Image by Paul Stevens


Damien Vole, an antipodean Harry Potter before his time (and without his income), became something of a megastar through his brief Shadowplay appearances.

Curiously, he was particularly warmly received in the US, which struck me as odd, since I didn't think that the character he was based on (English author Sue Townsend's immortal Adrian Mole) would be terribly well known in that country. Mole is slightly more quintessentially English than Pulp, the cast of the Carry On movies and Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men thrown into a blender and served with cucumber sandwiches, and I wasn't sure how well he'd come across to readers in, say, Wyoming. (Although, of course, other equally insular British creations such as Oasis, fish and chips and Basil Fawlty seem to have accomplished the trans-Atlantic crossing without a hitch.)

This supposition was quite right. The North American continent was largely and tragically Mole-free, and I'm sure a large part of Damien Vole's popularity was a response to the fact that he was based so closely on Ms Townsend's work of tragi-comic brilliance. If you'd never heard a Beatles CD, you'd doubtless be bowled over by hearing a halfway decent Fab Four tribute band for the first time.

Well, rather than soak any longer in such secondhand glory, may I urge any Vole devotees to beg, borrow or steal (an it harm none, yada, yada) The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole and his equally disarming "mature age" sequels, so that you too may experience the soul-stirring naffness of Damien's role model. - Cyfrin, 2001)

14/7/86 - Jupiter goes retrograde. I think. I have left my ephemeris on the school bus. Dad says I@#146;ll have to save up and buy myself another one. Save up! That@#146;s a laugh - on the pittance pocket money I get! I shall have to do a money working. If my parents shared this attitude of magical self-reliance, they@#146;d do one themselves and be able to afford to give me a half way decent allowance. Instead of which, I am forced to conjure my own fortune, risking considerable astral exertion. At this rate, I may be psychically burnt out before my fifteenth birthday.
15/7/86 - It is my first degree initiation in a fortnight and I have just discovered three gigantic spots on my bum. Just my luck. Sometimes I wish I@#146;d been born to a Traditionalist family so I would be able to hide my spots under a robe all year round. Gerald Gardner has a lot to answer to. I bet he didn@#146;t have spots on his bum.

On the other hand, if my parents were too Traditional I@#146;d be getting initiated by my Mum, instead of the Lady Ishtar. Lady Ishtar looks dead good skyclad, whereas my Mum ... well, I know we originally worshipped Goddesses like the Venus of Willendorf, but there is such a thing as fashion. I think the Goddess these days probably prefers to manifest herself as someone more like Kate Bush or Nina Hagen. Not that the Lady Ishtar@#146;s like either of them. She@#146;s more a cross between a Norman Lindsay statue and Joan Collins. My Mum has thighs like Orson Welles.

16/7/86 - My life is in ruins. I have fallen in love with a new girl who started at our school today. Her name is Davina, but the horror of it is that she@#146;s a born-again fundamentalistical evangelisicist! Fate is dead cruel sometimes. Why did I allow myself to fall in love with her? Her parents would burn me at the stake given half a chance. I must put her from my mind at once and concentrate on my forthcoming initiation.

I must find a new athame - I can@#146;t keep on using this plastic thing with the sliding blade.

17/7/86 - Had a dream about Davina. She was standing on a pile of Gideon bibles and was dressed in nothing but a nun@#146;s wimple and her gym shorts. She called to me, but as I got nearer she turned into Billy Graham and leapt at me, swinging a huge, cross-shaped hammer and asking for donations. I woke up in a cold sweat.

I worked out that Thursday afternoon at about four o@#146;clock would be the best time this week for money magic. I have bought two blue candles for Jupiter with gold glitter stuck on them, and a packet of frankincense sticks. The book says I now need a sheet of gold to make an amulet! If I had a sheet of gold I wouldn@#146;t need to do any money magic! I am surrounded by incompetence!

18/7/86 - Got kept in after the chemistry class. Didn@#146;t get home until four-fifty three. So much for the glitter candles.
19/7/86 - I am having second thoughts about my initiation. I have just discovered that the Lady Ishtar@#146;s real name is Deirdre Crump. I suppose that@#146;s why magical names were first invented.

My Gran has lent me a copy of the White Goddess by R Graves. I hope he is not a racist.

