Swarms, it turns out, are rather revealing, as we encounter bees smothering both their queen (in this case, the documentary’s understandably twitchy host) and cannibalistic locusts. However, unlike most nature docs, where we’re encouraged to gawp at adorable baby polar bears, McGavin explores the advantages and disadvantages of swarms and what they can tell us about how we all live. His comparison of panicked carp to the London rioters is particularly memorable and pertinent.
However, while the film is beautifully shot and the concept intriguing, something is missing. Compared to David Attenborough, McGavin lacks authority and fills the gap with repetitive catchphrases. Eventually, ‘Ultimate Swarms’ feels like a minor missed opportunity.
From Fluid Movement, which brought us Purl and the Worship Street Whistling Shop, VOC occupies a smallish, cosy space in one of north London’s most restaurant-intensive precincts. The name derives from the Dutch East India Company, and there’s a nautical and historical theme to the drinks list. Punches based on old recipes figure large, though modern technology brings them right up to date. Playing it safe with the classics is by no means the inferior option, however, as textbook martinis and caipirinhas proved. It took us a while to get our drinks because of lack of staff behind the tiny bar (barely five feet long), and there’s no table service, so you have to queue. But no one seemed to mind. Interestingly, more people were drinking beer or wine than cocktails, at least on our visit. VOC now has a restaurant too, majoring on grilled meat.
Venue says: “Join us for our lunch offer: two small plates for £10 . Ts&Cs apply.”