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