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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Angus & The Mearns

Plan B for Bon Scott memorial for Kirriemuir

June 13 2013

Efforts to build a memorial to a hard-rocking Angus icon have not been derailed, according to organisers. The campaign to fund a statue of former Kirriemuir resident and AC/DC singer Bon Scott stumbled at a late stage despite having technically raised enough. DD8 Music has now arranged an alternative fundraising method to allow fans to drive the idea forward. Organiser Graham Galloway said plan B is already in earnest to raise the statue’s £38,000 price tag after the online Kickstarter failed to raise £50,000. “We have opened a PayPal account where people can donate directly to the statue and have already raised £5,879,” he said. “The fact the main costs of the statue were covered in only 30 days (of the Kickstarter), means we know we can definitely do it.” The group have commissioned sculptor John McKenna to create the piece, which will see Bon Scott stand proud in the town with a microphone and bagpipes. Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott sang for AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980 aged 33. Kirrie now hosts Bon Fest in his honour, drawing thousands of visitors every year. John McKenna’s previous works include the Jock Stein memorial outside Celtic Park. Kickstarter opened to UK initiatives this year and the “crowdfunding” site allows members to speculatively donate to creative causes. Tiers of donation often relate to increasing rewards as a project reaches its target. The initial £50,000 target included card transaction processing fees and the fee Kickstarter charges to host the effort. Now, fundraising will go directly through PayPal. Mr Galloway added: “We need £38,000 for the statue and will calculate the costs of the rewards as pledges come in and will update the costs and the running total every day. “As soon as we hit £13,000, our artist John McKenna will start work on the statue. He will then be paid in two other equal instalments as the rest of the money comes in.” Mr McKenna said the commission is a “great honour” as Bon Scott was an icon from his teenage years. “I’m of that age group now that you could call old rockers,” he said. “The work I do is public artwork in the truest sense. It’s not an indulgence on my part but is there for the people to enjoy. “I was obviously an AC/DC fan when I was younger and it will be a great thing for me to do.” Scott became part of one of music’s biggest success stories after joining Glasgow-born brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in AC/DC. BonFest has been organised by DD8 Music every year since 2006.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Angus & The Mearns

VIDEO: BonFest brings rockers back to Kirriemuir

May 7 2012

Rockers from across the globe descended on Kirriemuir at the weekend to celebrate a local legend. Fans came in their hundreds to the annual BonFest, marking the life of former AC/DC frontman Bon Scott. A sell-out Saturday night saw continental outfit Bon The AC/DC Show play to a packed Town Hall, supported by The Ruckus and Saz. The festival kicked off on Friday night and the travelling groupies were not disappointed with an array of musical talent filling the weekend. Saturday daytime performances came at pubs, with Just Katie, Phillip and Jack, Sam and Sammy, That Girl Gail, Bobby Stickah and The Rag and Bone Man playing the Ogilvy, while Tonight Matthew, Saz, Around 7, We Are The Support Act, The Blind Faiths and Emerald Sunday lined up at the Cairnie Inn. Organised by Graham Galloway, the event also boasted a Bon Scott exhibition at the Gateway to the Glens Museum.

Angus & The Mearns

Let there be rock for Bon Scott statue

August 30 2013

Some would move Heaven and Earth in order to pay tribute to their favourite musical group. However, a group of Angus volunteers have proved they are willing to move rock itself to participate in a world first. The annual Bon Fest, which sees thousands of people gather in Kirriemuir to renew their allegiance to tragic rocker Bon Scott, has been rescheduled to take advantage of a literally monumental moment. Next year they plan to unveil his homeland’s first statue dedicated to the AC/DC rocker, who died in 1980 at the age of 33 from alcohol poisoning. The festival is moving to August 15-17 and there are plans to bring camping to the event to address a lack of accommodation in the town. Organiser Graham Galloway, of DD8Music, said the May festival will move to August in order to boost worldwide interest. Mr Galloway told The Courier: “Hopefully, the statue, right, will be ready and we expect considerably larger numbers if that is the case. “We’re almost certain the statue will be a huge draw to the town all year round and the unveiling will be the big event. “We’re also planning for camping next year as well and you’re better off camping in the summer,” he joked. “The Kirrie show field is where we’re considering doing that, which we’re doing a poll on. We don’t run this as a money-making exercise it’s purely to keep the fans happy. “We see new fans and new countries every year, virtually every country in Europe and Australia, America and Canada coming over. “It’s possibly people are coming over from Brazil next year as there’s a passionate following for the band. They’re into their rock, there.” While a working design for Scott’s statue has been established by well-known sculptor John McKenna, fans will have to wait until next August to see the finished article. “We’re changing little bits about it as time goes on but the basic idea is there,” he added. Scott sang on AC/DC’s first six studio albums, including High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock and Highway to Hell. The effort to raise money towards the statue is at more than £17,000, which is less than the amount raised by a Kickstarter fund previously. The fund failed as a £50,000 target was not hit within a month, causing the online effort to fail due to Kickstarter’s own rules. The target also included fees paid to the website, which no longer apply. Meanwhile, DD8 Music are planning another fundraiser for the Bon Scott statue on October 5. The Scottish AC/DC tribute band Volts will headline a gig at the Town Hall, with all proceeds going towards the statue fund. Visit Facebook to contribute ideas to the festival organisers.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Angus & The Mearns

