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by John Armstrong

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editors, journalists, publishers, personal memoirs
list price: $21.00
also available: eBook
published: 2007
publisher: New Star Books

John Armstrong has worked as a paperboy, a caddy, and a Bible camp counsellor; as a janitor at the Regal Theatre, a shipper of video porn, and a real live punk rock star. As if those jobs weren't punishment enough, at the tender age of thirty he entered the trenches of journalism. Armstrong's first job — a slave-labour gig shovelling rabbit shit from a gigantic barn — teaches him a valuable lesson. Every subsequent working experience, he learns, will contain the following unavoidable and mind-numbing elements. "Get up, get dressed so you can hurry to a place you don't want to be, and do things you don't want to do for people you don't like, all for very little money at some far distant point in the future." Armstrong doesn't let it get him down. Whether he's writing about the Bobbsey Twins, a pair of strippers who really love their vegetables, the Golden Road personal fulfillment seminar, where you learn that you choose your own cancer, or the literal bowels of hometown paper the Picayune-Standard, Armstrong simultaneously excoriates and delights. Wages is a laugh-til-you-cry account of one man's remarkable working life or attempt at a lack thereof. This eccentric, irreverent, and witty chronicle is vintage John Armstrong.

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Contributor notes

John Armstrong is the author of the laugh-out-loud funny Guilty of Everything, an account of his time in early Vancouver punk band The Modernettes. It was a finalist for the Roderick Haig-Brown Prize for the best BC non-fiction book of 2002, and is being made into a feature film starring Jay Baruchel. Armstrong lives in Chilliwack, BC, and is working on his third book, an account of his life with dogs.

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