With the encroaching cynicism of middle age, episodes of excitement become increasingly rare. Perhaps a trip to some unvisited country raises the heart-rate a little but the unearned sense that you’ve seen-it-done-it lends every novelty a suspicious odour of staleness. Perhaps the arrival of grandchildren kickstarts some enthusiasm and shock and grief will cause ructions in the millpond of mild surprise but on the whole, you greet life with a shrug. Governments come and go and you whine weakly at their various crimes.
It comes with a jolt then to find yourself excited by anything, but releasing an album remains one of those things. You spend years pondering and collating, writing and recording all to the ultimate end of letting something out, freeing something and in turn being freed from it. So the actual day of its public exposure remains supremely important and there is no other word for the emotion it engenders than excitement. You’re excited for these songs and desperate to see them do well in the world. In your major label days this day was momentous. In-store gigs, signing sessions, TV and radio. Your album would be heralded like some royal birth and splashed across the culture like news of a great wedding. But that feeling doesn’t fade even as you watch your latest work ooze out sluggishly through the narrow crevices of online stores, streaming sites and social media feeds. You are proud and expectant; that familiar flush of anticipation starts to build – you are excited. Where will they go and who will they reach? What parts will irritate, which will do the emotional business? Will anyone buy it on any level? Will it put food on the table?
This Is My Kingdom Now isn’t mine anymore. Today it’s out and it’s yours or theirs or nobody’s. And I am out, I have outed myself. I’m a middle aged man and I’m excited; like a boy with his bags at the door, desperate to get into the car. I’m good to go, I’m waving what I’ve made farewell and wishing it good luck.