Roger Alton denied our family the chance to refute the claims which Jim Perrin had made about our sister in an article in The Observer. The author’s assertions were extraordinary:
‘ Jacquetta [Jac] my lover, wife and friend of 40 years’
‘A previous man in her life [we know very well to whom he refers] had BEATEN HER savagely about the head.’
(Of her cancer) ‘She had surgery — chances of surviving beyond a very few YEARS minimal. In the event, MERCIFULLY, it would be only weeks.’ (Our capitals…) He also wrote, how dared he do so, that he was with Jac when she died!
Jim Perrin’s article was full of lies and ‘implications’ and we were profoundly shocked as those who now read the truth in our posts will readily understand. Surely, anyone faced with such wicked lies about a beloved member of their own family — and so soon after they had died — would have felt equally distressed and would also have wished to disclaim them? Continue reading
Had Roger Alton, in 2005, agreed to our family’s request — as behoved any intellectually honest editor (given the circumstances we explained to him) to respond to the article by Jim Perrin which he had published in his paper The Observer — instead of favouring his friend and climbing partner by denying that request, in all probability we would never have created jacssisters, the site which has enabled readers to access some of the more unpalatable truths about Jim Perrin and emboldened others to come forward with details of their own disturbing, and in some cases traumatic, experiences with him.
There can be no doubt that Roger Alton should have allowed our voice to be heard in 2005. Perhaps our response would have restrained that author’s hyperbole when he was writing West, and the knowledge that we had publicly expressed our rightful concern might at least have curbed his Worst Excesses.
But no: Jim Perrin has ‘Friends in High Places’, and he went on to write, with apparent impunity, the book which was such a travesty: we noted that some of those involved with its progress, and they will know who they are — thought it lacking in the quality sufficiently acceptable to allow it to be (even) long-listed for the ‘Wales Book of the Year’. We are really very grateful (it would have added insult to injury had he been rewarded for such a vile book) but as he has always been something of a ‘golden boy’ in the Welsh literary hierarchy and had very close ‘friendships’ with many of the women in that circle, this must have come as a considerable shock to Jim Perrin: clearly he had felt his ‘trajectory’ was assured — he wrote in one of his letters to our sister: ‘My work is highly thought of and receives much critical acclaim: my star is rising’… Continue reading
Within an opportunistically short time after our sister died in 2005, Jim Perrin wrote an article about her for the Observer and, we believe, plagiarised the title ‘Touching the Void’; Joe Simpson already had a book published — to much acclaim — and a film had been made of his book, using that title.
Readers might have thought that the feelings expressed in the article were ‘sensitive’, the author was ‘devastated’, his loss was ‘profound’. But wait… There Was a Book In It.
The truth is that Jim Perrin lied — we will not use the euphemism ‘economical with the truth’, and we knew that what we read in The Observer was an adulterated blend of slight fact and flagrant fiction which the author had written as ‘autobiography’.
We contacted the editor, who then was Roger Alton, to ask that he would print our rebuttal; after all, as close sisters (and intimate friends) we knew the truth: our sister was not Jim Perrin’s ‘Lover, wife and friend of forty years’, and many of his other claims were wholly false or vile implication. Continue reading