Beat from the street (Mar. 27, 2018)

Many stories lurk throughout Asheville, whether they are behind the Vaudevillian jazz-folk played by buskers around Pritchard Park, the colorful businesses decorated with funky, hand-made crafts or the laughter echoing from a patio as locals and tourists alike enjoy delicious beer. 

Matthew Jason McCorkle, 43, works at a veterinary hospital, originally from Savannah

Did you use to study at UNC Asheville?
“Yeah, yeah.”

How long were you there?
“2002, I think is when I graduated.”

Photo by Dusty Albinger. 
What did you study?
“Literature and also some classics, but my degree was in literature.”

Have you got any words to live by?
“Keep reading.”

Describe yourself in three words.
“That's a tough one. I'm still here.”

How would you describe your fashion sense?
“I grew up a punk kid and I just don't change much.”

Who were your favourite bands?
“I grew up on like, Black Flag, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Cynical Jerks, bands like that.”

Nice. Aside from the bands you've just mentioned do you have any creative influences that
inspire you throughout your life?
“Yeah, but they're mostly writers.”

Who are the writers?
“I'm a big Kafka nerd. I spend most of my time reading my favorite historians, probably
Tuckman, but books are really what I, you know right now I'm probably reading six books
just kind of back and forth, that's what I do.”

Matthew Jason McCorkle said he
is heavily influenced by his favorite
bands and writers, which range from
Black Flag to Kafka. Photo by Dusty
What book are you reading here?
“This is a history of American slavery between the end of the Revolutionary War and the end
of the Civil War. It's in part in the creation of American capitalism. It's a good book.”

Yeah sounds like it. What’s one thing you like about Asheville and one thing you dislike about Asheville?
“I've been a lot of places and Asheville is the best place I've, in terms of living, probably the best place I've been. It's a wonderful combination of being in the city and being in the country at the same time. That said, Asheville has gentrified a lot from five years ago. Five years ago it had gentrified an obscene amount from the five years before that, and that pace doesn't seem to be slowing. It's very, very difficult for people who live here to find a spot where they can rent a house and that sort of thing. Costs go up but wages don't. Asheville has that problem, greater than most cities its size it seems.”

Annabel Gibson also helped conduct this interview and Lawson Rudisill made the multimedia. It was originally published in The Blue Banner.