Hello there

Jim Minton is a new writer of fiction, based in London but raised in the North East of England. On this website you can read his published works, which are mostly - but not all - darkly funny tales of growing up in Northumberland. You can also find out about Undertone, his new novel and read more about Jim, if you wish. All works are his copyright. So you can't pretend they are yours, even if you want to!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Cut from the woods - a new story in .Cent magazine

Here's my story published in .Cent magazine. It's a kind of Christmas tale. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A story to be published in December - go Jim.

I submitted a story to .Cent an online magazine and forum. Quite surprisingly, it was accepted - and will be published in December. I'll post the link when it goes on line. It is a kind of Leyton christmas tale. Featuring a dog, an off license, the pound-a-bowl fruit seller and an accident with a pair of scissors. Quite flattered they liked it!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Wrote a new story to read out at Red Army Fiction at the end of October. Was good to be back in the saddle. Usual theme - growing up, finding out about life. And misbehaving dogs. It's better heard than read I think, so I haven't posted it up. I heard that the event was streamed, so if I can track down the video I'll post it. Anyway, you can imagine it. It was OK!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Here they come: Minton's top 10 albums of 2014

Well, the waiting is over. Here are my top 10 albums of 2014. If you are adventurous, give them a try. And if you don't like them, well, it would be a very boring world if we all liked the same things, wouldn't it?

10: Pink mountaintops, Get Back - going through a range of styles from 80 indie through to…err 80s garage rock, this album is one of those ones you’ll just want to play over and over again, so catchy are its tunes.

9: Tune-yards, Nikki Nack - another brilliant and inventive surge of energy from Merrill Garbus. If you want intelligent dance music that isn't made by some media studies student in shoreditch, but instead draws on influences from Africa, Europe and the US, then give this a try.

8: Rozi Plain, Joined Sometimes Unjoined - lovely album, my choice is probably influenced by the fact that she featured in two of my favourite gigs of the year (with This is the Kit on the roof of the south bank, and supporting Dan Michaelson at the Slaughtered Lamb). Simple songs, beautiful harmonies, but upbeat and poppy, and never taking itself too seriously.

7. Hookworms, Hum - I mean, this is what Black Sabbath must have sounded like when they first crashed onto the scene 40 odd years ago. Screeching vocals, heavy guitar and fantastic energy. Their set at End of the Road was a live highlight this year. Brilliant.

6. Ezra Furman, Day of the Dog - It is just garage pop really and may not stand the test of time, but some stand out tracks - I cant stop playing The Mall - and another great live performance at EOTR mean I give it the benefit of the doubt

5. Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots - great album. As ever, he moves through styles and genres seamlessly with so few bum notes, and some utterly beautiful tunes. not often you get a critically acclaimed album featuring songs about Leytonstone either.

4. The Liminanas, I’ve Got Trouble in Mind - Perpignan’s finest are back with a bunch of b-sides, covers and unreleased stuff, all of it groovy, all of it punchy, and music to make you dance and smile.

3. King Creosote, From Scotland with Love - well it had to be in the year of the referendum didn't it? beautiful album which just manages to avoid dropping into sentimentality, painting sublime pictures of a country that’s gone, but can see the possibility of reclaiming itself. Essential and uplifting.

2. Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards, Distance - oh man, what an album. pedal steel guitar, growling - sometimes barely audible - vocals, and painfully touching lyrics about heartbreak, and peculiarly british ways of dealing with the end of relationships. Utterly lovely.

1. Hurray for the Riff Raff, Small Town Heroes - this is what country music is meant to be. A tender, touching, but sharp edged suite of songs, wonderful tunes, delicious vocals and lyrics and stories from the tradition of Woody Guthrie and other chroniclers of the ‘other’ american way. In a year when other american singer songwriters (Sharon van Etten, Marissa Nadler, Lucinda Williams) put out acclaimed albums, this for me was head and shoulders above them. Every track a classic.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

More gigs - and Owen Jones or the boozer

Got a busy month coming up, which started last night on November 1st at Purlfest at The Brook, Wallington. I was on a mixed and high quality bill with some of my favourite spoken word chums, Alison Eley, Raven Garcian and Nick Houghton. The pic is of me mid flow, swearing most likely.

Being a festival, we also had a great soundtrack, from Heidi James, Joe Dunbar, Alison Craw and The (mad) Scrambles. It was a top night - first time I have read out in such company and to such a varied crowd. I'd written something new, and it was a bit of a departure. I am beginning to realise that it is not enough simply to write a decent story - it has to be something that can be performed and can engage the audience. My piece was called One foot in front of the other. It is supposed to create confusion in the audience, as it veers across different fragments of stories, told almost from other perspectives, but always processed through the voice and narrative of the narrator - who remains clear about what is going on. It surprised people, but I think it provoked them too, and they enjoyed it. Or maybe it was just late and they'd all had a few beers! It is a bit strange reading after a band has been playing, but the crowd were good, and respectful.

