29 February 2012

This just in from the front line...


Cake wars escalation STOP

Skirmishes reported on the northern front STOP

Herewith evidence from the Mothership STOP

Heavy artillery sighted STOP 

Cake-makers - to your battle stations! STOP



Mothership communique misinterpreted STOP

All forces retreat STOP

Suspect rainbow cake is covert message STOP**


* War - what is it good for? Yes! We should give peace a chance. Stay tuned for cake love-in. And look at the amazing rainbow cake made by KW ! Look at it! It is spectacular! That is some serious cake-making right there. LOOK at all those amazing layers! Definitely a peace cake.

23 February 2012


Friday. (That's tomorrow!)

8.30 p.m.

On the ABC.

Phryne. PHRYNE FISHER. PHRYNE FISHER ON YOUR TV. Friday night. 8.30 pm. ABC.

We haven't been this excited since... well... since... some previous super-high level of excitement.

If you haven't read any of Kerry Greenwood's wonderful mysteries DO SO NOW. Really, they are undiluted joy.

You can buy the editions adorned with Beth Norling's beautiful illustrations.

Or you can buy the new tie-in editions adorned with the gorgeous Essie Davis.

Or you can buy them straight to your device for reading RIGHT NOW. Or you can borrow them from the library, or steal them from a friend or WHATEVER. Just read them.

Here are a few key words that we feel paint something of a picture of why this is so important.

1928. Melbourne. Fashion. Cocktails.
Beautiful young men.
Murder. Blackmail. Revenge.
Theatre.  Ateliers. Orgies.
Circuses. Rescues. Dalliances.
Joy. Joy. Joy.

But best of all is Phryne herself.
Phryne is smart and brave and compassionate.
She takes absolutely no nonsense from anyone, but is not above taking a prisoner or two when absolutely necessary.
She is deadly beautiful and deadly with a pistol.
She has an eye for fine art and an art for finding delicious young men.
Unlike Macbeth, she does not need a witch's injunction to be bloody, bold and resolute, nor to scorn the power of man.
It comes naturally. For she is the Honorable Phryne Fisher.
Watch. Your. Step.

We've been all very excited since the TV show was announced. But to be honest, we've also been a little trepidatious. I mean, that's only natural, right?

We love Phryne. We've loved her for many, many years. What if TV Phryne isn't like our Phryne? What if Lin Chung isn't handsome enough? What if it all looks wrong? What if they don't GET IT?

Well, thanks to the special advance screening of the first two episodes that some Onions were lucky enough to attend, we say, BE AT PEACE.

The TV series is GORGEOUS. Phryne is very Phryne. Dot is a lovely Dot. Detective Inspector Jack Robinson is... well, to be honest, he's rather better looking than we had imagined, so there are no complaints there. Melbourne is Melbourne. 1928 is gloriously, fashionably 1928. They totally get it. Hooray hooray hooray!*

But perhaps the most comforting endorsement comes from the woman who brought Phryne to life. Or, more accurately, the woman who bumped into Phryne one day on a tram and has been furiously trying to keep up with her ever since. What does Kerry Greenwood think of the TV series? She loves it.

So paint your parlour walls sea-green, lay in some gin, and make a date with Miss Fisher on Friday night.

Nobody, in all the long history of her amorous affairs, has EVER regretted a date with Phryne.

* Lin Chung doesn't appear in the first two episodes, so we reserve judgement on that score - but all signs point to handsome.

17 February 2012

That word you keep using

'How thankful little Phil will be when all this examinating is over.'
'Examinating? I never heard such a word.'
'Well, haven't I as good a right to make a word as any one else?' demanded Phil.
'Words aren't made - they grow,' said Anne.
  -- Anne of the Island, LM Montgomery
Mark Forsyth is a man who knows a lot about how words grow. And a lot of what he knows is delightfully unexpected. His fabulous Inky Fool blog is full of musings about how one word is related to another word is related to another word is related to your cousin by marriage. Seriously, the connections between words are as convoluted and interesting as your family tree, only you don't have to invite any of them round for Christmas lunch.

We are deeply indebted to Mr Forsyth, as he has given us a name for a condition that is a perennial problem in the House of Onion. You know how when you repeat a word too often, or think about it too much, the word dissolves entirely into its component parts and you can't make it mean anything anymore? Well Mr Forsyth knows, and he calls it a lapse of meaning. From his list of other terms we quite like cortical inhibition, mostly because we can imagine a stricken editor reclining on a psychiatrist's couch, talking gibberish, while the psychiatrist writes cortical inhibition on her notepad and underlines it three times.

So, you can imagine how excited we were to learn that Mark Forsyth's wordy goodness now exists in book form! Hurrah for The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language. Hurrah!

Here in the House of Onion we are viewing this as an important Tool of Trade. It will stand with us, shoulder to shoulder with our Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and the Macquarie Dictionary, in our ongoing wrestle with the Inigo Dilemma.

And, in very pleasing news: there will be laughing, for Mark Forsyth is funny (and being funny about etymology is not easy). He is also, it seems, something of a dish.* So in that spirit, we share this video even though it is not Christmas.**

* The Macquarie is silent on the etymology of 'dish' used in this manner. Does it just allude to a person looking good enough to eat? When did it come into vogue? Would you ever use it about someone who wasn't British?
** It is, however, Friday and a cocktail would not go astray.

06 February 2012

Bring it on!

Karen Healey is partway through a magnificent series of blog posts on Teen Movies with Serious Messages. Go at once and read them. She has already covered several Onion favourites including Bring it On, Clueless, Empire Records, Saved...

Oh, world, never stop making teen movies.

This got us thinking about how the teen movie and the YA novel are really partners in awesome.
So here is a list of YA novels we would love to see on the big screen: 

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Art, love, insecurity, family, friendship, sekrit attraction, confusion, kissing. Graffiti Moon would fit PERFECTLY into the long tradition of teen films that take place over one glorious/terrible/wonderful night. This is a NO BRAINER, Hollywood, get on it. 

Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Being yourself, trying out different selves, starting a new school, STAGE CREW, love and friendship, sex and sexuality, fitting in, changing your mind, playing around, oh and STAGE CREW. Why is this not a film already? 

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist  by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. 
Oh wait! They already made that one.  Now they should make Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. A Christmas movie! With muppet making! 

Winter of Grace by Kate Constable
Searching for answers, testing friendships, finding your own path, exploring faith, meeting a boy and then MEETING HIS BROTHER. 

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper
Okay, so this one's going to be super-expensive to film, what with it being set in 1936 in a fictional country which is basically a decaying castle, on a rock, in the middle of the English Channel. And okay, it might not fit into the classic Teen Movie mould.  But HOW GOOD WOULD IT BE?

Step Up and Dance by Thalia Kalkipsakis
A CHEERLEADING DANCE MOVIE. Also, SECRET CRUSH and MISTAKEN IDENTITIES and FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS. And with that, ladies and gentleman of the jury, we rest our case.

But wait, while we're on the topic... did you see the second trailer for the Hunger Games movie? We might have shed a little tear...

01 February 2012

Selkies in the storm-tossed seas

Friends, readers, book lovers - lend us your eyes.

We like announcements. And some time ago we made an announcement about Margo Lanagan. So, delighted we were to see that Adelaide Writer's Week has made an announcement about Margo too:
It is a great honour to dedicate Adelaide Writers’ Week 2012 to Margo Lanagan, a writer of extraordinary intellect and imagination.

And look! Look how clever and articulate and utterly winning Margo is as she talks about her brilliant new novel Sea Hearts.

This has been the Alien Onions .... with, let's face it, a bit of a crush now, actually.