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December 27 2009

Get 'em while they're hot

Now that 2009 is so last year - well, almost - it's time to look forward to the next 12 months and the start of a new decade. Here we present our guide to 2010: the most promising newcomers, how the old guard are staying ahead of the game, plus the latest creative thinking in the arts, technology, politics and culture

1 POP Ellie Goulding Ellie Goulding's success in 2010 may be preordained by industry insiders, but don't hold that against her. "I'm a country girl – I couldn't be less sceney if I tried," she laughs. Blessed with sirenlike tones and a gift for cleverly skewed pop, the 22-year-old Welsh singer-songwriter (pictured below) has already been named the winner of next year's Critics Choice Brit Award, last year bestowed on Florence + The Machine, and is putting the finishing touches to her debut album, due out in February. Though weaned on folk and chart pop, her songs bear the imprint of more recent discoveries: electro and the bassy throb of dubstep (reclusive producer Burial is a fan) but alongside these smart appropriations, there's evidence of a highly individual talent at work. "I'd like to think I'll always be morphing into different things," she says. ALLY CARNWATH

2 POP The Drums Singer Jonathan Pierce gamely describes the sound of the Drums in three words as "Rock. And. Roll!" but for a longer summary imagine a marriage of Factory Records miserablism and West Coast sunshine, nowhere better evinced than on "Let's Go Surfing" (none of them surf, by the way) and its catchy whistled melody. The four Floridians released their EP Summertime last October which, along with the band's acclaimed live performances, has prompted NME to announce them "New York's official Coolest New Band". You can see them become London's coolest new band when they play this side of the Atlantic on the NME Shockwaves tour in February. HERMIONE HOBY

3 GAMES Bioshock 2 Expectations are high for the sequel to 2007's Bioshock, a first-person shooter with such an intricate design and storyline that it felt less a game, more an experience. Set once again in the underwater dystopia of Rapture, but 10 years later, this time the player takes the role of one of the Big Daddy characters (who, with their charges, the Little Sisters, were at the heart of the original). Out February. GILES RICHARDS

4 BOOKS Novelists get real Neither Dave Eggers nor Jonathan Safran Foer have exactly shied away from serious issues in their work to date – in 2006, Eggers wrote What Is the What, the fictionalised autobiography of a Sudanese child soldier, while Foer's last novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, confronted 9/11. But in March two of America's hippest young novelists are temporarily turning their backs on fiction in favour of reportage. Eggers' latest, Zeitoun (Hamish Hamilton), tells the terrifying true story of a Muslim New Orleans family whose lives were wrenched apart in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Eggers has dropped the po-mo pyrotechnics in favour of a plain style that underlines the horror of the city's descent into chaos. Despite the quiet tone, this is a nightmarish book, indicting the Bush administration and revealing the racism endemic in America's police. As for Foer, Eating Animals (Hamish Hamilton) is a spirited, emotional and well-researched investigation into what our taste for flesh really means. Foer brings the industrialised miseries of factory farming to reeking life and employs his usual typographic tricks to keep the subject fresh. OLIVIA LAING

5 BOOKS Major titles The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis (Cape). Set in an Italian castle during the 1970s, Amis's new novel – six years in the writing – promises to be "blindingly autobiographical".

• Burley Cross Postbox Theft by Nicola Barker (4th Estate). Nicola Barker has made a career out of unnerving takes on everyday life. After 2007's Booker-nominated Darkmans, she turns her beady eye on Yorkshire with this comic novel about two policemen.

• The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris (Viking). Ferris's first novel was a hilariously acute take on the world of work. Here he takes up the story of a man who leaves his family, his job and his home, walking his way out of the securities we take for granted.

• Solar by Ian McEwan (Cape). McEwan has in recent years become increasingly interested in the faultline between art and science. This satire on climate change promises to be thought-provoking and very funny.

