BEST OF 2003

If you looked at the Best Of 2002 issue at Designer Magazine you'd see a list of names that represented that time and era, but now just 12 months later So Solid Crew's and Gareth Gates career are in tatters, Suede have split up and Doves and Ms Dynamite are hiding away in the studio. On the other hand a little known band named the Darkness who last year came 3rd in our Best New Band Category are set to take the Xmas Number 1 this weekend and already look to be the first true British Success Story in America next year. I guess that's what makes life at Designer Magazine so exciting - the fact that we do stick our necks out for what we believe in and whereas sometimes we get it completely wrong there's a track record which includes us interviewing Starsailor in their first national interview, getting the Darkness when the rest of the music press wrote them off as a joke and then there's the scene's like the New Wave Of New Angry and the C*nt Rock Revolution which are slowly and surely illfitrating the mainstream as we speak.


The first time we saw Darkness they were playing to just over 40 people at Manchester's Hop & Grape venue. A year later tickets are changing hands on Ebay for over £150 a pair and they're selling out 4000 capacity venues with the ease of seasoned veterans. It's not been an overnight success story for the boys from Lowestoft, it's been a journey which has been 4 years in the making and although last year Designer Magazine placed them in the Top 3 Best New Band Category the rest of the world was still ignoring the band. It took a support slot with Robbie Williams at Knebworth for the world to stop, look and listen and realize that as well as being the Best Live Band in Britain they also have a collection of songs on "Permission To Land" that stand head and shoulders above Oasis, The Stone Roses or any of the great British bands of the past 20 years.

Best Band / Artist
1. The Darkness
2. Muse
3. The White Stripes

Best Album
1. The Darkness - Permission To Land
2. Andrew WK - The Wolf
3. Liz Phair - Liz Phair

Best Rock Act
1. The Darkness
2. Muse
3. Funeral For A Friend

Best Live Act
1. The Darkness / Muse
2. Andrew WK

Best Alternative Single
1. I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness
2. Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
3. I Love You Cause I Have To - Dogs Die In Hot Cars


Despite the dominance of pop pap such as Westlife, Atomic Kitten and the Pop Idol contestants in the upper aeons of the charts, the world of pop looked genuinely healthier than it had been for a long while. S Club Adults split leaving the way for the far superior S Club 8 who rule supreme for the second year in a row. Still the only pure pop act on the scene which doesn't feel the need to get down with the Neptunes for some Urban cred or do the whole stool thang to appease the housewife's. Similarly Busted annoyed real rock fans the country over but still managed to rock harder than the Thrills and Blazin Squad ditched the garage and went hip-hop sampling T-Rex along the way.

Best Pop Act
1. S Club 8
2. Busted
3. Blazin Squad

So many great pop singles of 2003 - Misteeq's "Scandalous", Delta Goodrem's "Born To Try", S Club 8's "Fool No More", Blazin Squad's "Flip Reverse", Beyonce's "Crazy In Love", Junior Seniors "Move Your Feet" and Jamelia with "Superstar" - but only 3 could make the shortlist. Sophie Ellis Bextor took us back to the 80s with her cheap synthtastic "Mixed Up World", Phixx were the best boy band since Take That and delivered an amazing performance of "Hold On Me" for TOTP's which clinched it for them above the Black Eyed Peas.

Best Pop Single
1. Mixed Up World - Sophie Ellis Bextor
2. Phixx - Hold On Me
3. Where Is The Love? - Black Eyed Peas


2003 was the year that Urban music continued to rule the airwaves and despite a couple of outstanding dance acts such as Peaches and Goldfrapp the dance scene fell on it's arse. However there's only so many Neptunes beats and American Divas we can take and that's why this year we've avoided the obvious choices such as Timberlake, Beyonce and Blu Cantrel in favour of UK acts. Misteeq and Big Brovaz may be on the poppier side of the urban category but are still pulling out the tracks and Dizzee Rascal offers something harsh, brutal and non compromising. Fix Up, Look Sharp!!!

Best Urban Act
1. Misteeq
2. Big Brovaz
3. Dizzee Rascal

Best Dance Act
1. Chemical Brothers
2. Peaches
3. Goldfrapp

In the beginning of April this year we saw two wildly different gigs in the space of 24 hours. One of those was the living legend Paul McCartney in Birmingham and the other was Funeral For A Friend playing to less than 200 people the night after. From that moment on FFAF have been one of those bands to get fanatically obsessed about (3 full length interviews this year is a slight hint) and opened up the then undiscovered world of emo for many of their fans.

Countess Zapak woke us up during a tired and emotional night at this years In The City conference. The spokeswoman for the C*nt Rock Revolution and Fachoism (the female version of macho) is currently in talks with the likes of Marianne Faithful, Captain Beefheart's Magic Band and one of the New York Dolls. The Ga Gas are sexy for all the wrong reasons and Noisecandy are making the best pop records to ever come out of Wales.

Best New Band / Artist
1. Funeral For A Friend
2. Katie Melua
3. Hidden Cameras / Patrick Wolf

Unsigned Band Most Likely To Be Signed By The End Of 2004
1. Countess Zapak
2. The Ga Gas
3. Noisecandy


The trio of Galloway, Benn and Moore fought against Bush, while Countess Zapak, Pink and Kate Moss fought for a different kind of bush in the C*nt Rock Revolution. All 6 of the nominated candidates stand out because they've stood up for what they believe in and taken the consequences of their actions full on. In a world full of celebrity trivia these are qualities that deserve a little more recognition and therefore this is why they are Men and Women of the 2003 respectively.

Man Of The Year
1. George Galloway
2. Tony Benn
3. Michael Moore

Woman Of The Year
1. Countess Zapak
2. Pink
3. Kate Moss


If you're sick of seeing the same old faces (Rachel Stevens, Jodie Marsh, Tina O'Brien) in the Sexiest Women Of The Year round up this years selections might float your boat.

Sexiest Man
1. Johnny Depp
2. Ian Lostprophets
3. Christiano Ronaldo

Sexiest Woman
1. Alesha Misteeq
2. Alex Parks
3. Brodie Dalle (Distillers)


Best TV Show
1. Bo Selecta
2. Teachers
3. Little Britain

Best Film
1. Pirates Of The Carribean
2. Thirteen
3. Pure

Best Video / DVD
1. Coupling Box Set
2. Peter Kay Live At The Bolton Albert Halls
3. Rolling Stones Four Flicks 4 DVD Set

Best Actor
1. Daniel Day Lewis (Gangs Of New York)
2. Robert Carlyle (Hitler: The Rise Of Evil)
3. Harry Eden (Pure / Real Men / Peter Pan)

Best Actress
1. Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
2. Amanda Holden (Cutting It)
3. Carla Henry (Revengers Tragedy)

Best Arts Performance
1. Taboo @ The Lowry
2. Hobsons Choice @ Royal Exchange Theatre
3. Dave Spikey @ Manchester Comedy Store

Book Of The Year
1. The Book Against God by James Ward
2. Dude, Where's My Country By Michael Moore
3. Clubland Confidential by Frank Owen


Worst Band / Artist
Justin Timberlake

Worst New Band
Kings Of Leon

Worst Album
Travis - 12 Memories

Worst Live Act
REM @ Move Festival

Worst Single
Stop Living The Lie by David Sneddon

Worst Film
The Hulk

Worst TV Program
The Salon

Least Attractive Man
Anthony from Blue

Least Attractive Woman
Jade Goody

Villain Of The Year
Blair & Bush - as bad as each other

Post your own choices for the Best and Worst of 2003 on the Message Board

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