Put a date in your diary as YA MUM is hitting the book shelves on October 22nd with limited edition copies of the paperback version now available for pre-order.
YA MUM and Other Stories from the Backstreets of Britain is a new collection of 21 illustrated black comedy short stories, moments and embarrassments from the warped mind of writer and illustrator, Ben Tallon.
Based on a rancid line-up of iconic British street ‘artefacts,’ including the traffic cone, cigarette butt, beer can, mattress, laughing gas cannister and more, Ben’s raw illustrations and energetic, unfiltered style of writing leave a permanent literary stain on society’s metaphorical sofa.
Ben tells us a little more about this gritty book,
"I’ve always been drawn to the disregarded and overlooked. I’m the weirdo bent over, photographing a shoe in the street while everyone else stares up at the shiny tourist attraction. These horrible artefacts are an inescapable part of British culture. I wanted to tell their story.”
A few strange looks from people I’ll never meet is a small price to pay to document a can of budget supermarket cider, bent in two near the bus shelter. I used to get embarrassed by the state of our streets when foreign friends came to visit. Since I started exploring the idea that these nasty aspects of our culture contributed just as much character to our outdoors as The Shard, or The Angel of the North, I feel a warped sense of affinity with them… These stories are not celebratory, but explorations of where these artefacts live in our society, how they play a strange role in our lives.
I’ve spent 12 years working as an illustrator, but words were always there. I wrote graphic novels for The Guardian, created artworks that were story driven and my Medium Man series of short comics were shortlisted in the World Illustration Awards. After my debut book, Champagne and Wax Crayons, I wanted to allow the writer that’s always been there, fighting to get out, some space. The words pack the same energy as the art because both come from my character; if I try to polish anything, it breaks. With creativity, no matter the discipline, you have to stay true to what you are and find ways to use all of it, good and bad.
All of this is very, very weird. But I’m good at that and I’m a proud weirdo. That’s where the good stuff in the arts comes from. Once you break the fear of sharing the things you care about in the world, in a style that’s true to you, heads start to turn.
The stories are a blend of my own, second hand and fictional. I wanted to distil the mood of a damp, grey, hungover Monday morning outside B&M bargains in some shithole suburban town. Books don’t have to be about kings and dragons. I always preferred the ones about things your mum would hiss at.
You don’t have to be British to enjoy YA MUM. Anyone who has spent any time here will recognise the items in the book. These stories will help them to understand how they fit into our culture."
Head over the Ben's website HERE to watch the trailer, featuring Shaun Ryder and to grab a copy of the book