Andy Cope – The Art of Being Brilliant, Monday 2nd July, 1pm, Geoffrey Manton Building
Words and Photographs by Hannah Clarke
On the way to Andy Cope: The Art Of Being Brilliant, I must admit to having slight apprehension on the due event, wondering if it was possible to make 200 young students, and their teachers, to feel brilliant. It must be even more of a challenge as the event is set here in Manchester, a city which stays true to its promise of clouds and rain. However, as the range of students from Year 6 to Year 8 excitedly hurry into lecture room two of the Geoffrey Manton Building, it is easy to tell from the atmospheric buzz that the afternoon will indeed be brilliant.
Andy Cope is accompanied by his very loyal companion, Lara, who is mostly associated with the ‘Spy Dog’ series, (as well as being the prize winner for receiving the most attention and some Aw’s). These books are the prize for some very lucky students too, who are quickly becoming engaged in the funny anecdotes Cope shares of ‘Boring Melanie’ and the ‘Phantom Car Cleaner’ – which all hold an important underlying message for everyone in the room – be brilliant and remain that way throughout life.
Managing to hold, and keep the attention of the young audience is, in itself, an act of brilliance. Andy shares some of his research of the book with the audience by teaching us that only 2% of the population are classed as being positive, while the rest are stranded in the middle leaning towards the opposite of positive, who are classed as ‘mood hoovers’. These ‘mood hoovers’ continue to remain pessimistic and in turn make those around them pessimists. The very important and well explained message here is that the choice of happiness, brilliance, and all things associated with these two, are up to ourselves and ourselves only. When asking a young girl what she was going to try to include into her life from now on, in order to keep herself an optimist, she promised, “Happiness, confidence and I will tidy my room”.
Andy, from the start of the event, has both teaches and entertains. He walks in between and through the stalls among the children, creating little nicknames, such as ‘Pinky’ for the girl in the pink t-shirt, which instantly draws giggles from the audience, making Andy even more likeable. His enthusiastic buzz has not faltered one moment.
We are introduced to games such as; ‘Say The Colour Not The Word’ (Red, blue, yellow, green, pink, orange) and ‘Science Of The Obvious’. The former tests your brain skills to read the word and say the colour, tricky for most (and also a test to see who is the loudest amongst the boys and girls). The latter feels like you’re in therapy, looking at pictures with frogs that are also horses, scenic views which are also babies and coffee beans that either move fast, slow, or not at all, depending on your stress levels. This knowledge causes a chorus of giggles to erupt from the teachers in the room.
Laughter and merriment spreads throughout the room, reaching a high when a video of ‘The Pig of Happiness’ is shown. The short clip is the story of a pig who decides to be positive despite the negativity from the other pigs. The positive attitude of the main pig eventually leaks to all the other pigs and across all other species of farm life. This was definitely the winning aspect of the presentation for us in the audience. You can watch the video here and see for yourselves.
Overall, Andy and the famous Lara have engaged and presented the whole audience with a memorable treat, teaching us that brilliance is within us. We just need to find it. The whole of the afternoon was inspiring and motivational and the buzz created will definitely be the cause for random acts of kindness and lots of PMA throughout the years of these younger children.
The question everybody is asking themselves leaving to get their books signed is: ‘Am I a ‘mood-hoover’ or a 2%-er?’. Well, which do you want to be?