We have just been told that in March last year — late! but well worth recording — there was an exchange on a thread of UKC which is certainly of interest, and shows Jim Perrin does not always have it all his own way…
Two of the contributors posted a link to jacssisters — and we are grateful to them for their thoughtfulness — and a third wrote the following:
‘In reply to UKC articles: Wonderful how he [JP] trips out references to classics to impress and seems to be so well read while he slags off contemporary writers* — (anything he might be afraid of?) — like levels of true achievement and literary regard? Remarkable the degree to which he overwrites and over obsesses about himself.
For a true reading about this man — reading/writing/literature/just the stuff of getting through with other people — read jacssisters.org — no amount of obfuscation can conceal the truth, esp. towards the women he has been involved with.’
And they go on to say, in response to a preceding remark:
‘You are so right. if only others would read their site they might recognise the blinding truth.’
We neither know ‘Roe’, nor of them, but we thank them for their clear-sighted comments regarding the author Jim Perrin (and for their kind endorsement of our site). How Jim Perrin’s colleagues continue in their unquestioning support of him — in view of all that has been revealed about his ongoing history — seems, rather than loyalty, almost to collude. We too wish the scales would fall from their eyes.
They are referring to Jim Perrin’s outstandingly wicked reply — with the idea he slanderously produced, like a maggot in fruit — to a question posed in the interview leading to this UKC comments thread, about Dr Robert Macfarlane; an author of absolute integrity and sensitivity and one who (unlike Jim Perrin with his endless facile verbosity) is genuinely erudite.*
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Here is the slippery and discreditable sentence:
‘If Robber Macpurloin said that, he must have borrowed it from somewhere.’
The actual significance of Jim Perrin’s words may not be realised if read quickly but to re-read them brings his intention sharply into focus… Twice, to our knowledge, he has used this phrase (once, we were told by a well-wisher, on facebook) with his false and unfounded accusation of plagiarism.
How the soaring success and popularity of Robert Macfarlane’s books, both amongst the public and in academic circles, must irk him! And does it not show how utterly mean-spirited and manipulative the man is — how low he is willing to stoop? To know his initial slander in the interview would become libel when published in the following edition of the magazine (and, under the auspices of UKC, was thus twice condoned) must have gratified him greatly: it may be remembered here that Jim Perrin used another periodical similarly some years ago, when he libelled the climber and author Jim Curran… (Ref. our posts Jim Curran v Jim Perrin. Parts 1 — 6.)
And, as well, it is surely a judgement on those editors who allowed this phrase to stand — his Friends in High Places? In this case one ‘friend’ was Natalie Berry of UKC, who interviewed him: she might have missed the intended insult with its sly and Machiavellian play on words (was there an insinuating and confiding glance when he spoke them?). If she did spot it perhaps she thought he was merely being humorous — which would have been naïve. Did he set out his stall to charm her? (Intellectual flattery is one of his subtle strengths.) Was its inclusion simply negligence on her part; or worse, partisan lenience? It was certainly disgraceful that no-one at UKC picked it up and threw it out, prior to its publication… One thing we have come to realise, as we have learned more about Jim Perrin, is that generally people involved with him seem trusting, and unable to see through his various stratagems — he is very ‘convincing’: plausible, we believe.
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A gesture of reparation might be made by UKC (given the comment was certainly entirely malicious; possibly even actionable) were they to delete it from the record: it could be done with no detriment to the interview overall — and could be as discretely edited out as originally it had been adroitly incorporated by Jim Perrin — which would show not only fair play but a real awareness of their magazine’s ethical standard. Otherwise, should they ‘turn a blind eye’, his deliberately malignant words remain, to damage the reputation (as of course he intended) of the one of whom he wrote.** Regardless of any individual’s opinion of the work of another, the use of disparagement to ‘libel’ them is quite beyond the pale.
We think it may have slipped in, under the radar as it were, yet surely the ‘masters’ at UKC would not wish to be thought associated in the public mind with such an attack by Jim Perrin? — who blatantly used their pages as he did. (A representative of The Observer once wrote to us saying: ‘He should not be allowed to get away with it.’)
N.B. Food for thought (from Wikipedia):
* ‘A scholar is erudite when instruction and reading followed by digestion and contemplation have effaced all rudeness, have smoothed away all raw, untrained incivility.’
This is hardly a description fitting Jim Perrin’s customary outpourings — publicly and rarely using his own name as quoted from UKC above (and for an outstanding example please read our post: Has Jim Perrin bitten the hand that feeds him?) — or in his many anonymous reviews and comments over the years: one alias being ‘Melangell’ in The Guardian. (These are to be found on the comments thread which follows Sir Andrew Motion’s review of West.)
** …well, as of November 2020, UKC has chosen not to amend that remark, and we think it churlish to a degree to allow it to stand. We believe it shows a lack of integrity in the editors of the magazine.