Just For One Day: Adventures in Britpop by Louise Wener

A fascinating account of rock stardom by the former lead singer of Sleeper, describing the long and winding path from geeky teenage girl into 90s sex symbol with wit and warmth.


I was only ten when Blur and Oasis competed for the title of Kings of Britpop with simultaneous single releases; the wash of British flags, popping flashbulbs and sneering Northerners didn’t actually leave much room for the actual songs to be played anywhere I went and so I couldn’t actually form an opinion on which I preferred. For the record, I liked the look of Blur better because the other lot looked unfriendly. To a ten year old, that’s important.

As far as the mainstream press was concerned, only these two bands existed…like, ever, which is why it’s very refreshing to get an opinion on the whole crazy period from someone who actually fought in the trenches alongside Damon, Liam et al. Sleeper released three albums between 1995 and 1997, going platinum with album two and getting caught up in the whole crazy period of touring the world, meeting fans and getting into the whole ‘rock star excess’ thing more spiritedly than most.

The author of the book grew up a geeky teen – singing into hairbrushes, recording weekly episodes of Top of the Pops onto cassettes and wearing them out through constant playback. As her teenage years in the suburbs wore on, she became determined to break free of small town life – eventually doing so and ending up in a freezing bedsit with her guitarist boyfriend. Having set up the group Sleeper by this time, the band got their heads down just as Britpop took off, and the rest is history…

…Apart from the bit where she’s being serenaded by Michael Stipe in front of 100,000 REM fans, and getting together with the drummer despite the guitarist still being on the scene, and so much more of the – somehow still seemingly ordinary – surrealism that one can only imagine gets in the way of the rock star life.

I immediately loved Wener’s first book, a work of fiction called Goodnight, Steve McQueen about – yep, you guessed it – a band struggling to hit the big time. She really brings her characters to life and was able to weave in plenty of the humdrum existence that any hard-working dreamer should come to expect. Just For One Day is much the same, except that it’s almost entirely true; based on the experiences of a young woman who bucked the odds, did it all, and lived to tell the tale.

One thought on “Just For One Day: Adventures in Britpop by Louise Wener

  1. Pingback: Don’t Look Back At Britpop | Alpha Signal Five

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