is when a girl stopped me and said, ‘You made me dance!’ I looked at her confused and she repeated, ‘You made me dance!’ She then explained she was recovering from a broken back and really wasn’t meant to be dancing because it was painful but she was enjoying the music so much she didn’t care! ‘You made a cripple dance!’ Oddly enough next month two guys turned up on crutches.
I’m still waiting for someone to notice the brief porn clips I stitched into the visuals. Three months in and not a sausage – literally!

72 Robin Ticciati

Hotshot conductor
The 26-year-old is the SCO’s new principal conductor, an appointment made after an immediate synergy between him and the orchestra emerged from a tour of the Highlands in June. His first season brings a balance of old and new music, very much showing his own stamp. (CM)

71 Daniel Sloss

Up-and-coming comic
After an acclaimed sell-out debut run at the Fringe, the Fife comic became the first stand-up to perform on Paul O’Grady’s Channel 4 show and is now appearing in Aladdin as Wishee Washee opposite Brian Blessed, Ruby Wax and, get this, Pamela Anderson. Has this teenager’s ultimate fantasy just come true? (BD)

70 DIY Festival

Taking the power back
For one week in September, Glasgow’s underground spirit was celebrated with a series of non-corporate gigs, talks, art exhibitions and club events around the city, from anyone who had the time or inclination to get involved. Hopefully the business model proves recession-proof and it makes a return appearance in 2010. (DP)

69 LuckyMe

Forward-thinking record label
The Glasgow-based record label, design collective and early home of Warp signees Hudson Mohawke and Rustie marches on, with 12” releases from Nadsroic and Mike Slott both emerging this year. The in-house club night Ballers 5ocial Club is also an established home of dubstep and eclectica in the city. (DP)

68 The Scottish Documentary Institute

Keeping it reel
Long overdue credit for stimulating documentary filmmaking in Scotland, the SDI has been inspiring, funding and distributing short and long documentaries from their base at the Edinburgh College of Art since 2004. With their unending list of masterclasses, workshops, festival screenings and their new talent initiative Bridging the Gap now entering its seventh year, the SDI remains a force to be reckoned with. (PD)

67 Gutter Magazine

Brand New Literary Mag
Edited by Colin Begg and former National Theatre of Scotland communications director Adrian Searle, this new literary magazine has a mandate to publish cutting-edge fiction from Scottish authors, rather than offer (as Searle has said) ‘some romantic shortcake image of times past’. (DP)

66 Catherine Hardy & Jacqueline Fennessy

Bar owners
The pair behind the highly successful Left Bank on Glasgow’s Gibson Street helped revitalise the bedraggled lower end of Byres Road with the summer opening of their new bar, Two Figs, which instantly became a vital part of the West End scene. (DR)

65 Visible Fictions

Intelligent kids’ theatre
Visible Fictions’ smart, well-crafted children’s shows got better and better this year. Curse of the Demeter gave us chills over Hallowe’en and now Zorro at Edinburgh’s Traverse is providing our Christmas kicks. Top marks for unpatronising family theatre. (JE)

64 Jackie Wylie

Visionary artistic director
The Arches’ artistic director really put her stamp on the venue’s output this year, programming excellent international performance work, particularly during the new Behaviour Festival, and establishing a major presence for Scottish work — including Trilogy — with the Arches’ satellite shows on the Fringe. (KI)

63 Paolo Nutini

Kicking off 2009 with performances at Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Hogmanay parties, Paisley’s Nutini went on to make inroads with the silent majority of heritage rock fans. While accepted rather than lauded critically, the second album Sunny Side Up sold in huge numbers this year. (DP)

62 Dominic Hill

Theatre supremo
Traverse artistic director Hill has expanded and developed his vision this year, launching short play initiatives, making exciting uses of the venue’s bar, staging a successful collaboration with Oran Mor’s ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’ and bringing in Visible Fictions for Christmas show Zorro. Hill also helmed two sparkling new productions, The Last Witch and The Dark Things. (AR)

61 Numbers

Club night
Cutting-edge club night that’s been spinning techno, hip hop, dubstep, house and electro for the last six years, with special guests such as Ghostface Killah and Squarepusher. This year they successfully consolidated their various labels (Wireblock, Dress 2 Sweat and Stuffrecords) into Numbers records, then issued great releases by Lazer Sword and Redinho. (HN)