• The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Sceptre). After the autobiographical Black Swan Green, Mitchell returns to the big canvas with this historical novel set in a Japanese outpost of the Dutch empire. OL

6 BOOKS The Twitter author We've all had a laugh at the expense of our parents at some point, but while most of us save our anecdotes for the pub, since August American Justin Halpern has been sharing his father Sam's wry, expletive-laden comments on Twitter. Having amassed thousands of followers, the 29-year-old creator of Shit My Dad Says has signed a book deal with Harper Collins and hooked up with CBS to create a family comedy. "My dad's crazy, not actually insane, but he's, like, old school," Halpern has explained. "A mix of a blue-collar redneck and this smart doctor of nuclear medicine." Classic lines include: "Why the fuck would I want to live to 100? I'm 73 and shit's starting to get boring. By the way, there's no money left when I go, just fyi." With the book due out in May and Will & Grace creators executive-producing the sitcom, Halpern's set to make a fortune. So next time you roll your eyeballs at your parents, just remember you could be sitting on comedy gold. IMOGEN CARTER

7 THEATRE Royal Court It's been a bumper year for the Royal Court with hit shows Enron and Jerusalem enjoying praise, awards and West End transfers. And it seems the only way is up. The election year finds several playwrights tackling social class, including Roy Williams, Bola Agbaje and Laura Wade, whose feverishly anticipated second play Posh, shrewdly scheduled for April, centres on the Bullingdon Club-style debauchery once whipped up by David Cameron and his cohorts. Continuing 2009's trend of young female playwrights finding success, four of the Court's seven new shows are by women, including Spur of the Moment, a widely tipped debut from the daughter of a canon at Westminster Abbey, Anya Reiss. The 18-year-old is already being compared with playwriting wunderkind Polly Stenham. IC

8 ART Gauguin at Tate Modern Super-fertile scenes of glowing guavas, raspberry rivers and peach-breasted girls reaching for strange fruit in the Eden of Tahiti: Gauguin is as familiar as former housemate Van Gogh. Or is he? Amazingly, it is 50 years since the last major survey in Britain, not least because the works are almost too expensive to insure. But this September Tate Modern has managed to borrow more than 100 works from all over the world for this momentous event, including some key masterpieces such as Self-Portrait with Manao tu papau and The Vision After the Sermon, to give a whole new view of Gauguin's art for today's generation. LAURA CUMMING

9 DANCE Jonathan Watkins Jonathan Watkins is a pig. At least, he is in the Royal Ballet's current production of Tales of Beatrix Potter, where he dances Alexander, the "hopelessly volatile" brother of Pigling Bland. More glamorous parts await the 25-year-old First Artist, however, including Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, a role traditionally assigned to fast-track male dancers. In-the-know fans have also been tracking his progress as a choreographer; in February a new Watkins ballet will be performed on the Royal Opera House stage. The piece, as yet unnamed, will slice into a series of contemporary lives – young people at a house-party, a TV-obsessed couple, a workaholic man, a lonely single woman – and examine the dynamics of connection and alienation. "It's about the importance of identifying yourself as an individual," says Watkins. "Only then can people learn to embrace each other's differences." The commission is the culmination of a decade of creativity by the dancer, who won the Kenneth MacMillan prize for choreography when he was 15. On the night of the new piece's premiere, Watkins also dances a testing role in Wayne McGregor's Infra. Catch him if you can. LUKE JENNINGS

10 COMEDY Watson and Oliver Perhaps the comparison with French and Saunders was inevitable for any female double act signed up by the BBC, but Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver are happy to acknowledge the pair as an influence, along with Morecambe and Wise, or Fry and Laurie. Like other classic double acts, their comedy rests on an easy familiarity with one another – not surprising, since the pair, now 32, have been friends since their schooldays.

After pursuing separate careers – Lorna in stand-up and improv, Ingrid in straight acting – they decided to do the show they'd always talked about before they hit 30. In November 2005 they booked the Canal Café theatre in London, gave themselves four weeks to write a sketch show, and haven't looked back. That first show won them an agent and a promoter willing to take them to Edinburgh the following year, where their surreal, character-driven sketches attracted the attention of comedy writer and producer Robert Popper and BBC head of comedy Mark Freeland. Three acclaimed Edinburgh stints later, they are about to make their television debut in a BBC2 pilot being filmed in March– a rare instance of a new act being launched straight to a terrestrial channel.