AC/DC salute Bon Scott statue campaign

May 15 2013

Rock giants AC/DC have backed the Angus bid to create a statue in honour of the band’s Angus-born former frontman. In a “fantastic” boost for Kirriemuir’s DD8 Music community group, the legendary outfit’s official website had highlighted the online campaign to raise £50,000 in just a month for the creation of permanent town memorial to baker’s boy Bon Scott. Just 10 days after its official launch at Kirrie’s annual BonFest celebration of the band and its famous Angus son, a kickstarter funding drive has generated almost £12,500 in pledges. The kickstarter internet scheme has been used to fund art, design, and technology projects and with a worldwide fan base which has helped AC/DC rack up a phenomenal 200 million global album sales, DD8 music are hopeful rockers in every corner of the globe will back the Bon bid. “AC/DC don’t just put anything up on their website so to have a link up on their page to the Bon Scott statue campaign is just huge,” said Graham Galloway of the group’s presence on the www.acdc.com website. “The reaction since we launched the statue campaign at BonFest has been amazing and it’s a large amount of money we’re trying to gather in a pretty short time, but AC/DC has such a huge fan base that if we can get the message out to as many people we could reach the target with small donations from a lot of people,” Graham added. Italian act Boun Scotch recreated the AC/DC hit Long Way To The Top for a video shot around the streets of the Angus town during this year’s BonFest and Graham said that clip seemed to have been viewed “everywhere except for Greenland and Mongolia.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/lZwjuT0H1R0?list=PLC2F04DAAC3FF6A18 DD8 Music and Bon Scott statue campaign pages on social media sites including Facebook have also been flooded with comments from AC/DC fans worldwide. Scots sculptor John McKenna has been commissioned to create the artwork, and although the final design of the statue has been chosen the aim is to keep it secret until the official unveiling hopefully at BonFest 2014. Scott, who died in London in 1980, aged just 33, is already honoured in a Kirrie street name and with an engraved stone slab in the town’s Cumberland Close alongside those of other famous Kirriemarians.

Business news

161 jobs lost as Galloway Group calls in administrators

August 2 2016

A Dundee specialist engineering group has collapsed with the immediate loss of more than 160 jobs. Shocked Galloway Group workers were informed of their fate after being summoned to a mass meeting at the end of their shifts on Monday. The group’s demise was blamed on the weak construction market and the downturn in the oil sector. The firm’s board met on Thursday and the decision to call in administrators was taken at that time. Andrew Davidson and Hunter Kelly of insolvency practitioner EY’s restructuring team have been appointed as joint administrators of the business. They confirmed 161 workers had been made redundant with immediate effect. A total of 33 employees will be retained whilst the business is wound down and efforts are made to sell off the DuctMate subsidiary and group assets. “In recent years the companies have been loss making as a result of weak demand in their traditional construction market,” Mr Davidson said. “The fall in the oil price and subsequent pressure on the oil and gas sector has also impacted the company. “The directors have undertaken a number of initiatives to try and counter these setbacks but unfortunately the pressures of the losses generated by these issues became too great and the directors were left with no option but to place the companies into administration. “The redundancies which we have had to make are clearly regrettable. “We are doing all that we can to assist these members of staff to make their relevant claims and are providing them with access to impartial advice to help them face the future.” Workers were given a matter of minutes to collect their belongings before the premises at Wester Gourdie Industrial Estate were secured for the night. In a statement, Galloway Group – which can trace its history back more than 140 years – said: “Efforts to raise finance are significantly impaired because of the high debt burden on the business from both previous borrowings and the final salary pension scheme. “The board would wish to acknowledge the support of many parties, both in the private and public sector, all of whom have Galloway and its employees’ interests at heart. “We would especially wish to acknowledge the commitment, skill and hard work of the employees, many of whom have been with the business for a long time. "This is a very sad day for a long-established Dundee company and our thoughts and best wishes are with the employees and creditors of the business.”   Workers deserve support The demise of Galloway Group is both shocking for the local economy and heartbreaking for those affected, writes Graham Huband. This is no fly-by-night company that we are talking about here – Galloway Group is a genuine part of Dundee’s industrial heritage. The origins of the company can be traced back to a tinsmith operation in 1872. In the almost 150 years since has weathered many economic storms and provided secure employment to generations of city dwellers. Galloway is also notable for its commitment to youth, having provided opportunities to hundreds of young apprentices, many of whom went on to serve a lifetime on the shop floor. That Galloway has reached the end of the road – in its current guise at least – is hugely regrettable and its passing is a scar on the local economy. But as painful as the loss of the Galloway name is, my thoughts are with the workers right now. There are mouths to feed and mortgages to pay and the sudden loss of income puts all of that at risk. Galloway’s loyal staff must be the priority in the coming days. They must be given every assistance to get back on their feet.

