Has Jim Perrin libelled Joe Simpson, as his jealousy scales new heights?

In a recent post, ‘Jim Perrin comes out’, we quoted from an article we read on the site ‘To Hatch a Crow’ which we think showed how Jim Perrin’s spite, and jealousy of Joe Simpson and his phenomenal success* seemed to have tipped him over the edge of rational behaviour.

For him to have accused Joe Simpson of lying — who had written in Touching the Void of the desperate circumstances in which he and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, found themselves — was truly foolish. And (to add to the malevolent mix) to ‘recall’ the opinion of an orthopaedic friend, anonymous and in our view almost certainly imaginary, as well as claiming that many mountaineers also thought Joe Simpson’s story questionable — was all part of Jim Perrin’s risible attempt to belittle his reputation.

To remind you of what we consider to be his madness, we repeat what he wrote in reply to someone who had just commented. They were referring to the latest subject of world interest, the Thailand cave rescue of July, 2018, in which twelve boys and their football coach (as well as four water company workers) were rescued from a cave complex in the most exceptional circumstances. This commentator had the ‘temerity’ to draw attention to a similarity; that is, between the element of high drama and survival against apparently overwhelming odds of this rescue, and the climbing drama described in Touching the Void :   ‘…but it looks like an epic of Joe Simpson proportions.’

It was immediately obvious that Jim Perrin resented this allusion (in which a phrase was used — perhaps already coined, or worse was newly minted — which perpetuated Joe Simpson’s name… ) as it involved a climber more famous and arguably more popular and successful than himself, and one for whom he has long harboured a grudge. His instant response was in the usual waspish manner he employs when riled:

JP: ‘Except this was real and in the world’s eye. [Note the sly insinuation that Joe Simpson’s story was un-witnessed — in effect, that it might not have been true.] There are many in the mountaineering world who have grave doubts about some of Simpson’s accounts, including an orthopaedic surgeon friend of mine who examined his leg and concluded that he could not possibly have suffered the injuries described in “Touching the Void”. I have problems with his accounts, too. There is no comparison here. For what it’s worth, and for a host of reasons I’m not going to elaborate upon [here], I am now deeply sceptical, and far from alone in that stance.’

Such vagueness; such teasing suggestiveness; such self-importance and hints of insider knowledge not publically available: mention of an ‘expert’ (who has no name, and in any case it was decades ago) and the claim of opinions of ‘many’ like-minded people — such sophistry: and, ‘for what it’s worth’, we do not believe a single word, and consider the passage to be merely an exercise in Jim Perrin’s malicious bunkum.

To have posted this comment; to libel Joe Simpson as was clearly his intention, appears to be somewhat lacking in caution — perrinoid behaviour we could say — and he has nurtured this extraordinary and malignant hatred for years. His first attack, as far as we know, was to write on Amazon, 24/04/2004, a poor review of a book which was becoming almost universally admired. Using the alias ‘Llywarch’ he wrote it in the ‘clever’ pseudo-psychological style he affects, and it can still be read (except he has changed the name of his alias to ‘Tim Bartley’).

We found it revealing that he shamelessly plagiarised Joe Simpson’s title Touching the Void for an article in The Observer just one year later, (writing in his own name, not using an alias as he had when reviewing the book). It was an article notable for the quantity of absolute lies he included about the sister we lost, most tragically, when she died of cancer. The awful irony was that although Jac fully intended to end the relationship which had caused her such trauma and pain and had discussed it with her sisters, after her death Jim Perrin wrote so untruthfully about her and ‘capitalised’ on the details. (We are referring here to that article in The Observer.) Five years later, he multiplied and developed those lies in West even going so far as to libel some family members and other contacts quite shamelessly and, it seems to us, with a virtually sociopathic disdain — exceeding acceptable boundaries, lacking any self-editing and showing no conscience.

It is a further irony, and one not to be missed, that if he had not written the book it is most unlikely to have occurred to us to respond as we do, with our posts…  As Toby Mundi, of Atlantic Books once said to us (having become aware of the truth): ‘It was the book Jim Perrin should never have written’. Given the consequences to that author; the disclosures and verifiable details of historical and contemporary misdemeanours that through our site, jacssisters, we bring to the public’s attention — with the resulting adverse publicity — it would seem that Toby Mundi was most prescient to say so.

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We have just been contacted — and we so appreciate all the information we are given — to be told of the latest news concerning Joe Simpson’s book. Susanna Clapp of The Observer has written: ‘Bristol Old Vic boldly brings to the Stage Touching the Void, mountaineer Joe Simpson’s memoir of being trapped in a crevasse in the Peruvian Andes. Tom Morris directs David Greig’s adaptation; designer Ti Green is tasked with making the mountains; Josh Williams plays Joe.’

(Currently being shown at the Bristol Old Vic until October the 6th, it will move to Northampton to the Royal and Derngate Theatre from October the 9th to the 20th. From there it will go, in 2019, to Edinburgh and will play in the Royal Lyceum Theatre from January the 24th to February the 14th.)

