Louise Wener talks about the music
industry, memories of the Britpop era and her new life as
a novelist and writer
Over a Chinese meal and champagne, Sleeper signed their
first record deal for £12,000. To celebrate, an executive
from their new record label took Wener to a urinal and offered
her her first line of cocaine.
Wener's plan to be provocative at first won the band much-
needed coverage. Then it backfired: 'I was depicted as sex-crazed
and whorish, and summarily demonised.'
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From a suburban
childhood consumed by glamour and escapism to the heady heights
of life as a pop star and celebrity - the dream came true for one
East London girl.
It-girl Louise Wener with the band Sleeper
In the mid-90s,
at the height of Britpop and the media's infatuation with Cool Britannia,
Louise Wener found fame as lead singer with indie darlings
Sleeper and went on to record three top ten albums and eight top
of the time, it was an insanely privileged and exhilarating experience,"
says Ilford-born Louise in an exclusive interview with BBC London,
"For some of the time, it was frustrating and crushing...not
unlike swimming through mud."
As Britpop began
to fizzle out and the hits dried up, Sleeper became casualties of
in-house friction at their record company:
a scummy industry," cautions Louise, "It's very drug-addled
and all the cliches you've heard are part of it."
These days the
old Sleeper photographs, press cuttings and band mementoes are tucked
away in cardboard boxes for Louise has swapped life as a pop star
for writing novels - or as she puts it - "a job fit for a grown-up".
McQueen', her first novel, tells the story of a confused, emotionally
illiterate London man chasing overdue pop fame.
It took several
attempts to write but six months later she had an agent and a two-book
without doubt, the most rewarding thing I've ever done."
with a new life beckoning as a novelist and writer
Content with her
new life, Louise acknowledges that getting into print for the first
time can be a struggle:
"It does help
to be famous because someone will want to read your manuscript,"
she told us, "But it doesn't matter after that...because the
book has to do its own thing."
Watch the interview with Louise Wener in full:
(3,610 Kb/ 02'17")
McQueen by Louise Wener is published by Hodder & Stoughton,