BP Portrait Award @ National Portrait Gallery

At its best, portraiture humanises the fabulous, glamourises the ordinary, and reminds you to look at that extraordinary tribe, the white noise of daily life, People.

Guardian Unlimited's online Portrait of the Week archive is a favourite Hitchcock Blonde haunt, but a visit to the National Portrait Gallery this weekend was a ripe reminder that, in a real-life exhibition, the art on the walls is only a fraction of the art on show. Newly observationally articulate, I become as fascinated by the form of my flesh-and-blood fellows as I do by the canvas-bound characters. The architecture of a living face, the physiognomical clash and cohesion of nature and feature, warts, wicklows and all: tis a brave new world indeed.

Nonetheless, three paintings stand out in this year's BP Portrait Award. Thomas Leveritt's AC Grayling is tender, trippy triumph with a touch of Tron. Miriam Escofet's portaryal of her artist father Jose is a luminous, meticulous lovesong that mixes medieval allegory with Miyazaki. And then there is Johnny and Glory by Richard Brazier (left) - candid, enigmatic, hypnotic and sad, promising tales from the trenches.

Incredibly, six hours on, drinking whisky sours in Shoreditch House, I bumped into Johnny. He runs Time for Tea in east Lahndahn, sourcing 40s and 50s nostalgia. Glory was at home, but I am assured she is well. He is just like his picture - elegant, defiant, mournful, too young for his clothes, too old for his time.

I'm still in sublime, serendipidous shock. And busy mainlining Bourbon in hope of meeting Captain William Augustus Bowles.