If I stop to consider, the length of a year
A year ago seems like yesterday
But last week’s not so clear
I woke up this morning, as tired as a year ago
I drag myself through another day
Am I knocking on heaven’s door?
You don’t have to make time, for the cares of the world
If its prince had his way
No prayers would ever be heard
But every week I have this inspiration
I see your plan before me
I see your plan unfolding
You’ve given me the strength to carry on
You’re my inspiration
You’ve given me the strength to carry on
You’re my inspiration
See a man with a mission, see a man called Paul
Can anybody give more
When they give their life to the Lord?
I could talk about my failings, but I’m set free to serve
If I let you down a thousand times
I am sure to be restored
Give Him six days to make the world
Give Him three days to change the course of history
Give me a week and I’ll use it well
Because Thou art with me
PJ: “I distinctly remember sitting on my bed at Tyrell Close in October or November 1999 with an acoustic guitar. I was whacking out this riff, quite simple really, and coming up with this unusual shuffling rhythm. The words tumbled out as a God-given gift (I hope) and I thought it was a great song. Written very quickly, possibly in one sitting. I like it because it is obscure enough to be an Eleventh Hour song rather than a church song, but the meaning is still very clear: God, Lord, you are the centre of my very being, all that I have and all I want to be. You’re my inspiration!
The first verse sums up my preoccupation with the passing of time. It’s always been with me. From my earliest years, I was always thinking back a day, a week, a month and a year and pondering all the things that had happened in between. Why DO some things remain so clear and the mundane aspects of life disappear into a blur? Answers on a postcard to the usual address….
I seem to have sung the chorus hundreds of times! (In fact I reckon this must be the most performed song out of everything I’ve written.) It’s all about Sunday, actually. I find it such a refreshing day and, by God’s grace, a day of looking forward, planning where life may go next, and generally enjoying life. Even when I wasn’t a Christian it was a hopeful day, a day when life’s challengings looked a little closer to being sorted out. For the Christian it should be an exciting day when we realise we’re another week nearer heaven and a time to be refreshed by God’s strength. I pity people who use it as extra time for getting down to Tesco and Homebase….there’s so much more that God wants for us!”
PJ on ‘First’ version: “From the opening bars, it is clear that Andy is adding something very special to the music. The keyboards bring lightness and pace to a home recording situation that has often been characterised by disappointment.
The 11th Hour had always been impressive and powerful on stage but, at this point in time, no-one had never really captured that excitement in the studio environment.
One of the amazing things about the ‘First’ EP is the fact that all the drums were programmed on a Yamaha SW1000XG soundcard. (Quite where Jez was for these sessions, no-one seems to know!) Although never as good as real drums, the Yamaha lays down a solid beat for us to play against without being too wooden.
This version of My Inspiration is a definite improvement on the Calling Earth version in 2000 which was rather flat. There is a new punch to the sound. Andy’s keyboards bring a rounded multi-dimensional sound to the proceedings.
Does the voice helping out on the chorus sound familiar? Thanks, Russell!”
I was walking around, going nowhere, just the other day
But that did not stop someone from telling me
I was going the wrong way
This one’s trying to tell me how to live my life
When he was still hung-up trying to be streetwise
I’ve watched them drink together like men
Turn and fight each other like dogs
And in the morning
Get up, go to work, and they’re nobody
These were circles that I tried to leave behind me long ago
But people criticise me when I’m trying to let go
They told me that the reason this country’s in the state it’s in
Is because of all the blacks and the immigrants trying to get in
Now you can blame a race, you can even blame God
But a lie never brought no good to nobody
You see, there are a lot of lies going about today
And people want to believe a lie rather than to face the truth
That’s because it’s easier to believe a lie than to face the truth
But just because it’s easier….
It snowed that night. It was coming down thick and fast over Grove Village Hall on Saturday 18th December 1999, but the band played on. This was one of our most memorable gigs in the village where it had all started, although a ‘homecoming’ would be putting it too strongly – we hadn’t ventured out of Oxfordshire at this point in time. It was, however, a fantastic event as many friends, and even workmates and family, braved the elements to come to the 11th Hour’s Christmas/Millenium celebration.
The set-list became a template for our extensive gigging in 2000 and early 2001 when we performed at Cross Rhythms, at a youth event in West Sussex, and played live to the radio at UCB in Stoke on Trent. These were the glory days!
