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Reviews from Vancouver Province, North Shore News

Well over half a century of logging and deep-sea fishing have built Bus Griffiths into a husky, clinker-built barrel of muscle and sinew.

He's 78 next July, and he still works out with weights to keep himself in shape.

He also keeps his hand in at his oil-painting - like the double self-portrait of winter logging that adorns the cover of his popular comic-strip novel, Now You're Logging, just reissued by Harbour Publishing after years out of print.

Christened Gilbert Joseph, Griffiths won the nickname Bus as a child when the local butcher leaned over the counter and told the boy's mother:

"That's a real little buster you've got there ma'am!"

That's what he rapidly proved to be. He cut his first trees when he was 12 - a stand of alders behind the chicken house at the family's Burnaby home.

The first pay he received was for falling firs in a neighbour's lot...$2 a week and two meals a day.

Raised until he was nine in Penticton, he was a cowboy-comic enthusiast.

His interest in drawing started in childhood, and he dreamed from the outset of being a cartoonist.

When he took some samples to the managing editor of The Province, he was told to go away and take drawing lessons.

He never did - bu the immediacy of his work was powerful enough to win him wartime comic-book commisions on Western and logging themes.

Meanwhile, he worked through the 1930s and 1940s at small-scale logging operations all over B.C.

When he began, he was cutting nothing but first-growth timber, of the kind now preserved only in locations like Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island.

"I liked logging," he says. "I liked the job. But I wasn't proud of what we did to the environment."

He recalls returning as a hunter to areas he had worked and discovering creeks red with mud and eroded banks where once there were crystal streams.

Not surprisingly, he has an ambivalent attitude to the conservationist argument.

"There's got to be changes in the logging," he says. "I don't agree with clear-cutting, and never have. We used to do a type of patch-logging, where you'd leave areas standing for wildlife and to prevent erosion - I don't think we knew we were doing a good thing, it was just the way.

"I'd say they have to go to some kind of selective logging, and take more care about how they get the timber out."

He thinks it's valid to protest for more care for the environment, but he deplores extremist tactics like tree-spiking.

Happily settled in Fanny Bay, Griffiths wrote Now You're Logging to recapture the excitement, the danger and the detail of the hungry years of 30s logging.

The book is a marvel of entertainly-presented information. There's an adventure narrative of sorts, but at every step the ways of the woods are explained and explored, with foonotes translating the logger's lingo.

Good-condition copies of the first edition can change hands these days for as much as $350.

Always a stickler for absolute accuracy, Griffits has made two changes in the new edition of his book - he has corrected a spelling error and he has inserted a shackle that he had omitted from a drawing of a harness.

"So now there are no mistakes - it's perfect," he beams.
-Max Wyman, The Province

North Shore News
When it comes to loggin I got a helluva lot of dry rot between the ears - to borrow a phrase from Bus Griffiths' rough-talkin'logging saga Now You're Logging, recently re-released by Harbour Publishing.

Laid out in comic-book style, the book is all you ever wanted to know about logging in the dirty 30s. Illustrated with Griffith's own pencil drawings, it's a kind of loggin-cowboy story, complete with romance and hard living and footnotes explaining the logging lingo.

In gritty language Griffiths tells the story of Al Richards and Red Harris, who work in a small West coast truck-logging outfit during the hungry years.

The tale is loaded with technical details for all West Coast history junkies. Griffiths is a stickler for authenticity and his explanations are clear and concise.

My favourite was a note to the reader below a drawing saying "No! I didn't forget to put handles on the cups! Heavy porcelain cups without handles...(were quite common in the cookhouses of camps during the 'Thirties." Woa, this guy knows his stuff.

Along with gruff foremen, the near-disasters and back-breaking work, Griffiths manages to show the human side of the loggers' lives, expecially the camaraderie of partners Al and Red.

...if you want to bone up on you loggin lore, mug up, load your lip with snoose, lay yourself right out to the blossom and steep yourself in the jungle.
-Barbara Black, North Shore News