Bristol is the coolest city in the country, maybe in the world.
Not a day goes by, it seems, that some magazine, website, estate agent, TV channel, blog, guide or influencer isn’t announcing they have written a list of all the places in the world that are cool, happy, best to live in, or the hippest city, and Bristol is not there or thereabouts at the top of the list.
Bristol is cool for a lot of reasons that go back decades – the music, the accent, the dry, laid back wit of Bristolians, the suave good looks of almost all the people who live here, and the fact that, as a city, it seems anything much goes and no one is that bothered.
But if Bristol really is cool, it’s not the Insta-friendly coloured houses, the cider in the park or the fiercely independent streak of streets, shops, views and protests that makes it so, it is the people themselves.
Two years ago, we compiled the first Bristol Cool List amid much fanfare and some controversy, with the words: “Everything is subjective, and we know this list will be controversial. Most of those on it won’t consider themselves cool, many probably won’t be happy that they have made the list. Everything is opinion, from who should be on the list, to what your definition of ‘cool’ is.”
The same applies today – especially that question of the definition of ‘cool’. And with the world – and the city – seemingly a more cynical place now that was even just two short years ago, the same caveat applies.
There will be people on this list you think aren’t cool. There will be people who you know are cooler than anyone on here that didn’t make it. Probably because they are sooooooo cool that us squares in 1 Temple Way haven’t passed into their orbit.
There are many famous faces here – being from Bristol and striking out to national or international success is pretty cool, and should be recognised and celebrated as such.
There are many faces who aren’t so famous – yet – and more who never will be, but are pretty darn cool in their own part of Bristol, doing their thing and perhaps not realising just how epic they are.
The order is subjective, of course. It’s arbitrary. If it bothers you that someone you think is super cool is way down the order, then we apologise.
The list last time was 50. This time it’s 60, so strap in and buckle up, and get scrolling down….
60 Hilary Banks (radio presenter)
A former chair of the Malcolm X Centre and a stalwart of Bristol’s Jamaican community, Hilary is still out there, playing the sweet sounds of Caribbean music from the 50s, 60s and 70s in her two hour show, Fi Wi Sintin on BCfm every week.
59 Nick Ballard (activist and cage fighter)
If there is a tenant being unlawfully evicted by a landlord, Nick Ballard and his team of activists from the tenants union Acorn are likely to be there, using people power to get results. It is controversial, but it works.
What’s most cool about Nick Ballard is that he will be out there stepping up to go on a Jeremy Kyle programme looking at the housing crisis issue one day, and then entering the cage the next day to take on an opponent in mixed martial arts.
58 Julia Head (theatre director)
Julia joined the Bristol Old Vic Young Company at just 17, and has been a rising star of the city’s theatre scene ever since. She’s still only in her early 20s, but is driving the Old Vic’s mission to take theatre out into the community. She is currently working as a director in collaboration with Headlong Theatre.
“It’s my job to get people interested in theatre. There’s never a wrong answer in theatre – you can make whatever you like, whether it’s silly and fun or something a bit more serious.
“There’s this amazing moment working in theatre when you create something as a group and everyone has this shared belief that it’s all going to work. When it comes off it’s an amazing feeling. Managing your own company is difficult and I’ve learned a lot but it’s also very exciting.”
57 Gaz Brookfield (musician)
It’s been nearly a decade since Gaz Brookfield jacked in his job and went for it, slogging his way around the country with his unique brand of cider-fuelled, upbeat, very Bristol acoustic folk rock. He achieved his lifelong dream to tour with The Levellers, and is now one of Bristol’s biggest names in music – not bad for a man who has done it all himself – without big label backing and without London management.
The first unsigned act to ever sell out The Fleece, he is Bristol’s best kept musical secret, who wins fans at every festival.
There aren’t many musicians in Bristol who could sell out the 1,100-capacity SWX, but he does.
56 Marley Bennett (political activist and prankster)
A young activist making his way in politics by working in the office of Labour MP Kerry McCarthy in Bristol East, he is fast becoming known on social media circles in Bristol for his dry wit.
Last year, he fooled the Daily Mail into thinking he was the model for a health warning about sexual impotence on the back of a tobacco packet.
He is the Chair of Bristol Young Labour, with aspirations to be a city councillor.
