In a ‘Daily Telegraph’ article by Andrew Hough, 27/12/12, there was further news of the author, R.J. Ellory, and his Wikipedia entries. As explained in an earlier posting we believe that the ‘Guardian’ country diarist for Wales, Jim Perrin, has common ground with R.J. Ellory: both are proved to have a propensity for ‘imaginative’ writing. Ref: ‘Jim Perrin Writes an Anonymous Letter.’
Recently we have noticed that since the first entry about Jim Perrin on Wikipedia, 22/10/05, there have been numerous amendments. (Wikipedia, ‘view history’).
Whilst we understand that anyone may add to an entry if the details added are correct, is it possible that the majority of these were posted either by Jim Perrin or at his behest; or by his inducement? Sometimes changes were made in quick succession, even within minutes.
It is noteworthy that Jim Perrin is ‘advertised’ as a writer of obituaries and an example is actually given: we cannot help but feel that this advertisement indicates a singular lack of taste (if not an infringement of Wikipedia rules) although it is revealing that it should be thought so worthy of pride and recognition; and of self-promotion.
Indeed, when this detail was added, 6/3/06, five months after the entry began, it was written that ‘For many years he has contributed the mountaineering obituaries for the “Guardian”.’ Only he? It was the clear implication; and ‘contributed’? Well not, of course, in the strictest sense, ‘gratis’ − he was paid £184 for the obituary of Ardito Desio on 20/4/05 for instance − although we do realise this is now a general usage of the word: over the ‘many years’ it has been Another String to His Bow, and lucrative. It may be that this aspect of his writing was highlighted in his Wikipedia entry to affirm his position as THE mountaineering obituary writer.
However, it is not true; the ‘inaccuracy’ was spotted, quite rightly changed, and the claim − by implication – (as we have observed is so often Jim Perrin’s way), that he was the ONLY one was altered by someone on 8/4/09: nevertheless it stood for three years before being corrected.
The word ‘the’ was removed. A little word; a little detail, it might be thought; but its use, we believe, was typical. It was no ‘careless slip of the pen’. As Jim Perrin said in an interview with Emily Rodway, see TGO September 2010, (and in the course of which he spoke CONVINCINGLY of his ‘terminal lung cancer’): ‘I don’t feel remotely ashamed of making an effect with my prose.’ His words are always chosen with care . . .