Dr Lee Campbell is an artist, performance poet, experimental filmmaker, writer, Senior Lecturer at the University of the Arts London (UAL), and curator/founder of Homo Humour, the first of its kind project on contemporary queer male film and moving image practices that explore humor and LGBTQ+ storytelling and has screened all over the world since 2020.
SLANGBANG is a short he made last year, and is about gay male slang where ‘bears’ and ‘cubs’ refer to body shapes and age groups, a ‘bear’ usually refers to a hairy plus-size man whilst a ‘cub a younger bear. An ‘otter’ is a slimmer hairy man whilst a ‘wolf’ is an older daddy
Campbell explains I don’t want to be tied down by all the body labels (bear, cub, twink, otter etc.) gay men can label about who I am. Polari is a way of breaking that down. What category do I fit into? Using Polari could be seen as a way of generating more freedom from those categories. There’s an almost non-specificity about Polari. Even though it’s a language it doesn’t have all the specifics that ‘you fit into this, you fit into that’ etc. How controlling certain gay spaces are as soon as you walk through the door. Refreshing to say, ‘No I don’t want to be part of that.’ If the gay men can’t box me, they can’t place you in a box then they can’t organize their response to you. These sentiments paraphrase a conversation I had with poet Jeremy Dixon in May 2023.