Review by Win Wiacek
In both paperback and digital formats AEIOU describes a succession of painful torments, frustrations and moments of unparalleled ill-considered anticipation as Jeffrey Brown cherry-picks graphic mementos from another doomed relationship. After Clumsy and Unlikely it’s the third in a series examining the times that make us all who we are today.
The material is both delicious and agonising in its forthright simplicity. It’s a sequence of pictorial snippets and vignettes detailing how a meek, directionless, horny, inoffensively average film-fan graduate art-student cautiously navigates his first grown-up intimate relationship after finally losing his virginity. It’s that state of confused and constant longing for the “one and only” we all go through and never successfully navigate.
As is always the case, Brown’s prospective partner comes with baggage that is at first beguiling and acceptable, but which becomes an increasingly major sticking point. Of course, what Jeffrey learns about himself in the process is also exceedingly illuminating.
Everyone who’s had itches to scratch and gone for broke with head and heart befuddled by longing and loneliness has been through this, and for every torrid romance that makes it, there are a million that don’t.
Drawn in his deceptively effective Primitivist monochrome style with masterful staging, a sublime economy of phrase and a breathtaking gift for generating in equal amounts belly-laughs and those poignant lump-in-throat moments we’ve all experienced and regretted forever-after, this is another potent procession of crystallised moments which establish one awful truth. There might not ever be a “The One”.
Through dozens of individual episodes with titles like ‘We Think You’d Have A Lot of Fun Together’, ‘But Does She LIKE ME Like Me’, ‘The Long Pause Before a First Kiss’, ‘Prettiness’, ‘Grass is Greener’, ‘Between Lovers’, ‘The Difference Between Us’, ‘Anybody Can Draw’, ‘Did You’, ‘Broken’, and ‘Nothing Says I Love You Like…’ we follow an eventful half year and a few portentous aftershocks. The life story moments come with a revelatory suggested Soundtrack Side ‘A’ and Soundtrack Side ‘B’.
Brimming with remarkable discovery, hopeful confirmation and the shattering angst, Any Easy Intimacy is a powerful delight for everybody who has confused raging hormones, intimate physical contact and impatient wistfulness with love, and a sublime examination of what makes us human, hopeful and perhaps wistfully incorrigible.