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TV producer is banking on good times ahead.

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter

IF music is the food of love then a new venture, the first of its kind in Newcastle, promises to unlock passions in the unusual setting of a former bank vault.

Music historian Chris Phipps is teaming up with recently-opened restaurant Two Fifths to cater for lovers of music and food by serving a combination of both.

At the end of the month, the exproducer of music programme The Tube will be launching monthly Eat It! nights - with themes including gangsters and science fiction - in the original vault of the bank on the corner of Collingwood Street.

Chris and owner John Snell came up with the additional use for the underground room, which still contains a safe, enabling customers to enjoy a special music-matched menu in an unique setting.

"I suppose you could say I'll have a captive audience!" said Chris who has previously hosted sell-out Explore Music nights at Sage Gateshead. "I always like doing something new and I'm really excited about this.

"I've always been fascinated by the link between food and music."

Guests can expect unusual and quirky insights from Chris whose expertise takes in film and who said: "I've collected sound-track music all my life, 40-50 years."

He'll host the first of his Eat It!

nights on July 30. It will have a "Blaxploitation" theme, focused on film music of 1970-78, at a time of empowerment for Afro-Americans who were starting to take lead roles in cinema, famously in 1971's Shaft which has a Grammy Award-winning soundtrack by Isaac Hayes and was, says Chris, "obligatory viewing for the Black Panther movement as it was asserting black power".

"When it came out there were queues around the block and I went wanting to hear the music but I remember in the cinema it sounded like a transistor radio. I'll be playing it full-blast!" Others he'll be chatting about include 1972's Super Fly, known for its soundtrack by soul singer Curtis Mayfield and said to be one of the few to out-gross the film, while chef Basilhs Koutsioubis has created a soul food menu featuring fried chicken, grits and cornbread.

And the nights are for everyone, pointed out Chris: "I was talking to someone very young who was interested in Blaxploitation. The generation now is perceiving it as cult status."

Next up will be Shut It! on August 27 with a British gangster theme which Chris, who has also started doing DJ nights at the venue.

"It's about British gangster TV and film music, so obviously centred around Get Carter," he said, revealing there are various versions of the North East-made film's famous jangly jazz theme by Roy Budd who he said received just PS250 for the now-iconic score.

"There's one on the Dare album by The Human League and even a Tony Christie version called Get Christie!"


Chris Phipps in the original bank vault which will be home to his Eat It! nights

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 21, 2014
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