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Log 2011

My Summer Reading: Writer Louise Wener

posted Aug 22, 2011, 6:54 AM by Vu Nguyen


My Summer Reading: Writer Louise Wener
Written by Bruce Dessau, Monday, 22 August 2011 00:05

Lousie Wener during happy days in Britpop stars Sleeper
Ed Sirrs 

Louise Wener rose to prominence as part of the Britpop movement in the mid-Nineties. While Blur and Oasis flew the flag for laddism and Suede flirted with camp glam, Wener was one of the scene’s few high-profile women, inspired by David Bowie, Morrissey and Debbie Harry. Her band Sleeper released eight top 40 singles, most memorably “Inbetweener”, and three hit albums. They supported Blur and toured America and Japan, but Wener became disillusioned with the  sexism and machinations of the music industry, where it was often assumed she was the token woman in the band rather than the co-songwriter. Sleeper split up in 1998 and Wener started to write fiction, publishing four novels. In 2010 she published her colourful account of her journey from suburbia to stardom, Different For Girls. It was recently published in paperback under the title Just For One Day: Adventures in Britpop.

1. What are you reading at the moment?

I'm dipping in and out of two books, Heartburn and Crazy Salad, both by Nora Ephron. Heartburn is a novel based on the break up of her marriage and manages to be tender, acerbic and very funny all at once. Crazy Salad is a collection of essays and journalism that she wrote in the late Sixties and Seventies. Again, the writing is brilliantly observed and covers subjects like Watergate and the women's movement in a way that makes you look at them afresh. I love her writing.

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Don't look back in anger

posted Aug 17, 2011, 3:45 PM by Vu Nguyen


Don't look back in anger

By KAYLEY KRAVITZ | August 17, 2011

FIGHTING FIT Martin Rossiter of Gene now plays the keys in Call Me Jolene and teaches school children for a living.  

Someone once told me, "Britpop is dead. Get over it." But even when the impact, effect, and urgency of a subculture slowly fades away, its principal players remain in the trenches, left to make sense of a world without pop stardom. It's been more than 15 years since Britpop's heyday, and with the exception of one man – the Manic Street Preachers' Richey Edwards, who disappeared suddenly in 1995 – the rest of the cast is still trying to get by, just like the rest of us. Here's what they're up to these days...


Louise Wener, vocalist, Sleeper: Left behind the Sleeperblokes in 1998 to pursue a writing career and motherhood. She's written four novels, and in 2010, switched gears and published her autobiography, "Just For One Day: Adventures In Britpop."

Donna Matthews, guitarist, Elastica: Split from a brief romance with Menswe@r's Chris Gentry and a slightly longer one with Elastica, then proceeded to go bat shit crazy and reinvent herself as a born-again Christian and music therapist.


Martin Rossiter, vocalist, Gene: Following Gene's split in 2004, Rossiter went to work as a school teacher, and led his band's brief 2008 reunion to honor of their former manager's 50th birthday. A mouthpiece for social change through his Twitter account, the Rozzer has stayed active in the British music scene playing in the Brighton-based group Call Me Jolene. His solo album is due out later this year.

Richey Edwards, guitarist, Manic Street Preachers: Is he dead or isn't he? That is the question. Though Edwards' Vauxhall Cavalier was discovered by a bridge known for suicides, the missing Manic's body was never found, and fans have reported Richey sightings everywhere from rural America to India, while psychics claim to routinely communicate with his spirit. In 2008, Edwards' family closed his case and declared him "presumed dead." The remaining Manics released Journal for Plague Lovers in 2009, an album comprised entirely of Richey's left-behind lyrics. Wherever he is, we hope this troubled glamour twin is at peace.

Sources: Personal accounts and interactions, fan blogs, online reports, UK publications and John Harris' The Last Party.

Electrelane interview

posted Aug 16, 2011, 5:05 AM by Vu Nguyen


The Greater Times: Electrelane Discuss Their Return
Laura Snapes , August 16th, 2011 05:40

As Electrelane prepare to play what might be their last gig at XOYO tonight, Mia Clarke talks to Laura Snapes about their "emotional" return


I went to a really disappointing talk recently where Louise Wener from Sleeper said, in so many words, that there are next to no great female bands in music at the moment. It took a lot of effort not to stand up and scream. Do you think we're in a good place regarding that at the moment? On one hand, I love seeing a band like Warpaint do incredibly well, but loathe how much of what's written about them comments on their looks, and their famous mates - as if they couldn't have had this success by themselves.

MC: It's very disappointing to hear that Louise said that! I do think that there are a fair amount of female bands doing well compared to ten years ago, which is wonderful, but you're right— looks are always commented on more with female bands compared to male ones. I recently checked out a video about Kate Nash's Rock'N'Roll for Girls After School Music Club and saw the statistic that only 14% of the 75,000 members of the Performing Rights Society are female, so there's still a long way to go.

