If Inspector of Catacombs isn’t among the coolest job titles in the world, we’d like to know what is. Dr Raffaella Giuliani carries out this presumably essential role in Rome where she chanced, one day, upon what looked very much like a vast underground ossuary. The find did suggest a certain laxity on the part of her predecessors. But it was also hugely interesting to archeologists and historians the world over. Who where these people? And how did they die?
This documentary sees Dr Michael Scott from the University of Warwick making the trip to Rome to poke around in the remains. It’s diverting if slightly generic fare with plenty to tell us about both the past and the future. Certainly, the later stages of the film suggest that DNA and genome mapping technology might be about to revolutionise this field for good.
Little Bat Bar
Lately the London drink gods have been rewarding us with bold neighbourhood bars that shake more than just an espresso martini. Little Bat has just swooped into Islington, bringing with it expertise from the team behind Shoreditch bar Callooh Callay. Unlike a bat, things are hardly flipped on their head here – aside from the bar’s name, the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ gimmicks of Callooh Callay are absent – but perhaps that’s advisable in this less edgy ’hood. Instead it’s like an extensive library, with the best seats at the rear: deep armchairs and sweeping semi-circle banquettes in jade leather. The place is not entirely quirk-free, though. You’ll find a photo booth on your way to the bogs, proof that Islington isn’t afraid of a few post-tipple lols. I tried a Rhubarb Swizzle (£9.50), a sweet, long drink with a pleasant tart twist. No offence to the Swizzle, but I wish I’d ordered what my friend was knocking back: the Pan Am Cocktail (£8), a frothy blend of rum, Aperol, lemon, syrup, bitters and egg white that had her grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I suggest heading here before dinner in the area, or else just get comfortable and order in; pan-Asian food from Ziloufs over the road is available for snacking, although we stuck with complimentary popcorn. Staff were overly attentive, but an eagerness to please in the early days is hardly a drawback – it’s far more than you’d expect from its insouciant Shoreditch sister bar. Best of all, and again differing from Callooh Callay, Li