‘I Want to Die Like My Father’ by ‘Bob Morrcomb’

‘Bob’ is, as is now widely known, the pseudonym of Osaka-based writer Sogo Hiroshi. Sogo had spent the late 1960s living in Batley, Yorkshire, travelling all over the north of England to see shows by comics, renowned and obscure, at theatres and variety clubs. He would sit on his own, as close to the stage as he could, and transcribe every detail of the act—words, gestures, pauses—in a comedic notation of his own devising. (The original notebook is now on display in Osaka Prefectural Museum of Kamigata Comedy and Performing Arts.) On his return to Japan, Sogo painstakingly constructed twelve tales of ‘wet’ horror using lines extracted from hundreds of performances and translated into Japanese. The translation into English presented enormous difficulties but ultimately I was able to successfully convey the original’s unique, and uneasy, combination of the brutal and hilarious. I put this down to having spent my childhood in Limerick.

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