25 APR 2021 4pm UTC “The Perfect Crime (Work-in-Progress)” by Lee Campbell (London, UK) dur 15min

“The Perfect Crime (Work-in-Progress)” by Lee Campbell

In the vein of gay horror, this performance explores control in gay male relationships. Who controls who and who is the killer? Rufus the dog? In previous work about me, my partner and our dog, Rufus also intrudes somehow in our relationship but was light-hearted whereas this performance …. This is a performative enactment of a poem-in-progress that I have been writing I have written about my relationship with my partner written in the vein of a crime whodunnit/gay horror/gay murder mystery as part of Queer Words – a six-week creative queer writing course I have been attending April – May 2021. In this poem, I aim to ‘queer’ the boundaries between fact and fiction. It is humorous in tone and uses end of sentence rhyming couplets for poise and wit and dramatic effect when performed. The poem begins with me writing in the first person where the reader gets a sense of my emotions and personal feelings around a particular situation that I have with my partner and Rufus, the dog that we dog-sit. Part of the poem also adopts a style of writing akin to a factual police report written in the past tense to provide narration to a series of events where the reader is unsure who the protagonist is. This writing-up style, supposedly objective in tone resembles a similar strategy adopted by artist Chris Burden (1974) whose take on a police report excludes the personal. Burden (1974) gives no personal response to events, no indication nor insight into what he was thinking during one of his performances. For example, in his recollection of Shoot (1971), he states: ‘At 7:45 PM I was shot in the left arm by a friend. The bullet was a copper jacket 22 long rifle. My friend was standing about fifteen feet from me’ (1974:24). As I write using the police report as a form of witting that is ’impersonal, objective and ‘almost neutral’ in tone (O’Dell, 1998:1), I am enjoying teasing the audience in terms of what I present as being fact and fiction and blurring their boundaries and how this style of formal writing (the police report written by a witness with all its legal and moral entanglements) gives ‘the impression of the truth’. To a certain degree there are parts of my writing which are based on actual happenings but it’s the readers/listeners job to try and untangle fiction from fact. Could it really be possible that quoting a section of my poem-in-progress, ‘11:02PM On CCTV, a car was caught speeding down the A23. A witness told police, although seen from afar, they spotted a dog at the wheel of the car’?

Dr Lee Campbell describes himself as \’a born and bred South Londoner who makes experimental films and performance poetry about being gay and working class using barbaric wit and humour. He uses poetry and experimental film as a form of autoethnographic storytelling/sharing of personal narratives often raw, often painful but always generous and authentic. He trained in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2005 and received his doctorate in 2016. He has recently performed at LGBT-centred online poetry events including INCITE!, London Queer Writers, POETRYLGBT, and DISTURBANCE, London. His recent films have been selected for many international queer film festivals including Queerbee LGBT Film Festival, The Gilbert Baker Film Festival, Kansas 2020, HOMOGRAPHY, Brussels and STATES OF DESIRE: Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination, Casa de Duende, Philadelphia, USA. He has been selected for WICKED QUEER 2021 in Boston, USA, one of the oldest and largest LGBT film festivals in the world and will screen one of his recent films at QUEER LIFE, EdgeZones gallery in Miami in May 2021. Recently interviewed by Hamish Downie for TWO GAY GEEKS. Forthcoming performances include Cruising Dystopia curated by Nouvelle Organon, Berlin.

To read the words of the poem click on the Artist Website link below