A Quiet Disaster

Posted on January 3rd, 2016

A Quiet Disaster
by Alex Potts

Avery Hill Publishing
32 pages / colour / £5
Released 2014

Review by Tom Mortimer

Alex Potts’ A Quiet Disaster is the story of a man who can’t quite make up his mind what to do with his day off. There’s also the riddle of whether or not he saw a dog wearing sunglasses, and if so… why?

With a level of accuracy that made me gaze out from my window in case I caught the glint of binocular lenses, Potts perfectly captures the banal torment of everyday indecision. The gentle unfolding that happens is perhaps suggested by its title; a muffled, slow, slipping away, along a gravelled road of good humour.

It’s a great depiction of life. Where activities distract us – or structures claim and frame our sense of progress or position – the absence thereof can leave us lost. Not having any real idea of what to do with ourselves can start to unfold commonplace but grating concerns. Our confidence takes a knock, our realities start to set in. We wonder what to do. We reach for conveniences.

That said, A Quiet Disaster is certainly not a depressing publication. The delivery has a lot of laughs to it. It’s the kind of poetic pairing, often found in small press; luring you along so you can’t help but smile, and yet providing deeper connection because it’s relatable and not shy from gently unnerving. It also feels quite layered; if you were to really analyse it, you could start making connections between subtle mentions throughout (I won’t, because I don’t want to ruin it for you).

I find it funny – perhaps telling – how so many small press publications depict characters of social awkwardness, and yet the ability for those same characters to speak to us is so strong. Perhaps the flaws are what offer us an entrance? It’s also applied in the approach, even the slightly wobbly hand drawn quality of Potts’ panelling has a warm, human quality to it.

With such a strong, trundling narrative, I’m cautious to expose too much of what happens. Even if I did, I don’t think it would have the same impact out of context. But I would definitely recommend this book.

You could read it on your day off.

A Quiet Disaster is out now and available to purchase at the Avery Hill online store and via the Sequential iPad app. Alex Potts’ personal website can be found at alexanderpotts.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @avpotts