My name is Michael White, and I've been a music journalist (often for love, seldom for money) in my native Canada for almost 20 years. Late in 2011, I was given the blessing of Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd to write an official biography of Sarah Records, the hugely influential independent record label they co-founded and jointly ran in Bristol, England, from 1987 to 1995. In addition to being somewhat averse to backward glancing, Matt and Clare are rigorously — and understandably — protective of Sarah's legacy and how its story is recounted, so to be given permission to write the first book-length account of the label is an enormous honour that I don't take lightly. I plan to conduct over 100 interviews and spend up to the next two years (but hopefully less) writing it. A publisher has not yet been secured; in the meantime, all expenses are being paid for out of my own pocket. As the Sarah Records story is of interest to a highly specialized — and, admittedly, limited — audience, I expect it will find a home with a small press and profit will be modest.
Sarah Records — and the musical genre it exemplified, variously referred to as 'indiepop,' 'C86,' 'twee' and other descriptors of questionable accuracy and flattery — has never been written about with the depth of research and credibility it deserves. My aim is to finally validate the accomplishments of Sarah, and the small but influential underground culture from which it sprung, with the same journalistic seriousness and thoroughness that has been afforded to every other kind of music that has cast a significant influence. More importantly, I want the book to have an appeal far beyond Sarah's existing cult following. I want it to be a great music biography, period, that has the potential to entertain and enlighten anyone, regardless of their musical preferences.
What We Need & What You Get
The single most important endeavour while writing the book is to visit the UK — ideally during April or May of this year — to conduct in-person interviews and carry out other crucial research that cannot easily be done from my home in Toronto. Without a publisher's advance, this will have to be paid for by me — something I'm unable to do alone. I'm hoping to raise a modest $1,800 to cover some (but not all) of the travel and accommodation costs of the trip. While I cannot offer anything substantial in return for donors' generosity, I'm offering the theme-appropriate gift of access to a download mix of some of the best and rarest (non-Sarah) indiepop from my extensive collection. It is also my hope that once the book is ready for publication, I'll be able to offer donors early shipment. (Of course, this will depend on the cooperation of the publisher.)
Other Ways You Can Help
Whether or not you're able to make a donation, please visit the book's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sarah-Record...) and share it with anyone you think might be interested. Feel free to send any questions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.