ARTICLE: Joe Brown Obituary

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 UKC Articles 28 Apr 2020
Joe Brown

Jim Perrin pens a tribute to Joe Brown, who passed away on 15 April. An edited version of this obituary originally appeared in The Guardian.

'Mountaineering has a levelling tendency. Self-promotion is met with mockery. Few of its would-be heroes escape reductive scrutiny. Accident and failure are often accorded greater respect than organisation or success. Yet even the devotees of the sport would accord heroic status to one figure above all others — Joe Brown, who has died aged 89.'



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In reply to UKC Articles:

He pulled me to the ground and boxed me about the ears for risking his life and limb, scolding me for what he called the loosest route he had ever done. But he was laughing, laughing, and we ran back in perfect humour across the unmarked beach, the cliff crumbling slowly behind us in the western light, the waves rolling against it. He needed the simplicity of that conflict, and the character that emerged from it was perhaps the sweetest I ever knew, still generous and endearingly funny as he endured with dignity and humour the ill health of his final years.

What a beautiful close. Thanks.

 Lankyman 28 Apr 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

When I saw the accompanying b&w photo of Joe in his later years my first thought was 'what a fantastic statue'. It has a kind of great explorer feel, like the pre-First World War Antarctic giants such as Scott or Amundsen. If ever a climber deserved a statue then Joe would probably be prime candidate. But where (if anywhere) would be an appropriate site?

 Andy Hardy 28 Apr 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> When I saw the accompanying b&w photo of Joe in his later years my first thought was 'what a fantastic statue'. It has a kind of great explorer feel, like the pre-First World War Antarctic giants such as Scott or Amundsen. If ever a climber deserved a statue then Joe would probably be prime candidate. But where (if anywhere) would be an appropriate site?

Near the lake / big car park below the Royal Vic, with Joe pointing at Cloggy, like the one of Saussure in Chamonix

 Lankyman 28 Apr 2020
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Near the lake / big car park below the Royal Vic, with Joe pointing at Cloggy, like the one of Saussure in Chamonix


Or by Chew Reservoir pointing up at Wimberry? Perhaps not .....

In reply to Andy Hardy:

That's the best idea I've heard for the location, but can you imagine how Joe would have cringed at the concept?

In reply to Lankyman:

I agree that he wouldn't like it but how about sat on a rock with all his gear and woolly hat below one of his Stanage, Froggat or Curbar routes?

Post edited at 20:05
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Near the lake / big car park below the Royal Vic, with Joe pointing at Cloggy, like the one of Saussure in Chamonix

If you carry on up the road for a few miles and then glance along the hillside, you'll see a fantastic memorial to Joe Brown.

Mick

 Seymore Butt 29 Apr 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

Excellent Mick, that says it all.

Alan

 JimR 29 Apr 2020
In reply to Seymore Butt:

It’s well worth reading The Hard Years. 

 profitofdoom 30 Apr 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

> If you carry on up the road for a few miles and then glance along the hillside, you'll see a fantastic memorial to Joe Brown. > Mick

Brilliant reply, Mick. And of course more broadly, all Brown's routes are a great memorial to The Master

Sorry that I'm dead against a statue, because it's clear he would not have wanted one - not his style. Needless to say I didn't know Joe Brown, but I did have a short chat with him once in Llanberis - what a pleasant man, giving me (a climbing teenager) thought and time when I asked him a question

RIP Joe Brown

 McHeath 30 Apr 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thank you, Jim Perrin, for this. I won't presume to say that you've done Joe Brown justice, as I never met him and have only climbed a few of his (less hard) routes; but I will say that it fits beautifully with everything I've ever read, heard and seen on film.

And thank you, UKC, both for taking the time to ensure that Joe Brown's obituary really is a fitting one, and for asking Jim Perrin to do the job. 

RIP Joe. 

pasbury 30 Apr 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> That's the best idea I've heard for the location, but can you imagine how Joe would have cringed at the concept?

Very true.

pasbury 30 Apr 2020
In reply to McHeath:

> Thank you, Jim Perrin, for this. I won't presume to say that you've done Joe Brown justice, as I never met him and have only climbed a few of his (less hard) routes; but I will say that it fits beautifully with everything I've ever read, heard and seen on film.

> And thank you, UKC, both for taking the time to ensure that Joe Brown's obituary really is a fitting one, and for asking Jim Perrin to do the job. 

> RIP Joe. 

I think it was probably the Guardian he wrote it for, it has the feel of an obituary written for a non climbing audience (contrast with some of his other elegies). I'd like to hope he could write a more personal piece in addition.

 McHeath 30 Apr 2020
In reply to pasbury:

Yes, you're right:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/joe-brown-obituary

Not quite sure about my original last paragraph in the light of this. 

 Siward 30 Apr 2020
In reply to McHeath:

Funny, I read the piece without noticing who its author was. By the end it was obviously Jim Perrin at work and so it proved. Just shows how much of his stuff I've read over the years that I can spot him a mile off. 

No lesser a piece for all that though. 

 Seymore Butt 30 Apr 2020
In reply to JimR:

I read it about 50 yrs ago, had my own copy at the time. But my brother took it when he emigrated to Canada shortly after. I think i'll order one from the library, when they re-open that is.

In reply to Mick Ward:

Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.

jcm

In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Totally agree.

Mick

 Lankyman 01 May 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Well that would probably do for the plaque (with a Welsh translation of course). Or what about Veni, vidi, vici?

In reply to UKC Articles:

He made it the Economist https://www.economist.com/obituary/2020/04/30/joe-brown-died-on-april-15th (may be paywalled - sorry!). 

A lovely overview. 


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