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1996 Dolly Horoscope

Sunday March 31st, 2019 in Diaries, School | No Comments »

Cover Dolly magazine. Woman with blonde hair crouching wearing an orange jacket.

A friend recently gave me a 1996 copy of Dolly that she found in her possessions.

This is a particularly thoughtful gift for two reasons: I was never allowed to have magazines growing up, and I love mocking things.

I’ve found many points of interest in the June 1996 Dolly magazine. Dolly Doctor has the usual rainbow of bodily discharges, the agony aunt gives some very racist dating advice and you had to call a phone number to vote in the Biggest Babe competition. The article ‘Is he lusting after you?’ contains 50 sure-fire signs to tell if a guy has the hots for you, including “he phones you” and “he doesn’t phone you” which has been a weird way to find out that every single man on the planet is lusting after me.  There’s a picture of a woman wearing white knitted shorts, which you don’t see often probably because of pilling and discharges.

That’s all well and good, but I feel it’s strayed too far from the topic of me, which brings me to the horoscopes.

I have never found astrology to be very uncannily accurate, but perhaps that’s because I’ve always been too close to events to be objective. With the benefit of more than twenty years of distance I want to reflect on my June 1996 Dolly horoscope (Leo), and analyse it against events in the my diary from that month.

Your social side really takes over this month, and friends become much more important.

It’s pretty hard to assess the relative importance of friends but what’s a KPI for if not to measure the unmeasurable for reasons no-one can remember? I will use the total number of friend mentions as an indicator of their importance to me.

In May 1996 I mentioned two friends.

In June 1996 I mentioned eight friends.

This is a quadrupling on the friendship-importance-o-metre. Well done horoscope. TICK.

New friendships with people who have loads of personality will start to take off.

I don’t mention any new friendships but on 9 June I updated my “list of 5 favourite people”. Confusingly, in a preamble to the list I write, “Just because someone is on my list of favourite people, doesn’t mean I like them the most, or indeed like them at all.” So, it’s debatable whether this list is a reliable friendships-taking-off indicator but I’ll leave that one for the auditors.

I culled four people from the list and added four new people. The lucky four new favourites were my dance teacher, the boy I had a crush on, and two girls from school who were very funny. These people never talked to me unless they were being paid. Naughty horoscope. FAIL.

There’s a tricky, intense situation with a friendship after the 15th but you both have to realise that there’s a bigger need for space and freedom in your lives these days.”

Could this refer to the fact that my dance teacher went to Ireland and we had a replacement dance teacher for a couple of weeks? No, as above, we don’t define people paid to talk to me as friends. FAIL.

To double your luck, try to involve friends or groups of people in your biggest plans, as they stand a better chance of working out.

This is more advice than a prediction, but it’s like giving comb-selection tips to a hairless cat. My only plan was to have my pen-friend come and visit me in the holidays. I wanted her to meet the boy I had a crush on (which would have been tricky because I never spoke to him). She told me he was the last person she wanted to meet. FAIL.

If you’re single, consider an eccentric guy, or a weird plan.

(See above). TICK.

So it’s a 40% success rate which is a big fail unless you’re in specialist maths and it might be okay after scaling.

In conclusion, horoscopes are a nonsense (or their uncanny accuracy takes longer than 23 years to emerge).

Life Education

Friday April 29th, 2016 in Diaries, School | No Comments »

life-education-vanI remember the time the Life Education van came to my primary school. It was a very exciting day and I wrote about it in my diary.

life van diary

31/3/1993 Boy time flies. Tomorrow we have netball. Today the Life Education van came. It was really good. I can’t wait for Friday. We are leaving school early to go to Melbourne. Then on Sunday I’m going to Emma’s party. I made a really nice broach in art yesterday.

The fact that I mentioned at least five unconnected topics in the same paragraph, of which the Life Education van was only one belies its importance to me. I’ve forgotten the broach, trip to Melbourne and most of Emma’s party but the Life Education van is clear in my mind.

