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28 October 2014
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Sleeper awakes as Britpop's It-girl turns lit-girl
30.07.02
Louise Wener
The old Sleeper photographs, press cuttings and band mementoes are tucked away in cardboard boxes for Louise Wener has swapped life as a pop star for writing novels
spacer Louise Wener, former front woman of indie band Sleeper and pin up of the Britpop era, has put music behind her and taken to writing novels instead...
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SEE MORE:

VIDEO video
Louise Wener talks about the music industry, memories of the Britpop era and her new life as a novelist and writer

watch our report

POP LIFE:

Starting out:
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.

The press:
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.'

LINKS:

Louise Wener

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SEE ALSO:

More Entertainment news, London's Gig Guide and the latest Film and Theatre openings in Entertainment


 

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.

Louise Wener with Sleeper
Britpop's 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 forty singles.

"For much 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."

Casualties

As Britpop began to fizzle out and the hits dried up, Sleeper became casualties of in-house friction at their record company:

"It's quite 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".

New life

'Goodnight Steve 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 deal:

"It was, without doubt, the most rewarding thing I've ever done."

Louise Wener
Wener today 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."

videoWatch the interview with Louise Wener in full: click here for more
(3,610 Kb/ 02'17")

(Goodnight Steve McQueen by Louise Wener is published by Hodder & Stoughton, price £10.00)

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