Multiple Online Personality Disorder

Jim Perrin does lead a merry dance through the personal fiefdom (as he seems to regard it) that is the Internet, and we are most grateful that someone else can help us analyse his online activities more deeply than we are able to do. One of our perceptive well-wishers has an interest in the recently described condition M.O.P.D., and has made a brief study of it; and as a follower of our site he has not failed to pick up on our accusations that Jim Perrin has written under pseudonyms. He too has recognized the patterns which he considers point to this likelihood. Very kindly he has sent us this contribution.

He writes:

‘Let me prefix the following by saying that the lawyers insist on the term ‘I (or we) believe’ being coupled with every assertion regarding Jim Perrin for which hard proof is not provided. In the present matter such proof is not easy to come by — but it certainly exists and could be assembled with (and by some parties of my acquaintance without) the co-operation of certain website operators, internet service providers, and email services; but really, need I bother?

So, Jac’s sisters and I believe the following statements regarding Jim Perrin to be true.

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For the benefit of readers bemused and befuddled by accounts of the online antics of Jim Perrin — it can be difficult to keep up — here is a study of his principal aliases and their characteristics. Clicking on each name below (thank you, Jacssisters’ online editor!) will take you to a complete catalogue of his or ‘her’ posts, on the Guardian website or Amazon, where you can judge this diagnosis of Multiple Online Personality Disorder — MOPD — for yourselves.

Jim Perrin may be a clever man — but less clever than he thinks, or needs to be to pull off his online masquerade. He has three main weaknesses in this regard:

  • He really doesn’t pay enough attention to some of the technicalities to truly cover his tracks; this may stem from an incomplete understanding — of the workings of commercial websites, or of the intelligence of the general public.
  • When challenged he gets panicked into somewhat extreme claims to shore up his story, claims which can and do rebound on him, resulting in a hasty and imperfect covering of tracks, and liberating the occasional evidential chicken to one day come home to roost.
  • He simply cannot rein in the didactic, arrogant and condescending manner, nor conceal the unique motives, which identify him to his many morbidly fascinated observers.

I will examine all of these  in the persons of his principal online aliases, before attempting a conclusion which indicates that, while Perrin ‘needs to improve’ in these respects to give some semblance of wishing to hide his true identity online, this is perhaps less of a concern for him than we all might think.

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Melangell (Guardian website — scroll down to July 24 2010 and immediately earlier)

(A feminine Welsh name pronounced something like ‘Melangeth’)

‘She’ posted vitriolic and untrue replies to truthful comments made by Jac’s sisters — under their own names — to Sir Andrew Motion’s ‘good-in-parts’ review of Jim Perrin’s book West. Many of Jac’s sisters’ comments were deleted by the moderator, yet ‘Melangell’s’ remain online to this day. [To see them, click ‘Melangell’ above, then scroll down to July 2010 — Ed]. As another commentator said, could this remarkable immunity indicate The Guardian protecting one of its own?

Many indicators of ‘Melangell’s’ character, and that of the Guardian website moderator at the time, are still online at the time of writing, for example:

30 July 2010: When I visited Jacquetta in hospital within 24 hours of her death, none of her family were there, Jim’s was the only photograph by her bedside, at her funeral his were the only flowers on her coffin and he was the only one I saw weep. . .

Later, and typically:

. . . Surely it is time now to close down this thread before it descends to the appalling depths of name-calling and abuse of which families are all too often capable?

2 August 2010: I lost any respect 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!

[There is more on this last, here — Ed]

Here ‘she’ is on 27 March 2013 commenting on Patrick French’s Guardian review of Jim Perrin’s Shipton and Tilman:

What a lovely, wry review! It makes me long to read the book. And how timely for a “revisionist” account of imperial adventuring to be appearing ready for all the hoo-hah of the Everest jubilee year. Though as a woman . . . Also, as a Welsh woman . . . where I live in rural Ceredigion. . . . Perrin, as a “curmudgeonly” old leftie, bless him, would know, and I applaud him if this is what he’s been saying.

As so often, ‘she’ is a little over-keen to state her gender and whereabouts. Perrin cannot write convincingly as a woman and falls back on clumsy exposition to reinforce his claim to be one.

There is a twisted element of the real in much of Jim Perrin’s falsehood. Melangell is the middle name of a respected Welsh writer known to Jim Perrin, and who of course is entirely innocent of any involvement in his doings. She has acknowledged his help in allowing her to stay at his Ariège house while writing; some might think it darkly perverse that Jim Perrin’s ‘Melangell’ claims in her comments to have visited her friend Jim Perrin at Ariège, and seen there items she cites in support of her fabricated stories regarding him and Jacquetta. I wonder: Has the real Melangell read this claim, and perhaps experienced a skin-crawling sensation of déjà vu?

‘Melangell”s comments archive provides a rich vein of Jim Perrin’s misanthropy, but she abruptly retired from the scene in July 2013 (perhaps in reaction to Jacssisters’ ‘outing’ of her), in favour of DrudwyBranwen. Both personas have obligingly responded to Jim Perrin’s Country Diary pieces with complimentary, and often pedagogic, comments.

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Llywarch / Tim Bartley (Amazon)

For years Jim Perrin, as ‘Llywarch’ on the Amazon website, has given his own books ludicrously sycophantic reviews — akin to marketing blurbs, as some commentators have observed — and he has attacked with venom certain books which have achieved success in his own principal domains, namely climbing and ‘nature writing’.