What I remember is that the Life Education van’s visit came as a complete surprise to me and the rest of my Grade 5/6 class. We thought we were in for an afternoon of Maths when suddenly we were ushered up the steps of the most exciting van you could imagine (think mobile library, but better).

I remember that it was terribly exciting but the only bit of the presentation that I clearly recall is a hand puppet called Harold singing a song that went:

If you smoke you’re gonna choke

And if you drink you’re gonna feel real blue

Then a chorus of chipmunks said ‘Come on Harold, let’s go behind the dunnies for a smoke.’

Harold, you’ve got to make a decision

I think there must have been more to the Life Education van than that because the program made a big impression on me and my classmates. We all pledged to never try smoking. We were told there would be peer pressure at high school but it was hard to imagine giving in to it given the horrors of smoking and the fact that it was clearly a completely stupid thing to do.

When I got home that night I told my older sister, who was in Year 7, about the Life Education van and that no-one in my class would ever smoke. ‘Everyone says that,’ she said. ‘But it’s different in high school.’

I knew she was wrong.

Diaries and Terrors

Saturday September 28th, 2013 in Diaries, Stay Well Soon, Writing | No Comments »

Holly terror_excerpt

Before I wrote Stay Well Soon I re-read my primary school diaries to help establish the main character Stevie’s tone. It seemed helpful to read what I wrote as an eleven year old girl before I tried to write about one as a thirty year old.
Rereading my diaries I’m struck by how much of it is unreliable. I wrote things because I liked the way they sounded, rather than because they were true.

This is a couple of diary entries from late September in 1991 when I was in Grade 4.

30/9/1991
Today we saw the writers train. I liked Libby Hathorn But not the other writer. We went to the foot ball. It wasn’t as bad as uselal. I got a Milky Way. We were walking around with Don. He kept Chit chating with his friend. Felt like telling him to Shut up and lets get going only didn’t (note 1). Finely we went back to the car. Tomorro is Fathers Day. We are going to Echca to see Paddy and Loo(note 2).

1/10/1991
Paddy is a Holly Terror (note 3) and sos his brother (note 4). But I like Joe (note 5).

(Note 1) I probably didn’t really want to tell Don to shut up. I was trying to sound tough like Penny Pollard, who was my inspiration for diary writing. Dropped a lot of pronouns to sound like her.

(Note 2) I don’t know why I referred to going to see ‘Paddy and Loo’ when there were three other members of their family, including Paddy’s dad. Maybe they were just the loudest.

(Note 3) I had clearly heard an adult call someone a ‘holy terror’ and I liked the way it sounded. It’s possible that Paddy was a very well behaved six year old and I was just dead-set on using the phrase. Anyway, it sounds weird coming from a ten year old. Particularly one who can’t spell.

(Note 4) They are both lovely people now and were probably just being boisterous at the time. I have three sisters and was not used to boys.

(Note 5) Joe was a one year old, so probably didn’t have the capacity to terrorise with a Christmas theme yet.

Something to read on the train

Saturday January 1st, 2011 in Audio books, Diaries, History | No Comments »


I kept a diary from when I was in Grade 4 to when I was about 22. I’ve decided to scan my diaries because they’re starting to fall apart and the pencil is fading. Also, I would be very upset if they were destroyed in a fire, flood, or if our apartment was burgled by robbers with contacts in the black market for mid-90s adolescent angst.

So I’m spending the long weekend digitising. So far I’ve scanned Grades 4, 5 and 6, Year 7 and Year 9. Year 8 is too big to fit on the scanner (not to worry, it was a gloomy year – poetry, wandering around cemeteries, Wuthering Heights).

I’m listening to The Map that Changed the World as I scan. It’s interesting to compare the life of William Smith (author of the first geological map of England) to my own experiences recorded in my diary.

William Smith felt under appreciated and beset by snobs and had to go to debtors prison. I hated myself and almost everyone else and had to go to school. Two peas in a pod!

In the back of my Year 7 diary I made some predictions about the future lives of people at my school, including this assessment of a friend’s future chances:

GM: Junkie, Drugs, Drinking – slight possibility of being a university lecturer.