20/7/86 - Spent yesterday evening doing bibliomancy to try to find myself a good Craft name. Discounting things like "and", "if", "duodenum" and "footnote", the best I could manage was "Dennis". "I, Deirdre Crump, Priestess of the Lady and the Horned God, do name you, Dennis, Witch and Priest". Just my luck.
21/7/86 - Davina just knocked on my door, asking for money for the Bibles to Botswana fund. I gave her the money from the telephone box and she smiled at me in a way that made my thing twitch, and told me that God would bless me. Not likely, I thought. When my Dad asked me what happened to the phone money I told him I@#146;d given it to someone collecting for Blind Dogs for the Guides. He then put my pocket money into the telephone box. A whole week@#146;s wages to Bibles for Botswana. I am beginning to fall back out of love. I wonder whether Jupiter@#146;s stopped retrograding yet.

Went to bed early and read a chapter of White Goddess. At the end, I realised I hadn@#146;t the faintest idea of what had been going on. R Graves wants his bumps read.

Pages missing - appear to have been gnawed out by dog
31/10/86 - Beltane. My initiation has been postponed again! This time, my would-be initiating HPS, Lady Ishtar (otherwise known as Dierdre Crump) had to rush off to the boarding school her creepy daughter, Raylene, goes to after the mindless child managed to semi-asphyxiate herself on a communion wafer. Honestly, I think it serves the Lady Ishtar right for sending her to a Catholic school in the first place. When I mentioned this to my Gran, she told me that Catholic schools probably produced more Wiccans than any other institution. I never know when to take my Gran seriously - she can be dead cryptic at times.

The Coven get-together sort of fell apart before it even started. My Mum and Dad ended up going off to the pub with the Trimbles (Helios and Innanna) with some remark about "all acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals". I fear that my parents are in serious danger of the ravages of alcoholism. I stayed in and watched "It@#146;s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". I am seriously considering becoming a cynic.

1/11/86 - Lady Ishtar came over this morning to apologise for not being about last night, arriving just moments after my mother left to go to her Womyn@#146;s Spirituality Intensive Weekend Workshop and Sausage Sizzle. After apologising to me, she went upstairs to apologise to my father. For some reason, this took the best part of three hours during which time I was again totally ignored. Left to my own devices, I spent most of the day watching heavy metal video programmes and playing patience with my Crowley deck. At least I still have my spirituality intact.
2/11/86 - My mother is still at her Workshop and it@#146;s nine o@#146;clock in the evening. For two days, I have been subsisting on vegemite toast and plate after plate of Just Right breakfast cereal. I may be Marrickville@#146;s first death by scurvy. It@#146;s not even as if my Mother enjoys her Workshops. She seemed very grumpy last night and gave my Dad a very bad time, despite the fact that he@#146;d spent all afternoon trying to work the washing machine so he could surprise her with a nice clean bed. Radical feminists can be dead bad-mannered.
3/11/86 - Practised my Auric vision today during Geography. Kevin was greeny yellow, Noel the Mole was a blurry grey and Davina was, of course, a celestial blue. Mr. Pritchard told me that if I didn@#146;t stop staring about like a half-wit and start paying attention, he@#146;d double my homework for a fortnight. He didn@#146;t have an aura at all.
4/11/86 - My Mother, guilty, I expect, after leaving me to starve all weekend, tried to bribe me into forgiveness with a block of Aero chocolate and a copy of The Mists of Avalon by M Z Bradley. She then proceeded to talk about menstruation for fully forty minutes. I think she@#146;s overdoing this being a Womyn bit.
5/11/86 - Played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time with Kevin and Michael and his brother. I got killed three times. What a pointless exercise! Afterwards, I went home to practise my meditation. Almost eight minutes worth! I am progressing by leaps and bounds.
6/11/86 - Am fed up with Mists of Avalon. Igraine has been crying solidly now for a hundred and ten pages. It@#146;s a shame they didn@#146;t have valium then.
7/11/86 - I@#146;m toying with the notion of switching to Ceremonial Magick, partly because I@#146;m sick of waiting for Lady Ishtar to squeeze in my initiation. If you are a Ceremonial Magician you can invoke archangels to do all that (and that probably wouldn@#146;t seem quite so upsetting to Davina who is still Born Again). The other reason is that my Mother has given me some very worrying news. She says she is going to become a Dianic. My Mother - a Scientologist!!! Just my luck ...




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