The reviews so far have been nothing less than remarkable: Mark Lawson of The Guardian; Ann Trenaman of The Times and The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish all wrote glowingly of the production, and all gave it five stars. Many more have given it ‘rave reviews’ and Peter Ross, of The Guardian, wrote a very clear and in-depth article, 05/09/2018, on the origin of the original story by Joe Simpson and details of the subsequent film and stage versions. All in all, and as Shane Morgan wrote in his own review: ‘Touching the Void is a theatrical triumph’.

Without Joe Simpson’s 1988 book Touching the Void there would have been no film; without his book there would be no stage adaptation: and although written so many years ago its impact and the moral and ethical issues it inevitably raises make it as absorbing today as ever it was.

Jac’s sisters.

*  This celebrated, one could say amazing book has achieved an astonishing and well-deserved success. Over two million copies have been sold world-wide and it has been translated into twenty-seven languages: added to this it was made into a BAFTA award-winning film. Now, three decades old, it has become the subject of a stage adaptation by David Greig and one which by every account is being tremendously well received.

All this rather demonstrates that Joe Simpson’s position is quite unassailable and the public recognition, and acknowledgement of his wide body of work over the years provides the indisputable evidence…

Jim Perrin, on the other hand, frequently makes himself a laughing stock with his pettish sniping, obsessional malice and blatantly untrue accusations. We cannot help thinking of this line from an old song of 1918 by Irving Berlin:

 ‘They were all out of step but Jim.’


Jim Perrin, ‘Guardian’ country diarist for Wales, claims to be living in Ariege, France

We were telephoned this evening (19/09/2018) by a Welsh well-wisher who, after discussing various aspects of our site, gave us further information about the author Jim Perrin: they pointed out to us the entry on his Wikipedia page in which he states that he lives in Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées.

Why then, they not unreasonably asked, were The Guardian paying him (as presumably they do each month, sometimes twice a month) to write for them as the Country Diarist for Wales?

Perhaps this question should be directed to the editor of the newspaper itself, Katharine Viner… (We have a theory that we have advanced in previous posts: we suggest that Jim Perrin has Friends in High Places; and that he receives preferential treatment for reasons which we mortals cannot know.)


TGO: The Great Outdoors Climbing Magazine supports author Jim Perrin

As we noted recently Jim Perrin ‘has not yet succumbed to his Terminal Lung Cancer’ (the diagnosis of which he claimed was in July, 2007). Whilst we are aware our words may seem unsympathetic we have explained in previous posts that we doubted the truth of this particular story almost from the beginning and then quickly discovered that it was, on the author’s own admission, entirely un-true.

Jim Perrin was obliged to admit to the representative of The Guardian who went over to Ariège to interview him face-to-face, that he did not after all have cancer; the terminal cancer which he had been proclaiming for so many months. He was, they reported, ‘looking very spritely’, and could no  longer keep up the pretence that he was dying; but instead — by using a loophole as imaginary as his illness — he suggested that ‘perhaps [he] had been misdiagnosed’. We learned of that latest development at the time, from an impeccable source, nevertheless it came into the public domain only recently: while Jim Perrin had the sheer nerve to perpetuate his myth for some years more — despite confessing when ‘confronted’ — his continuing health has finally given the lie to his falsehood. Jac’s sisters have written of this in several posts, the most detailed being on the 11/05/2011, but we know from our own experience how he always lies so convincingly and his friends probably disbelieved us. (Incidentally, we also have on record — and this is indisputable — that Jim Perrin claimed to be ‘Dying of Liver Cancer’, some eighteen years ago.)

However, and more to our point, this meeting was not before he deceitfully contrived to inform the world of his Grave Illness, and the dreadful prognosis of what was likely to be his fate. With the use of this sham diagnosis he gained (and greatly benefitted from) — as had been his intention — admiration for his ‘bravery’ in adversity; sympathy; and the unquestioning and unsuspecting support which he had been shown by all those he had deceived. Generally people are concerned and kindly when they hear of illness in another; cancer in particular is an affliction which evokes the strongest empathy and it was certainly true in the author’s case: ‘Poor Jim Perrin’ was the refrain; so tragically soon after the death of his partner from that same distressing disease…

Amongst those he did deliberately deceive were: his agent; his publishers; his editors; his readers and his reviewers (Sir Andrew Motion, Jan Morris and Stevie Davies were just three): employers from climbing magazines, local and national newspapers (The Guardian, The Times, The Observer) and periodicals, including from the extensive Welsh literary scene. There were various interviewers in print, (Emily Rodway, for one, of TGO, who wrote in the September 2010 issue: ‘Jim himself was diagnosed by doctors as having terminal cancer…the clean air [of the Pyrénées] has improved his health, but the diagnosis stands.’) — on radio, television and YouTube, and programme makers and film producers (Grant Gee). And last, or rather first, his family, as well as friends and loyal fans. It is our belief that each of these, and probably others too were systematically duped by Jim Perrin in the matter of his ‘Terminal Lung Cancer’.

