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!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

my best albums 2010

the list you probably haven't been waiting for, but here they are anyway in old fashioned top 10 style:

10. Delta Spirit - history from below. US college rock, but a bit more interesting than other more famous stuff like drive by truckers. I'd been waiting for ages to see Delta Spirit and they finally came over to the Barfly in September, but it was a monday night and I'd had a hard weekend and in the end just didn't have the energy to trek to camden to see them. A pity but the album is still good, and I guess they'll be back.

9. Field music - field music. Epic double album of experimental new wave. The first double album I ever bought was Kiss Alive 2, in 1978 (for £3 off Tony Tiffin). The Field Music effort even blows that classic away. And they are from Sunderland. God like.

8. Good Shoes - no hope no future. Even better than their first album, bit more hard edged and punky. Sadly, left the cd (along with about 6 others) in alamo rental car in the autumn and failed to replace it yet but a great album nonetheless.

7. Male Bonding - nothing hurts. Saw this lot play at Offset festival in the summer. Great live, only three of them but superb energy. West coast grunge guitar pop, though I think they are from Essex. will be massive.

6. Dan michaelson and the coastguards - Shakes. Only just got this, and love it already. Former Absentee man with a gravelly voice, and just a brilliant songwriter. Will make you want to nod your head and say "yes, that's what it's like, Dan".

5. I am Kloot - sky at night. Really nice set of songs. I'm worrying I might get bored with it, but I put it back on again tonight just to check and it is still lovely. Gentle, orchestral, mellow.

4. Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell - north farm sessions. Saw these two play the upstairs cafe in the Whitechapel gallery and they blew me away. Just gorgeous songs, harmonies and instrumentation. They were a highlight at End of the Road later in the year. If the first (Hares on a mountain) and fifth songs (Letters to Lenore) don't bring tears to your eyes, well, you are less of a soppy git than me.

3.the national - high violet. bought this as soon as I;d seen them play a couple of tracks on jools holland early in the year, then had to wait up until december to see them play live, in Brixton at the academy on a freezing night. They were fantastic though. Very very good album. Every track a great tune, but still dark and moody.

2. Darren Hayman - Essex arms. The album he's been threatening to make for ever. From the brilliant opening "be lonely" all the way through 12 tracks namechecking most bits of an underrated county. Warm but still challenging, and lovely melodies. What music is all about. Saw him earlier in the year in Leytonstone playing the sheepwalk, before Whats Cookin moved out of there. He played a solo gig in the Stow this month, but sadly I was away with work.

1. These new puritans - hidden. It's a bit of an essex top two as this mob are from southend. This is just a superb album. orchestral music, with tarzan lord of the jungle style drumming, electronica and chanting. Sounds shite in those terms, but it pretty much defies explanation. they played at the shoreditch festival (and loads of other places) but after about three whacks of the big drum the speakers blew up. One of the best bits of new music for a long time.

SO that's it. Lots of thers could have mentioned - futureheads, sun city girls, miles benjamin anthony robinson etc etc - but those were the best for me. Next year looking good - New Iron and Wine and Low Anthem albums due, and the north east americana festival at the end of jan the first of a great run of gigs. Rock on.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Another year - another travesty

I went to see Another Year, the Mike Leigh film that is getting rave reviews, at the weekend. I have to say, it was very, very disappointing. The central idea - that there is this perfect, guardian reading nuclear family in suburban London, living an ideal to which every one should not just aspire, but should be utterly dependent on - is pretty distasteful. The family's treatment of their "friends" is patronising in the extreme: Mary ALWAYS has to come to their house. Do they ever visit her? She is treated with stage-whispered mockery while she is allowed into their world, and the moment she expresses disappointment at her treatment - led up the garden path by the preposterously uptight son, then dumped for a younger model - she is frozen out of the circle and told she needs counselling. Some friendship. Northerners are seen as crude, inarticulate drunks; outside of London is a backward place, where people are poor, living in bare unfurnished homes, with no relationships with each other. The funeral scene was appalling in this respect. The bereaved were treated as bit part players, shuffling, inarticulate losers or brutish northern thugs, while the "nice" London family took over the whole thing organising it with as much emotion as they might have sorted the harvesting of their tomatoes. When Tom shook the hand of the vicar, and said "lovely service", I wanted to be sick. Why on earth didn't Leigh create some tension, some imperfection in them? Some sense that others had rights to opinions, to ways of living, to relate to each other in ways that were beyond the world of counselling, allotments and arrabiata sauce. Another Year is a genuinely frighteningly conservative piece of work in my view.

Friday, 22 October 2010

A story about blokes and drink

You can read one of my stories - and even listen to someone read it out - right here:


It's about a night out in the north east. May be familiar to some people. If you listen, mind out for the slightly erratic geordie accent. The lad does get the pace of the story right though, I think. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

This is a pic of a mural outside the baptist church on Blackhorse Lane in Walthamstow. I like it. But then, I like Leopards.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

welcome to the island

on this site you will find stories. they are about the people you might see in the newsagents buying 20 lambert and butler. or in the bookies, or waiting in the barbers shop reading the daily mirror. or on the bus going home. there is hope and warmth and tenderness and love in their lives. in ordinariness. there is also fear, despair, disgust and disappointment. i want their voices to speak faithfully through these stories. tell me if they do or don't. i hope you enjoy reading them.