A paper-collage portrait of Jac created by her long-time friend and fellow artist Debbie Lee.
We read Sir Andrew Motion’s review of Jim Perrin’s book West in The Guardian, 24/07/2010, as well as the comments which ‘Melangell’ posted on the thread which followed and were so outraged by the blatant lies and disgraceful insinuations ‘she’ had written that we felt impelled to respond. Our first comment was removed although when we tried later we had greater success as it was more than twelve hours before it was detected and again deleted.
We had no idea how the system works and were naive enough to post a comment which, although absolutely truthful, caused offence. (Obviously, to Jim Perrin… ) For our third attempt we invoked The Guardian’s famed freedom of speech. They left this up — and we thanked them for it — although they did delete our next.
The remarks which we and others posted were generally responded to by this same ‘Melangell’, a most vociferous and scathing commentator, and we came to realise, from their content, and within moments of reading them, that they had actually been written by Jim Perrin himself. It became apparent that we were engaging mainly with this ‘faithful acolyte’ and ‘her’ attempts to dismiss us with the use of invective, and threats only transparently veiled was evident. Things were said which we sisters knew to be untrue and we could prove comprehensively that they were nothing but utterly vile falsehoods.
As we didn’t complain (not realising that we could, so little then did we know) the increasingly unpleasant replies were left up — and they each revealed, we thought, something of the mindset of the person who had posted them. A reader following this exchange might have been mystified as it had been noted that some of our comments, although entirely honest and factual, were ‘conspicuous by their absence’. But we have now realised that the Internet can offer the opportunity of genuine free speech, even though as in our case — and clearly controlled by Jim Perrin — The Guardian refused to do so. Recently, to our surprise, many well-wishers who had read that thread have contacted us and have advised us to make use of the Internet ourselves.
One of these has offered his expertise in setting up this site ‘jacssisters’ and we are grateful to him beyond measure for his generosity because — and realising as we now do the benefit of such an enterprise — we have no knowledge whatever of the technology involved…
* * * * *
Our sister, Jac, is no longer able to speak for herself. We know that she would have been completely devastated by the latest ungentlemanly exposures in Jim Perrin’s dreadful book as well as by ‘Melangell’s’ gratuitous comments (and as mentioned before, we believe that Jim Perrin, using an alias, has posted these) — but, as we said on that Guardian thread in one of our own comments: ‘The dead have no right of reply.’ Therefore we intend on Jac’s behalf, and at every single opportunity, to set the record straight. We will not hide behind anonymity as we feel certain Jim Perrin has done (this disrespectful man who claimed he loved her… ) nor will we use other sophistries, as we know he has. Our intention is, by telling only the truth, and as we said above, ‘to set the record straight’ for Jac’s sake.
In a query on this thread ‘joofofthedownes’ asked if we could give something of Jac’s history, and yes, she was certainly a most fascinating and talented person who was greatly loved and admired; by her family of course, but also by so many with whom she came into contact: she was a very special and life-enhancing person. We hope to tell of her life as we knew it — sadly shortened as it was to be, and we have many lovely photographs to show of her work.
Jac’s sisters: Elisabeth Simpson, Caroline Hardaker and Alex Richardson.