A Dundee games company are celebrating their biggest release yet, after developing the latest instalment of the Angry Birds franchise. Tag Games announced that they have launched a new version of the smash-hit mobile app game, alongside publishing partner Rovio. Angry Birds Action was released last Friday via the Apple and Android stores, in time to tie-in with the arrival of a new major Hollywood film based on the game. CEO of Tag Games, Paul Farley, said that working with the “iconic” gaming franchise was a massive honour, and truly cemented Tag Games' position as an industry leader after a decade in the city. He said: “We have worked with many global IPs over the past decade and Angry Birds Action is one of our biggest, most ambitious projects yet. “It’s an honour to work with Rovio on such an iconic franchise and working in parallel with the development of the animated movie has provided a unique opportunity to utilise cutting edge cross-media technology. “This release further cements our position as a studio capable of delivering class leading free-to-play games and managing live service operations at the largest possible scale. “We can’t wait to see how fans react to it!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88T6lek6I3E Miika Tams, vice-president of games at Rovio, said: “It has been a great experience to work so closely with Tag Games on the development of Angry Birds Action. “Together we have put the Angry Birds characters and story at the center of a truly 360-degree experience this summer, bringing the storyworld to life in a new way, both for our heavily engaged fanbase and newcomers alike. “Now the real work starts, however, as we focus now on live free-to-play operations and further development of the game. I know that Tag Games is a perfect partner to take that step with.” The Angry Birds games are the most downloaded apps of all time, with over 3 billion downloads across all mobile platforms since 2010. The animated film stars Sean Penn, Peter Dinklage and Kate McKinnon and will arrive at cinemas on Friday 13th May.
Dundee City Council is set to spend £100,000 this year investigating land which could have been contaminated by former petrol stations. In addition former quarries, industrial estates, infilled lands and sites close to where large fuel containers sit will all be periodically inspected over the coming 12 months. Community safety and public protection committee convener Alan Ross said it was important these tests are conducted periodically and will give confidence not just to construction firms looking to build on vacated land, but to residents living in the investigated areas too. The site of the former petrol station on Queen Street in Broughty Ferry is to be studied, with experts set to take soil samples from the land between where the garage used to be located and the railway line. Loftus petrol station was demolished in 2006 and and the site was converted into seven flats, planning permission for which was granted in 2005. It had existed in some form as a fuelling site on Queen Street for at least forty years prior to its demolition. Alongside the petrol station site, the former Downfield quarry is to undergo gas and groundwater inspection. Mr Ross said: "These works will be undertaken as a matter of national policy and are required by law to be carried out. "If we look at cases like the former petrol station site, these premises had underground pipes which were full of fuel so it is important for public protection regular investigations are done. "Bringing this work before the committee helps us keep up to date on the work being carried out to investigate possible contaminated land and allows us to keep tabs on how much it is costing. "There is no need for public concern regarding these investigations, they are regularly carried out." Last year, soil sampling conducted by contaminated land experts discovered there were no risks to public health at the former gravel pits in Happy Hillock and Rowantree Crescent. Similar investigations on the site of the former Ashton works in Hawkhill have certified it safe as an available public open space.
The Dundee minister of St Peters Free Church has called on two of the country's ecumenical branches to reunite after more than 170 years apart. Rev David Robertson, of the Free Church, has called for a reunion between the evangelical protestants and the "establishment" kirk, the Church of Scotland. Rev Robertson has said in today's climate of "increasing secularisation", Christianity can "ill afford" to maintain the divisions of the past centuries. In an article for the Free Church magazine The Record, Rev Roberson said: "In a time of increasing secularisation and the challenges of the confused and confusing contemporary world, we can ill afford the divisions of previous centuries. "Scotland doesn’t need the Church of Scotland, any more than it needs the Free Church. Scotland needs the Church of Jesus Christ, one that is faithful to him and his Word. But it would be wonderful if the Church of Scotland, with all its resources, were to be that church. "If that happened, I for one would be glad to return to the Kirk." Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance of the Church of Scotland said: "Today, all across Europe, in what is called the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE), we recognise each other as being limbs of the One Church on the basis of our common belief in the Gospel of justification. "There are plenty of differences among us, but in the light of our common confession of the Gospel, we recognise each other as all being members of the One Church. "On that basis, I’d reply to my friend and brother minister David Robertson that the Church of Scotland and the Free Church are already one. "The diversity of our confessional traditions should be seen as an enrichment not an impairment. "Signs of being one church are that we welcome each other to our pulpits and to the Lord’s Table. "And yes, he’s right, we should do more of that." The Free Church of Scotland is an evangelical and reformed Presbyterian denomination, and the largest Presbyterian denomination after the Church of Scotland. The Free Church was formed in 1843 when most of the evangelical ministers in the Church of Scotland resigned over what they called "state interference in its internal affairs".
