Following a dynamic performance to over 200 school children at the People’s History Museum, we joined Andy Cope, author of The Art of Being Brilliant and the Spy Dog series, for his second talk – this time to a more intimate but equally enthralled crowd at Chorlton Library. Once again, Andy was accompanied by the unassuming genius that is Star the Spy Dog (so unassuming, in fact, that she spent most of the afternoon sleeping in the corner!).
According to Andy, life is a lot like a sausage machine: you get out what you put in. Put in vegetables, you’ll get a vegetable sausage; put in happiness, you’ll have a happy life. The crucial part, then, is getting the ingredients right. Andy gave the example of his old school friend, Melanie, who complained that everything at school was “boring”. Some thirty years later, when Andy accidentally bumped into Melanie at the supermarket, she still thought life was just as “boring” because she’d done very little to change it for the better. Andy inspired his listeners by suggesting ways in which they could bring positivity into their lives, such as washing their neighbour’s car or making drinks for their family. These small suggestions for self-improvement certainly seemed to strike a chord among Andy’s audience.
Another topic on Andy’s agenda was libraries. Andy praised his local library for fueling his love of literature when he was a similar age to the children in the audience. He talked about his favourite book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and how it had inspired him to let his imagination run wild when he became an author. The wonderful thing about libraries, Andy pointed out, is that although joining them costs absolutely nothing, the joy and rewards you get in return are invaluable. Everyone in the library nodded their heads, appreciative of the building we were sitting in.
Of course, no trip for Andy would be complete without mention of the Spy Dog series for which he is most renowned. Members of the audience were invited to ask questions about Andy’s latest Spy Dog book, which we discovered was the number one bestseller in South Korea last week. Andy revealed he enjoys writing late at night when his children have gone to bed, whilst listening to some music. After answering a few questions about being an author, Andy held a book-signing and many of his fans gathered round for a chance to talk to him personally and get their copies of Spy Dog signed.
Andy also brought along his suitcase of goodies to reward members of his lively audience for asking top-notch questions throughout the performance. Tom, age 10, was awarded the highly coveted top prize of a Spy Dog t-shirt for his efforts. He was really pleased with his prize and said: “I feel really good about standing out. I love the Spy Dog books, so just seeing Andrew Cope in person was really good. I like him because he’s really funny and doesn’t talk about boring things like some people do.”
Well, Tom, we couldn’t agree with you more. Andy Cope is many things – an author, a scientist, a motivational speaker, owner of the best dog in the world – but he certainly isn’t boring. What an entertaining and altogether inspiring day we’ve had with him.
This event was brought to you in association with IHSSR: The Institute for Humanities and Social Science Research at Manchester Metropolitan University.