10 Sexiest Nerds

It’s very much been a week for nerds. The coolest video on YouTube is a very not-safe-for-work celebration of Ray Bradbury, and new information on the life of Albert Einstein has been made public, revealing him as a dangerously charismatic philanderer whose wife I hope was not too put out by his outlandish behaviour. (It was said to have been a “marriage of convenience”, and since she didn’t fling an atom bomb at him when he wrote to her daily describing his affairs, we can only guess she didn’t mind too much.)

Meanwhile, teen goth favourite Robert Pattinson topped Glamour‘s Sexiest Man poll, in a list that seemed dominated by sci-fi and fantasy favourites. If Einstein could charm the socks off Marilyn Monroe with sheer brainpower, let’s take a look at some of the other brainy hotties out there …

Louis Theroux

The 40 year-old British-American journalist is best known for his Weird Weekends and When Louis Met … television series. The Singapore-born son of novelist Paul Theroux (and cousin of actor Justin Theroux), he went to school with Nick Clegg and then gained a modern history degree from Oxford. After a stint at the satirical Spy magazine, Theroux worked as a correspondent on Michael Moore’s TV Nation which led to his own television shows. One of the teenaged members of the Westboro Baptist Church developed a very obvious crush on Louis in his famous documentary, The Most Hated Family In America.


Thomas Hertog

This guy is a theoretical physicist and colleague of Stephen Hawking. He works at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and is most famous for “inventing the universe backwards“. So, like a reverse Carl Sagan, but hot.


Wil Wheaton

He’s come a long way since he played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. A long-standing spokesman for the nerd community with his blog Wil Wheaton Dot Net, he writes about video games for The Onion AV Club and has provided voice acting in high profile games such as GTA IV. He’s now best known as Felicia Day’s lust-bunny in The Guild.


Mike Patton

The Faith No More frontman is also a composer, producer and film and voice actor. He’s released works on John Zorn’s avant-garde Tzadik label, the first of which was 34 tracks of shouting, screaming, squeaking and moaning (no actual music or singing). Just goes to show how much you can get away with when you look that much like Johnny Depp. Earlier this year, Mondo Cane featured cover versions of 50s Italian pop performed by Patton and a 65-strong orchestra. He was also the voice of the zombies in Left 4 Dead, and the voice of the monsters in I Am Legend.

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Top 100 Singles of All Time (25-1)


So here’s the last lot, and though most of these would be in their places in any event, some acts on my list would be higher up if they’d have released certain songs as singles. Still, these are all truly great songs.

25. Dead End Street, The Kinks

24. Run To The Hills, Iron Maiden

23. Juke Joint Jezebel, KMFDM

22. Children of the Revolution, T-Rex

21. Head Like A Hole, Nine Inch Nails

20. Wash It All Off, Foetus

19. Hangar 18, Megadeth

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Top 100 Singles of All Time (50-26)


It’s a great feeling to listen to some of these again, sometimes after a few years since I last heard them. Even the cheesy ones like The Lebanon – it might have the seventh-worst lyrics of all time, but it’s still a superb song.

A lot of these are tracks my parents used to play when I was little, hence the bias towards 60s rock and Motown, but the most striking thing to me is that the music I came to love when I reached my teens has clear roots in those earlier sounds.

50. Try a Little Tenderness, Commitments

49. Face To Face, Siouxsie and the Banshees

48. Sweet Child O’ Mine, Guns N’ Roses

47. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana

46. Master of Puppets, Metallica

45. Close To You, Carpenters

44. Rock Lobster, The B-52’s

43. Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush

42. Light My Fire, The Doors

41. Reach Out (I’ll Be There), The Four Tops

40. Walk This Way, Aerosmith + Run DMC

39. Temple of Love, Sisters of Mercy + Ofra Haza

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Top 100 Singles of All Time (75-51)


If you only like music that it’s OK to like, go read Pitchfork. ­čśÇ

I counted: my favourite tracks include 31 from the 1960s and 28 from the 1990s. Just five from the 00s and only one from the 50s made it in there.

My music taste is overwhelmingly rock (51%), though of the 31 pop tracks I picked, the “Motown” style accounted for 13 – more than any other subgenre on my list.

Here’s the next part of the countdown:

75. Your Song, Elton John

74. Lebanon, Human League

73. 7 Seconds, Neneh Cherry + Youssou N’Dour

72. World Around, Levitation

71. I Wanna Be Your Dog, Stooges

70. Gimme Shelter, The Rolling Stones

69. Vermillion, Slipknot

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Top 100 Singles of All Time (100-76)

I’m something of a cultural iconoclast at the best of times, but at least 3/4 of Rolling Stone‘s list of the best songs of all time* did not deserve to be there at all (does anyone genuinely believe that I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a good song?), and they’d made some very notable omissions.

First of all I removed all the overhyped songs that are simply OK, and then reordered the tracks and filled in the blanks to form a top 100 of my favourite singles.

The criteria: pure, simple enjoyment. I don’t care if they’re unfashionable or cheesy, it’s a simple chart of what makes me smile. I can click on any of those links and think “f***ing hell, that song’s fantastic!

Also, the songs actually had to have been released as singles, so I can’t fill it up with favourite album tracks (but of course that also precludes older songs). I also tried to balance it so any one act was not over-represented (to avoid it consisting solely of Bowie and Queen). I was too distracted by the furore surrounding him to really be able to enjoy the music of Michael Jackson, hence omission. Sure, it’s unscientific, but any subjective list like this is an exercise in futility, since ranking order would change hour to hour let alone day to day. Ultimately its sole purpose is to give an excuse to listen to some great music.

Sure, a lot of great songs aren’t on here – but if I included them all, it wouldn’t fit on a top 1000 …

100. Black Steel, Tricky

99. If I Can’t Have You, Yvonne Ellimon

98. Theme From S-Express, S-Express

97. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

96. Knock On Wood, Eddie Floyd

95. Love’s Sweet Exile, Manic Street Preachers

94. To The End, Blur

93. Give It Away, Red Hot Chili Peppers

92. Poison, Alice Cooper

91. America (What Time Is Love), KLF

90. NWO, Ministry

89. Nothing Really Matters, Madonna

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