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Disaster zine #1
Courtesy Disaster zine

Illustrating your failed relationships and hook ups

Embrace your dating #woes by laughing at those of someone else with this new zine

One of the worst ways to remember failed flings and relationships, even friendships, is that pesky ‘you have memories with (insert person's name you'd rather forget)’ feature on Facebook. It often feels like there's no escaping the mistakes we've made when it comes to lovers, haters, masochists... but there's definitely a better (and funnier) way to honour it, and Disaster zine is on-hand to offer to help in the best way – through colourful illustrations.

Curated by Bristol-based creatives Tori West and Josh Cook – available for order now – Disaster zine is filled with illustrations inspired mostly by their own personal experiences, or, as they say, "short embarrassing dating stories and shit reasons why you were dumped (things you probably would only reveal to your mates after a couple of beers)”.

It’s all humorous though, and below we catch up with one-half of the design duo, Tori West, on the importance of making fun of ourselves.

Can you tell us what gave you the idea to team up and create this zine?

Tori West: My friends always took the piss out of my disastrous experiences when it came to dating. Then I started seeing this one guy who was known for being notoriously shitty and all of them warned me ‘Don’t do it, this is going to be a disaster’. It completely was. I was left a little bit disheartened by and embarrassed by the whole relationship when I finally dumped him. There’s so much awkwardness around the idea of dating and then a sense shame of how many failed relationships and experiences you’ve had. I think people restrict themselves to certain guidelines and high expectations of what love should look like, but in reality there will be many disastrous experiences along the way. I met Josh (Cook, co-founder of Disaster zine) at Uni and in he was drawing all these disturbingly awkward characters for zines he trying to flog at car boot sales and book fairs. They were all inspired by societies constructs of aspects of peoples personalities, deemed ‘negative’ but in a way that was light hearted. We decided to collaborate and coincide the characters and situations.

“People have been socialised to define self-worth by the outcomes of their external actions, but mistakes make you human” – Tori West

Where do the scenarios come from?

Tori West: We originally thought of crowdsourcing, but we thought it would be easier for people to ‘make up’ stories and we wanted to make sure they were true. Most of them are from our own personal experiences or referenced from situations we’ve seen our friends in. 

Do you have a favourite so far, if so what is it (can you share the image too)?

Tori West: It’s actually really difficult to pick a favourite disaster. There are such a mix of situations, some are quite relatable whilst others are so crazy and specific I doubt anyone could ever imagine it happening. 

I feel there’s been an increase in how honest we are about our ‘shitty’ experiences in the past few years. Why do you think this is, and why do you think that people respond so well to these kinds of self-deprecating, painfully honest types of art and publications?

Tori West: People have been socialised to define self-worth by the outcomes of their external actions, but mistakes make you human. It doesn’t make you a bad person or worth any less. Expressing yourself in a painfully honest way is empowering and takes courage. I think in your 20s you grow to understand that and become less embarrassed by your actions. I wish I had a zine like this growing up telling me ‘fuck it, do you what you want, if you make a mistake, just learn from it’. 

Do you think that serving these with a dose of humour makes it easier for us to accept when shitty things happen to us?

Tori West: A hundred percent yes, ’If you don’t laugh you’ll cry’. 

Order Disaster zine here