Ellé, who was already really looking forward to a whole museum devoted to her artistic hero, is now practically wetting herself with excitement. She has her best sunflower dress on, with her banner-bright blonde hair, drawing approving smiles from intelligent-looking middle aged men in expensive glasses. I'm in jeans and a lopsided smile, and catching absolutely no-one's eye. No, wait, I tell a lie. There's my boss' boss, Judy, whose aptitude for haplessness has stranded her in Amsterdam on her way to a weekend break in Cyprus. "No," says Ellé, "you can't run into someone you know in Amsterdam!"
Judy stops for her usual gabble as we join the (fairly major) queue. I try not to be too freaked, fail, and try not to show it too badly. She stops abruptly and meanders off again. "Yes," I say, gloomily, "I can."
The queue keeps moving. The sun keeps shining. The Chinese family's children (just behind us in the line) are relentlessly cute. I'm not as thrilled as Ellé at seeing the Van Goghs (over 50 in this show, plus the permenant exhibition) and couldn't care less about bloody Gaugin (sexist, borgeois, nasty ...) but if the crowds are anything to go by it has to be a good show.
Just under six hours later, my opinions about Van Gogh radically reorientated, a new favourite painting burning a hole in my mind, a print I have no space for dangling from my hand, we stagger out into the sunshine and persuade a nice lady to photograph us against the gigantic sunflower banner. Fan-fucking-tastic. If you have a chance, it's on till June, go. I even mellowed a teensy bit toward old Gaugin.
For reference: painting = The Yellow House, print = The Courtesan, poster = Two Sunflower Heads.