55 John Nation (street art)
A young youth worker in Barton Hill in the 1980s, he saw that a whole generation of kids in Bristol were growing up into the graffiti culture they saw in New York. So he turned the youth club there into a place to let their creativity out, legally. It was controversial, but he stuck by those kids, even when arrested as part of a huge police crackdown on graffiti in Bristol.
While the city authorities wanted him in prison back then, now he’s on the cover of the tourist brochures, leading tours called Where The Wall, showing the hordes of tourists the fruits of the seeds he planted way back then.
54 Herman Gordon (cleaner)
Cleaner Herman Gordon was much appreciated as a cleaner at Bristol University, but he never quite knew that.
That was, until the students all chipped in secretly in a fundraising web page to send him and his wife Denise to go to the Caribbean for the first time in a decade.
The note written by the students read: “Dear Herman, on behalf of the students at Bristol, we would like to thank you for all the positive energy you have given to us throughout the years.
“You have brightened many of our days and we want you to know that we love and appreciate you.
“We have come together to give you a special gift as our way of saying thank you. Have a lovely summer.”
To engender such love and admiration from normally fairly insular students shows just how cool Herman is. And he proved it with what happened next. Not only did Herman go back to the Caribbean for a nice holiday, he lived ‘like a trillionaire’ after his story prompted a luxury hotel over there to make it a trip of a lifetime. Being a lush Bristolian pays off in the end.
53 Shiren Goush (boxing coach)
Shiren is a pioneer in Bristol, entering a predominantly male environment – a boxing club – as a woman, and as a Muslim.
She runs a women-only box fir class on a Saturday morning for girls and young women based in Easton and Lawrence Hill, as part of the Empire Fighting Chance set up. It’s aimed at, but not exclusively for, the Muslim community, getting women and girls into a boxing and fitness environment.
52 Hannah Murray (actress)
It’s hard to believe it is 12 years since this teenager from the North Bristol Post 16 Centre first appeared on our screens as Cassie in the now seminal Channel 4 series Skins, but it is.
Since then, Hannah Murray has grown up to be cool, taking on roles on the stage and screen, transitioning from teen actor to adulthood as Gilly in Game of Thrones since 2012. To be two of the 21st century’s most important television dramas before you are 30 is pretty cool.
51 Mikey Cobban (singer)
He’s just turned 22, and is in one of the coolest young boy bands in the western world right now, Road Trip. But Bristol-born Mikey is also something of a Youtuber, Insta influencer and all-round heart-throb to the young generation. When his beloved Bristol City let him loose on their Snapchat story for a game earlier this season, it melted the internet.
50 Jasper Thompson (homelessness campaigner)
A former soldier and Bristol boy who seems to know literally everyone in the south of the city, Jasper ran a Jamaican restaurant in Bedminster but his life slowly changed when he started helping homeless people he’d see out and about.
Then he took over an empty patch of land on Malago Road, and created an organisation which encourages those without a home to join him, converting shipping containers into small homes. It’s run with a hard work ethic and isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s transforming lives every day.
49 Lisa Pagett (cricket coach)
Lisa has been consistently at the top of her game for more than a decade, and is one of the leading lights and pioneers of women’s cricket. Now the general manager of Western Storm, the Bristol-based women’s cricket franchise, she has a strong education background in the sports industry, bringing cricket to girls across the region.
48 Cleo Lake (politician, actress, dancer)
There aren’t many politicians who are cool. In fact, apart from young Marley earlier, Cleo is the only other one on this list.
For Cleo isn’t really a politician in the traditional sense, or if she is, she’s one who transcends the everyday grind of party politics in the city.
She was universally acknowledged and acclaimed for her year just spent as the Lord Mayor – particularly for handling often fiery council meetings in the chair, and for taking the robes, chain and hat to the kind of places that wouldn’t normally see Bristol’s ceremonial leader.
And she’s also an actor, dancer and dance instructor. Sheffield might have its Magic Magid, but Cleo is Bristol’s cool lord mayor.
47 Eve Cornwell (Youtuber)
She has spent the past couple of years as a law student in Bristol, and has taken her tens of thousands of followers through that journey. Her videos have racked up an astonishing 8.1 million views in the past six years, and for many people around the globe, her lens is how they see Bristol in 2019.