"We don't think of what we write as 'female comedy'," says Ingrid. "We play a lot of male characters, and animals. But our audiences have been very mixed so the hope is that we'll have a wide appeal." Lorna adds: "We just write what we think is funny. It might seem quite mainstream, but then there's a twist." STEPHANIE MERRITT

11 FILM Alice in Wonderland Expect Tim Burton's reworking of Lewis Carroll's classic tale, due for release in March, to be as mind-bendingly strange as his source material. Alice, now a headstrong 17-year-old, goes back down the rabbit hole where she sets out to free Wonderland from the reign of the despotic Red Queen. Australian actress Mia Wasikowska plays Alice and Johnny Depp is in his tripped-out element as the Mad Hatter. A combination of live action and motion capture technology has been used to help Burton recreate the hallucinatory quality of Carroll's story. AC

12 FILM AND TV Political biopics It's too easy to forget what fascinating political times we've lived through, even recently. This is remedied in 2010 with the third in Peter Morgan's "Blair trilogy" (after The Deal and The Queen), with Michael Sheen starring again in The Special Relationship, which focuses on the power-plays our PM enjoyed/suffered with Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, in Mo on Channel 4 in January, Julie Walters reminds us what crucial walk-on parts the late Mo Mowlam played in our political narrative, from the rise of New Labour, to Irish peace, to the bitter fallings-out over Iraq. It was always going to be about time to do Mandela. Clint Eastwood's Invictus, telling how Nelson cleverly used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to spur on unity, opens here in February. Shortly afterwards comes the BBC4 biopic Mrs Mandela, a mesmerising portrayal of the decades of traumas and stresses that poisoned Winnie. EUAN FERGUSON

13 THEATRE Bristol's renaissance Tom Morris's first production as artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic promises to take the theatre out of the doldrums and into the news in March. Juliet And Her Romeo, which the co-director of War Horse has been working on for 12 years with producer Sean O'Connor, has Shakespeare's words; but the lovers are in their 80s and are resident in a Verona retirement home. SUSANNAH CLAPP

14 TECHNOLOGY Personal apps Bored with your blog? Tired of Twitter? In 2010, celebrities and any self-respecting member of the technorati will abandon these tired mediums and instead develop their own app. Your own app means you must matter, not least because it involves serious development skills. To do what? Any form of personal branding is the answer but it doesn't really matter. In an age when everyone can be famous for 15 tweets, the personal app will itself act as a status symbol. CASPAR LLEWELLYN SMITH

15 CLASSICAL Amanda Echalaz The name Amanda Echalaz started circulating first when Opera Holland Park cast her as the impassioned, sexy heroine in Montemezzi's rarity L'Amore dei tre Re. Then came OHP's Tosca, to such rave reviews that when Angela Gheorghiu called in sick at the Royal Opera House one night in July 2009, they asked the 31-year-old South African to cover, which she did sensationally. Puccini's heroine is now one of her trump cards and Echalaz is poised for stardom. The UK event to watch for is her Tosca at English National Opera in May, staged by the one-time great dramatic soprano, Catherine Malfitano, in her new role as director. FIONA MADDOCKS

16 POLITICS Rising stars • Rushanara Ali's political convictions are grounded in her experiences growing up in east London under a Conservative government. "You couldn't help but be angry at the waste of talent and resource," she says. A Labour party member since the age of 17, whose CV includes stints at the Home and Foreign Offices, Ali has always remained most active in her own community. The 34-year-old's work on social innovation projects with east London-based think tank the Young Foundation saw her named one of Britain's 25 most influential Muslim women in a poll last year and in the coming general election, she will contest the Bethnal Green and Bow seat currently held by George Galloway's Respect party.

"It will be a barometer seat without a doubt," says Liberal Democrat Ed Fordham of his battle against veteran Labour MP Glenda Jackson in Hampstead and Kilburn. The 38-year-old, a former Lib Dem campaigns officer who is expected to play a major part in shaping the party's future agenda, needs an estimated gain of 474 votes to be elected, in one of the closest-fought battles of the coming election. Fordham, has already won some influential supporters. Former American governor Howard Dean, a key figure in Barack Obama's 2008 success, compared Fordham's work on local communities to that of the American president, leading his local paper to dub him the Barack Obama of Hampstead.

