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Rocktalk

Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

Fife

“I’m a joker”: Fife school play-worker to pay compensation over bullying claims

September 21 2017

An outbreak of bad behaviour at a Fife Council after-school club was not caused by the children but by the senior play-worker. The bullying behaviour of James McKenzie towards a new female colleague landed him in the dock and he was also suspended from his job, Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard. The woman was a child care practitioner who started work in January and quickly became the target of McKenzie’s nasty sense of humour. When the police were called in McKenzie claimed: “I’m a joker.” He repeatedly made offensive remarks about the woman’s weight and kept asking if she was pregnant. McKenzie, 51, of Clunie Road, Dunfermline, admitted that between January 16 and 30 at St Margaret’s Primary, Woodmill Road, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner and in the course of his employment made inappropriate comments towards a woman also employed there. He admitted he made comments about her weight, threatened to fire her, squirted at her with a water pistol, shot foam darts at her and placed her in a state of fear and alarm. The woman complained when McKenzie shot a toy Nerf gun at her but he continued to fire it at her, hitting her on the neck and back. He also squirted a water-pistol at her trousers and said to her: “That’s something else you’ll get when you’re pregnant, a weak bladder.” On another occasion, McKenzie had grapes in his hand and commented: “That’s something else you’ll get when you’re pregnant, piles.” When the woman complained to her line manager, McKenzie was unhappy and threatened to sack her. When the victim eventually contacted the police, McKenzie told officers: “I’m a joker.” He apologised and said, “it had gone too far”. Sheriff Craig McSherry ordered McKenzie to pay the woman £500 compensation.

Dundee

Punk icons The Damned are coming to Dundee

July 3 2017

Punk legends The Damned are coming to Dundee next year. The English group will play the Caird Hall  on January 27, 2018 long with a number of special guests as part of the Evil Spirits tour. The band appeared at the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park on Saturday, July 1. The group are widely regarded as having been the first punk band to release a single, New Rose, in October 1976. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTfyUqVqX-0 The band's current line-up features Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Monty Oxymoron, Pinch and Stu West. Although The Damned has performed in Dundee on several occasions, it will be thier first date at The Caird Hall since 1980. Their first scheduled gig at the venue on The Sex Pistol's 1976 Anarchy tour was cancelled in the wake of The Pistol's notorious appearance on The Bill Grundy Show, which led to tabloid outrage. Tickets go on sale on Friday, July 7 from 10am at Dundee City Box Office.

Mike Donachie

This is not a Christmas article

November 6 2017

It may be about Christmas, and it has “Christmas” in the title, but The Nightmare Before Christmas is not a Christmas movie. In a revelation that pleases me – not least because it gives me the opportunity to have The Courier print the word “Christmas” four times in an article’s opening paragraph on the day after Bonfire Night – a leading figure in making the 1993 animated film has settled the issue: it’s a Halloween film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr6N_hZyBCk Henry Selick, who directed the Tim Burton-produced classic, was asked the question at a horror film festival and said the film is about the residents of Halloween Town and how they feel about Christmas. It’s creepy, not jingly. I agree, because I love that film and it doesn’t feel right watching it in December, even if it has Santa and presents. Also, this supports my argument about so-called Christmas films. Brace yourselves. This is controversial. Die Hard is not a Christmas film. Hear me out. I know it’s set at Christmas and it has Christmas music in it. I know it starts with John McClane trying to meet his wife Holly – yes, Holly – at a Christmas party. But that’s it; after that, it’s an action film. The seasonal setting is incidental. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TQ-pOvI6Xo Such is my contention. To qualify, a film must be festive, not just set at Christmas. So, It’s A Wonderful Life meets the standard because, despite its grim theme of attempted self-obliviation, it has that feelgood ending. Elf is a Christmas film because it’s about Christmas spirit. See also Miracle on 34th Street, the Polar Express, and so on. Love Actually isn’t Christmassy, actually, despite that heartbreaking scene with Emma Thompson’s gift, because it’s chiefly a romcom. Or Gremlins. The monsters come from a Christmas gift and even get tangled in a Christmas tree but I submit that the tinsel is irrelevant. Gremlins is a monster movie. Otherwise, you might as well suggest Alien is an Easter movie because it has an egg in it. If you wish to continue this debate, please write in. I can argue this all the way to the New Year.

Motoring news

New Audi range is electrifying

June 7 2017

Audi has been relentless in its expansion over the past decade, scattering new models like confetti. It shows no sign of slowing down as we head towards the end of the decade. If anything, in fact, the company is increasing the pace of its model range expansion. The most recent news is the announcement of two new “Q” models – which will bring its SUV range to five – and three all-electric e-tron models. The German car maker intends that at least 30 per cent of its sales will be of electric or part-electric models by 2025, and aims to have the technology available for driverless city cars within four years. The plans were outlined to Audi shareholders during the brand’s AGM in Neckarsulm, Germany. Chairman Rupert Stadler said: “We are rejuvenating our model portfolio enormously and will renew five existing core model series by mid-2018. “In addition, we will expand our successful Q family by 2019 with two new concepts – the Audi Q8 and the Audi Q4 – and we will launch our battery-electric e-tron models.” The Q4 and Q8 will have coupe-like rooflines similar to BMW’s X4 and X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe and GLE Coupe. Three new electric Audis will appear by 2020, and the brand will then introduce electric versions across its core model ranges. Audi is also taking over the development of autonomous car technology across the Volkswagen Group and the first examples of driverless cars will be launched early in the next decade. Meanwhile the new ‘myAudi’ programme will establish a digital platform for online services across the range. The latter half of 2017 will see Audi update its luxury flagship models. A new A8 will be unveiled later this month and will be followed by a new A7. Audi haven’t confirmed yet but it seems likely we will soon see replacements for other older models in the range such as the A1, A6 and Q3. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Business news

