Leftfield's Neil Barnes helps Yorkshire charity auction

Neil Barnes of chart-topping electronic music group Leftfield has donated hundreds of records to a charity auction in West Yorkshire.
Neil Barnes of Leftfield has donated records to an auction in aid of Todmorden's Kindness Christmas dinner.Neil Barnes of Leftfield has donated records to an auction in aid of Todmorden's Kindness Christmas dinner.
Neil Barnes of Leftfield has donated records to an auction in aid of Todmorden's Kindness Christmas dinner.

The lot, which comprises 500 albums, 10in and 12in singles and rare white labels from the musician, producer and DJ’s collection, will be sold online in batches to raise money for the Kindness Christmas dinner organised by The Golden Lion in Todmorden in conjunction with the town’s Unitarian Church.

The community event, which has been running since 2011, will this year provide lunch on Christmas Day for 150 families. Any additional profits from the auction will be donated to Todmorden and Corkholme Food Banks.

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Barnes, 63, told The Yorkshire Post he had decided to become involved in the event after doing “a couple of amazing DJ nights” at the pub-cum-venue.

“I got quite intimate with the set-up and loved the connection with the local community,” he said. “The exciting nature of what they’re doing connected to me – the fact that they’ve turned that pub into such a cultural centre – so it started with that.”

While attending a show last month by the band Decius, Barnes mentioned to landlady Matthanee ‘Gig’ Nilavongse that he had “this enormous record collection” that he had “got together over the last 35 years” that he needed to downsize as he had moved to a new home.

“I said I was going to get some together and take them to Oxfam...then Gig mentioned to me about the Kindness dinner and she said, ‘Why don’t we do some kind of giveaway and try to raise some money for it?’ I immediately thought that was a fabulous idea,” he said. “I’ve got quite a connection with Yorkshire in that a big chunk of my family lives in Sheffield, and I know how tough it is at the moment for everybody out there, families struggling with extraordinary fuel bills and food prices and low income support and I just felt that any small thing that I could do, to give away things to try to raise some money, was a fabulous opportunity to use the records in a really positive way.”

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The vinyl that The Golden Lion will be auctioning has been broken down by Nilavongse into 20 boxes of 25 records which will be sold online daily from December 1. Barnes said they span 1990s dance music “from dubhouse, techno, Leftfield-style things to house records and Dave Clarke and Underworld”; he has also added 60 or 70 Leftfield records “so that each pack will have one or two Leftfield 12-inches and white labels and signed copies of things as a bonus”.

Neil Barnes of Leftfield. Picture: Steve GullickNeil Barnes of Leftfield. Picture: Steve Gullick
Neil Barnes of Leftfield. Picture: Steve Gullick

Barnes added: “As to exactly what’s in each pack, I couldn’t tell you, but there’s ambient things, house records, vocal house records, Italian imports – a whole gamut of really wicked records that I’ve used. The other thing about them is a lot of them are almost pristine.”

The musician, who himself recently recovered from bowel cancer, plans to help out in the kitchen on Christmas Day and is due to DJ at the after party. “I’m getting involved with the dinner as well, so I’ll be spending Christmas Day there volunteering myself, my food-making talents, peeling potatoes and all that stuff,” he said. “I wanted to experience the day and just to be part of it following it through. There’s a whole gamut of people who get involved and I think it’s an important thing about Christmas.

“When I was growing up, my father was very keen on that type of thing, so at our Christmas dinners he’d always bring two or three people back from the pub that didn’t have anywhere to go or were on their own at Christmas, and it was how I was brought up, to think that the whole notion of Christmas should be about sharing and being inclusive, not just about buying things for each other and opulence. So the opportunity to be part of that also is something that I wanted to do, to have a different Christmas this year.”

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The auction will take place, one a day, online, via the Facebook page of Matthanee Nilavongse of The Golden Lion https://www.facebook.com/hanuman.thai.9. Bidding is daily and begins at 10am until 6pm.

Leftfield are due to play a sold-out show at Project House in Leeds on Friday December 1.