It could have been no accident. On the contrary, he was explicit that he was doomed to die: ‘Now with a slim and dwindling grant of remaining years…’ — (The Times, 13/07/2010). In West each fictional symptom was described with the utmost ‘authority’ — this ‘diagnosis (this sentence of death) was one of the three elements he chose to call ‘my Triad of Tragedy’. If indeed there had been some misunderstanding, some misdirected words or rumours, some ‘Chinese whispers’ — Jim Perrin was perfectly able, had he wished, to explain that he was not unwell. Instead he made, and used, every opportunity to say how ill he was, and so reinforce the untruthful story of his cancer: as well as the ‘story’ he had diligently been promoting since his first article in The Observer (courtesy of the editor Roger Alton) in 2005, that our sister was his ‘Lover, wife and friend of forty years’.

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So it is our opinion that this was a well thought-out deception, and thoroughly comprehensive; and one which served the purposes of its originator as well as he could have wished. Unfortunately — and it is strange in this topsy-turvy world — there are still those who hang on to their faith in his integrity despite all the evidence against him although there are examples of his on-going duplicity (in several matters besides his imaginary cancer) for which the proof is beyond all doubt. Jim Perrin’s acolytes seem unwilling to accept the facts, and they close their eyes and ears. In fairness, we might suggest that some really do not know, and may have no idea their hero is the subject of such accusations, as his long-established system of compartmentalising those with whom he is involved works to his advantage. ‘Compartmentalising’ is medically recognised as a sociopathic trait — a marker.

Others, though, choose the easy way and consider their options with care. He calmly protests his innocence and explains that it is he who ‘is the victim’ and we ‘are the liars’: thus their belief in him remains absolute. Time should have been on Jim Perrin’s side. As of course there has been no news of his death from cancer which he pretended would be the case and, as years have passed, people refer less and less to that aspect of his life, there is every possibility that if his luck had held, his deception — having served its purpose — would by now be completely forgotten by the majority, and his honesty would be unchallenged. (How very aggravated he must be that Jac’s sisters continue to highlight this fraud, amongst others, in their posts…) Nevertheless it does stand, and notably reveals one element of Jim Perrin’s cynical modus operandi. It is apparent that he an ‘easy liar’ and a man for whom morals, and the ethics of social life hold no meaningful constraint: and it is clear, from reading the mass of evidence against him, that  our words are fully justified.

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As well as those mentioned above there is another group who simply couldn’t care. One person, Gordon Stainforth, accused us of ‘washing dirty linen in public’; and some really prefer not to tax their minds, even though, as we believe, many of our posts reveal, and without any question of refutation, the true wickedness of the author — wickedness which should not be ignored and should be made public. (It is interesting that no women have complained — it is only men who have expressed these views…) How lucky Jim Perrin is, in his circle of cronies, his friends — his ‘buddies’ as he calls them: but that is to excuse him, if not exonerate him — silence gives consent — (and, well, maybe he is a bit of a character…), and it does nothing to address the great distress he has caused over the years; and is still continuing to do, to this day.

He has knowingly wronged so many with his lies and his violence; his manipulation of the internet; his psychological abuse and fraudulent behaviour. We have, by now, files of documentation; full of information — and letters that tell of these things.

We do wonder what hold a man could possibly have, who despite the blatant untruths he has told (and continues to tell); and the cheating of which he is proved to be guilty, is still considered to be persona grata by those of his associates who support (and pay) him — it cannot only be that he is thought to write so very prettily?

And, finally, it is most shameful that from his earnings the ’eminent’ author Jim Perrin persists in refusing to give any maintenance at all to his underage children…

Jac’s sisters.

NB.  Prominent newspapers, The Sunday Telegraph and The Guardian as well as, in Wales, The New Welsh Review — amongst other Welsh literary bodies; and the prestigious, and very glossy magazine The Great Outdoors, all employ Jim Perrin, so surely there should be some money for the upkeep of his children?

Not forgetting of course the revenues from his many books, and from the obituaries which might be thought to be his ‘bread and butter’. We certainly saw receipts for generous amounts for some of these, in the past; and he ‘advertises’ himself on his Wikipedia page in the most unseemly way. Why should he not? Perhaps it is something of an accolade to be asked to write them (or to be written of by him — retrospectively?) It may be his knowledge of the climbing milieu, that and his reputation as ‘one of the most prominent writers in British climbing’ according to UKC henchmen, which encourages requests for his services? It seems distasteful though, to list them, after the event…

But: they are not always what might have been required: when reading them there are frequently little touches of acid to be discerned (subtly incorporated as ‘humour’ and anecdotes) and references to ‘I’ and ‘me’ not quite appropriate to the purpose. Jim Curran, who was a renowned (and highly-regarded) climber, film- maker, author and artist and the recipient of a special award from the Boardman Tasker committee for ‘his outstanding and continual contribution to mountain literature’, when he knew he was dying put it on record that he would haunt anyone who commissioned his obituary from Jim Perrin…

PS. We have been told that Cameron McNeish — a major figure in TGO and the long-standing friend of Jim Perrin — has won the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture 2018, and we congratulate him. (We assume that he has no knowledge of the ‘Jim Perrin’ of whom we write as we know the author has positively discouraged people from reading our site — saying that ‘it is all lies’ — in order to show their ‘loyalty’ to him.)