60 Torsten Lauschmann

Multimedia artist
For his acclaimed solo show at Mary Mary, The Darker Ages, the Glasgow artist presented film works, wall paintings and projections exploring projected light within film and as an object in itself. Lauschmann’s work was also included in two highly regarded group exhibitions: Running Time at Edinburgh’s Dean Gallery, and Votive at the CCA in Glasgow. (AR)

59 Zoey Van Goey

Indie trio
Kim Moore, Matt Brennan and Michael John McCarthy are from England, Canada and Ireland respectively, but are now firmly entrenched in their adopted city of Glasgow’s music scene. The debut album The Cage Was Unlocked All Along appeared this year, and was quickly reissued on Chemikal Underground. (DP)

58 Kode9

King of dubstep
Steve Goodman was born in Glasgow, spent his formative years as a junglist in Edinburgh and now runs seminal London dubstep label Hyperdub. Cooly G and Joker were among the label’s artists this year, while Goodman’s biggest discovery, Burial, featured on the 5 Years of Hyperdub compilation. (DP)

57 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Multimedia arts festival with a purpose
The festival had an exceptionally strong third year, with a massive 200 music, film and art events tackling the stigma around mental health all over Scotland. They worked with the BBC and the National Theatre of Scotland, and had a particularly accessible film programme. (KI)

56 Optimo

Trailblazing club night
With a packed touring schedule around the globe, Optimo are still the ultimate taste makers in the world of Glasgow clubbing with their weekly Sunday shindig of cutting-edge eclectica. Optimo also relaunched their record label, the cannily titled Optimo Music, in January with releases from Big Ned, Den Haan and Dollskabeat. (HN)

55 HMV Picture House

Rejuvenated venue
Edinburgh’s newest venue helped reinvigorate the music scene in the capital with a busy schedule of touring acts (from Franz Ferdinand to Dizzee Rascal), linking up with the Edge Festival as well as scoring some Scottish exclusives, including The Dead Weather and Mudhoney, and not forgetting the relaunch of their club nights in September. (HN)

54 Simon Groom

Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Edinburgh’s modern art maestro has had an excellent second year in the job. He made the most of collector Anthony d’Offay’s generous gift of 725 works through the Artist Rooms series and initiated the exhaustive Running Time exhibition of Scottish video art. A 50-year anniversary exhibition has rounded out a laudable 2009. (JE)

53 Grant Smeaton

Playwright and performer
Glasgow-based Smeaton scored the runaway success of this year’s Glasgay! festival with the inspired Bette/Cavett, which re-imagined a 1971 encounter between screen legend Bette Davis (played by Smeaton) and TV interviewer Dick Cavett. Following its short run at the Tron, it is hoped that Smeaton will revive the piece next year. (AR)

52 Al Seed

Actor and director
In 2009 Al Seed, one of Scotland’s most interesting physical theatre actors and directors, took the helm at excellent Fringe show The Red Room, and became artistic director of new national street arts and physical theatre project Conflux. They’re in good hands. (KA)

51 William Chambers

Not just a hatstand
While the likes of Christopher Kane are swanning about Milan, we need equally brilliant talents like William Chambers, whose hats have been everywhere from Elle to Vogue, as well as on numerous celebrity heads, this year to keep the home fires stoked with creativity. (KI)

50 Maureen Beattie

Powerhouse performer
Maureen Beattie is currently one of the busiest — and most highly regarded — stage actors at work in the UK. Returning to Scotland in 2009 she won acclaim for her powerful performance as Mrs Alving in Ghosts and provided the beating heart of Stellar Quines’ The Girls of Slender Means at the Fringe. She returns north of the border in 2010 for a new project with the National Theatre of Scotland. (AR)

49 Washington Garcia

Contemporary art space
One of Glasgow’s most impressive contemporary art operations expanded this year, basing itself in Eastvale Place and hosting a series of exhibitions by emerging and established artists. Highlights included Use History Autonome, the first solo exhibition at Washington Garcia by sculptor Nick Evans, a former GSA student; the first Scottish exhibition by London film artist Shezad Dawood and a new body of work by Mark Briggs, winner of the Washington Garcia Residency 2009. (AR)

