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Exit Stage Left

On sale

28th April 2022

Price: £20


The Arts / Music

Select a format

Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472277770

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‘Incredibly moving.’ Guardian

‘Funny and humane.’ Telegraph

‘Most books about pop stars focus on the way we turn average human beings into demi-gods. In writing a book about how they have to turn back into humans Nick Duerden has done both us and them a service.’ – David Hepworth

‘Funny, poignant and often inspirational.’ – Mat Osman

The desire for adulation is a light that never goes out. We live in a culture obsessed by the notion of fame – the heedless pursuit of it; the almost obligatory subsequent fallout. But what’s it like to actually achieve it, and what happens when fame abruptly passes, and shifts, as it does, onto someone else?

This is the point at which pop stars are at their most heroic, because they don’t give up. They keep on striving, keep making music, and refuse simply to ebb away. Some sustain themselves on the nostalgia circuit, others continue to beaver away in the studio, no longer Abbey Road, perhaps, so much as the garden shed. But all of them, in their own individual ways, still dare to dream.

Exit Stage Left features tales of drug addiction, bankruptcy, depression and divorce, but also of optimism, a genuine love of the craft, humility and hope. This is a candid, laugh-out-loud and occasionally shocking look at what happens when the brightest stars fall back down to earth.

Exit Stage Left is the book I’ve long wanted to read about the PTSD-like after-effects of pop stardom – and Nick Duerden is the perfect writer for the job. The pop star’s bittersweet lot is represented with flair and empathy.’ – Pete Paphides, author of Broken Greek

Exit Stage Left is a funny and poignant book, drawing on Duerden’s considerable experience as a journalist and interviewer . . . he understands what motivates this strange bunch of people.’ – Andy Miller, Spectator

‘Fame is the brightest candle, but in this brilliant collection of interviews, Nick Duerden answers the question: what does a candle do after it’s burned out?’ – David Quantick

‘Duerden finds fascinating layers of humanity, pathos, humour and wisdom in equal measure. A brilliant book, for artists and fans alike.’ – Frank Turner

Featuring brand new interviews with the likes of: Bob Geldof, Shaun Ryder, Robbie Williams, Roisin Murphy, Stewart Copeland, Billy Bragg, Wendy James, Alex Kapranos, Joan Armatrading, Leo Sayer, Gary Lightbody, Lisa Maffia, Tim Booth, Bill Drummond, Rufus Wainwright, David Gray, and Justin Hawkins.


Frank Turner
Fascinating layers of humanity, pathos and wisdom.
David Quantick
Pete Paphides
The pop-star's bittersweet lot is represented with flair and empathy.
The Independent
Told with warmth and compassion . . . engrossing.
The Telegraph
A poignant exploration of the aftermath of adulation.
The Economist
Today's stars might do well to read Exit Stage Left and plan for the second acts of their careers.
Andy Miller, The Spectator
Exit Stage Left is a funny and poignant book, drawing on Duerden's considerable experience as a journalist and interviewer . . . he understands what motivates this strange bunch of people.
Incredibly moving