Prestigious BP oil contract for Dundee project management training company

June 7 2017

Dundee-headquartered training provider 20/20 Business Insight has won a prestigious contract with one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. The Broughty Ferry-based company, which also has offices in Aberdeen, London and the USA, has been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. Ironically, the prestigious account has been won after 20/20 stepped away from its previous focus almost entirely on the oil and gas sector – adding BP to a diverse client portfolio that now includes Wood Group, Centrica, Balfour Beatty, British Aerospace, Hinckley Point, Network Rail, Diageo and Wm Grant. Chief executive officer Tony Marks, who said the new status came off the back of recent big contract wins within the nuclear power industry, added: “20|20 are delighted to have been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. “It’s a great team performance in demonstrating our international capability and upstream oil industry experience to win this prestigious account.” 20|20 Business Insight, which employs 26 staff and had revenues of £2.84 million last year, is a full service, project management, business and leadership training and consulting company who deliver training courses and consulting services throughout the world. It is the largest independent provider of project management training courses in the UK. The consulting team work with companies to analyse competence baselines and deliver maturity assessments, design bespoke and accredited training programmes, create handbooks and manuals, implement project management procedures and protocols and then measure and report effectiveness. Mr Marks said that crucially, they had the ability to deliver internationally-accredited training and consulting anywhere in the world, primarily in oil and gas, engineering and construction, utilities, nuclear, food and drink However, despite an international outlook, they remained proud to be rooted in Dundee. “We are big fans of Dundee and supporters of the Tay Cities Deal to bring jobs, including de-commissioning, to Dundee,” he added. “When we started in 2003, we were almost exclusively in the oil and gas sector before diversifying into other sectors. We were lucky because two years ago the oil and gas sector started to decline, and accounts for around 10% of the work we do now.” Mr Marks has been involved in business for 27 years and has seen four or five cycles based on the oil barrel price changing. During that period, the level of business has come back smaller each time. “So it’s quite interesting we are back in the oil and gas sector now,” he added. He said the BP deal had been going on behind the scenes for nine months and “should mean quite a jump in business for us.” He added: “It’s not a guarantee of any level of work. But the revenue should be significant and comes off the back of other big contract wins.”

UK & World

Are Oasis reforming for Manchester tribute gig?

June 1 2017

Rumours are circulating that Britpop legends Oasis are re-forming for a benefit gig in their home city of Manchester this weekend. The speculation was kick-started by a member of The Black Eyed Peas, who tagged the group in a post about Ariana Grande's One Love Manchester show on Sunday. The concert was organised in the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack last week, which left 22 dead and a further 64 injured. Free tickets have been offered for Grande fans who attended the concert which was targeted by an alleged suicide bomber. Katy Perry, Take That, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus and Usher will all play alongside the US pop star at the concert. Taboo Nawasha, a member of the Black Eyed Peas, tweeted about the gig; tagging all the musicians and bands that will play at the Old Trafford Cricket Grounds. Oasis were included in the original tweet, which was quickly deleted. https://twitter.com/TabBep/status/869907050691608579 https://twitter.com/TabBep/status/869906670436007937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fmetro.co.uk%2F2017%2F05%2F31%2Fwhen-and-how-to-watch-ariana-grandes-one-love-manchester-concert-6675547%2F https://twitter.com/TabBep/status/869907050691608579 Nawasha then posted that he had made a mistake and put the mention of the rock group down to "human error". Classic Oasis single Don't Look Back in Anger rose up the charts last week after the people of Manchester adopted it in the wake of the terror attack. Oasis are among Manchester’s most famous and cherished musical exports, though the band split up in 2009. They are one of the most symbolic groups of the 1990s and the Britpop era. The band was fronted by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, who have been at loggerheads since the split. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/uk-world/434338/video-beautiful-moment-people-manchester-turn-silent-tribute-oasis-dont-look-back-anger-articleisfree/ However commenting on the rumours on Radio 1, Liam said though he is "up for it" - it wouldn't be possible due to his solo commitments in Germany this weekend.  

