Arts & CultureEveryday People

Everyday People

I go out to Southeast Clarke Park a lot and have seen how crowded it gets over at the skate park there. It’s a nice complex, and there’s even a pavilion and bleachers surrounding the concrete ramps and a giant bowl. That’s where I met Cody McLaughlin. Although he’s not yet an Athenian, he and two of his friends are making the move here from Atlanta next month. Actually, when I met them, they had just checked out their new place near downtown.

Flagpole: So, you’re living in Decatur?

Cody  McLaughlin: Yeah, East Atlanta area, like, right by Little Five Points. I live right off Moreland Avenue.

FP: So, you drive up here pretty often?  

CM: Yeah, whenever there’s a good show, usually going on at, like, New Earth [Music Hall] or the [Georgia] Theatre. I got some friends that live up here and I’ll come up and go out to the bars with them and hang out. Plus, they got a lot of, like, scenic views and fresh air out here, so you know it’s, like, a good change from the city.

FP: Do you come out here a lot?

CM: The skate park? Uh, this is actually my first time here, but I’ll probably be here a lot, since I’m about to move here.

FP: Do you skate[board]?

CM: Yes, I do.

FP: And that’s how you broke your arm?

CM:  No, I broke my arm in a motorcycle accident in Atlanta—one of the things that helped me decide to move here… I just got ran off the road by some dumb lady who wasn’t looking.

FP: So, you think in Athens it will be better?

CM: Well, there’s less people, less traffic; it’s just, like, less likelihood.

FP: So, what made you [and your friends] decide to move up here?

CM: We were all just tired of Atlanta, just looking to get away from that general area. Just, like, we grew up over there, and it’s, like, you know, [you] just got to make a move away from home.

FP: What did you do after high school?

CM: After high school I went to Armstrong Atlantic State University [in Savannah] and then I dropped out and moved back here [to Atlanta].

FP: Why did you choose to go to school there?

CM: Just getting general core classes. It’s down near kinda like a good party town, but not if you’re not 21, so I moved back home… [and] it’s close to the beach.

FP: So, why did you leave?

CM: I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was just kind of wasting time and money… I’ll go back eventually, find out what I want to do.

FP: What do you do to make money?

CM: Well, I hold a part-time job in Atlanta at a bakery, and I also do event promotions for a couple party companies… like, for concerts and stuff, like, if there’s a show at the Masquerade or the Tabernacle or Spring4th [Center].

FP: What kind of things do you do to promote events?

CM: Flyering, as well as I help a little bit with booking, as well as just, like, overall planning. Like, on the day of the actual event, I run around, and if someone needs to be picked up from the airport, I go get them. If we’re short on something, like lights or sound, I’ll call another company and see if they’ve got it.

FP: So, you work for a few promotion companies?

CM: It’s, like, I’m the manager for one particular company, and a couple other companies will, like, contract the company I work for to do event promotions for events ’cause we have a pretty large-size promotions team. It’s, like, we just get the word out there pretty fast, and people know that, so they pay us to get the word out there for their events.

FP: So, how did you get into that?

CM: Uh, me and my buddy got this crazy idea we wanted to throw parties for a living, so we did, and it actually ended up working out pretty well; like, the largest [event] we’ve thrown so far had, like, 3,200 people, and we all made a good bit of money off that. 

FP: So, do you own the company or something?

CM: No, I don’t own it in any way. [My friend] owns [the company], and I just work for it.

FP: Well, you skate, do you have any other interests or hobbies? 

CM: [I] skate… I spin fire, like fire poi. Have you ever seen someone spin fire? Like the Hawaiians do it.

FP: You do that?

CM: Yeah. Not right now, ’cause I have a broken shoulder, but…

FP: Wait, really?

CM: I party for a living. I make money off of parties. I mean c’mon…

FP: So, you thought that [fire poi] would be a good party trick?

CM: No, I mean, it’s fun. I saw it and I was like, “That looks cool. I wish I could do that,” and then I found out what it was and I studied it, and, like, the whole concept behind it. It’s kind of like a life routine. It’s like an art.

FP: You studied it. Did you just read up on it on the Internet?

CM: Yeah, I just read up on it on the Internet and just asked people, asked people I knew that already did it, went places where I saw people doing it, or I heard about people doing it, and just asked questions, you know. They taught me shit.

FP: Have you ever burnt yourself? 

CM: Yeah, actually, last summer I got second-degree burns all the way down my chest… I was spinning without a shirt on and I did something called a hyperloop—where you wrap the chains around and they do like a continuous circle where it’s just, like, it spins around really fast—and it slung fuel all over me. I caught on fire and I just dropped them. I was at [Electric Forest] music festival, too… It’s funny.

FP: Did you get rushed to the hospital or anything? 

CM: No, no. The whole experience was actually kinda terrible. I went to, like, the medical tent and they told me, “There’s nothing we can do for you, unless you want to go to the hospital,” and I didn’t want to go to the hospital ’cause, like, they were second-degree burns, but it wasn’t that serious. It just hurt like hell, so I just had to walk back to my tent.