48 Tony Mills

Mills began 2009 by hosting The Dancin’ at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, an extravaganza that took dance to the masses. He went on to co-arrange the hip hop event of the year, Breakin’ Convention, before performing at the Edinburgh Fringe himself. Breakdance in Scotland is healthier than ever, thanks in no small part to Mills’ unflagging enthusiasm. (KA)

47 Holly Fulton

Design darling
The Young Scottish Fashion Designer of the Year 2009 has had some of her bolder pieces picked out by style deity Patricia Field for the second Sex and the City movie. Recently honoured at the British Fashion Awards, Holly Fulton is rapidly climbing the ladder. (AW)

46 Jason Donald

Promising new writer
This South African born, Glasgow-based author received glowing reviews for his debut novel, Choke Chain, published this spring. The story of two brothers growing up in a poor neighbourhood of 1980s Pretoria, under the shadow of their macho bully dad, was a moving, tender portrait of life under an intimidating regime. (CS)

45 Dundee Contemporary Arts

Multipurpose arts space
To mark its tenth anniversary Dundee’s contemporary art gallery mounted a compelling group exhibition, The Associates, which showcased the talents of 17 artists trained and nurtured at the city’s Duncan of Jordanstone College, who have now gone on to great things. Featured names included Luke Fowler, Katy Dove and Steven Cairns. (AR)

44 Park Circus

Local film distributors
In the London-centric, new-release driven world of film distribution, Glasgow based Park Circus dare to be — and succeed in being — different. Specialising in digital reissues of old film classics, this year they have brought The Godfather, The Red Shoes, From Russia With Love and This Sporting Life among many others back to a new generation of moviegoers. Park Circus were also responsible for releasing one of the best feature documentaries of the year with Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno. (PD)

43 Eleanor Thom

Award-winning novelist
This Ayr-based Londoner hit literary paydirt with her short story ‘The Mumpers’ being read on Radio 4 and a warmly welcomed novel The Tin-Kin, a fiction based on her family’s Traveller heritage. The book earned her an early Christmas present in the shape of the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year. (BD)

42 Malcolm Fraser

Accoladed architect
This year Fraser’s practice completed a versatile new base for Scottish Ballet at the Tramway in Glasgow, as well as working on commissions from a field station in Glen Nevis to a sensitive yet forward-thinking plan for the redevelopment of Stromness Pierhead. As the newly appointed Edinburgh University Geddes Professorial Fellow he is leading public and academic debates about how to integrate modern architecture and city planning with heritage concerns. (LE)

41 Max Richter

Award-winning composer and musician
Another busy year for the Edinburgh-based, Fatcat-signed composer and musician. The release of animated feature film Waltz With Bashir in January, featuring Richter’s award-winning score, was followed up with the re-release of his long out-of-print album Memoryhouse, recorded with the BBC Royal Philharmonic. The Waltz With Bashir OST album made a few end of year polls too. (HB)

40 Donna Wilson

Terrific textiles
The Scottish textile designer has had a great year, with her weird and wonderful craft-mutant Creatures being featured in all the major style bibles (as have her more regular, achingly cool and possibly even more desirable textiles and homewares), and a major exhibition/installation of Creatures and felted worlds at the Lighthouse. (KI)

39 Gerard Butler

Hollywood heavyweight
This year Butler (pictured, below) cemented his position as an A-list leading man with romcom The Ugly Truth and sci-fi actioner Gamer, while gritty revenge thriller Law Abiding Citizen is still screening at your local multiplex. He was also named as the Ambassador for Glasgow Film Office earlier this month. (HN)

38 Chris Hoy

Steely-thighed cyclist
After the enormous success of the 2008 Olympics, this year has been mixed for Hoy, with a crash in Denmark resulting in injuries which caused him to miss the World Championships in Poland. Away from the track, however, he penned his autobiography before returning to add three more gold medals to his growing collection at the British National Cycling Championships. (AC)

37 Karla Black

2009 was bookended by major solo exhibitions of work by the Glasgow-based artist. At Mary Mary in January her exhibition featured sculptures created from found household ingredients such as body moisturising cream, chalk dust, cotton wool, Sellotape, paint, eggshells and broken glass. In November, her exhibition of new sculptures at Edinburgh’s Inverleith House revealed an artist at the height of her powers. (AR)