Motoring news

Jaguar launches baby E-Pace SUV

July 19 2017

Hot on the heels of the remarkable F-Pace, Jaguar has launched its second SUV. The E-Pace is a smaller five-seater designed to take on the Audi Q3 and Q5, BMW X3, Volvo’s upcoming XC60, and its own stablemate the Range Rover Evoque. Jaguar held the most literal car launch I’ve ever witness, hiring stunt driver Terry Jones to put the car through a barrel roll at an event in London – and bagging a Guinness world record in the process. Not many owners are likely to require their E-Pace to be capable of such displays of aerial tomfoolery but it’s very impressive nonetheless. Of more practical value is the knowledge the car should, Jaguar hopes, be on sale before the end of this year with a starting price tag of £28,500. All but entry level models will come with four-wheel drive as standard and there’s a wealth of technology and driver features to tempt people away from their German marques and into buying British. Jaguar is positioning the E-Pace as a much more sports-orientated model than its larger sister with drivers able to set up their own personalised throttle, steering and transmission settings. The engine line-up will include a 300PS petrol unit producing a 0-60mph time of under six seconds. Five powertrains will be offered in the E-Pace, across three petrol and two diesel engines. All are Ingenium units built at Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in the West Midlands – the E-Pace will be the first Jaguar with a totally Ingenium engine line-up. The E-Pace itself, however, will be built not in Britain but in Austria. Such is the wave of popularity Jaguar Land Rover is riding now that its British manufacturing facilities are operating at close to full capacity. Its exterior design is bolder than that of the F-Pace and said to be evolved directly from the F-Type sports car. Jaguar is also promising the very latest connectivity for E-Pace owners. The car’s 4G wi-fi hotspot will provide content streaming through up to eight devices simultaneously, while a Touch Pro infotainment system will allow occupants to access their favourite smart device apps through the car. The E-Pace is built on the same platform as the Range Rover Evoque and so is a similar size. It’s 4,395mm long and 1,984mm wide, slightly larger than the 4,370mm x 1,900mm Evoque. Jaguar says it will seat five in comfort, with generous rear legroom. The E-Pace has exceptional boot space compared with the Evoque: 577 litres with the rear seats up, compared with just 420 litres for the Range Rover. Despite its name, there isn’t an electric model in the E-Pace line up. That honour is reserved for the I-Pace, which is due to go on sale next year, and looks so impressive it ought to have Tesla trembling.

Business comment

Local priorities must not be lost

June 14 2017

Concerns, I have a few. After what Malcolm Tucker could only describe as an omnishambles of an election, Theresa May and her acolytes are trying their damndest to cling on to power. But whether that is in the country’s best interests or their own is very much a subject for debate. From a business perspective, the political machinations at Westminster are much more than a distracting sideshow. Make no mistake, instability at the highest levels of government and uncertainty about our future economic path will be the dominant subject in boardrooms up and down the country right now. And when that’s the case, a period of lower investment, slower growth, fewer new jobs and economic morass often follows. Only time will tell if that is the case here, but with the Brexit negotiations so close at hand it is hard to imagine our large corporates being happy to dispense with their largesse right now. If I were them, I too would be looking at the rainy days ahead and putting aside some pennies, especially when the UK’s negotiating strategy is so ill-defined and our hand so weak. The Brexit vote left the UK economically isolated and I accept that Theresa May has had to play the cards as they were dealt. But by calling a disastrous election, she let her guard down and handed the other high stakes poker players round the EU negotiating table an unintended advantage at a crucial moment. It was a spectacular own goal and one I fear the UK may rue long after Theresa May, David Davis and Michael Gove are consigned to being names in modern studies textbooks. Away from the Brexit negotiations, there are other domestic priorities I hope don’t get lost in this political whirlwind. The key one for this part of the world is the Tay Cities Deal, the UK and Scottish Government-backed investment package that is so vital to the long-term prosperity of Dundee, Perth, Angus and north-east Fife. City deals are already providing investment and jobs in other areas of Scotland but until the ink is dry on the Tay Cities package then none of us should rest easy. The economic health of this region depends on it. ghuband@thecourier.co.uk

Motoring news

Skoda Karoq to cost from £20,975

September 27 2017

Skoda’s new Karoq will cost from £20,875 when it goes on sale next week. Order books for the Yeti replacement open on October 3. The Karoq will be available in three different trim levels the SE, SE L and Edition, offering different levels of comfort and equipment. Prices start at £20,875 for the base level SE model rising up to £31,435 for top spec Edition models. SE versions feature 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, LED rear lights, dual-zone climate control, a pedestrian monitoring safety system, and driver fatigue sensor as standard. SE L models cost from £23,165 and adds in 18-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen display, keyless entry and stop/start. Full LED headlights are also thrown in as are heated front seats and Alcantara upholstery. Edition models top the range and start at £27,110. These come with 19-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, metallic paint and leather upholstery as standard. At launch the Karoq will be available with four engine options – two petrol units with outputs of 115 and 150hp, and two diesels that have identical power outputs of 115PS and 150PS. All four are available with a seven-speed DSG transmission as an option, while the two litre diesel can be had with four-wheel drive. Meanwhile, Volvo is launching a scheme that aims to make car ownership as simple as owning a mobile phone. Under Care by Volvo buyers will pay a fixed monthly fee and get a new car every two years. The fee will cover not only the car itself but traditional extras such as insurance, taxes and servicing. Volvo says it also won’t matter where you live or how old you are. And the price will be non-negotiable – research shows haggling is a part of the buying process customers find most off putting. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

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