The gig sees the first live performances of Paul’s ‘Marred’ and ‘My Inspiration’. Steve is on top form with classic renditions of ‘Lucy’ and ‘Walk Away’, while the entire gig is bookended with Russell’s energetic ‘Pushin’ and the poignant ‘Hope in the Saviour’, which closed all of our subsequent gigs. Jez shows his trademark drumming genius and guides the band through some ambitious, yet classic, cover versions. The gig also features our sometime sideman Paul Hazell on keyboards.
A lot has happened since this gig. I suppose that many of us will be incredulous at the thought of the Millenium fireworks being ten short years ago. What have we done for God in that time? What has God done with us? Many of us have been blessed, but some of us have had to face very difficult situations. We’ve been through good and bad. But the God that inspired the band to get together is just the same. We still praise Him for His faithfulness to us.
Where are the band now? Although never officially splitting up, the gigging stopped in 2001. A retrospective studio album, Milestone, was issued in early 2006 after an intensive year of recording. The songs live on in cyberspace….but you can never rule out a reunion gig or a solo project, especially with a 40th birthday coming up!
If you were there – thanks for coming. If you helped out – an even bigger thank you! We hope you enjoyed the party. And if you can’t remember, then we hope this will jog your memory….
May God bless you
Wiltshire, December 2009.
I Can See Her Face
A Beauty I Can’t Picture
Spirit From Above
There She Goes
Hello, Mary Lou
Old Red Eyes Is Back
Don’t Throw Your Love Away 2
Don’t Throw Your Love Away 1
Reminds Me of the Son
Hope in the Saviour
Recorded on Fostex R8 8-track at Grove Village Hall, Oxfordshire, 18th December 1999.
PJ: I seem to remember Steve coming to me with a song called ‘The Rebel’ which had a similar tune to the verses above: ‘You walk into town with a gun in your hand, six foot six, what a man’ – that sort of thing. Catchy. At the some time, mid to late 1999, I had been composing a song about people moving on from the past and unhappy memories. I called it Marred, after the first two lines of the first verse. I can’t for the life of me remember why I changed it to a song about Northern Ireland. I had been thinking about that situation a lot since the previous year’s Good Friday Agreement, mainly from a Unionist perspective, and I was determined to mark the past but attempt to celebrate the future. That meant reminding everyone of the horror of terrorism, but the importance of moving on. In fact, this is exactly what did happen as Ian Paisley took a leap into the unknown with Sinn Fein last year.
The chorus is about moving on from the past with the hope of heaven in the heart. One day, for those that believe (and many in Ulster do) this mad world of pain and broken relationships won’t be here and we will live in the perfection that Christ has won for us. The person in the chorus is one such believer in the Province who is trying to gain the heavenly perspective while under pressure from violence. This believer isn’t going to give in to it, but he will only resist by standing firm in the Truth that has set him free. Unlike some who may profess faith but confuse it with politics, he’s not going to resort to tit for tat, but will look to God for the victory.
There were slight changes between the 2000 and 2005 versions. Steve was always unhappy with the line about ‘crimes of the state’ and, with hindsight, I was too. The original line was really saying, ‘If a few people get shot dead by the security forces while carrying out a terrorist attack, then that’s the price you pay.’ What I really meant was that if the opposition calls that a war crime, or whatever, then that’s just a nonsense when we think about the potential loss of civilian life. However, if a democratic state is bending its own rules to do these things, then that’s on injustice, so I felt it wasn’t right to suggest this. The replacement line (key…armoury…knife) was about arms decommissioning. A terrorist group might put their weapons out of use, but it takes more than that to remove the propensity to violence from some of the followers of these organisations.
The other change clarifies the nature of the person in the middle 8 – ‘Billy’. He is, and always was, a loyalist carrying out his assassination mission while away from his day job. I think that in terms of pointing the finger, two verses devoted to IRA atrocities and one to the loyolists pretty much sums up how I see the situation. Thankfully, this brutality has now stopped and I hope and pray that it will never return.
Finally, the Son of God said that ‘whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’. This means that anyone, absolutely ANYONE, can come to Him for forgiveness. We all need it, and it is freely offered to everyone. Just because someone was in the IRA or the UDA doesn’t mean they can’t be forgiven. The emphatic answer to the first line of the song is ‘NO!’ – because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Christian reflections on music, politics…anything!