We were told some time ago by an impeccable source of the following — and revealing — exchange:
The Guardian newspaper, concerned that one of their regular Country Diarists, Jim Perrin, was now terminally ill, sent someone to Ariège where the author had taken a property for the sake of his health. (‘Taken’? Well, we were later made aware by one who sadly had been involved, that there was large degree of skulduggery in the transaction… ) The Guardian visitor was to write an obituary for the dying man, in expectation of his impending demise from the Terminal Lung Cancer with which, he said, he had been diagnosed in 2007. He had informed the whole world of his condition and, in the most particular medical detail, of his Brave Battle. (Writing of it in a book; in newspaper articles and in climbing magazines; appearing at literary festivals and being interviewed on the radio.* So, you see, we are not gratuitously exaggerating… )
He was asked how he was coping with the disease, and thoughts of imminent death. Apparently obituaries frequently are written before their subjects have Shuffled Off This Mortal Coil, and are put in the back of the drawer — so to speak — until the doleful day.
Jim Perrin’s response to the face-to-face enquiry (he was looking very sprightly, it was said), could hardly be otherwise than to admit, after all, that he was no longer dying of cancer; he thought that ‘maybe he had been misdiagnosed — perhaps it was emphysema’.
We have referred to his illness in several posts; (we believe it to be as imaginary as his PhD). These three contain the most information:
Posted on the 11/05/2011 — the sixth anniversary of our sister’s death — Jim Perrin: Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer?
… and the main one of course and for which we are particularly indebted was written by a senior hospital doctor, a consultant whose speciality is cancer: it surely drives a coach and horses through Jim Perrin’s deceit:
* In an interview with Colin MacKay for BBC Radio Scotland on 29/08/2011, Jim Perrin was asked:
CM ‘You yourself have been diagnosed with cancer — terminal lung cancer — how are you at the moment?’
JP ‘Well, I am still here and I can still gasp out a few words, and I’m not remotely miserable or oppressed by it, and I’m still enjoying life as best I can and will continue to do so and to put one foot in front of another as long as I’m capable of doing so, and as to doctors and all the — you know — the iatrogenic megalomania of their pronouncements which I don’t give undue regard to — I don’t necessarily even believe them and I hope there’s not an element of denial in my saying that…’
To our amazement Jim Perrin kept up this charade for a considerable time (even speaking of his ‘illness’ only recently), until, it might be said with truth, and observing his state of heath to be unaffected, we began to realise how extremely unlikely the whole story was and we posted our suspicions online; thereafter emphasis on his fatal illness was curtailed. Up to that point he had been believed — and had received much ‘credit’ for his admirable stoicism; as well as being the pitiable subject of such outpourings of sympathy. (Indeed we were told by a judge on The Boardman Tasker award committee of how Jim Perrin had ‘received the sympathy vote’ for his self-described ‘triad of tragedy’ — his purported diagnosis of Terminal Lung Cancer being one element of that triad.) His fabricated illness having served him so well, how he must have laughed up his sleeve…