36 David Leddy

Theatre maverick
The ever-busy Leddy kicked off 2009 with Sub Rosa, a delicious gothic Victorian melodrama promenade piece performed in the hidden nooks and crannies of the Citizens Theatre’s backstage spaces. Leddy was in equally innovative form at the Fringe, reworking his audio-theatre piece Susurrus for the Botanics, while the haunting White Tea required its audience to dress up in kimonos and drink tea before embarking on an imaginative journey from Paris to Japan. (AR)

35 The Phantom Band

New favourite band
Ask around. Checkmate Savage is on an awful lot of people’s Album of the Year lists for 2009. Possibly your own. And after listening to it — a rolling, constantly mutating blend of krautrock, Scot-rock, folk and experimental bleepery — it’s not hard to see why. A brilliant debut from a promising Glasgow band. (CS)

34 Vox Motus

Pioneering theatre company
The Glasgow-based company led by Jamie Harrison and Candice Edwards that created last year’s award-winning Slick topped that achievement in 2009 with the wonderful touring production Bright Black. The inventive, visually arresting piece of physical theatre focused on a woman struggling to cope with the sudden death of her fiancé, counterbalancing the heavy subject matter with some stunning theatrical flourishes. (AR)

33 Lindsay Duncan

Television thesp
The Edinburgh actor proved her reputation for gravitas in two wonderful, utterly diverse high-profile telly roles for the BBC, tugging at the heartstrings in Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars, while in Margaret she was all delicately nuanced hubris, managing to actually make us feel sorry for the Iron Lady. (KI)

32 We Were Promised Jetpacks

Young indie upstarts
After years of touring the central belt, WWPJ finally unleashed their debut album, These Four Walls. Critical acclaim and widespread touring followed, including a US stint with label-mates Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad. (NB)

31 Daniela Nardini

Award-winning actress
New Town, her second collaboration with writer Annie Griffin, brilliantly skewered Edinburgh’s obsession with property. Nardini brought a hefty dose of the Miss Jean Brodies to icy estate agent Meredith McIlvanney, netting herself a Scottish BAFTA for Best Performance in Television. (KI)

30 Robert Carlyle

Versatile actor
Hardworking and always surprising in his work choices, Carlyle proved his acting chops this year in Gilles Mackinnon’s TV drama Zig Zag Love and Samantha Morton’s directorial debut (made for TV) The Unloved. With assassin actioner The Tournament still to be released and a major role in SGU Stargate Universe coming early in 2010, Carlyle may soon find himself a new fan base. (PD)

29 Rockstar North

Video game giants
They may be busy working on Agent (a new exclusive title for PS3, which will be beyond huge in 2010) but Rockstar North still found time to unleash another entry in the expansive world of Grand Theft Auto with Episodes from Liberty City, featuring a brand new chapter: The Ballad of Gay Tony. (HN)

28 The Twilight Sad

Down on their sound
These Kilsythers do a good line in misery-drenched post-rock, and have been steadily drawing fans since their stunningly dark debut, Thirteen Autumns and Fourteen Winters. They’ve been busy touring America (supporting the mighty Mogwai) and returned this September with Forget the Night Ahead — another roaring, powerful downer. (CS)

27 Robert & Nicky Wilson, Jupiter Artland

Public art lovers
The husband and wife partnership created this ambitious public art project in the grounds of their Bonnington House estate. The popular initiative combines a beautiful outdoor setting with some first-class environmental sculpture by artists such as Antony Gormley, Andy Goldsworthy and Cornelia Parker. (AR)

26 Christopher Kane

Out-there designer
The young Motherwellian continues to revolutionise high fashion with his roaring gorilla print, based on Planet of the Apes and seen on every edgy red carpet. He also designed a range for Versace and dressed fashionistas like Rihanna and Carine Rotfield. (KI)

25 Frightened Rabbit

Borders band
The Rabbits celebrated the success of last year’s Midnight Organ Fight by recording a live acoustic version of it at the Captain’s Rest. They’ve also released a new single, ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’, to promote next March’s album, The Winter Of Mixed Drinks. Currently on a UK tour with Modest Mouse. (NB)

