Waiting to re-open

By Rhonda Dredge

There is nothing like discovering a cool little venue for jazz and getting a job there so you’re managing the place. This would be a dream come true for many.

Ash has had that good fortune. He’s the manager of the Paris Cat Jazz Club in Goldie Place.

He can only stand in the doorway at the moment, though, until indoor dining is allowed again.  

Before the pandemic Ash used to work up to 16 hours a day, eight at his day job and eight at night in the CBD’s coolest little venue.

The red brick walls almost glow with their rosy vision of yesteryear but the three levels inside the club are still set up for an event that never materialised.

The tables are spaced, each with four chairs and the stage was set for Mingus Thingus to open on July 9 with 40 guests. 

Then we went into the second lockdown, the club was forced to close and Ash was without his beloved job.

“So many artists have nothing to do,” Ash said, but he was one of the lucky ones. He had a back-up career in IT. 

Ash lives in a high-rise apartment in Spencer St with his partner and daughter. Instead of listening to jazz, he’s been working from home building online retail sites and looking for playgrounds for his daughter.

The playground in Flagstaff Gardens has just re-opened and domestic life has taken a turn for the better. “She loves it,” Ash said. 

Even though he worked such long hours, Ash denies he is a workaholic. “I think you need to work two jobs to buy a place,” he said.

Ash started out playing the sax but did a science degree instead, majoring in IT.

Disruption is a method used by the high-tech companies to raid markets and Ash was prepared to riff on the concept in terms of the disruptive impact of the virus on the CBD.

“It’s so hard to tell,” he said. “We’re right in the middle and there’s a lot of negative stuff at the moment but I do hope it does spur a change. There’s a lot of commercial real estate available. Rents are dropping. There’s a lot of venues opening up.”

He hopes the vacancies will attract more creatives into the city. 

Ash has been at the Paris Cat for eight years and likes the way they nurture talent.

“Monash Uni does recitals here, first and third year. You see the young guys so you know if you put them on for a gig there’s going to be quality.” 

The Paris Cat was opened 15 years ago by Serge and Liz Carnovale •

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