From The Weakest Link to prospective parliamentary candidate may be an unusual career trajectory, but it has given Conservative Charlotte Leslie a refreshingly irreverent perspective on Westminster village. "Politics can be eaten up by an ecosystem that is dislocated from the world around it," says the 31-year-old. "You need to be confident smashing that to bits." Leslie only turned to party politics in her mid-20s, when she grew frustrated with her job as a BBC researcher. A crash course followed – first with a job at influential think-tank Policy Exchange, then as special adviser to the then shadow education secretary David Willetts. Her profile has risen rapidly since and she will contest the Bristol North West seat in the coming election. AC

17 FILM AND TV Screen inspired by the 80s For much of the Noughties, it seemed, we were constantly stuttering towards an 80s revival. There was always a band reunion, a new fashion trend, or the return of the Wispa bar or some such. This time round, however, it really is happening more solidly, particularly in film and TV. But rather than going back for a wallow, the "creatives" are taking the ideas which enthralled them as teenagers, and in many cases updating them for the digital age.

In Tron: Legacy, for instance, a long-awaited reprise on the cult hit, Jeff Bridges is still stuck in cyberspace but it's a more beautiful, graphically rendered and dangerous cyberspace than in 1982.

Wall Street 2 has Michael Douglas coming out of jail just in time to attempt to predict the crash of 2008. The new Karate Kid has Will Smith's son Jaden in modern times, and in Beijing. It might even be less patronising towards the Chinese, which wouldn't be hard; but it will still have some splendidly silly fights. There's also an A-Team movie, with Liam Neeson in the George Peppard role and an all-new updated Footloose with Chace Crawford in the Kevin Bacon role.

Never fear, though, fans of verity. Martin Amis's Money – adapted in two parts by BBC2 as part of an 80s season – has Nick Frost (the lovable best friend Ed in Shaun of the Dead) as anti-hero John Self, and almost without doubt, all the excess, cocaine, high shoulders and low morals of those strange unhappy days. And Royal Wedding, setting the Charles-Diana marriage against the backdrop of a small Welsh village where they're just beginning in 1981 to feel the bony finger of Margaret Thatcher, promises enough grey skies, fag-smoke, simpering Alice-bands and incipient class war to drag you right back there, kicking. EF

18 POLITICS The Stilettoed Socialist In a political blogosphere dominated by "very right wing, angry men", 20-year-old student Ellie Gellard, or The Stilettoed Socialist as she's known on her blog, is a welcome anomaly. Her thoughtful and passionate posts on Labour politics have earned her a fan in Ed Balls, while her 2,000 followers on Twitter include cabinet ministers and MPs. Politics is in the family, she explains: "Like Mandy, I was born into the Labour movement." Though she hastily adds: "That's the only thing I think I have in common with Mandelson!" Yet the real trigger for her engagement with politics came when she was hospitalised with meningitis aged 15. "I received such incredible care from doctors and nurses that I felt I had a duty to lend a voice to whichever party was going to maintain the quality of the NHS." She describes fellow Tweeter Sarah Brown (who messaged Ellie to invite her to the "Downing Tweet" Christmas Party) as "just brilliant, a real credit to the Labour party", and I imagine Mrs Brown would say the same of her. HH

19 FILM Tahar Rahim Fate may have been smiling on actor Tahar Rahim when he found himself sharing a taxi with one of France's most celebrated directors, Jacques Audiard. But it's now Audiard, best known in this country for The Beat That My Heart Skipped, who must be counting his blessings. Soon after their taxi meeting (Audiard is friends with the TV director Rahim was working with at the time) he cast the virtually unknown actor as the star of his forthcoming film A Prophet. The 28-year-old responded by delivering one of the most brilliant big-screen debuts of recent years. He plays Malik El Djebena, a small-time crook who has been sent down for six years in a French jail. Malik develops from ingenu into ruthless operator, skilled at playing the jail's internal politics to his own advantage, but Rahim invests the role with great sensitivity, so that we find ourselves rooting for him throughout. He is now much in demand; his next role will be in Kevin Macdonald's Roman epic The Eagle of the Ninth. And his performance has helped A Prophet to a tidal wave of acclaim; it won the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes film festival, the best film award at the London film festival, and is widely expected to pick up a nomination for best film at the Oscars. AC

20 ART International Festival of Visual Art The Glasgow Biennial, as it used to be known, gets better every time, buoyed up by the city's famously strong art scene. 2010 features over 50 artists in the museums, galleries, streets, bridges, libraries and hidden architectural spaces of Glasgow. Look out for Fiona Tan's vast video installations, David Shrigley's surreal sculptures in Kelvingrove, Joseph Beuys at the Hunterian and major new commissions from Christoph Buchel and Gerard Byrne. Douglas Gordon opens the festival in April with a special forward and backward playing of 24 Hour Psycho and the banks of the Clyde will resonate with Susan Philipsz's haunting new soundwork. LC