Budding musicians who want the chance to make music with their biscuit tins will finally get the chance at a creative event next week. Cardboard keyboards and tin pot synthesizers will be the order of the day on Thursday, thanks to a collaboration between an unlikely mix of musicians, electronic engineers and games designers. The Festival of Improbable Instruments will be the latest cultural event organised by the team at Weave – a community creative project based at Abertay University. An all-day workshop at the Vision building will give would-be composers the opportunity to craft their instruments, under the watchful tutelage of composer and orchestra director Luci Holland and games and arts lecturers Yann Seznec and Niall Moody. All of the electronic components, wires and materials will be provided on the day, but attendees to the festival – which is free – will be required to bring their laptop computers. Following the construction day, a discussion and rag-tag musical performance will take place at Avery & Co restaurant on South Tay Street. Weave curator Clare Brennan, said: "We are super-excited for this month’s Platform event, which will have a big appeal for people interested in sound, music and digital art, and for anyone keen to try something new. "Weave is all about reaching out to the Dundee community to explore new ideas while encouraging collaboration and I can’t wait to see what our improbable orchestra come up with." Luci Holland is an Edinburgh-based film, game and television composer whose work includes the soundtrack for Japanes animated film The Chronicle of Skeleton and computer games Murderous Pursuits. The event is free to attend but is expected to be popular, so booking in advance is recommended. Information and tickets can be found on the Weave eventbrite website. The evening discussion and performance will run from 5 to 7pm and the workshop at the Vision building will kick-off at 10am and run until 3.30pm.
Music lovers heading to the largest music festival to be held in Dundee for more than a decade have been banned from bringing large bags on site. Near 12,000 visitors will visit Carnival 56 at Camperdown park at the weekend for a two-day music festival featuring music giants including Mark Ronson and The Charlatans. Attendees are being asked not to bring bags measuring more than 35 cm long, 40 cm wide and 19 cm high – ruling out many popular shoulder handbags. Popular English music festivals British Summer Time in Hyde Park and Common People festival in Southampton and Oxford adopt similar restrictions, as do major music venues including the Hydro and O2 arenas in Glasgow and London. Bottled water with a volume of 500 ml will be allowed to be brought on to the festival site, but only if it is sealed. Organisers also asked for people to avoid bringing rucksacks with multiple compartments, as it could lead to delays due to the requirement for further searches. The festival's event manager, Steve Reynolds, said the bag size restrictions were a common industry practice and would speed up security checks when the gates open Saturday. He said: "By keeping the bags to a reasonable size, it allows the security to search them properly while keeping the queues moving at the main entrance so everyone gets in quickly. "We have used this size at other events across the summer and although there’s a slight variance of a couple of centimetres on the dimensions, it is common practice. These include British Summer Time Hyde Park and the Common People festivals. "They are also similar to the sizes used at the Hydro, Wembley Arena and the O2 in London as well as other arenas and stadia. "It is the size of a day backpack so a reasonable size of rucksack for people to bring to a day show. This gives them ample room to fit in their jacket, plastic bottle of water – sealed and under 500ml – and a few items of their choice." Carnival 56 kicks off on Saturday August 12 and will feature international acts, as well as local bands including Fat Goth, The Kyle Falconer Band and The Mirror Trap. The two-day event will be the first music festival held in the city since the Radio One Big Weekend, which took place in Camperdown Park in May 2006.
