Monday, 27 April 2015

My Secret World - The Story of Sarah Records

My first Sarah Record was 1990's Sarah 37 by Even As We Speak, as it included a cover of Bizarre Love Triangle.  My only other purchases would be Field Mice singles and albums, culminating for me with their seminal Sarah 57, Missing The Moon.  I've got more recordings from Shinkansen, the step-child of Sarah, in the shape of Fosca and Trembling Blue Stars.

Premiered last week in London in its recently edited form, My Secret World - a documentary chronicling the life of Sarah Records - was also screening in Glasgow this week, including a Q&A with founder Clare Wadd.

Documenting the labels' releases in chronological order, with talking heads and clips to focus on some of the more noteworthy events and releases in the label's life, the films works as an introduction to Sarah Records and some bands you may be unfamiliar with.  Lots of band members from Sarah's roster pop up, as well as lots of input from Clare and Matt the label founders.

20 years down the line The Field Mice are clearly the standout act, and the film suffers not having their ellusive driving force Bobby Wratten feature.  He's a key and fascinating player in the Sarah story and one of the most unacclaimed singer/songwriters you'll ever find.  Other band members do crop up, and fan Tim Chipping (of Shelley and Orlando) lovingly talks about them too.

Much like parents staying married for the kids Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd separated when the label ended.  Clare is now a chartered accounted and Matt tried his hand with a new record label Shinkansen which never really made much of a mark.  Onetime fanzine writer Matt  can still be found writing/editing here and there.

Clare is now a charterd accountant, and comes accross as a rather mumsy person tickled at the renewed interest, and has clearly moved on from the 19 year old who started a record label.  Glimpses of the domineering force she appears to have been back in the day still show.  She got on board with the film so she could have some control over it - and she clearly has had, featuring heavily herself.

The evening was curated by Monorail Film Club (aka Stephen Pastel of The Pastels and well kent glasgow shop Monorail Music.)  Stephen introduced the evening in typical disinterested fashion, as if he really had something better and much more esoteric to be doing.

A brief intro to the film and the Q&A afterwards were conducted by @the_brogues due to his apparent knowledge of the label/music scene.  OK I have sympathy for someone clearly not in their comfort zone, but it was best put by another attendee that he "sucked the air out of the room."  Clare's answers to his not very interesting questions were not listened to and always responded to with a "cool."  He seemed happier joking with chums in the crowd and re-telling his own tired tales as a failed label boss.  This is the second such event I've been to recently where the interviewer, unable to probe the guest, resorts to telling stories about themselves instead.  Not wanting to stick the knife in too much to the poor 'expert' but in one irritating exchange he seemed to think Motown Junk was the earliest work of The Manic Street Preachers. Cool. (I'm being typically petty here but this was a very frustrating exchange, following what was quite a forensic film)

Grumbles about the shoddy Monorail Film Club aside the documentary was a pleasant snippet of many people's youth - both artsists and listeners like myself.


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