24 Andy Clark

Ubiquitous stage actor
Widely considered to be the best thing about Gregory Burke’s Hoors, Clark also gave wonderfully detailed performances in Alan Bissett’s The Ching Room and Rona Munro’s The Last Witch, and after dripping poison into the Moor’s ear as a thuggish Iago in the Citizens’ Othello, ended up in a frock in the Tron’s Ya Beauty and the Beast. (AR)

23 Paul Kitching

Ambitious and adventurous chef
Kitching was the only Michelin-starred chef in Manchester, but upped sticks and headed for Edinburgh, where this year he and partner Katie O’Brien opened a lavish and unusual restaurant called 21212. Their leftfield approach hasn’t been universally embraced by locals, though outsiders (including many top London critics) have been wowed. (DR)

22 Steven Thomson

Glasgay! director
Whether it was the extended funding that allowed him to commission work in advance, or the media furore that led to him personally defending the work of festival artist Dani Marti, Thomson’s Glasgay! programme this year was relevant, exciting and incisive. Getting political suits him. (KI)

21 Jen Hadfield

Prize-winning poet
The TS Eliot Prize is the most prestigious award in poetry, usually awarded to the likes of Ciaran Carson and Seamus Heaney. This year, though, it went to a Shetland-based shop assistant. At 30, Hadfield is the youngest ever winner, and Nigh No Place, her prize-winning collection, is a beautiful book. (KI)

20 Tom Kitchin

Michelin-starred chef
Among Scotland’s swelling ranks of Michelin-starred chefs, Kitchin still stands out. This year he published his debut cookbook and had a Top 10 ranking in Restaurant magazine’s annual UK round-up and a spot in the final of the BBC’s Great British Menu. He even gave AA Gill his ‘best and most agreeable’ dinner of the year. (DR)

19 Matthew Lenton & Vanishing Point
Interior innovators
We’re saluting Vanishing Point for being one of the most consistently interesting theatre companies in Scotland, and continuing to experiment in unique ways with sound, music and projections. The exquisite Interiors was acclaimed across the board in April; their futuristic, rowdy take on The Beggars Opera might have polarised critics, but still roused heated debate. Never, ever dull. (KI)

18 Cybraphon

Music box

Claire Sawers speaks to Tommy Perman, of the FOUND collective, about their moody, social-networking-obsessed musical instrument, Cybraphon
In the past, the Edinburgh art-pop collective FOUND have used robots, lasers and sewing machines in their live gigs. It was their creation of Cybraphon though – the mechanical, musical wardrobe with a heart – that won them a Scottish BAFTA.

Tommy Perman and Ziggy Campbell joined with engineer Simon Kirby to make a popularity-obsessed band, inspired by orchestrions from the 1900s. Cybraphon plays music, but is also linked to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, and feels a range of emotions – from desolation to delirium – depending on how many people are tweeting about him, or how many Facebook friends he’s got.

The public got so into the project, they started sending Cybraphon tins of furniture polish or trying to cheer him up online with jokes, flattery or flirting.
‘The morning when we woke up and saw Cybraphon had made it onto a Texan news programme, that was pretty amazing,’ says Perman. ‘It was one of those shows that looked just like a Brass Eye spoof, but the fact that Cybraphon had travelled so far, and created such a buzz, without us really having to do anything, that was great.’

Since its birth during the Edinburgh Festival, Cybraphon has featured in newspapers in China, Brazil, Italy and Spain and has now been offered several collaborative projects. (CS)

17 Alan Bissett

Literary asset
Might be an idea for the Falkirk lad to take a breather in 2010 given his achievements in the last 12 months. He’s published his third novel, Death of a Ladies’ Man and written two plays (The Moira Monologues and The Ching Room) while his film with Adam Stafford, The Shutdown, did great things. He also appears regularly at the excellent literary/comedy night DiScomBoBuLaTe. (BD)

16 Andy Murray

Tennis hot shot
This year saw the younger of Dunblane’s Murray brothers further establish himself among the upper echelons of world tennis, as wins in Doha, Rotterdam, Miami, London, Montreal and Valencia equalled Tim Henman’s 14 career titles. Consistently ranked in the world’s top 4 last year, in May 2009 Murray became the first British player in the Open era to reach number three in the world rankings. (AC)

