Alistair Murphy - Passing (2008) buy now

A collection of songs dealing with the effects of the passing of time, relationships and ultimately lives. Mostly in a slower tempo and a minor key, much of the music is played by Alistair Murphy but has contributions from most of the Half Life ‘collective’. Highlights include Courtiers, looking at the cult of personality of modern life – the need for many people to define their lives in the lives of celebrities and heroes. On the Tide, an atmospheric song of loss, with echoes perhaps, (don’t say it too loud!) of the Moody Blues. Your Name, a final return to the subject of many a Halflife song, the 80s, viewed from the calmer waters of the 00s.

Courtiers (5.13)

Waiting (and Yet) (2.14)

Winter’s Wolf (3.55)

Let Me Be The Answer (3.59)

Warmth On My Pillow (3.30)

Your Name (4.05)

Jigsaw (5.40)

Life Goes On (2.30)

Wild Horses (5.26)

Holding Out For More (2.55)

On The Tide (4.07)

Each Door Must Close (2.27)

Alistair Murphy : Vocals, Keyboards & Guitars

Mark Fletcher : Bass

Jeremy Salmon : Guitars & Drums

Laurie A’Court : Saxes

Diana Hare : Vocals

Jim Halsall : Harmonica

Recorded and Produced by Alistair Murphy


Well, you’ve taken every fence,

Although the highest ones have left you sprawling.

No, there can be no defence, for the accidents that are your calling.

The chosen ones have found their form, the guides they had to meet.

They’ve fallen on their feet, while you’re just falling.

Oh, if you could find their way, trace their path, have their good fortune.

Oh yes, if you knew who they knew, had what they had.

Oh, such sweet torture

Meanwhile sitting in the stands, trying to catch a glimpse

We’re reaching out our hands, for we’re all Courtiers.

Jesters, shysters, their foot-soldiers, Christmas puppies, all time losers,

Innocents and victims too, at the tail end of the queue.

Stop, your life is passing by, there’s no reason why, you can’t enjoy it.

But time and time again you find, the illusion’s fine, you can’t destroy it.

We’re waiting by the road, we’re standing in the rain.

They’re coming round again, for we’re their Courtiers.

Nuisance callers, whores and stalkers,

Stallers, crawlers, long-time walkers,

Fighters, fences, late-night brawlers,

Beggars, bawlers, back-street prowlers,

Saints and sinners, thieves and judges,

Innocents and victims too, and we’re still waiting in the queue.

Well, you’ve taken every fence,

Although the highest ones have left you sprawling

No, there can be no defence, for the accidents that are your calling

The chosen ones have found their form, the guides they had to meet

They’ve fallen on their feet, while you’re just falling

(Where are we falling to?)


I’m standing alone now, the storm overhead,

I’ve been here before, wondering what I had said.

I don’t know your reasons

They’re lost in your head

I know I am waiting,

I’m waiting and yet...

I’m holding to something, that will come round again

When the rain passes over and the clouds slip away

You don’t know your reasons

They slip through your hands

I know I am waiting

I’m waiting and yet...


Something about the way you hold yourself has made me doubt

And though your words are warm I know your fire’s burning out

I don’t know you, this world can’t hold you

The wolf that ushers winter in, is waiting in the trees

The ice is on the outside but the inside’s frozen more

I’m watching as the world is slowly passing by my door

Hell can’t hold you, no one owes you

The wolf of winter licks its lips and vanishes from view

    I don’t need you, I don’t want you too

    I don’t want you, I don’t need you to

        stay away too long

There’s something in the breeze that right now is blowing down my lane

It’s the sound of distant laughter and the calling of your name

Heaven’s dropped us, the wheel of fortune

Winter’s wolf pricks up its ears and listens to the wind

    I don’t need you, I don’t want you too

    I don’t want you, I don’t need you to

        stay away too long


Each hour is slowly passing and the days are quickly gone

And in the cold air, they’re lining up like soldiers

And though they smile they’re feeling old

You’re waiting for an answer and in the darkness nothing calls

But in a new light of a morning, without warning

You may suddenly feel whole

What’s done is done there’s no turning back the page

The letters in the sand will always tell

The tale of all the errors, the wrong choices you have made

And still are making

Let me be the answer, and the question too

I’ll be the knocking on the door

I’ll be your sunshine, and your shoeshine

At the seaside, with your water rushing in


When all’s said and done and dusted,

entrusted and ready for home.

I find myself here, where ever is here,

I could not have made it alone.

You’re a light through the trees, you’re the snow on the fell.

A voice in the street, with a story to tell.

    Be the warmth on my pillow in the cool of the night

We’re all on the move with nowhere to go

And no one to show us the way.

We eat where we can, we sleep where we fall,

Pause where there’s somewhere to stay.

I‘ve walked to your town. I’ve stopped in your street,

Thrown stones at you light, used your step for a seat.

    Be the warmth on my pillow in the cool of the night

There’s a man at the corner, it’s late and he’s heading for home,

Now some should warn you, that it’s me at the side of road

I’m holding, I’m holding my breath,

You’re holding my world in the palm of your hand

If you look in my eyes, I can’t fail the test.

