One random comedian, eight random questions: it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate. This week's bravura barfly is Tom Sandham (pictured, left) of The Thinking Drinkers, two tipple experts who've turned their beverage backgrounds into a series of popular touring shows.
Sandham and fellow alco-demic (their phrase) Ben McFarland are both award-winning drink writers, and in their latest show, The Thinking Drinkers' Pub Crawl, they get their round in: each audience member is offered five free drinks, apparently. Which the tour venues' bars must be thrilled about.
Ah well, there's always nuts. Tom Sandham, your Random Eight await.
What's the best room you've ever been in?
I was once in the waiting room at an NHS semen analysis clinic. Now there's an interesting space. Every imaginable walk of life in a confined, standing-room only space, crackling with a unique nervous anticipation. Tough crowd though. Turns out my sperm was fine after a bit of exercise and less crisps, just for anyone wondering.
Who is - or was - your most interesting relative?
My son, he's only five and right now he has all the potential to be more interesting than anyone in the family tree. It's his to throw away. Children are our future.
Is there a book or film that changed your life?
Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian is a great read, if you think you're having a bad day.
Films are smashing, but I'm too easily distracted to let them change my life; it's a big ask to be fair. Have you seen the Tom Hanks/Joe Dante film, The 'Burbs? An almost perfect film, but more importantly, it taught me not to worry about leaving London.
Growing up just outside 'The Big Smoke' gave me an almost ingrained sense of FOMO. So as soon as I could afford it, I packed my bags and got there. Ah, the capital, it was a crazy time, so much spinning and dancing and dancing and spinning. Salad days. But then I watched this film The 'Burbs, and I realised London wasn't what I was looking for.
The action we seek in life is actually in the people, not the place, and you can find that action anywhere if you pay attention, all you need is a set of decent surveillance tools. So I moved back out.
What's the greatest thing you ever drank?
Water. It's incredibly refreshing and gives you life. Alcoholically speaking, I once stayed in a village in Zambia and the local distiller, who distilled on a kit made from old car parts, served me up what she called 'gin' in a cup. The cup was the cap from the petrol can she stored the spirit in. It was straight off the still and Christ knows what the ABV was, but my hosts all laughed very enthusiastically when I nearly went blind.
Which historical figure should get more attention?
Dead or alive? In some ways David Cameron is history, and yet he doesn't get nearly enough attention as far as I can tell. Topical. But for someone who isn't alive, then how about Jabir Ibn Hayyan, latterly known as Gerber.
He was an eighth century Islamic alchemist who perfected the alembic pot still, a tool for distillation that we still use in spirits production today. So secretive was he, that he wrote the methods for distillation in a secret code that proved almost impossible to decipher when European scholars studied it centuries later. And from the word 'Jabir' we get 'jibberish'.
More amazing facts like this feature in our shows.
What's the best word in the English language?
Your most interesting injury?
Good one. We've got a long, moderately boring stage anecdote for this one.
So a couple of years ago I had a hernia operation. Not the standard either, a Spigelian hernia, a tear through the Spigelian fascia: that's the part of your bowel that pokes through your abdominal muscle.
Good times. The opp happened two weeks from previews at a Spiegel Tent in York and we'd already written a show that included much lifting and moving on stage. I was told lifting was out of the question, but we didn't have time to rehearse again. So we had all these choreographed lifting japes of heavy kit, like massive wooden treads (steps, for non-theatre people) and suddenly Ben had to do it alone.
First night, we get to the treads (steps) moment and we're crouched in the darkness behind our stage bar, preparing for the scene, it was a Vietnam war scene, and Ben had to lift the treads (steps), over our bar. Cry of the Valkyries kicks in, and he swiftly lifts the treads (steps), and as he does it, he whacks me in the forehead with the corner of them.
I'm conscious but there's a jet of blood sprouting from my forehead, it's everywhere. Having recently had this operation, I mercifully had all manner of plasters in our Portakabin changing room, so while we had a minute before we needed to be back in the lights, I knew I could patch it up.
I slipped off stage to try and deal with the blood, but as I left the theatre, the back doors slammed shut and locked me out. Ben then had to walk out on stage and hold the audience, wondering where I was and if I was coming back, while I ran around the tent, through the streets of York, back into the front entrance of the tent, through the audience and back on stage.
The blood was stemmed, but I was covered in the stuff. The audience thought it was part of the scene. But it was not.
Do you have a good hangover cure?
There is no cure, simply follow The Thinking Drinkers' mantra: drink less, drink better. Water between the alcoholic drinks can help, water before bedtime maybe; after all, the headaches are partly due to the dehydration.
But just pace yourself and try not to drink to excess, that way you enjoy a drink as well as very healthy social benefits of being with friends in a pub or bar.