Dundee's SNP administration are to propose a "modest" 2.5% rise in council tax at next Thursday's budget meeting. The administration's finance spokesperson, Bailie Willie Sawers, said more than 80% of the city's households will see a rise in council tax of less than 60p per week. The increase will contribute toward a £1.3 million investment fund in the city, which Bailie Sawers said would help prioritise "jobs, fairness, and young people". Residents living in council tax band A properties will see their council tax bill rise by £20.18 a year, while those living in band H properties will pay an extra £60.55, under the administration's proposals. Labour leader Councillor Kevin Keenan said the increase would not raise enough funds for services hit by "devastating" cuts as a result of the council tax freeze. The Labour group will propose an increase of 3% to council tax at next week's meeting. Councillor Keenan said: "We will review the position before next Thursday as soon as we are aware of the full amount of savings that make up the combined efforts of all the political parties in the hope to minimise further cuts in services. "After a 10 year council tax freeze, we would increase the council tax by 3% and use that additional income to reverse some of the devastating cuts that the SNP administration have administered to Dundee on behalf of the nationalist government over recent years." Lib Dem representative Councillor Fraser Macpherson said the proposals were unfair, in particular for residents living in the west end. He estimates 24% of properties in the ward are registered as council tax band E to H, which will be affected by the additional increase of 2.5% levied by the Scottish Government. He said: "The increased charges caused by the banding changes will be between £111 and £545 every year, depending on the band, and the way this has been done is quite unfair. I am particularly concerned about households living on a fixed income." Councillor Sawers said: "Our budget prioritises jobs, fairness, and young people. It is an important package of investment in the city’s future, and has no impact on front line services. "There is a £1.3 million package of investment funded by a modest 2.5% rise in council tax which, for more than 8 out of 10 households, will mean an increase of 60p per week. "I think people in households in Dundee have benefited hugely from the council tax freeze over the past ten years, by hundreds of pounds per household. "I am delighted to have been part of an administration that has worked in partnership with the Scottish Government. I think 2.5% is a modest rise, given the freeze for the past ten years."
A 31-year-old man, Robbie McIntosh appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court accused of attempting to murder a woman in a vicious woodland attack. McIntosh appeared in private from custody before Sheriff Simon Collins QC on Wednesday afternoon, accused of the attempted murder of Dundee woman Linda McDonald. Ms McDonald is currently in a serious condition in Ninewells hospital, where she is being treated for a head injury after apparently being struck repeatedly with a dumbbell. McIntosh, of Rowan Place, Bridgefoot, made no plea and no declaration to two charges levelled against him. He was remanded in custody and committed for further examination. McIntosh was charged with attempted murder in Templeton woods on Monday August 7. The attempted murder charge alleges McIntosh repeatedly struck Linda McDonald, 52, on the head and body with a dumbbell, rendering her unconscious before dragging her along a path – to her permanent impairment and disfigurement, to the danger of her life and did attempt to murder her. The second charge alleges McIntosh attempted to defeat the ends of justice – having allegedly committed the crime in charge one – by washing his clothes to conceal and destroy any evidence. McIntosh was remanded in custody and ordained to appear back before the court in Dundee within the next eight days. A heavy police presence was witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the alleged crime, both in Templeton woods, Clatto park and Bridgefoot. Officers continued to scour the area and maintained a cordon 24 hours after the incident is said to have occurred. Locals in the area reported seeing scores of police vans and cars lining the road toward Clatto reservoir, with dog walkers continuing to use the remaining open paths. Templeton woods has an infamous and uneasy history of murder, with the bodies of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe being discovered their in 1979 and 1980. Nobody has ever been convicted of killing the young women, but a cold case investigator and former police intelligence officer Chris Clark believes they may have been killed by World's End murderer Angus Sinclair.
Dundee has long been proud of its role as the place that inspired Mary Shelley's horror classic Frankenstein, but now it seems one local supermarket has concocted a monster of its own. These spooky pumpkins have lurched into the Morrisons store just off the Forfar Road. The squash are believed to have been put into moulds modelled on Boris Karloff's most famous iteration of Frankenstein's monster, allowing them to grow into the shape of the misunderstood creature just in time for Halloween. It's understood proceeds from sales of the peculiar fruit will go towards children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent. Mary Shelley was only 18 when she started writing Frankenstein and 20 when it was published. Literary expert Peggy Hughes and a team from Dundee University researched materials from her time spent in the city in an effort to pinpoint its role in the creation of a monster. In an article which appeared in The Courier earlier this year, Peggy said the young Mary crafted the fanciful notions that inhabited her young imagination while recuperating from illness into Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus. "The School of Humanities at the university has conducted research into Shelley’s formative years in the city," she said. "Brief they might have been but there can be little doubt that being displaced to an alien environment would have had an effect on what was clearly an exceptional teenage mind. "Mary began work on Frankenstein at the age of 18. It was unleashed on the world when it was published in London two years later and has been part of the culture ever since. "There was no name on the first edition, leading to speculation that Percy Shelley had a hand in the writing but when the second edition appeared in 1823, the name Mary Shelley was there."
