He's the coolest man on the planet, according to the NME. So who, exactly, is Alex Turner?

Today's young rock fans are bestowing hero status on someone with a little self-indulgence and a bit more everyday realness. Step forward Alex Turner, the 19-year-old lead singer of Sheffield's Arctic Monkeys, who was yesterday named by NME as the coolest man on the planet.

Arctic Monkeys can do nothing wrong at present, with their first single, I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor, going to number one and remaining in the top 10 for five weeks.

Their success is largely down to Turner's gritty Northern lyrics, which he delivers with a swagger that stops short of the arrogance and posturing shown by previous British rock stars, from Liam Gallagher of Oasis to Johnnie Borrell of Razorlight.

One track, Mardy Bum, uses Turner's Sheffield vernacular to berate a girlfriend for her sourness. "Now then Mardy Bum/I see your frown/And it's like looking down the barrel of a gun."

Turner's propulsion from anonymity to stardom has been remarkably swift. Just three years after being given a guitar for Christmas and forming a band with his schoolfriend Jamie Cook, the Yorkshire teenager has the world at his feet.

NME's associate editor, Alex Needham, said Arctic Monkeys songs were performed "in a language that people use every day but is not put in the context of a pop song very often".

Needham said that Turner offered an exciting alternative to more manufactured elements of the music industry. "I think what people really want at the moment is authenticity," he said. "[Turner] is almost like a new breed of rock star, almost like year zero. He has come straight from the audience on to the stage."

The Arctic Monkeys have generated an extraordinary groundswell of interest in a band so young. Partly that is the result of frenzied coverage from NME and other media outlets with a vested interest in building up emerging British bands. But it is also due to a grassroots approval that has grown on the internet.

As Needham points out: "Their demos were disseminated around message boards in a totally new way of doing things. The Arctic Monkeys have worked right outside the record company structure and that is really radical."

They may have started underground but Arctic Monkeys are already selling out large London venues and have gone international, playing live in New York, Stockholm and Barcelona. Their new single, When The Sun Goes Down, will be released in January and is already guaranteed to be a hit.

It was the Babyshambles frontman and former Libertine Doherty who, along with other bands such as the Others, introduced a new era of closer relationships between British bands and their young fans.

But Doherty, who was joint number one in the cool list last year with fellow member of the Libertines Carl Barat, has slipped down to number seven. This in spite of being all over the NME and the newspapers on an almost weekly basis, as his relationship with the supermodel Kate Moss has provided British pop with its own soap opera.

A decade after the Gallagher brothers invaded the mainstream consciousness, the petulant Liam is once again a cool icon, second only to Turner.

And in spite of Eminem and Morrissey dropping off the list altogether, there is room for Bob Dylan, at number nine, making him the oldest example of cool on NME's list.

As well as an Arctic Monkey, there is a King Monkey on the list in the shape of Ian Brown, who at number 11 is cool again 16 years after the Stone Roses' prime.

Whether Alex Turner will be bothered about heading such a list is a moot point. Even Needham admits the down-to-earth Yorkshire teenager will probably be "a bit embarrassed by it". Then again, he says, "the people who are the most nonchalant are the coolest".

The Cool List

Last year's places in brackets

1. (New) Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys

2. (New) Liam Gallagher, Oasis

3. (New) Kanye West

4. (New) Antony, Antony and the Johnsons (above)

5. (9) Brandon Flowers, The Killers

6. (17) Devendra Banhart

7. (=1) Pete Doherty, Babyshambles

8. (New) Jemima Pearl, Be Your Own Pet

9. (New) Bob Dylan

10. (=1) Carl Barat, The Libertines

11. (New) Ian Brown

12. (New) Damon Albarn (left)

13. (New) Ryan Jarman, The Cribs

14. (New) Julian Casablancas, The Strokes

15. (New) Ninja, Go! Team

16. (New) Paul Epworth

17. (New) Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day

18. (New) Tom Atkin, The Paddingtons

19. (New) Henry Harrison, The Mystery Jets

20. (New) Gerard Way, My Chemical Romance

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Advisor

£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A chance to work for an extreme...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Media Sales - £36,000 OTE

£28000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'