A question of identity?

It was on The Guardian thread after a review by Sir Andrew Motion of the book West, 24/07/10, that a commentator, ‘Melangell’ became extremely animated!  (And we may say straightaway, and pin our colours to the mast, that we are completely convinced that ‘she’, ‘Melangell’, is an alias used by Jim Perrin… )

We have said before that it had never occurred to us to have a site of our own. If ‘Melangell’ (JP?) had not been so determined to ‘put us right’ at every turn or to so explicitly express Jim Perrin’s views; if she had not been so virulent in her insinuations or had not caused our first comment to be deleted, in all probability it would never have been created. We are now going to answer some of the comments that she — Jim Perrin — made.

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Some of the remarks were, plainly, silly:
‘Melangell’:   ‘When I visited Jacquetta in hospital within twenty-four hours of her death, none of her family were there, Jim’s was the only photograph by her bedside.’

The reason for the latter was that our sister had no idea when she left home that day for the hospital that she would be staying — never to return, and she had taken with her only her handbag. It was Jim Perrin, later, who, brought in his own photograph; and it is certain that he would not have taken her any others!

‘Melangell’:   At her funeral his were the only flowers on her coffin and he was the only person I saw weep.’
Ref. Jim Perrin: West, page 285.  ‘No-one had seemed to weep for her.’

Some were overtly threatening, and with an increasing use of emphasis:
‘Melangell’:    ‘Jim undertook never to write about her family though he has strong feelings on the matter.’
Ref. Jim Perrin:  West, page 6. ‘The guilt of those who neglected and exploited.’

‘Melangell’:    ‘… and I think was right to do so in view of the Pandora’s box this could open.’ (And, yes, we did understand the literary allusion which was aimed at us, but we thought her choice was unfortunate — as, so far as Jim Perrin is concerned, Pandora’s box has now been opened with a vengeance and it is he whose reputation has been damaged… )

‘Melangell’:   ‘Family matters are often wholly unedifying when
exposed to the public view.’ (Had Jim Perrin not hoped to sell his book, with all its salacious and controversial content? Of course he had…)

‘Melangell’:    ‘Surely it is time now to close down this thread before it descends to the appalling depths and name-calling of which families are all too often capable.’ (Obviously an appeal to the moderator! But how then does Jim Perrin justify his disgraceful outburst on page 6 in West? — and, we may say, this ‘family matter’ is entirely without precedent in our family… )

‘Melangell’:   ‘Best perhaps to leave this exchange of views now? Things can only be exacerbated by its continuance.’  (A threat here? — of worse to come?)

‘Melangell’:    ‘As to the correspondence there is a great deal more I could say AND IN PUBLISHABLE LANGUAGE.’ (Our capitals! — as this was the clearest possible threat there could be — tantamount to blackmail.)  We had been ‘warned off’, essentially. Who does Jim Perrin think he is!

This was a thoroughly nasty one:
‘Melangell’:    ‘I lost any respect I had for your family when I heard one of you, actually at the funeral, mocking a distraught Jim for having spent everything he had on Jacquetta in her last couple of years. Some humanity there!’ This was such a scabrous comment that we will deal with it, at length, in a specific post. NB. Later post: Overheard at the funeral by ‘Melangell’. 

Next came a condescending and, ‘inaccurate’, comment:
‘Melangell’:     ‘Might I wearily remind you …’ — ‘a very curious inaccuracy…’

It was no ‘curious inaccuracy’ on our part to remark on the last six months of Jac’s life, as distinct from the preceding three months. Sadly we know only too well when our sister’s cancer was diagnosed. Two of us were with her in her ‘Welsh’ sister’s garden later on that day; but for the first three months she was managing her life reasonably well and with great optimism, still working on her stained glass as well as completing commissions.

It was the last six months, as we have said in our post of 05/10/2010, when her treatment began to take its hold, that she was so weakened by it. No ‘inaccuracy’, and just another example of mean-minded spite by ‘Melangell’! — this ubiquitous and irritating ‘fly on the wall’, whom we believe in our hearts to be Jim Perrin.  Surely none but Jim Perrin could have written the outraged counter-blast to Sir Andrew Motion’s review of his book — only good in parts and not comprehensively favourable — which was posted in The Guardian on 27/07/2010 : or the endless flattering expositions of his own book, West?

On a lighter note, one which did amuse us rather, attempted to re-direct those readers who might have been in danger of going ‘off message’:
‘Melangell’:    ‘Jim’s book is about grief — a point which seems to have been missed by many who have commented here.’  (This was in reply to a poor soul, ‘joofofthedownes’, who had been so misguided as to write ‘I would like to know more about this Jac…’  We have no idea who posted this comment but we would like to thank them for their undoubted part in the realisation of our site.)

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All this has surely been noticed by others?  The words, the endless analysing, the phrasing and the oh, so, erudite use of quotation.  The laboured suggestions as to which books might usefully be read and the attempted claiming of the moral high ground. There are many clues in ‘Melangell’, ‘My Sweet Waterfall’ (ref. ‘to Hatch a Crow’), and ‘Llywarch’ — (NB. Now changed to ‘Tim Bartley’).   It is early days, yet possibly there will be others too? It is so interesting that by posting these comments Jim Perrin has revealed in ever sharper focus his increasing irritation with Jacssisters, and that they should have the temerity to stand up to him is clearly very annoying indeed. He is so used to having everything his own way…

We are not — in direct answer to his latest communication (‘Liz’ via Amazon) orchestrating a ‘campaign’.  Nor is there any conspiracy.  Our intention is, as it has been from the beginning when we attempted to post our first ever comment (deleted) on The Guardian site, to show exactly how matters stood between our sister and Jim Perrin. We feel sure that others would have been as outraged and dismayed as her family were, if their loved ones had been similarly used. Should one remain silent when such faithless exploitation is evident?

Most recently, Jac’s nephew posted a comment on the ‘Amazon’ site. It was the comment of a sincere and caring young man; he certainly seemed to have touched a nerve.  The response which followed, by ‘Llywarch’ (Jim Perrin, of course) speaks volumes and, we feel, perfectly illustrates our point.

Readers of our posts who have Stayed the Course will have realised that there are not just slight differences between the account we are giving of our sister’s life, and that told by Jim Perrin in West — nor in his many subsequent comments using an alias. Not content with telling flagrant lies in his book, he has (as ‘Melangell’) used the comments page on The Guardian to spread them. Now, on our site, he will be challenged at every turn.

Jac’s sisters.