R/S: What kind of books do you collect?
LYNN PERIL: It’s not just a matter of “want”—I collect what I need, to enrich my life. Art books, pulps, pseudoscience or cryptozoology (like Heuvelman’s In the Wake of the Sea Serpent and On the Track of Unknown Animals), and books on women. Le Petomane, about a performer who could fart at will—everyone needs that one! And what is life without sleazy biographies? A favorite is Jayne Mansfield which was written by her friend, the writer May Mann—allegedly Jayne came back from the dead to tell her to write this. TINY TIM wrote an autobiography published by Playboy Press; it’s replete with repressed gay sex, bizarre heterosex—it’s just chock-full of guilt and repression. SPY magazine did a total comparison chart of celebrity biographies: first sex, big regrets. Mamie Van Doren wrote Playing the Field in which she talks about “doing it” with Rock Hudson. Florence Aadland, this Hollywood stage biddie, wrote a total exploitation, trashy book called The Big Love about her underage daughter’s affair with Errol Flynn. She said, “There’s one thing I want to make clear right off: my baby was a virgin when she met Errol Flynn.”
Another kidploitation book is My Life With Chaplin by Lita Grey Chaplin. She was 12 when she met Charlie, 15 when she first slept with him, and 16 when she had her first child by him. I have another book, Chaplin vs. Chaplin, which is basically transcripts of their divorce proceedings. She was testifying as to what went wrong in the marriage and said that he made her do “unnatural things”—meaning fellatio. When questioned, he replied, “But all married people do that!” This caused a big scandal at the time.
Pamela Des Barres’s I’m With the Band is totally sleazy, as is Neon Angel which was written by the lead singer of the Runaways, Cherrie Currie. Of course, there are lots of books about Elvis written by relatives and bodyguards (like Elvis, We Love You Tender). The best ones are all dirt.