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.
* * * * *
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.
* 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.’