15 Frankie Boyle

Line-treading comic
He may have called his October memoir My Shit Life So Far but our favourite ginger Glaswegian comic seems to have it made. Caught up in various media storms about the bounds of comedy, he quit his column in The Record and announced his departure from Mock the Week as the tabloids went ape over a three-year-old comment he made about the Queen’s nether regions and observations about an Olympic swimmer. (BD)

14 Trongate 103

Cutting edge arts space
An Edwardian warehouse in Glasgow’s Merchant City has been transformed into a centre for some of the city’s most cutting-edge contemporary art. Three years in the creation, the six-storey arts hub houses galleries, workshops, artists’ studios and production spaces such as the Transmission Gallery, Glasgow Print Studio and the Russian Cultural Centre, with early programme highlights including the John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins retrospective at Street Level Photo Works. (AR)

13 Hudson Mohawke

Master of electronica
Glasgow producer Ross Birchard, or Hud Mo, released his debut Butter on Warp in October. It received a deluge of praise, from fans and critics all loving his molten plastic mash-up of hip hop, wonky electro and glitchy pop. A founding member of LuckyMe, the art collective that featured 16-year-old Hudson Mohawke when he DJ-ed at Glasgow hip hop nights back in 2002, he’s been unofficially crowned the great multicoloured hope of Glasgow’s electronic scene. (CS)

12 Kevin Bridges

Comedy newcomer
The kid from Clydebank became a man this year after appearing on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow in May. Having just announced that he was to play a Pleasance cupboard during the Fringe, demand was so astronomical that he immediately added dates in some of the venue’s grander spaces. Quantity was matched by quality as his excellent set earned him a spot on the Best Newcomer shortlist. (BD)

11 Rona Munro

Leading playwright
Munro’s The Last Witch, specially commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival, was a thrilling melodrama based on the true story of Janet Dorne, the last woman to be burned for witchcraft in Scotland, while her irreverent translation of The House of Bernarda Alba transferred the action of Federico García Lorca’s drama to Glasgow’s East End and featured a mouth-watering cast of Scottish female acting talent. (AR)

10 Mark Millar

Comicbook superhero
Millar’s Kick-Ass has been a runaway success this year with unprecedented numbers of reprints for every issue (the film adaptation, directed by Matthew Vaughn, is released on 2 April 2010). Millar has also been writing War Heroes, new title Ultimate Comics: Avengers and Wolverine, with his story arc ‘Old Man Logan’. ‘It’s like The Unforgiven but with Wolverine,’ explains Millar of his X-Men strand. ‘Supervillains have destroyed America and he’s the last hero left.’ Beyond comics, the film adaptation of his creator-owned series Wanted was one of the big blockbuster successes of 2008 and the spin-off videogame, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, was released in March this year. (HN)

9 Calvin Harris

Ol’ Pineapple Head
It’s been a pretty good year for this Dumfries-born party-maker. After helping Dizzee Rascal score a number one hit last year with ‘Dance Wiv Me’, the singer and producer bagged one of his own in 2009 with ‘I’m Not Alone’. He also endeared himself to a lot of Jedward haters when he popped a pineapple on his head and crashed the X Factor stage during their performance of Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’. With a bit more personality than the average popper, he’s also developing a reputation for his frequent Twitter rants. (CS)

8 Lucy Skaer

Turner-nominated Artist
With group shows in St Louis, Athens, Madrid and Switzerland, a solo show at Kunsthalle Basel, a Location One International Fellowship residency in New York, and a Turner Prize nomination under her belt, it’s been a major year for adopted Scot Lucy Skaer. Her arrangements of highly crafted forms — photos sourced from newspapers and books, transformed via elaborate processes — have attracted international acclaim for their delicate and moving effect. The artist’s inclusion on the shortlist for the art world’s biggest prize — this year lauded for its sensuality and substance – alongside fellow Scot Richard Wright has prompted theorising on the burgeoning importance of Glasgow to the British art scene. Having graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1997 before going on to found artists’ collective Henry VIII’s Wives, Skaer is a fine representative of the Scottish contemporary art scene and produces work of great intelligence, draughtsmanship and complexity. (RD)