46 Georgia Taylor (actress)
You’d think she’d be in Manchester’s Cool List, just ahead of Noel Gallagher but behind Bez. But Georgia Taylor, who has played Toyah Battersby in Coronation Street since she was 17 and straight out of school, is now an adopted Bristolian. She came to the city during the early 20th century hiatus from the cobbles of Weatherfield, when she landed a big part in Casualty.
She fell in love with Mark Letheren and Bristol itself, and settled here, even after returning to Corrie in 2016.
45 Naren Wilks (Silent Disco creator)
Bristol is a special city, and one of the things that make it special is the impromptu stuff that happens. That might be found strolling through the city centre and coming across two dozen people between the M Shed and Wapping Wharf on a Saturday evening, all boogeying away to the tunes in their heads.
The man behind this wonderful mayhem is Naren Wilks. When he’s not the super cool man on a mission to get the city dancing with his free silent disco, he’s creating interactive artworks for music festivals.
44 Horaine Ferguson (rapper)
Where Bristol’s music scene is making waves nationally is in the rap and hip hop game.
And Horaine Ferguson – better known as K*Ners, is the Godfather. First dropped an album back in 2006, he took Bristol Grammar to the world in 2012 and Voice of The City was more hip hop than Bristol dancehall.
Now he’s back with his own K Star record label, bringing forward new talent and is back himself with a mixtape called The Playlist.
43 Gemma Compton (street artist)
Originally from up on the Cotswold hills above Bristol, in another era Gemma Compton would have painted illustrations in Victorian flower books. In 2019, however, she is a kick-ass street artist with one of those distinctive styles that instantly identifies her work.
She specialises in birds, women’s faces, butterflies and flowers, and achieves the incredible effect of making every wall she paints look like it’s made of delicate porcelain after she’s finished with it.
The ultimate honour was bestowed a couple of years ago – she painted the front of the Upfest headquarters and shop in Bedminster, which is still as eye-catching today with its vibrant but delicate blues, as it was when it appeared.
In 2016 she was Upfest’s headline artist, the first female to be given the accolade. She’s also a fashion designer and her art looks amazing on vans too.
42 Joel Douglas (actor, poet, rapper, singer)
If inner city Bristol was actually Eton and Cambridge, Joel Douglas would have his own one-man show on primetime BBC1 by now, because that’s what happens when someone as talented in so many different disciplines as him grows up in a different world to Bristol.
Better known as Splitz P here in Bristol, he’s a poet. He’s a spoken word artist. He’s a music producer. He’s a rapper and singer who will drop a hip hop tune one week, a breezy reggae one the next and an upbeat pop song the week after. He’s an activist, a community leader and an actor too, part of the Mandem team at the Bristol Old Vic.
41 Ben Gatt (publican)
After turning his parents’ old vintage shop into one of Bristol’s hippest pubs, the Old Bookshop in Bedminster, Ben Gatt and his family are gradually creating their own little empire of cool on this bit of North Street.
Famous for his beard and distinctive look that many try to emulate, but only he can pull off, Ben is still one of the hippest men in Bristol. And after bringing Tom Friend and Friendly Records into the fold, there’s always something going on there, and it is always cool.
40 Patch de Salis (filmmaker)
A rapper and music producer, it’s film-making that Patch, who only recently left Cotham School, is currently making his name.
People outside his teenage bubble really started sitting up and taking notice in 2018 when his film of his friend Urban McKenzie wheelying through St Paul’s Carnival wowed Bristol.
And then he entered – and won, like he thought he would with the confidence of youth and belief in his own talent – a major film competition run by the UNESCO City of Film organisation.
It was a competition open to established filmmakers up to the age of 30, but Patch’s short film – just 90 seconds long – captured the essence of Bristol perfectly.
It won. And now Patch is established as the hottest new film-making talent in the city today.
39 Euella Jackson (writer)
She came to Bristol six years ago as a student and has stayed, forging a career and a strong reputation as one of Bristol’s most engaging writers.
A blogger, YouTuber and writer for Rife Magazine and a lot of other publications, she has made films for Channel 4, is a Resident creator in the Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, and an engagement producer at the Rising Arts Agency. Frankly, there isn’t a bow big enough for all her strings.
38 Daniel Pearce (DJ)
Better known as Eats Everything, Dan started off in the early Noughties DJing some of Bristol’s most famous – now in retrospect – nights like Ripsnorter, Club Loco and Scream.
