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Thursday, November 13, 2014

“My Secret World”, one hundred Sarah Records

My Secret World. The Story of Sarah Records
Beefeater In-Edit 2014, Chapter II

Our second choice at this year’s Beefeater In-Edit was a no-brainer, a must-watch. I mean, a movie about the story of Sarah Records? On the first row without a doubt.

Why? Because every truly single indie-pop heart needs to know about the Sarah Records story, the referential label based in Bristol with an adamantium spirit of independence founded by Clare Wadd and Matt Haynes. They created an immaculate, DIY label (oh my God, the story about the letters!), that overpassed it’s eight years of existence (1987-1995) to become a myth.

Director Lucy Dawkins chooses the most straightforward and didactic approach. She gathers with Clare and Matt and in a very logical order. The origins, the fanzines, the idiosyncrasy and attitude of the label... and every band that published with them in chronological order, covering the 100 7” limited releases Sarah put before going out with a bang. That choice proves to be a very coherent one, making “My Secret World” a very consistent documentary and a pleasant experience for fans, but also an excessively linear and, sorry to say, a bit boring film too, in particular for newcomers into the label’s world or for the ones that are not familiar with the bands.

What this rockumentary shows is that Sarah Records’ was a very small world. A relevant world full of indie-pop pleasures, but also shoegaze and punk flirts, twee music (funny how the interviewed bands refuse the adjective). A world with clear goals and a distinct way of understanding music. A world with a will to fight against the silly criticism (what a piece of shite were the music tabloids, I refuse to say magazines), sexism and misogyny, in my opinion the most interesting moment on the movie, would have loved that bit lasted much longer. But still a small world.

If you are a fan, you’re going to love seeing Blueboy, The Wake, Another Sunny Day, The Orchids, The Field Mice, Heavenly (awww Amelia Fletcher, why not a documentary about her), or “special” fans like music journalist Everett True or Jacob from The Drums, evoking their Sarah Records related memories, or just praising the label’s evolution. Not everything is wines and roses, but Dawkins is not interested on digging deeper on some of the “issues”. Something you have to respect seeing the direction of the movie. But if you’re not a fan, or if you’re not a die-hard fan, “My Secret World” can be just tiring. Whatever the case, a film that needed to exist. Plus a great excuse to listen several unmissable bands. At the end, that’s what makes a label memorable.

SCORE: 6/10

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