They were about to kick off World Book Night as I arrived in Trafalgar Square.
I could wait ...
Maybe there'd be free books?
Or I could drop into the National Gallery to see this exhibition.
I didn't hesitate for a moment.
Even though I could feel book bloggers shaking their fists at me.
When you look at this painting in the flesh, as it were, you can almost feel the woman's soft crepey neck, the slight hairiness of her upper lip. You want to brush away the two stray, grey hairs that have fallen onto the man's fur collar.
Can you imagine that ... that someone could paint two distinct grey hairs on a fur collar?
About 500 years ago.
There were crowds gathering outside as I left.
(There was hardly anybody in the exhibition. Not that I'm complaining, you need plenty of room to stand and contemplate two grey hairs.)
There was still time to investigate World Book Night ...
But I was feeling a much stronger pull from a movie.
That turned out to be very good. With a brilliant soundtrack.
When I got home I found Larry McMurtry's book on the shelf. But I know I enjoyed the film much more.
Apologies to World Book Night but this is a city of too many choices on a Friday night.
And books are better enjoyed at home.