Tuesday, 8 November 2016

SU2C: An Evening at Channel 4's Pleasure.

Having prioritised my blog about treatment I will now go back a couple of weeks to Stand Up To Cancer! So here it is: A few Fridays ago my family and I packed our things and headed to the train station in Bridgend, destination: Westminster Great Hall for the SU2C filming, via London Paddington and the Savoy Hotel. The day was to be even more heavily SU2C themed than we had expected as we arrived at the train station to see three men with buckets collecting change for the cause. A Channel 4 financed train journey later we rolled into Paddington and were met outside by a car to take us to our hotel.

As you may expect, The Savoy is slightly nicer than the Premier Inns I'm accustomed to. In fact it's so posh that it doesn't even have a reception, it just has an entrance hall with staff milling about to greet you and show you to a small desk for the check in process. Once checked in and settled in my room I perused the pile of leaflets that showed the treatments and services available to guests, thinking that I might squeeze in a massage before we headed to the filming. This thought was quickly dismissed when I looked at the right side of the page and came across the prices. These numbers quickly prompted me to change tack and dash down to the pool which came free to all guests at the hotel. As time was limited before I would need to get ready for the filming I decided to make a quick visit to the sauna and steam room and then head back to my room. Perhaps not surprisingly this hotel had a sauna and steam room in each of the changing rooms, so I never actually made it to the pool side. Instead I spent half hour steaming and saunaing (pretty sure that's not a word, but we'll roll with it) before gathering up my complimentary Savoy branded slippers and heading back to my room.

Sauna'd, showered and suitably dressed I took a lift down to a reception. Or at least I attempted to. Just outside my room was a lift that I should have noticed was a lot less ornate than the others, however I got in and pressed the ground floor button without much thought. It took a couple of button presses but eventually the lift was on the move as far as the second floor, where two cleaning staff waited with puzzled expressions on their faces. It turned out I had ended up in a service lift for use only by staff, that would not work without a card being scanned by a staff member, I had just happened to get in as the cleaners requested it two floors below. After I had explained that I was just a confused guest and not a new recruit to the cleaning staff, I was shown the way to the correct set of lifts and continued down to the ground floor and the foyer where my parents were ready and waiting for the car to the studio. When we arrived at said studio we were given bands to give us access to both the green room and the studio audience, along with a private quiet room should we require it. However the free drinks and canapés in the Green Room meant we were unlikely to use the quiet room at all.

Throughout the night we milled about in between the Green Room and the audience depending on how interesting the current live act was and whether the show was in a period of pre-recorded programmes. As well as those that had taken part by showcasing their cancer stories there were a number of celebrities around these locations, this led to an accidental blanking of Boy George, my mother bumping into "that blonde guy we saw on C4 the other night" (pretty sure it was Jamie Laing) and Josh Widdicombe offering my brother and I tickets to see him live in Cardiff the following night. Sadly we both had previous engagements so couldn't make it, as tempted as we were to bail on our existing plans for the sake of some free, quality stand up.

Unfortunately the choice of the Green Room turned out to be a poor one when it came to watching the show, as it was full of people chatting loudly all the way through the broadcast, so I got hold of a stack of DVD's of the night so that I could watch the show as it was broadcast instead of watching piece by piece on Facebook and YouTube.

The event itself was a massive success, raising over £15.7m for Cancer Research UK, and I'm so glad I was able to be a part of it. One of the massive silver linings to my diagnosis cloud is that I've been able to take part in events like this, and thereby help raise money for cancer research as well as the profile of Brain Cancer in the UK. Hopefully this is something I'll be able to continue to do as I continue the fight into my 26th year (my birthday is on Nov 19th. All cards and presents addressed to Mr James Keith Warren MacDonald BSc, Sandan, Order of Merlin 2nd Class).

For anyone that missed the film "Jamie's Story" you can watch it below, and for anyone that wants to catch up on the Gogglebox special about my story you can find it here.


  1. Hi Jamie!

    First of all, thank you for your blog. I've been frequently following your story and I wish you all the best. I can relate to many things you write about.

    Second of all, as I am fro, Finland I consider myself as a bit of an expert when it comes to things related to sauna. Saunaing could be a word because we have a verb for being in the sauna as well (saunoa: minä tykkään saunoa = i like saunaing). Saunaing peopably is not officially recognized but what the heck. If the Finns approve, then you are good to go!

    Also here's a bit of extra knowledge about sauna: the steam that the person who's saunaing produces by throwing water on the rocks is called löyly. "I'll have a one more löyly" means that "I'll stay in the sauna to throw some more water one the rocks for a one more round". The object that holds the rocks that you throw water onto is called kiuas. So basically you throw löyly-water on the kiuas. The wooden bench that you sit on also has it own special name: laude (singular) or lauteet (plural).

    A word of warning: do not confuse the verb saunoa with the word saunoJA (the person doing the saunauing).

    Now that you know the basics of sauna-finnish for beginners let's see what we can do: Saunoja is saunoa on the lauteet while throwing löyly on the kiuas.

    Take care and all the best!

    Emmi from Finland


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