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Boomtown Rats Bob Geldof gave Manana 10 but says John Otway style needed

Updated on December 30, 2014

Bob Geldof and the continuing story of Mañana

Bob Geldof said he would give it 10 and recommends that Mañana is given the John Otway style treatment to get the best out of it. However, I only just found out and it is now months after this happened.

Mañana usually means a delay and literally means tomorrow, and in the story of my song Mañana/Manana has had many in its story so far. The most recent is that YouBloom Music Awards were late in delivering a video of the judges' verdicts for Mañana in the semi-finals of the site's song contest. Besides Bob Geldof, the judges by the way, are Conor McNicholas, Rupert Hine, Nigel Grainge and Sarah Lewitinn aka Ultragrrrl.

Only yesterday (5 January 2012) I got an email from Tony Boyle of YouBloom sending me a link to the video they made of Bob Geldof and the panel of judges giving their verdicts and casting their votes for my song.

Boyle wrote: "You submitted a song to us last year which got as far as the Q2 judging session. Unfortunately it did not proceed further than that but it did well to get that far.

Our judges commented on the song and normally we send these out in video form around a month after the session. I've just been checking the records and due to an error I see that this did not happen in your case. I apologise for this..."
This was more real-life mañana for Manana!

Buy Mañana on Amazon

The Bard of Ely - Manana (Official Music Video)

Manana - a hit or a miss?

Could Manana be a hit song?

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Mañana's story

Mañana began life all the way back in 2006 when I first submitted the lyrics to The Paper , a Tenerife free newspaper which sadly is no more. Anyway my verses got published in the publication's poetry page.

I came up with a tune for Mañana and the idea that it really could be a hit some day if only it could get the right treatment and the publicity to see it. I had also recorded a spoken- word version and passed it on to my friend the multi-instrumentalist Ed Drury who dubbed on to it some backing music. The track got released as a CD album via the Artist Launch website entitled Not The Same. Sadly though that website came to an end.

Then my friend Simon Bayley came up with a great idea - a dance version of the song. He introduced me to DJ Stefaan who at the time was working at Tenerife well-known Tramps club. We all agreed that if a dance or house-style mix could be made of my song it could become a hit of Stefaan could get it being played at Tramps.

It was now 2007 and we began working on it. Simon and Stefaan both thought that an attractive female singer to sing the vocals would work much better than an ageing and balding hippie - namely me and I could see the sense in that! I asked my friend Hollie Bourne, who is a popular singer on the Tenerife cabaret circuit if she would do the honours and she agreed.

Stefaan had by now laid down a great electronic backing track. I introduced Hollie to him and the next step was to arrange the recording. Then it all went pear-shaped because Stefaan had some personal problems that resulted in him leaving the island. Mañana was mañana-ed again!

Frustrated as I was I kept my song on the back burner so to speak and time flew by like it always does. It was now 2010 and I was back in Cardiff and had the chance to do some recording and with the help of Sean Donovan recorded an acoustic version of Mañana .

Alan Craw of DMMG Records thought it was good enough to be released and it was added to his schedule for future releases on his label. Things were once again looking up for Mañana and people were saying they liked the song.

Anna Rodriguez, who is a well known jazz-singer on Tenerife, praised Mañana saying :

"it's really good, even my daughter liked it (and she's got good taste)."

I got back in touch with Ed Drury to send him the song as it now was and ask if he could kindly add some additional instrumentation which he did.

Then I entered Mañana in the YouBloom Music Awards Song Contest in 2011 and it made it through to the semi-finals. That was back in June.

Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof at the Headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC.
Bob Geldof at the Headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. | Source

Bob Geldof's verdict

Former front-man for the Boomtown Rats and the man behind Band Aid Bob Geldof needs no introduction as a top performer and songwriter, so I was delighted to have finally got my song listened to by him. This was part of my plan!

