POSTCARDS FROM IRVING #5, $3, 8½” x 3½”, copied, 12 pgs.

Jan 25, 2024

This ever-fascinating zine explores the history of the zinester’s grandfather, Ben Irving, an obscure big band leader who travelled around the country playing music, sending the titular postcards back to his family. This issue focuses heavily on one of Irving’s musical partners, a somewhat more prominent British pianist named Eddie “Piano” Miller, who also dabbled in honky tonk music. I love this entire project. I love how it intersects family history with musical history with cultural history with American history in general. One of my favorite bits from this issue is a brief discussion of one of Irving’s bawdy songs that uses boats as a euphemism for sex organs and how there’s a long cultural history of this that’s even now playing out on TikTok. At twelve pages, this book seems slim but it’s so packed with things to think about and muse on that it’s worth every penny of the three dollars the zinester charges for an issue. –Emma Alice Johnson (PO Box 1309, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804)

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