On Amazon one can change one’s online name, and in a move which has deceived no-one Jim Perrin altered his from ‘Llywarch’ in 2014, so all his reviews remain in place, under the name (for now) of ‘Tim Bartley’.

A notable target was Harriet Tuckey’s hugely successful and widely-praised book Everest — The First Ascent, in which she described the unsung role of her father, the physiologist Griffith Pugh, in ensuring the success of the 1953 expedition. This corrected the hitherto authorized version that the achievement was purely the result of a spirited British and Colonial effort owing nothing to current science. Mrs Tuckey’s book deservedly won the Boardman Tasker Prize in 2013, a year when Jim Perrin may have thought he had it ‘in the bag’ with his workmanlike but unexceptionable book Shipton and Tilman. Amongst 40+ reviews, 90% of them five-star, Jim Perrin’s lengthy one-star diatribe is of an ill-founded and spiteful nature which almost defies belief, and has attracted a torrent of perceptive and critical responses, many from those with far more high-altitude experience than his own. Here is a sample of his objectivity on the matter: The mountain would have been climbed with or without him [Pugh] — Hunt, Hillary and the rest of their team would have seen to that. One can almost hear him snorting.

Llywarch of course reviewed Perrin’s Shipton and Tilman, which was also reviewed quite critically by ex-Tilman crew member Bob Comlay; he sailed with ‘the Skipper’ twice to Greenland and had an enduring friendship with that notably taciturn man until Tilman’s death in 1977. In a comment to Mr Comlay’s review, ‘Llywarch’ made statements in defence of Jim Perrin’s spurious claim to have been a friend of Tilman, and incidentally like ‘Melangell’ he claimed to have visited Jim Perrin at Ariège, and seen there copies of Tilman’s books inscribed to Perrin personally by the author. Tilman and Jim Perrin were certainly acquainted,  but I have it on the very best authority that theirs was just an acquaintance, and certainly no friendship. When challenged by Bob Comlay on this, and his over-bold name-drop of another (deceased of course) man, like Tilman, of the utmost integrity, ‘Llywarch’s’ claims were hastily removed, but there is a complete record of the exchange here. This comment was deleted by its author before he changed his name from ‘Llywarch’ to ‘Tim Bartley’.

Besides operating in fierce defence of his climbing ‘territory’, Jim Perrin professes to detest so-called ‘new nature writing’. As so often with him, his pronouncements cannot be taken at face value. In 2008 Jason Cowley, then Editor of the literary journal Granta, did not invite Perrin to contribute to Granta 102 — The New Nature Writing, a perceived slight from which his ego has never recovered. His professed dislike of this ‘school’ of nature writing may be measured from this time — beginning with his scathing review of Granta 102, still online under the name of Tim Bartley. The roots of this perhaps lie in the apparent chip on Perrin’s shoulder regarding his status as a writer from outside the academic tradition.

‘Llywarch / Tim Bartley’ claims to live in Portland, Oregon, and likes to drop into his online writings, for the benefit of UK readers, expressions like “I’m glad I don’t have to drink that beer of yours”. Well, ‘Methinks he doth protest too much’. It is also strange that a reader resident in Oregon chooses to buy his books from Amazon’s UK website, as indicated unequivocally by the ‘Verified Purchase’ text adjacent to some of his reviews, and that he has so far reviewed only British books. Jim Perrin has in fact visited Portland, and knows there the proprietor of the ‘Americymru’ website for the Welsh in the USA; I wonder if he knows ‘Tim’. Tim Bartley is an uncommon name, so the genuine one living in Portland may be less than amused to learn of his part in lending a failed veracity to Jim Perrin’s current principal Amazon alias.

There is much circumstantial evidence regarding other Amazon aliases perhaps owned by, or sometimes ‘borrowed’ by, Jim Perrin.

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It is a widespread misconception among offenders that circumstantial evidence, unsupported by the ‘hard’ variety, has no legal value. In fact a sufficient volume of it can persuade a jury. Whilst Jim Perrin’s online activity is not necessarily criminal (but has perhaps been libellous) it is ample circumstantial evidence against him, which cannot be ‘put back in the tube’, and it may attest to his character and motives in possible future legal proceedings. A jury might well share a view, with many readers of this website, that it is inconceivable that anyone other than Jim Perrin — whose interests, only, they serve — would have written the posts of ‘Melangell’ and ‘Llywarch / Tim Bartley’ to which I refer.

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Jim Perrin seems to regard the Internet (to be pedantic, that part of it called the World Wide Web) as a playground for his mischievous, or darker, enterprises. To those dispassionately observing him it is possible to imagine it a maze through which he darts, rat-like, in search of the psychological rewards, and — yes — the recognition, which he craves. To his like, there is no point to a ‘clever’ exploit unless people know who is responsible, hence his reckless insouciance regarding his true identity.

The paradox is that this online activity can only damage his professional and personal reputation, limit his income, and engender public sympathy and favour towards his victims, be they Jac’s sisters, ‘New Nature Writers’, or others. He appears, perhaps  by means explored elsewhere on this site, to be able to balance the financial equation; that he considers it all worthwhile is indeed a sad reflection on his morality.’

We, Jac’s sisters, very much thank our contributor for this enlightening article.