It has paid off well too because he really does give Manana a score of 10, although that is really a sympathy vote because all the other judges were giving very low or non-existent scores. None of them really knew what to make of it but it definitely raised a smile and is a song they will remember as well as my name.

Bob Geldof had quite a lot to say about the song. He quoted the line "Mañana is an ideal word if you want to procrastinate", saying it is "so appallingly bad", and joking that he had heard these words in Hamlet. He knew that the song is anything but a serious one but thought that I should really make it obvious it is a musical joke.

Describing the song as "Bardtastic," or at least that's what I think he says, he suggested that what it really needs is to "Otway the thing up." He was referring to John Otway who has a cult following for his over the top performances and wacky lyrics.

I know how to do this: by emphasising lines and phrases, possibly adding some spoken word parts, speeding the song up in places, jumping about and acting the fool, and maybe with a backing lead guitarist going really wild like Wild Willy Barrett used to do.

John Otway

John Otway in the Cabaret tent at the 2010 Glastonbury Festival
John Otway in the Cabaret tent at the 2010 Glastonbury Festival | Source

John Otway

Of course Bob Geldof had no way of knowing but I have actually met John Otway twice many years ago at some point in the 1990s. The first time was when I was an MC at a rock festival in the Kymin, which is a park in Penarth, and John was the headline act. I introduced him to the crowd.

The second time was when I played support to him at a gig in what is now known as Dempseys but used to be the Four Bars in Cardiff. So I am very familiar with John Otway's approach to song-writing and performance.

I like Bob Geldof's suggestion too and think I could do it justice, and he was right because it isn't meant as a serious song anyway. I tend to ham it up and mess about on stage anyway so I think a new version of Mañana with a John Otway style presentation could be the real makings of the song.

Incidentally I first became a fan of John's when I saw him perform Really Free on the Old Grey Whistle Test back in 1977. It became his first hit and defined his on-stage style.

His career has been a strange one and dogged by bad luck that he has somehow overcome or even turned to his advantage and I can see many parallels with how my own music career has been. John Otway, in typical humorous style, sometimes gives lectures on "Making success out of failure" and that is what I plan on doing!

John Otway and Wild Willy Barratt - Really Free

Sarah Lewitinn and the other judges

All of the judges had something to say about Mañana though none of them would give it a decent vote. Music critic, DJ and blogger Sarah Lewitinn, who was surprised to be hearing it in the semifinals, gave it 3, which was higher than any of the others apart from Bob Geldof, and she said:"It's terrible but I won't forget it."

Producer Rupert Hine was interested in the fact that I had written a book and mentions Herbs of the Northern Shaman . He also thought that it might be a good idea to have "Who is the real Ed Drury?" t-shirts made up.

A&R man Nigel Grainge called me a "jack of all trades" but thought the song "sucks."

Conor McNicholas, who is a former editor of the NME, starts talking about Glastonbury as a reference point and says that I would be "the guy" to take magic mushrooms with in the stone circle. He also salutes at the end of the video and says"Thank you very much for the entry. It absolutely made our day."

I can safely say I made an impression on all of them whether they liked the song or not and I can work with the idea that all publicity is good publicity! But please have a listen to the song yourselves and see if you agree with these high profile judges from the music industry.

I am planning on following Bob's suggestion and re-recording Mañana in Otwayesque style! The story of Mañana continues.

But now you can watch Bob Geldof and the YouBloom team in the video below:

Bard of Ely - Mañana

© 2012 Steve Andrews


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    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      I am glad to hear it! Thank you for posting!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey Bard - I always want to know what the critics say - because I tend to think the exact opposite! I'm sorry but I never agree with them.

    • Tenerife Islander profile image

      Steve Andrews 6 years ago from Tenerife

      Thank you! A lot of ordinary people think it is a great song as it is! PS Just realised I am signed in with my other account.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      great story! Thanks for sharing. The critics are always wrong anyway...

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thanks for posting!

    • hlynnstephens profile image

      hlynnstephens 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Sorry, did not like the song, but I found the story interesting.