What he didn’t anticipate was that his colleagues on the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning magazine would get together to produce and record a big band song to mark his departure.
Called Hasta la vista, Manuel Battista, the fully orchestrated song charts his rise to fame as emap’s cycling evangelist. The lyrics note that he is “swapping his sharp leather saddle for the M25”.
The wheeze has resulted in an unexpected side-effect. As a result of friends and work colleagues visiting the web site to hear the song, it is flying up the online music charts.
|No gold retirement watch for Manuel! |
“Who knows, Manuel could find himself on Top of the Pops. Now, that would be a unique leaving present,” said Andrew Bailey, editor of RAC and a long-time colleague.
Said Manuel Battista: “I was completely stunned. It was a surprise - it’s a fabulous song! They even put it up on its own website - so the whole world can hear it. We gathered round the PC and were dancing to it! Andrew is very talented.”
Reflecting Manuel’s Latin roots, the song has a touch of Copacabana about it. “It’s Barry Manilow meets the Worzels,” says Andrew, who has worked with Manuel for more years than he cares to remember.
“Manny is much loved. We are going to miss him, and we wanted to do something different. We’re sending him off with the sound of cow bells ringing in his ear.”
|"I didn't know about it until I was told to go to the website! It's a perfect description of my 15 years at Emap. "|
I came up with the idea for the song to mark Manuel's leaving, after 15 years with the company.
We are quite a musical lot on the magazine, despite the fact that it is all about fridges and air conditioning.
We produced a full stage musical a while back to mark the magazine's centenary, called "100 years in the Fridge".
The journal staff performed it at the Cafe Royal in front of 400 industry guests. We must be mad, but it went down a storm. Not very promising material, I know, but it's amazing what you can do with a few good tunes. Ask Andrew Lloyd Webber!
|Song started on a sticky note!|
The song for Manuel was written one lunchtime on Post-It notes. We were up half the night before his leaving day putting the music together and recording it. It blew him away. He's not someone who is usually short for words, but he was gobsmacked.
When not editing RAC, my hobby is writing children's musicals. The latest, called "Poptastic!", is being performed by St Bede's School, Redhill, in July.
It is the first time Poptastic! has been performed in full, with orchestrations and dance. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they make of it. My daughter, Laura, is a pupil at the school, and auditioned and - thankfully - got a part. So, it's an exciting time in the Bailey household.