Bjorn is a father and husband who puts in long hours and is a man of modest means, yet he has worked overtime to be able to afford to buy items on eBay or from private collectors to add to his museum because he is a true Jim Reeves fan. Even Joyce Jackson, Jim's secretary, made a special point of visiting this museum with her Danish friends (and devoted Reeves fans) Hanne and Mogens Jensen. They have met Bjorn and his lovely wife, and I'm sure would attest to the fact that these are very nice people.
But Bjorn has been concerned about the spate of recent attacks not only on my book but on my sources and me personally by David Bussey and Arie Den Dulk, the latter of whom has a long history of such assaults in his newsletter, on the old "trash site," and his own "fan site." Nothing new about that, except the abuse has intensified of late.
So Mr. Herlin got the idea to send Den Dulk a private email stating his opinion that these hostilities were not constructive, did nothing to promote Jim's legacy in a positive way, and did not contribute to a civilized dialog about this great artist. He even urged Arie to print a public apology.
Mr. Den Dulk (no doubt with some help from Mr. Bussey), replied as follows (and I am only quoting part of his angry and irrational email):
He said he regarded Bjorn's letter as "very offensive and insulting both to me, David Bussey and every Jim Reeves fan." Den Dulk claimed Mr. Bussey has not "attacked" anyone (disregarding the public lies David told the British press about my book and me). Arie said that Bussey "has been given the well deserved title 'Senior Jim Reeves historian'" (but I wonder by whom?)
Den Dulk further insisted that "David is a conscientious researcher, who has published facts, not gossip, concocted, or sensationalized stories" (the implication being that I have been guilty of the latter). "You might find it very confronting to read that stories written by your favorite story teller got proven to be incomplete or wrong."
Arie accused Bjorn Herlin of being "vindictive and hateful to other fans" and "spreading this anger-filled, spiteful verbal hatred which borders on the defamatory. Also I have the impression that you may have been put up by someone else to write this letter. You did not expect me to forward your moaning to Mr. Bussey, did you? You're man enough to send it to him yourself, aren't you?"
Wow. Can you believe the audacity of Mr. Den Dulk to react in this way to what was merely a gentle letter sent to him with the best of intentions by the owner of the world's only Jim Reeves museum, Bjorn Herlin?
To review a little history, Mr. Den Dulk is the same individual who sent Leo Jackson's recently bereaved widow a horrible letter right after she lost her husband, claiming to know in advance that Leo was going to take his own life, and chastising her in a cold and heartless way about not being a good wife. He has rejected her request that he stop displaying her late husband's photo as a banner on his website and misrepresenting to fans that the two men were close. She further has told me that although Leo at one time thought that Den Dulk had the best interests of the fans at heart, he was eventually disabused of this notion and saw him for what he was: A mean, petty and vicious little "man" who called Leo incessantly. Nell still laughs about the time that Den Dulk called while Leo was eating and she picked up the phone and handed it to her husband. After he got off the line, he used some colorful language to describe Arie and chastised Nell for putting the Holland guy on the phone to him!
I could have filled a book with the stories of how Den Dulk and a couple of his nutty friends repeatedly tried to interfere with my book research or otherwise discredit me before its publication. They did so because I was rescuing music they wanted to get ahold of first so they could hoard it and claim it for themselves. They were not happy I was releasing it commercially and sharing it with the fans.
It is also obvious, as I have stated previously, that Mssrs. Den Dulk, Bussey, et al feared the publication of my book, because they knew it would contain solid research which would refute many of the far-fetched stores about Jim they had recklessly perpetuated for years. It has done exactly that.
Interestingly, one of the first things I privately confronted Den Dulk about years ago was his insistence that Jim had a steel plate in his head, which was not true. I find it truly hypocritical and dishonest that Arie is now letting Mr. Bussey lambaste someone else for allegedly making the same statement.
For Den Dulk to unleash such a reactionary and over-the-top personal attack on Bjorn Herlin, of all people, is not only inexcusable, it is downright INSANE.
The fact is, Mr. Bussey is upset I did not write more about him and his fan club in my book. (For that matter, I also didn't write about his predecessors who organized various fan clubs, or even about my own wife, who launched The Jim Reeves Way website in 1998. There simply wasn't room to expand on matters that occurred after Jim's death).
He has complained of being left out of my book and thus it appears his ego was damaged. His resentment toward me has manifested itself in many ways, including truly slanderous accusations which he has made in the UK press. In one of his recent essays he refers to me as the man who "appears from nowhere on the Reeves scene in 1998 and proceeds to take it over, brushing aside any organization or person who might get in his way." So you just KNOW his ego is bruised.
Mr. Bussey also complained that I did not list his name in my credits. Why should I? He didn't help me. He is further jealous of the fact that our mutual friend, Tony Wall WAS mentioned.
Bussey claims that Tony "appears somewhat embarrassed with his title of 'the UK's greatest fan' in the book, as the author obviously knew nothing of the UK fan scene in the past five decades."
Granted, between the years 1966 and '77, Mr. Bussey worked hard to keep Jim Reeves' name alive in England. But as I mentioned in a previous post, Mary Reeves first endorsed, then disavowed his fan club when she saw what he was really all about.
Tony Wall is the one who was the driving force behind "The Story of the Legend" video being made on Jim Reeves, meeting with representatives of three different television entities, helping shape the production and even traveling to the U.S. for on-location filming. He also retains in his possession a lot of unused video from that production. Tony further had been consulted on various occasions by RCA reps regarding the release of Jim's music in the UK. And to this day he performs Jim's song in various public venues large and small. No one in the UK is a more devoted fan of Jim's than Tony Wall, and he helped me on my book.
I am sure Mr. Bussey would be embarrassed for people to know that Tony even picked up the tab for one of Bussey's trips to the U.S. Someone else bought David a TV and VCR years ago, and gave him video with the admonition not to distribute it (but he betrayed them and did so anyway).
I have already wasted far more time than I should in responding to some of these recent attacks and this is coming to a close. Not to be crude, but these guys are "pissing in the wind" every time they attack the solid scholarship of my book, which stands on its own merits -- as many fans who have read "Jim Reeves: His Untold Story" will confirm.
But I felt that this latest broadside even against a nice guy like Bjorn Herlin, who runs the world's only Jim Reeves museum, shows you the level to which Mr. Den Dulk and Bussey have sunk. They are extreme in their methods and manners.
I acknowledged in the forward to my book that I am not infallible and new information may surface in the future to refute information I printed. So far, NOTHING has surfaced which contradicts anything I've written. On the contrary, a letter from Bea Terry to Jim that was supplied by Frank Cordell Anderson even confirmed what I was the first to report in my book: that the two were close and Bea helped shape his career.
I have a place on my author blog where fans can ask me questions or challenge info I've printed. I welcome new information from any source. But what I've seen lately is merely a series of offensive, mean-spirited, small-minded and highly personal accusations which are not even accurate.
When I was writing the book over a period of years I always predicted that when it got into print, it would supply some of these guys with a decade or more worth of material they could pick apart and try to refute. That scenario is now unfolding.
I have no intention of continuing to give these fools my time or attention, but felt that Bjorn Herlin deserved a public defense. He does not deserve to be mistreated or abused.
To see photos of his museum, click the link below. I know you will be impressed!
TO RETURN TO THE JIM REEVES WAY, CLICK ON JIM'S NAME AT TOP OF PAGE