Angus & The Mearns

Excitement grows as final Bonfest tickets released

March 17 2015

The final set of Friday tickets has just been released for this year’s Bonfest on the weekend of May 1 in Kirriemuir. The festival to commemorate AC/DC frontman Bon Scott has sold out for the past four years, with Saturday tickets selling out in record time this year. DD8 Music spokesman Graham Galloway said: “These final Friday tickets are likely to sell out very quickly, so we would encourage people to get them quick to avoid disappointment.” Briefs are available from the Kirriemuir Art Gallery, Sharp Music in Forfar and Grouchos in Dundee. This year’s festival sees Orkney band Rocker return to headline the Friday night with a “very Scottish take” on some AC/DC classics. They are supported by Sonnet 65 and Snappin’ Turtles, from Dundee. Members of Rocker will help re-create the video for Long Way to the Top on the back of a vintage lorry. Mr Galloway said: “The dedication of the AC/DC fans really is incredible. “At last year’s Bonfest we had people from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, all over Europe and even Russia.” Saturday night’s headliners are AC/DC UK. They are supported by the Amorettes and local band Emerald Sunday.


George Galloway wants Rangers to be pursued for £14m in tax

January 29 2013

Dundee-born MP George Galloway wants the Government to tackle Rangers for £14 million in tax withheld by the Ibrox club before it went into administration. The Respect politician has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons aimed at stopping Rangers from “sidestepping their liabilities”. His move has been supported so far by only three MPs, including Dundee West Labour member Jim McGovern. It may struggle to gain enough support to be formally debated in Westminster but it has attracted a range of comments from fans on the internet. As member of parliament for Bradford West, Mr Galloway is toasting the triumph of Bradford City in reaching the final of the Capital One Cup at Wembley. The former Harris Academy pupil, who began his political career as secretary-organiser of the Labour Party in Dundee, has been irked by Rangers going into liquidation with massive debts but re-emerging as a newco. Although now playing in the Scottish third division, they have held on to their Ibrox home and are challenging any moves to strip them of the trophies and titles they have collected since their formation in 1873. Mr Galloway’s early day motion states that the House notes that the owners of the club now playing in the Scottish Third Division called Rangers claim that it is the same club with the same history as the liquidated club also known as Rangers. It further notes that £14 million in VAT and PAYE was withheld in the run-up to administration by the previous Rangers, and further notes that the club is now cash-rich through a share issue which raised in excess of £20 million. It calls on MPs to condemn “the use of insolvency laws to avoid paying tax owed”. It also calls on the Government “to take steps to reclaim the outstanding monies from Rangers and to bring forward legislative proposals to prevent clubs and companies sidestepping their liabilities through liquidation and then carrying on trading with effectively the same name and in exactly the same business”. Rangers yesterday declined to comment on the move by Mr Galloway, which the MP’s office admitted he had raised “to air an opinion and seek interest and support inside parliament and beyond”. There is sympathy in Dundee for the MP’s motion, with one fan on the Dundee United Mad website posting: “Never let them forget, sock it to them George.” Reaction to Mr Galloway on Rangers fans’ sites was hostile, with supporters accusing him of hatred for the Ibrox club. Last night, Jim McGovern came to his fellow Dundonian’s defence, saying: “What happened to Rangers is something that should concern all Scottish football fans, including Rangers fans. There are other issues at stake as well. “Rangers Football Club is a company like any other, and it has become an increasingly worrying trend that some companies have been able to use insolvency laws to avoid paying their taxes and repaying debts to small suppliers after the company is reformed. “This is an issue that goes beyond football and must be addressed. I believe this is the point the early day motion was trying to make.” Chris Allan, an expert in insolvency law with Dundee legal firm Thorntons, said: “This motion is asking for a fairly fundamental rewriting of insolvency law and I would think it unlikely to succeed.” aargo@thecourier.co.uk