When I think about it, it was terrible the way we behaved when Victor died. We behaved as if we were ashamed of him, or angry. It didn’t show us at our best – we didn’t cope at all well. We all knew Victor was ‘ill’, obviously, but none of us really took on board how bad things had got.

He was in the middle of our little group, our sect, but somehow he got lost all the same. I suppose each of us paid him some token attention – his conversation tended to go round in circles, particularly with the drink – and then left it to somebody else to do the real work: supporting him and talking him through the dark days. He was our brother Bear, but the fraternity didn’t do well by him.

We Bears are a varied crowd. There’s an organist, a social worker, a travel agent, an osteopath. That’s not the full list, of course, that’s off the top of my head. If it wasn’t for membership of the Bear nation we would have nothing in common. Somehow we always thought that would be enough.


Philadelphia
Brazil