But should you say no then I’ll understand.

The lights going off, at the corner

The sound of the music is drifting away.

I’ll chance what I have, if I haven’t a chance

Then that’s a price I’ll have to pay

You’re a light through the trees, you’re the snow on the fell

A voice in the street with a story to tell.

    Be the warmth on my pillow in the cool of the night


Don’t you see, what it is you’ve done?

Even in your prime, when you knew that you had won

Just a moment’s doubt, just a second’s pause?

As you faced your rebels down, when you’d won your pointless wars

You heard it on the news, you shared it with a friend

You seek out your applause, you mean to justify your end

Leave it where it falls, lay it down to die

A kiss to show your love. a tear to say goodbye

If I were you, I’d take my self away

Find a cottage in the hills and hang my head in shame

Kneel down by the door with my hands behind my head

Think of what I’d done, and wish that I were dead

But you wanted more than that, a reason you won’t find

The people that you hurt, being cruel, you were that kind

It never seemed to dawn  upon your vacant mind

There was no way ahead for those who fell behind

If you were me and your spirit was set free

Would you understand these words, seeing all that I could see?

Would you question your beliefs, your view of history

Would you turn your face away and get down on your knees?

Or would you hold your head up high, puff your chest up tight

Evil burning in your eye, madness holding out its light

As you’re walking down your road, curtains moving as you go

Children calling out your name, but it’s not a name you know


I waited when there was nothing to wait for

Holding my breath, though breath wasn’t called for

Called out your name

And I couldn’t believe I’d be waiting so long for you

Sat in my room and tried to show patience

I held on to hope in the dark and the silence

I waited once more for a knock on the door

That was never to knock on my door

    Hold on to what we have

    We can’t let it slip away

I stopped in the street I could see you were standing

Talking with friends with your heart in the sunshine

When you reached over with a smile on your lips

Was it doubt that I saw in your eyes?

And what did you see as we stood there together

The end of a moment or the start of a lifetime

A reason to hope or the final hurrah

As I turned and I walked down the road


    Hold on to what we have

    We can’t let it slip away

I sit at a jigsaw, the pieces before me

I have all the edge bits but the sky isn’t easy

And as I get closer I cannot believe

That all of the pieces are here

I’m turning them over, piecing together

Offering them up and pressing them closer

Over my shoulder your hand may appear

Holding the pieces I lack


    Hold on to what we have

    We can’t let it slip away


I lit a candle for you in an empty room

We’ve burnt so many candles

In the winter and in the summer, in the evening gloom

I don’t know what to say, don’t know how to say it

And now I am waiting

And there’s nothing in this life that’s left worth breaking

And with every glass that’s raised, the heart is failing

And turning away

The sun climbs higher, the day comes crashing down

I hear a bell that’s ringing in another time

In some quarter of a different town

Life goes on

How could it be any other way

In a bar they’re meeting

Strangers still, exchanging their first greeting

Everywhere the mystery of love’s repeating

As it always will


I played this tune, sometimes for you

It had no words then, yes that’s true

It stayed in my mind but I didn’t have anytime

To choose a melody or the rhyme

    And I’m waiting on it now

    Got all the time in the world

    And there’s something that I’ve found

That the world’s a little grey, now the night’s a little dark

The day’s just started but it’s done

I’m holding tight, I’m holding on

In this twilight before we’re gone

    And for everything that’s been

    For your light that keeps burning, burning

    I’m holding out for more


You called to say you were safe

But you didn’t want to stop and talk to me

You told me of your flight,

Your journey through the night, how you felt free.

And every man’s an island and the water in the harbour

Is rising in the moonshine and the wind is blowing hard

And across the sound,

The mainland is fading in the gloom, in the gloom.

I waited for your call in the last days of the Fall and in the rain.

I remember waiting for, a letter through my door but nothing came.

And on the hill the clouds are lining up like metal soldiers.

It tells of our ills and all the time we had to waste.

Even if I had the chance I wouldn’t know the way to tell you.

What to say, how it’s been, since you’ve been away.

How the night is sister to the day.

And the hours, that like the tide, they drift away.

I watched the ferry go in the last days of the snow

And watched its trail

Of smoke that cuts the sky, like a casual goodbye

To no avail.

And time will bring release to all the prisoners it is holding.

I can even hear the keys and muffled cheering of our wing.

When the silent guard arrives he takes the blankets I have folded.

But no keys can release the locks that hold me

Though I walk on my way,

It’s our lives, that like the tide, they drift away.


Somewhere in this story, somewhere in this show

Though they held each other closely

There were always things that neither one could know

But for every moment passed beneath these gables

And every open doorway that we chose

As our lives are drifting slowly into fable

Each door must close

Didn’t know where you were going

Didn’t really say goodbye

And there’s still no way of knowing

If there’s any part of us that’s left behind

But I hear you when I know I’m being selfish

And I hear you when I know that you’d be proud

And I cannot help but know you think I’m foolish

I hear you now

Audio samples