He went national and international as a producer and DJ in 2011 with Entrance Song, and is now still one of Europe’s most in-demand DJs, who regularly pops back to play some mega-sets in his home city.
37 Lawrence Hoo (poet)
Lawrence Hoo has been watching his beloved St Pauls change around him, making films and writing pithy, punchy poems and being a beacon of gravitas in his community for years. Uncompromising, real and still raw, he’s finally being recognised with awards and accolades.
He’s also working on many different projects – from a project at the M-Shed to a film focusing on the life of Ras Judah Adunbi.
36 Harts Hoze (rapper)
One of the young rappers under the wing of K*Ners, Harts ‘Rapstizzy’ Hoze has been as prolific as he has been creative, on Bristol’s music scene of late.
There was a time last year when he was dropping absolute bangers every other week, it seemed, as he developed a distinctive, laid-back, softer, very Bristol style in his delivery.
35 Charlotte Geraghty (charity fundraiser)
A Bristol Gold Star winner four years ago at the age of nine, for her charity work, Charlotte hasn’t gone all Kevin the teenager since hitting the big 1-3.
In fact, she has stepped it up, and then some, with 13 madcap charity challenges during the year in which she is 13. They’ve included sitting in 13,000 seats at her beloved Ashton Gate, which was actually a lot harder than it sounds.
And all that, and this makes her especially cool, while having knee problems and surgery and not being in absolute tip top physical health.
34 Lucy Wheeler (businesswoman)
The one marked ‘fragile’ here, Lucy Wheeler is, kind of inadvertently, one of the key drivers in the resurgence and celebration of Bristol, Bristolians’ culture and the Bristol accent and dialect, thanks to an idea she and her business partner had a few years ago.
They formed Beast Clothing after sticking the words ‘Gert Lush’ and ‘Proper Job’ on t-shirts, and now all those Bristolian sayings are on shirts, pants, knickers, socks, hoodies and hats, all over the world and here – in this pic, at the Glastonbury Festival. ‘Ark at ‘er.
33 Alex Beresford (TV presenter)
After cutting his teeth presenting here in Bristol, Alex Beresford is now nationally famous, as the weatherman on Good Morning Britain, ITV’s flagship breakfast TV show. But that, in and of itself, is not why he’s cool.
There are lots of reasons, but they include in no particular order, the fact he’s pretty much the only voice of sanity on the programme, alongside the exasperation of Suzannah Reid, to counter the rantings of Piers Morgan.
He got national attention when he interrupted a group of authority figures all pontificating about what to do about knife crime, by cutting through that with real-life experience.
And now, as he matures as a broadcaster, he’s keeping close to his Bristol roots, and beginning to make a name for himself as a documentary maker of authenticity.
32 Urban Mackenzie (BMX star)
He rides a two-wheel bike on one wheel, pulling wheelies all round town. That’s it. That’s enough.
31 Rachel Hawkins (blogger)
Hanham’s finest, she’s a blogger and social media star who is constantly in the thick of it on Twitter. In less than three years on Twitter, she’s tweeted more than 117,000 times, and is always there with a bit of Bristol wit and sass, digging or joking with the celebs or ruling the roost over the sad trolls that dare to step to her.
She’s got nearly 50,000 followers, and every day there’s a laugh somewhere along the line.
30 Ryan England (strongman)
Scaffolder by day, smiter of Icelandic giants on the weekend. The Yate man is one of the strongest men in Britain and, in certain disciplines and on his day, one of the strongest men in the world.
He burst onto the strongman scene by defeating The Mountain from Game of Thrones in an event on Thor’s home soil, and has continued to challenge for the honours all around the world. Read more about him here
29 Clinton Wilson (rapper)
Better known in Bristol and beyond simply as King Aggi, he was the leader of the once-notorious Aggi Crew but is now putting the world to rights through music.
Something of a father-figure to many of the younger players in Bristol’s healthy grime and rap scene, he is now producing his best music yet with a mixtape dropping this year called My City Made Me, including this absolute banger, On The Line, with two of Bristol’s finest artists, RE and Sirplus.
28 Jonson Clarke-Harris (footballer)
The newest Bristolian on our list, Clarke-Harris has come to Bristol Rovers just at the start of this year and is already the Hero of Horfield.
