neil mckenna


Today we are going to look at an amusing historical fact: The time that beloved poets Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman met, got drunk, and slept together.

(Closed Captioning coming soon) 

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magnesiumeternity  asked:

☆ for andreil?

Who is more likely to raise their voice?: Probably Neil, but he tries not to do so at Andrew. He’s more likely to get loud just ranting about Exy things.

Who threatens to leave but never actually does?: Neither of them are the type to make empty threats. They both actually do leave a couple times, but they always come back.

Who actually keeps their word and leaves?: See above.

Who trashes the house?: Neither of them necessarily trash the house, but Neil is more likely to neglect chores, so on weeks where he’s home and Andrew’s not, Andrew gets pissed when he comes home to a mess.

Do either of them get physical?: No. They both know they’re the one person in the world they won’t hurt.

How often do they argue/disagree?: Not super often, but often enough. They’re both incredibly stubborn, and Neil will never stop pushing Andrew to reach his full potential in Exy, which pisses him off.

Who is the first to apologise?: You’re hilarious.

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Stoddart tactfully left the two poets alone. ‘If you are willing – will excuse me – I will go off for an hour or so – come back again – leaving you together,’ he said. ‘We would be glad to have you stay,’ Whitman replied. ‘But do not feel to come back in an hour. Don’t come for two or three.’ Whitman opened a bottle of elderberry wine and he and Oscar drank it all before Whitman suggested they go upstairs to his ‘den’ on the third floor where, he told Oscar, ‘We could be on ‘thee and thou’ terms.
—  The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, Neil McKenna

anonymous asked:

(sorry idk if prompts r open if not totally just delete this) but could u do more about andreil adopting a ray of sunshine child? Thanks! ( Ur great btw )

Aww thank you! You don’t know how much it means to me that people care about sunshine child. For context: Her name is McKenna and they adopted her when she was 4. She lived in a home where she was kept locked in a dark room for long periods of time, hence the nightmare in this fic, though it’s not addressed specifically in this fic. She’s about 8 here. I hope you enjoy!

Andrew awoke to the sound of small feet padding up to the bed. He catalogued the feeling of both the cats already in bed, so he steadied his breathing and quickly rationalized that it must be McKenna.

Sure enough, he heard a quiet, “Daddy? Are you awake?” from the foot of the bed. She knew not to touch either of them to wake them up; they would hear her come in.

He sat up and scanned her face as best he could in the dark for any injuries. Finding none, he asked, “What’s wrong?”

She sniffed before saying, “I had a bad dream.”

Andrew stilled. From any other child, a bad dream would mean nonsense monster to be chased away under beds, but Andrew knew too well that her nightmares came from real-life monsters that stuck around long past their welcome. He clenched his fists against the rush of anger at the fact that she had to deal with this, that she, like him, couldn’t get a night of rest because of the people who were supposed to take care of her.

He quieted Neil when he started to stir and motioned for McKenna to follow him.

Once they were in the light of the kitchen, he hoisted her onto the kitchen counter as he got two mugs out and started warming milk for hot chocolate. After a moment of hesitation, he started heating up water for tea too, since he knew Neil wouldn’t stay asleep for long.

As it heated up, he stood by her at the counter, noting that in the position that they were of about equal height. He hovered his hand by her face and when she nodded he brushed the tears away with his thumb. He put two ice cubes in her drink so she wouldn’t burn herself and held the cup up to her mouth.

“Better?” he asked after a few sips. She nodded and he noted that she’d stopped crying.

They sat in silence for a few minutes before sure enough he heard Neil come into the room. Andrew handed him his mug and took comfort in the soft brush of fingers as their hands exchanged the cup.

Neil walked up to McKenna and said, “Hey ladybug. Everything okay?”

She nodded. “Bad dream.”

Neil grimaced sympathetically. “But Daddy’s always here to protect you, right?”

She nodded enthusiastically. “Chocolate always beats the bad guys! Like in Harry Potter!”

Neil chuckled and said, “That’s right.”

For Andrew, hope was still a brittle feeling inside his chest, but he hoped with everything he had left that she’d always be able to grow up believing that.

Eventually, she started to nod off, so Andrew picked her up to carry her into the room. He kissed her forehead as he laid her down, knowing he’d never hear the end of it if Neil happened to see.

Neil had rinsed the mugs in his absence and they headed back to bed together, Neil getting in bed first so Andrew wouldn’t have to adjust to his weight.

Once they were settled, Neil said, “You have quite the gift for chasing away monsters.”

Andrew turned Neil’s staring face away with two fingers so he wouldn’t have to see it. “Shut up and go to sleep.”

He fell back asleep to the feeling of Neil chuckling against his throat.

Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England by Neil McKenna.
Book Review by the-library-and-step-on-it

Fanny and Stella tells the story of two young men arrested for crossdressing and trying to lure other men into performing “unspeakable acts.” This book covers the surprising twists and turns of the trial, the different Victorian attitudes towards “sodomy,” and how exactly one would go about creating this illusion of being a woman (inflated sheep’s lungs are involved). It’s a fascinating look into the queer underbelly of London society, with its male prostitution, secret drag balls, and the constant danger of getting caught.

Neil McKenna is very passionate about his subject matter, but often gets a little carried away with the gossip and speculation. He has a tendency to drift off into (purple) prose, describing emotions and thoughts he can’t possibly know about. Personally, I would have preferred it if he had made more of an effort to stick to the facts, but it seems that he cannot help but let his own emotions shine through (or shout from the page, more like).

That said, the story of Fanny and Stella is quite spectacular, and this book is definitely an interesting read for those of you who are interested in queer history or those wacky Victorians in general.

Oh, and fair warning: the descriptions of both sexual acts and medical conditions get very graphic at times, so you might want to think twice about reading this on a crowded subway. A great opportunity to pick up some hilarious Victorian slang though (I, for one, am adding “crinkum-crankum” to my vocabulary).

Find more reviews here.

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something (late but shhh)

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The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde: An Intimate Biography, by Neil McKenna

This was one of the first nonfiction books I read for fun I think! And it taught me that nonfiction is totally fun. I was a soft sell on this one to begin with because Oscar Wilde is my sassy ridiculous tragic favorite, and his actual life was at least as interesting as the fiction he wrote. Also because: this book is a biography that tries to make up for all older Wilde biographies that sort of sidestepped the gay sex issue, and it does so by being all about gay sex.

It’s a really interesting look into his emotional life and his relationships with friends and family, and had me yelling “Noooo stop taking Bosie back! Robbie Ross is a perfectly nice young man—Oscar that lawsuit is the worst idea what are you—Oscar why fhbvfs” every, like, twenty pages. (Tragically, he was unable to be his own Sassy Gay Friend.) But also, it was this delightfully tawdry sexcapades thing where you learn exactly what he got up to in the sack, and the politics of masculinity and sexuality that informed all of that, and which poetic symbolism referred to blowjobs, and it was just all very pleasing to me on intellectual, emotional, and pervy levels.

Plus it totally features porn from Wilde’s personal collection, by which I mean photographs of naked boys posing erotically with drapes and feathers and strange hats. How could you resist?