John Waters, director of Hairspray, Serial Mom and a whole host of lesser-known trashy and camp underground epics of the 1970s inculding Multiple Maniacs, Desperate Living and Pink Flamingos, has a new book out this week. Role Models showcases his adoration for the the fringes of society and those who dwell there.

Waters’ book consists of a series of profiles on various outsiders and originals who have captivated the director with their quirks, personalities, bloody mindedness and refusal to follow the rules as laid out by society. Those included are singer Johnny Mathis, Bobby Garcia, who is an amateur pornographer specialising in marines and Zorro, a butch lesbian stripper from Baltimore and self-confessed “terrible mother”.

Waters said: “It is important because it shows that lesbians have the same rights to be bad mothers as straight people. . . that chapter is in Playboy this month. It’s hilarious that a gay man writes an article about a bad lesbian mother and it’s in Playboy.”

In the book, Waters also says he believes that while being gay can offer a pathway to being interesting, it is no longer interesting in and of itself. He said: “It isn’t that interesting anymore. It’s no big deal.The kids don’t care.” He also cited a story of watching two heterosexual hillbilly men dancing in a mixed gay bar in Baltimore. “That was so modern to me,” he said.

Waters is currently working on Hairspray 2: White Lipstick.