7 Scottish Ballet

Super troupers
Our national ballet company celebrated its 40th anniversary in fine style this year, with an appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival, a stunning autumn programme and a glossy new coffee table book. And, after years of fundraising, Scottish Ballet finally moved into its impressive new premises at Glasgow’s Tramway. Having spent years squashed inside a former army barracks with leaky showers, the company now has the largest dance studio in Europe to play with - which means we can expect even greater things from this already dazzling jewel in Scotland’s crown. (KA)

6 Biffy Clyro

Scottish rock behemoths
It has been an exceptional year for the hairy Ayrshire trio. After headlining the Rockness festival in June, they raced back to the studio and came out with Only Revolutions, which peaked at number eight on the album chart and went gold soon after, with each of the three singles released from it breaking the top ten in the singles chart. Sticking with what they know, they’re touring incessantly – currently accompanying Muse. To top it all off, Simon Neil also managed to rack up a hit album and single with side-project Marmaduke Duke, with Succioperro frontman JP Reid. (NB)

5 Richard Wright

Turner victor
Richard Wright might well have made it into our Hot 100 by virtue of his contribution to the Modern Institute’s group show, Tonite: a typically eye-catching, complex, mathematically precise geometrical wall painting, and his appearance in the CCA’s current five-star exploration of the object as event, Votive. But, as it happens, the Glasgow-based artist – whose works are often painted over at the end of a show, thus highlighting the immediacy of his intricately detailed wall and ceiling paintings, prints and large-scale works – this year also won some insignificant little bauble called the Turner Prize, with judge Jonathan Jones describing Wright’s works as ‘spiralling, seductive, fascinating things for the eye’. Incidentally, Wright’s victory brings to three the number of graduates of Glasgow School of Art to have won the prize since its inauguration in 1984, the other two being Douglas Gordon and Simon Starling. (AR)

4 Armando Iannucci

Comedy genius
Let’s not even waste time debating the fact that Armando Iannucci is one of the great pioneers, writers, directors and producers of British television comedy. However, the road from television to film is littered with foolhardy corpses, so nobody expected much when it was announced that Iannucci was working on a big-screen transatlantic version of The Thick of It featuring Malcolm Tucker and co. But then in January 2009, the film In The Loop began picking up rave reviews from its debut screening at Sundance Film Festival before going down a storm as the opening gala at the Glasgow (Iannucci’s home town) Film Festival and doing decent business at the UK box office. A political comedy of rare venom and insight, In the Loop made The West Wing suddenly look like so much liberal dribble. Iannucci spent the rest of 2009 making a new series of The Thick of It, producing Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle and new sitcom Genius, but it is for his brilliant cinematic debut that The List salutes him. (PD)

3 Nic Green

Naked talent
Amid all the braying comedians and slumming-it slebs on this year’s Fringe, one of the most significant productions was a thoughtful piece of performance art by a young Glasgow-based feminist.

Nic Green’s Trilogy was long, political, and didn’t shy away from making uncomfortable points; and it was that deeply unfashionable thing, a feminist treatise. Yet audiences loved it. The moment when a crowd of naked women (local volunteers) marched on stage in a dance celebrating the capabilities of their very different, powerful bodies was thrillingly life affirming. Reviewers and bloggers wrote in their hundreds about the sheer joy they felt, and if parts of the audience turned up for the nudity, they stayed because they were being challenged and entertained. Green, who performed onstage as well as masterminding the whole project, is a charismatic, incisive new talent, and she’s sorely needed. Trilogy will tour the UK and play a run at London’s Barbican next year. (KI)

2 Carol Ann Duffy - profile

After 300 years of waiting Britain finally has its first female poet laureate. Kirstin Innes explains how Carol Ann Duffy has already made the post her own.

1 Peter Capaldi - interview

The Glasgow actor has picked up some of the greatest accolades of his career playing Machiavellian press officer Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and In The Loop. Jonny Ensall talks to a Scottish screen icon at the height of his powers.

Ian Rankin

Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin OBE is best known as the creator of John Rebus, an Edinburgh-based detective who has been fighting crime his own way since 1987, with a bit of help from Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox. Rankin is other the author of a play, a graphic novel and numerous short stories. He's won the…

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