Louise Wener at Latitude 2011

posted Jul 20, 2011, 3:34 PM by Vu Nguyen


Courtesy of Absolute Radio:

Beyond Britpop: Whatever happened to the class of '95?

posted Jul 1, 2011, 6:07 PM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated Jul 1, 2011, 6:12 PM ]


Beyond Britpop: Whatever happened to the class of '95?
Saturday, 2 July 2011

Pulp are just the latest Britpop band to re-form. What happened to the other musicians who defined the Nineties? Alice Jones meets the retired rock stars

Michael Venning

Louise Wener photographed at her home in Brighton. She says: 'When I look back at Britpop now, it was like a bonkers holiday that we all went on'

Photos More pictures



Then: Lead singer, Sleeper. Poster girl for Britpop. Sleeper's big break came when they supported Blur on their Parklife tour in 1995. They went on to score three UK Top 10 albums, including 1996's platinum-selling The It Girl. They split up in 1998.

Defining Britpop moment: The video for "Inbetweener", shot in an overlit supermarket and featuring a cameo from Dale Winton, shaking tins of Pringles like maracas.

Now: Novelist. Since 2001, Wener has written four well-received books, including The Big Blind about a female poker player. Her memoir, Just for One Day: Adventures in Britpop is out now.

Lives: Brighton, with her husband, Sleeper drummer Andy MacLure, and two children. She is 44 years old.

'When I look back at Britpop now, it was like a bonkers holiday that we all went on. It was mostly enormous fun. We toured the world and played amazing places. It was the culmination of a lot of things I'd wanted to do as a kid, and as such it had a dreamlike quality. It was also insanely druggy – who had the most cocaine was the definition of who was your best mate. Generally the atmosphere was one of hyper-competitiveness and schadenfreude. The women in particular were encouraged to be competitive, I think because there were fewer of us.

The way people access music now is so different. The idea that you would have a big movement that a whole generation was listening to at the same time, a whole summer that was defined by a certain band or album, is fading. It feels like Britpop might have been the last of that. But there was an innate arrogance to the movement – a belief in its cultural importance and relevance, above and beyond what its real worth was. My tendency is to deflate things like that; even at the time, I felt that people were really puffed-up about it. As for politics, I think it's the most naff thing a musician can do. The job of a musician is to stand on the outside and look in, criticise it and jab away with a pointy finger – not hang out in a posh suit and quaff champagne.

When Sleeper split up in 1998, Britpop was sort of falling apart. Our third album wasn't very successful and we thought, 'Let's pull our own plug. Step out before we're thrown out'. It seemed like the sensible thing to do. The first thing I did was work on a solo record but my heart was not really in it. So I bought a second-hand typewriter and started writing on the quiet in my little flat. It was the perfect way to step away from the music industry madness. I'd always wanted to do it; having written lyrics for so long, to suddenly have this empty canvas of 90,000 words seemed incredibly liberating. And having been written about for so long, the idea of owning words felt really tantalising. I wrote two half-novels that weren't good enough and junked them. Then I started on a third and felt it was good enough. So I sent it off, signed an agent and got a publishing deal. It was a slow burn. You can't just ditch one thing and immediately leap into another.

Now I write two-and-a-half days a week because one of my children is at school and the other is at nursery. I'm insanely disciplined. Publishing is much more sedate than music and the people working in it seem to be much more mature. There's something about the music business which attracts eternally childlike people – even those who are controlling it. It's been quite refreshing to have proper conversations with people.

These days I mainly listen to CBeebies theme tunes. Andy, who teaches electro at a music college, keeps up with music much more than I do. I've let that go and that feels right. When I see a great gig, of course I miss it. I get a real Proustian feeling. It's like going back to school where you recognise everything but it all looks a little bit smaller. It's a world I utterly know how to inhabit. I know what's gone on backstage, what the band have been doing that day – and I just feel a little ache, I suppose."

Louise Wener to appear at Latitude (July 14-17, 2011)

posted Jul 1, 2011, 3:51 PM by Vu Nguyen


Latitude: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon could prove to be highlight of the season's artiest festival
By Rob Leigh 1/07/2011

For no little reason is Latitude known as the artsiest highlight of the festival season.


Away from the music, Latitude’s arts programme will bring together some of the most striking talents from theatre, poetry, literary, comedy, cabaret, dance, art, fashion and film.

Linton Kwesi Johnson, Louise Wener, Tim Key, Simon Armitage, Andrew Smith and Alexei Sayle will be on hand to give readings of their literary work, while the likes of The Gate, Flawless, Sadler’s Wells and English National Ballet will dazzle with their stage and dance productions.