Just 24, he has brought some badly-needed swagger on and off the pitch, and bagged 11 goals in just 14 games, to drive the Gas’s survival charge.
27 Jackie Eddy (youth worker)
For more than 30 years, Jackie Eddy has dedicated her life to the young people of Withywood, Hartcliffe and Knowle West. Everyone knows her, she knows everyone, their kids, their dogs and most importantly, their mums.
After the closure of the youth centre in Hartcliffe a few years ago, she left the council and now runs a number of youth groups, projects and charities. Probably the coolest person in South Bristol.
26 Pip Rush & Bertie Cole (event production)
They are the people responsible for Arcadia, the Bristol-based giant mechanical spider that moves, has acrobats and dancers spinning around it, a DJ playing in the spider’s belly and shoots fire. It has been the must-see thing at Glastonbury for a few years now, and toured the world, but the pair are promising something quite different at Worthy Farm this summer.
25 Matti Hemmings (BMX rider)
This chap can do things with a BMX that you can’t even think would be possible. He holds world records for tricks and makes a living out of riding a bike like a don. That is cool.
24 Ellis Genge (rugby player)
One respected commentator described Genge as playing rugby ‘like a baby rhino with a dart up its backside’, and plenty of Premiership defensive lines have felt the full force of being bulldozed over by someone from Knowle West this season. Breaking sporadically into the England team, he’s fast cementing a place for himself in Leicester’s side, and impressing nationally too.
And top it all, he’s not completely ruled out coming back to play for Bristol one day too.
23 Michael Jenkins (film maker)
Young Bristol filmmaker who has set up his own film company – 8th Sense Media – and shot a really insightful documentary about the trials and tribulations of bringing St Paul’s Carnival back to life last year. There’s more to come from him and we can’t wait.
22 Stuart Sinclair (footballer)
The only Bristol Rovers play who looks like he actually is a pirate. A club legend, a tough tackler who leaves nothing on the pitch whenever he plays. One of the coolest footballers in the game right now.
21 Michele Curtis (artist)
She took some portraits in frames on the wall – there, behind her – of what she described as the Seven Saints of St Pauls, and turned them into a huge series of murals of public art, that has brought colour, joy and pride to that community. The seventh one is just being finished now.
20 Joe Hughes (boxer)
You can argue about whether boxing is cool or not, but no one can dispute that the astonishing phenomenon that is Joe Hughes isn’t cool.
He was born suffering from a disability, Erb’s Palsy, which has naturally affected his size, movement and power of the right side of his body, particularly his arm and shoulder.
Doctors didn’t think he’d be able to run in a straight line, let alone take up sport. A trip to the local boxing gym in his native Malmesbury at the age of eight was just to give him a bit of exercise, but he proved doctors and science wrong.
What Joe lacks in his right arm, he more than makes up for with his left – a huge, thick, thunderbolt of a weapon, which matches speed with power and has propelled Joe all the way to international titles in professional boxing.
To be clear – that is not in paralympic sport, but in regular, able-bodied, professional fighting.
Now living and boxing out of Bristol, his two biggest fights have both ended in very controversial fashion – both defeats where many said he should have won.
Hughes deserves another big shot – let’s hope he gets it soon.
19 Lauren Filer (dancer)
One of the country’s leading street dancers, she’s danced with Pharrell Williams, she now leads a dancing agency and is a dancing instructor.
18 Phil Kingston (activist)
Phil, from Patchway, spent his working life as a probation officer, so knows all about right from wrong, legal from illegal, and exactly how the criminal justice system works.
Now into his 83rd year, Phil has now dedicated his life to forcing change to happen on the biggest issue facing the human race, the threat and reality of climate change.
When he made this video below, he’d been arrested 11 times as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests, and just this week, he was arrested again – for clambering onto a train at Canary Wharf station.
The judge commended his athleticism, and the strength of his knees, and let him go on bail.
17 Jay0117 (rapper)
There are lots of new, young rappers, hip hop and grime artists coming through Bristol right now, and Jay0117 is one at the top of his game.
Whether he’s starring in a pop-up soundsystem show in Castle Park or making thousands bounce at Love Saves The Day, his rhymes are always tight.