My next gig is on Sunday 15 November at 6pm in Whitechapel, where I am performing as part of the Red Army Fiction session at the Tower Hamlets Write Ideas Festival. Come along, you might enjoy it! I am on before Owen Jones. So you can stay and watch him - or buy me a pint.

Hope to see you then!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Wounding by Heidi James - a review

I was on holiday last week and so finally got round to setting some time aside for reading. I've had something of a 'reader's block' over the past year or so. Since I started writing seriously, I've found it very difficult to concentrate on other people's work, however fantastic it is. In fact it has been so bad that up until last week, Murakami's 1Q84 is the only thing I have finished in the past 12 months. But I have known Heidi James for some years now, as a friend and an inspirational teacher, as well as a writer I admire. So I wanted very much to make sure I was in the right frame of mind for reading Wounding, her first full length novel, published by the same wise and innovative folk at Bluemoose publishing who bought us Pig Iron - coincidentally the last thing I read before 1Q84.

I was glad I gave myself time and space, for Wounding is not an easy book. That is not a criticism - a distaste for writers who over simplify plot and character, or make things all too neat and simple is one of the reasons I've found reading new work so difficult recently. Wounding doesn't make things neat or simple. It treats you like a grown up. Cora, one of the two narrators, though undoubtedly the central character, invites you to experience her deepest, most intimate fears and insecurities. Her husband - I think I am right in saying he is never referred to by name, only as an adjunct to Cora, in a neat twist on convention - similarly shares his anxieties, about Cora's increasing distance from him, their failure to communicate, and the different values they espouse.

At its heart it is a desolate delayering of a disintegrating relationship. Neither Cora nor her husband have the ability to tell each other what they really feel or need from one another. I don't think this is about a lack of courage though. I think that - particularly for Cora - it just feels pointless. If she could articulate her isolation, there would be a risk that it could be rationalised, or worse that someone could attempt a 'cure' - through medicine or perhaps worse through counselling or therapy.

Instead she seeks out her own method for coping. Shutting out her husband, and becoming less and less tolerant of her children, Cora is always aware of the judgments that people will make or her because of this but unable or unwilling to arrest her own decline, instead seeking out her own retribution on herself for the 'transgressions' she has made. Wounding is dedicated to mothers, and reads - to this man at least - as a powerful and emotionally intense exploration of the impact of motherhood. Heidi is brilliant on the affects of the physical changes - in Cora's body, in her health and tiredness and even in her availability to work - and in turn their effect on her mental health and wellbeing.

But Wounding doesn't over analyse. The pain of Cora's husband is in his desperate attempts to rationalise things breaking down - whether that is the place of his former lover, Lucy, or his devoted relationship to his own parents. He just can't understand how Cora sees the world so reaches out for things that he does understand as justifications.

Cora herself is un-placeable. Although we see her own parents - briefly - and witness a childhood incident that other writers might have over-milked - these aren't used as excuses or explanations for how Cora is. It is as if she doesn't want to need to defend or explain herself. And this makes it all the more powerful as narrative, despite what was for me a real sadness at its heart.

Wounding won't be for everyone. As I said, it is not easy. But as a portrait of the break down of relationship and family, and more importantly as an assertion of the independence of a woman it is a powerful, important and captivating read.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Slow progress - but lots of fun stuff anyway

I have just submitted Undertone to The Borough Press open submissions. Total long shot, as they will be inundated with all kinds of different stuff, but you never know. Enough people have been positive about the novel so far for me to trust that it is actually pretty good, even if no-one has bitten yet. About to start on a new short story for Red Army Fiction which is back on again in May. I havent written anything new for a while and can feel a bit of an urge to change direction. We'll see how it goes. Otherwise I have been busy - training for and doing the London Marathon which was fun - and trying to catch up with art, film, cinema and music. Saw The Wave Pictures at Islington Assembly Hall last week which was great, even if he is just a little smug. Got a great May of music ahead too, with Neutral Milk Hotel, She Makes War, Hurray for the Riff Raff and the Local Shhhh festival all inked in. There is a new Artangel exhibition on Van Gogh and something new at Raven Row too, so it really feels like the cultural sun has begun to rise. Oh and of course my great friend and mentor Heidi James will celebrate the publication of her brilliant new novel Wounding in a couple of weeks. So delighted for her and can't wait to see it in Waterstones.