21 TECHNOLOGY Augmented reality If real life isn't interesting enough for you, fear not, because 2010 will see augmented reality come into its own. This means computer-generated images mixing with and adding to reality – so your experience of taking a journey, reading a magazine or going to a gig will alter for ever. We're used to watching swimming races on TV and seeing a virtual line inserted into the image that tells us whether the world record is in danger of being broken. Now with the aid of your mobile phone, you can expect to take such experiences into your own hands. For example, armed with an Android handset you can stand outside Abbey Road studios in London, hold your phone in the direction of the famous zebra crossing and watch the Beatles traversing it on screen, while simultaneously being deluged with a host of relevant facts. Next thing you know, they'll be putting the band back together. CLS

22 ACTING Olivia Grant and Harry Lloyd Olivia Grant is reminding Harry Lloyd of one of his earliest roles. "We were in Chicken Licken together when we were seven," she giggles. "I was a rabbit and he was a narrator. But he says he doesn't remember..." Grant, best known to TV viewers as Lady Adelaide in BBC One's Lark Rise to Candleford, has known Lloyd since they went to primary school together in Notting Hill. They met again, a decade later, both reading English at Oxford University. At 26, with breakthrough TV roles under their belts (and, in Lloyd's case, a teenage internet fanbase since appearing as Will Scarlett in the BBC's Robin Hood), the pair now find themselves extremely busy and appearing in multiple stage and screen projects in 2010.

Grant has just finished shooting Mr Nice, the Rhys Ifans-fronted Howard Marks biopic due out in the autumn, an experience that was, she says "manic". "While Howard Marks was at Balliol he's meant to have had these massive drug parties in his room, and when I originally read the script they were 'party scenes', but when we got to set the wording had been changed to 'orgy sequence'! I was quite perturbed..."

It's a far cry from her role as the very proper Lady Adelaide, reprised this January in the third series of Lark Rise, after a year away playing the disappearing PA Grace Darling in Channel 4's Personal Affairs. Lloyd, meanwhile, is used to playing around with the dark side. His most talked-about part to date has been a scene-stealing role as a Doctor Who villain (in The Family of Blood episode), and he has just recorded a pilot for HBO's Game of Thrones, a major ensemble piece crammed with British luminaries which Lloyd describes with relish as a "dark, political intrigue set in a fantasy world... with incest". First, though, there's the stage-run of The Little Dog Laughed, with Tamsin Greig and Rupert Friend in January. Still, for this former Eton schoolboy, the stage can hold no new fears. "When I first started doing drama I had to play the girls because my voice hadn't broken," he remembers. "I hated it." EMMA JOHN

23 CELEBRITY Rock star offspring The Geldof dynasty are so noughties. The teenage rock star offspring to look out for in 2010 are electropop singer Coco Sumner (daughter of Sting) who records under the name I Blame Coco, Lily Collins (daughter of Phil) who appears in widely anticipated Hollywood film The Blind Side, Georgia May Jagger (papa was a Rolling Stone) who will front Versace's spring 2010 campaign and Leah Weller (daughter of Paul) whose modelling career is in the ascendant after a star turn at 2009's Graduate Fashion Week. AC

24 FOOD Whoopie Pie Traditional Amish snack Whoopie Pie is heading to the UK after a surge of popularity stateside. Taking over from the ubiquitous cupcake, the "pie" involves two mounds of cake sandwiched together with buttercream, and has recently been introduced at hip London cake shop Outsider Tart. LUCY THACKRAY

25 SOCIETY The big idea The defining question of our (western) times might be: "Am I happy enough?" Gary Greenberg, who has been a clinical psychotherapist for 25 years, explores the implications of this question, and the "depression industry" – one of the few growth areas in the shrinking economy – in Manufacturing Depression, a book which will be among the most contentious of the coming year. Using his experience and a range of sources from the Book of Job to the recent meltdown in the financial markets he makes the argument that depression is a cultural rather than a medical phenomenon, a catch-all diagnosis for a disease called the difficulty of life. In America, in particular, where 30 million people are taking $10bn of anti-depressants every year, this is tantamount to heresy. His book grew out of a magazine article in American Harper's in which he brought a spirit of cynical philosophy to his involvement in a clinical trial for depression. TIM ADAMS © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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