16 Keri Andriana (designer)
Keri Andriana was a lawyer in Bristol for many years, before taking a step back and starting something completely different.
She began designing and making those hand-made, top-of-the-range, high fashion handbags, learning her trade by watching YouTube videos.
They were better than good, and since her Amschela brand launched, she has been feted at London Fashion Week and in Tatler, Vanity Fair and Vogue.
But what makes Keri cool is that she keeps it very Bristol – hiring local people to model, market and represent the brand.
15 Kerry Bailes (activist)
For years, Kerry Bailes was a regular young mum, struggling to get by in her native Hartcliffe. Gradually, over time, she started fighting for better service for herself from the local council, genned up her knowledge, and then others started asking for her help.
That awakened a passion for community activism within Kerry, and now she’s a fearless crusader in many fields – austerity, the housing crisis, women’s rights and domestic violence, the youth, education and Hartcliffe and South Bristol itself.
14 Imogen Fox (disabled rights campaigner)
An influencer, blogger and passion advocate for disabled rights, and positive body images, Imogen’s inspiring Twitter and Instagram feeds do not shirk away from confronting realities and putting it how it is.
13 Anya Pulver & Tina Maynard (musicians)
They play guitars. Loud. They both sing and their band, Sœur, is the coolest band in Bristol right now. Little over a year ago, they were playing tiny venues – including the Small Bar, for a start – but relentless touring, festival appearances that knocked the socks off everyone who heard it, has propelled to the brink of national acclaim. Now they are touring major venues in major cities, and being played on Radio 1.
They are super-cool, and they also have a drummer, Jim Collins, who is also cool, and probably too cool for this list.
12 Vanessa Kisuule (poet)
Bristol’s official City Poet, her words have graced many city occasions over the past year or so.
Away from her official duties, she is a writer and performer, regular winner of slam titles across the country, has performed everywhere from the Royal Albert hall to the Glastonbury Festival, appeared on Blue Peter and represented her country – not just Bristol, but Britain – in international poetry slams. She’s also absolutely on point on Twitter too, as standard.
11 Paul Holbrook (film-maker)
A film-maker, writer and actor, Paul is passionate about writing and presenting authentic stories of every day life, childhood, coming of age and the realities of living in his Britain in 2019.
His films have won many awards, his scripts get to the final stages of Academy Awards, and his comic acting shines through, too.
His most recent film, Hungry Joe, detailed life in austerity Britain for one child, while his next – that he held an open casting for in Hartcliffe recently – will be an upbeat coming of age drama tracing a young girl and boy’s journey through one day on a council estate in the height of summer.
10 David Olusoga (historian)
You can see David Olusoga right now on television, in A House Through Time, tracing the inhabitants of one house in his native Newcastle. But David is an adopted and welcomed Bristolian now, with a keen eye for telling British history from a step or two away from what might have been the traditional viewpoint.
The freshest voice on history on television right now, his reputation is growing with every new series.
9 Claudia Fragapane (gymnast)
The pocket rocket from Easton is still smashing it in competitive gymnastics at what is the comparatively ripe old age of 21.
She is super cool, whether it’s in the Olympics or on Strictly, ever since she won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games some five years ago now.
8 Nad Narimani (UFC fighter)
The first Briton to get on the roster for the UFC, the incredibly successful global mixed martial arts phenomenon, the Southmead man has a good record in the cage too, winning belts and fights regularly.
7 Carla Humphrey (footballer)
She signed for Bristol City from Arsenal almost a year ago now, and has cemented herself a place as the creative force in Bristol City Women’s Premier League team – not bad for a 22-year-old still at the start of her career.
Off the pitch, she’s one of Bristol’s biggest Instagram influencers – with an astonishing 114,000 followers.
6 Stephen Merchant (actor)
Unlike some of his generation of Bristol funnymen, Stephen Merchant appears to be getting cooler as he gets older. He’s now well in with Hollywood, best mates with The Rock, but still taking the time to support worthy causes around the city, like St Peter’s Hospice.
5 Jacob Anderson (actor, singer)
You might know him as Raleigh Ritchie, and he’s the biggest of the many all-rounders we’ve seen in this list.
Back in the day, they would have been called a ‘polymath’ – someone who excels in more than one field.
