He must have tuned his hearing-aid to the wrong setting, because every time I shift my weight, he tuts, or shakes his head irritably like a dog with fleas. It started when I rustled in my bag for a cashew nut half-way through the scene where they're necromancing the Golum into life. The live score was an unsettling mix of scratchy strings and arrhythmic drumming, and I was impressed, but hungry. I'd grabbed a bench in the strange, palm-treed lobby of the World Financial Centre - the Winter Gardens - and was concentrating half my attention on the movie, half on the figures pacing about perimeters. It was a free show, but my friend was late, and I'd already gotten death-dealing looks from art-school goths wanting to take his seat.
By way of contrast to the monochrome print, the man in front of me was in a t-shirt tie-died all the colours of the rainbow. An iconic image of Our President (the new Che?) was screened on the back, and long white hair and beard draped over his scrawny, Obama-ed shoulders.
I liked him, in that casual way you like or dislike strangers because of their clothes, their books or the way they smell. Until he started with the tutting.
As I helped myself to some more mixed nuts, his polka of irritation seemed to build to a crescendo in concord with the percussion section. When he started muttering to himself I'd had enough. Tapping him on the shoulder I hissed.
"Look. Sorry if I'm disturbing you. I'm trying to be as quiet as possible. But surely it's better that I'm eating a organic, fairly-traded vegan snack from a reusable bag, bought at a co-op, than stuffing my face with a plastic-wrapped flesh-filled Starbucks panini like the rest of the crowd?"
Actually I didn't say a thing. Instead I contented myself with pulling ghoulish faces behind the irritable old hippie's back, causing the nervous pensioner next to me to drop his programme in surprise.
I always think you get the best view of the action from the moral high-ground.