The tenth annual Record Store Day event takes place on Saturday, with fans expected to queue for exclusive vinyls from as early as 4am. Hundreds of music lovers are expected to flock to their favourite record stores to pick up exclusive releases and rare vinyl albums. Assai Records in Broughty Ferry host Dundee band The View, who will be holding a signing session as part of their own ten-year anniversary of debut album Hats Off To The Buskers. Concorde Music in Perth is taking part for the fifth year and owner Gary Smith said it was not unusual for music lovers to start queuing outside his shop from 4am in anticipation. Record Store Day takes place in shops across the world, and there are strict rules imposed on retailers taking part. Artists record or re-release special edition vinyl recordings, and this year's haul sees re-issued singles from The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and a special picture disk of Fawlty Towers, among hundreds of others. Special Record Store Day vinyls cannot be sold before 8am on the day itself, and shop owners have to let organisers know what records they want in advance. Assai will be taking part in the event for the second time this year, and store manager Andy McLaren said it was always hard to tell which records will be most popular. Almost 100 people lined-up outside the Ferry store before the 8am start last year, with many coming from other parts of Scotland. Andy said: "We will open at 8am, as per Record Store Day rules, and we are hoping even more people will attend the event this year. "The View will be holding a signing event at 10.30am, where fans will have the chance to meet the band, and then another Dundee band – Carousel – will be launching their debut album with an in-store performance. "This year we have David Bowie releases, which I expect to be popular, as well as a 12-inch Pink Floyd single and a Smiths single. "It is always difficult to tell just what's going to sell the most, and that makes it very interesting." Gary Smith, of Perth shop Concorde Music, said people get excited enough to start queuing at 4am to get their hands on the most exclusive albums. "Between 20 and 30 people usually arrive in the first hour, and then the queue really starts to expand after around 5.30," he said. "This is the fifth year we have taken part in Record Store Day, and we have a full list of available albums and vinyls – and their quantities – on our website."
A charity which provides seafaring experiences for sick children and people with learning difficulties has launched a new boat named after a late Broughty Ferry artist. Taymara, a maritime organisation based at the historic North Carr lightship in the City Quay, operate river experiences for children suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses at Ninewells hospital. Their newest acquisition, a 7.5 metre Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), will be used to take groups of children and their families on to the river, to take their minds off the "traumatic" illness they are suffering. The boat has been named the Bushe Craft, after late artist and Taymara member Ken Bushe. Mr Bushe, who also ran the organisation's website, was a landscape painter who sadly passed away in early 2016. David Kitt, development officer at Taymara, said the Bushe Craft would be used as an educational tool for the ill youngsters, providing them with something to look forward to during an otherwise difficult time in their lives. He said: "We work with children with cancer and other serious illnesses, and take them out in the boat for about an hour at a time, to teach them various things about maritime life. "It is always a delight to be able to take the children out on these excursions on to the Tay. It takes them away, for a short time anyway, from the trauma they are experiencing. "We teach kids maritime skills, such as driving a boat, navigating at sea, history of the river and about the wildlife which lives in the water and on the land. "We also talk about the history of the Port of Dundee, and of course are always on the lookout for Tay dolphins." Taymara also work with the charity Options for Life, taking children and adults with learning difficulties on to the river for a similar maritime experience. In addition to this, they work as an educational organisation for offenders at Castle Huntly, as part of rehabilitation efforts. Taymara operate five other boats, which serve different purposes depending on what is required of them. David notes a recent survey from a similar project the group undertook in 2014, which showed a good majority of the children who had been taken out on a trip were still keen on talking about maritime activities six months later. David hopes children who are taken out on trips over the next year will be able to look back on their trip with fondness.