Anderson is an film, TV and theatre actor, singer-songwriter, rapper and record producer, and has starred in Broadchurch and most notably Game of Thrones. Not bad for a 28-year-old.
4 Maisie Williams (actress)
At the age of three, Maisie Williams was mingling with the Bristol City ultras at Flag Day.
By the time she was 12, she had been cast as Arya Stark, the diminutive assassin in Game of Thrones. It’s entering its last series now, but the Bristol-born actress, who swapped Clutton for Westeros almost half her life ago now, is proving she’s got an eye for the kind of film and TV career that will be an interesting one, mixing supporting local films like Aardman’s Early Man, with independent films like The Falling and the soon to be released Then Came You.
3 Maya Jama (presenter)
Her teachers at Cotham School always thought she would be a star, and so it proved when she left Bristol at 16, headed for London and worked relentlessly through the ranks of TV presenting and modelling to her position now as probably the freshest and coolest mainstream face on TV and radio.
She’s quickly established herself as a popular DJ on Radio 1, as well as a number of TV presenting gigs, she is very sought after. Oh, and her boyfriend is fairly cool too.
2 Joe Talbot (singer)
The lead singer of the coolest band in Britain right now, Idles, which were formed, grew and shouted their way out of Bristol with a furious energy that is still turning heads now. It wasn’t too long ago that they were playing the Thekla, they recently played The O2 in London.
Their homecoming gig at the Downs Festival later this summer is going to be epic.
But more than that, Joe Talbot and the rest of the band aren’t just shouty punk rockers. In interviews, writing and in the songs themselves, he explores the issues of male mental health, grief, misogyny and lad culture in an intelligent and challenging way.
1 Ikram Abdi Omar (model)
Born in Stockholm, the 22-year-old came to Bristol when she was just seven, and that was early enough to get the proper Bristol accent.
Since leaving school, she’s been a pioneer for being both a model and as a Muslim, and has gradually broken through into the fashion and modelling world, smashing down doors and creating firsts along the way.
Signed with Premier Model Management, alongside the likes of Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, Ikram is the first model to wear a hijab on some major fashion shows, like London and Paris, as well as the first hijabi model on the cover of Vogue Magazine.
She signed professional terms with the agency little more than a year ago, and it has been a meteoric rise since then. She is currently one of the coolest models on the planet, and the future face of Bristol.
Bristol Cool Hall of Fame
The quick-witted among you who made it this far will note some hugely glaring omissions in this above list.
And that’s for a good reason.
Bristol has its famous names, the people who put the city on the map, made the city cool, and went out into the world representing Bristol and its amazing, unique vibe.
It’s not – definitely not – that we are saying the Big Names of Bristol aren’t cool anymore – they most certainly are. Banksy and Inkie are still out there in the world, as probably the coolest street artists on the planet. The two nights at the Filton Megashed showed that Massive Attack’s Rob del Naja, Daddy G and Liz Fraser still hold Bristol entranced by their music, and those leading figures of what is still clunkily called ‘the Bristol Sound’ are still out there smashing it in 2019.
But perhaps now it is time to open the windows, and let in some fresh air. Clear the way for a new guard, allow the next generation to stand on the shoulders of these giants, and not get caught in the shadow of their armpits.
So we present here the Bristol Cool List Hall of Fame.
The first 10 entrants into this prestigious club hereby receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and will be forever cool.
Rob del Naja
Massive Attack’s 3D.
Knowle West’s Tricky
Big Jeff, the much-loved hero of live music in Bristol
The man was both Darth Vader AND the Green Cross Code Man.
Massive Attack’s Daddy G
Inkie, the most stylish of Bristol’s street artists
Sang with both The Cocteau Twins AND Massive Attack, and wrote the immortal words: ‘Love, love is a verb. Love is a doing word’.
The creative noise behind Portishead, currently rocking with Beak and putting the world to rights on Twitter a lot.
Today’s top stories
- Part 3: People’s right to enjoy cultural products increasingly improved
- Vietnam committed to implementing people’s rights
- PM's New Year article stresses people's right to mastery
- Referendums promote democracy, people’s right to mastery
- More input sought on people's rights
- Vietnam pledges to make disabled people's rights real
- Vietnam house official backs people's right to information
- Ensuring people's right to access to information
- ASEAN looks to promote disabled people's rights
- Vietnam promotes disabled people's rights