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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...

UK & World

‘He was subjected to dreadful indignities’ — dad-of-two made to eat his own testicle

May 3 2017

A vulnerable father-of-two was tortured and murdered, including being forced to eat one of his own testicles, by a gang of four people he thought were his friends, a court has heard. Jimmy Prout, 45, was subjected to months of "Dark Ages" abuse by the group before they dumped his body on wasteland, a jury was told. Ann Corbett, 26, Zahid Zaman, 43, Myra Wood, 50, and Kay Rayworth, 56, deny murdering him and causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult. They have all pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. The jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard the group of five had a strange relationship which had developed an almost "cultish dimension". It is alleged a series of events in late 2015 created tensions which led to a number of serious assaults against Mr Prout, which included him having his teeth knocked out with a hammer and chisel. Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, said: "In effect, over a period of time, Jimmy Prout was not just mistreated, he was tortured. "The prosecution case is that the four defendants took part in that violence against Jimmy Prout, either inflicting injuries directly or assisting or encouraging the other members of the group to do so. "In the end, this conduct was to cause the death of Jimmy Prout." He added: "Awfully, on one occasion, Jimmy Prout's scrotum was sliced open and his testicle was removed; he was then forced to eat it." Mr Greaney said the evidence suggested Mr Prout died on February 9 2016, and his body was dumped on wasteland 100 metres from his home where it began to decompose and was partly eaten by animals. The group then allegedly set about covering their tracks as well as fleecing his bank account, asking people if they had seen Mr Prout as they pretended to look for him. Eventually on March 25, the police received a call from Zaman in which he claimed Corbett had attacked him and killed Mr Prout, in an attempt to "throw her to the wolves". On attending 35 St Stephen's Way, North Tyneside, officers found Zaman, Rayworth and Wood, who claimed to have letters written by Corbett confessing to the murder. Mr Greaney told jurors it was "pure theatre" and invention because they all knew Mr Prout had been dead for more than six weeks. The court heard Mr Prout was the sixth of eight children and lived a simple life, fathering two children, and was liked by the people who knew him. He started to live as a tenant at 75 St Stephen's Way, which was owned by Rayworth, and he soon became integrated into the group. Zaman and Rayworth lived at number 35, having at one stage been partners, but Zaman had since become involved with Wood, who along with Corbett also lived at number 75. Tensions arose when Zaman believed Mr Prout had played some part in a theft committed by Corbett's brother Ivan. "He was not able to get Ivan Corbett, who had moved away, and so Jimmy Prout became an easy target," said Mr Greaney. Zaman, who uses a wheelchair, was described as vengeful and controlling and was determined to get his own back. Mr Greaney said: "The group considered that Jimmy Prout deserved punishment and the punishment he received was brutal in nature. "He was repeatedly assaulted and subjected to dreadful indignities. "In fact, we do not understand the defendants to deny that this is so. They accept that Jimmy Prout was assaulted, but each of them wishes to reduce his or her own involvement in events, seeking to blame one or more of the others. "In truth they were in it together."

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

UK & World

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.

Scotland

Two Ronnies legend Ronnie Corbett dies at 85

March 31 2016

Ronnie Corbett one half of the legendary Two Ronnies double act has died. The Scot, who was born in Edinburgh, died today surrounded by his family, his publicist has said. He was 85. He was one of the UK's most loved comedians for decades, but will always be remembered most for his on-screen antics with Ronnie Barker at the height of light entertainment on UK TV. A statement from his publicist said: "Ronnie Corbett CBE, one of the nation's best-loved entertainers, passed away this morning, surrounded by his loving family. "They have asked that their privacy is respected at this very sad time." https://www.youtube.com/embed/oaGpaj2nHIo?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0 His sidekick Barker died in 2005. Born Ronald Balfour Corbett in Edinburgh, he and Ronnie Barker rose to fame in the popular BBC comedy sketch show The Two Ronnies. https://www.youtube.com/embed/y0C59pI_ypQ Corbett also had a starring role in David Frost's The Frost Report. https://www.youtube.com/embed/K2k1iRD2f-c The Two Ronnies is still hailed as one of the most popular TV programmes of thelate 20th century. Corbett recently appeared on the BBC Radio 4 show When The Dog Dies, which saw him reunited with the writers of his hit sitcom Sorry! Corbett began his acting career at the age of 15, when he starred in apantomime at his local church youth club. The versatile comedian also hosted the BBC One game show Small Talk for two years from 1994-96. Corbett and his wife, Anne Hart, celebrated their golden wedding anniversarylast year. The much-loved actor was awarded a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours for his services to charity and the entertainment industry. His wife later revealed that, during a celebration to mark the achievement, he had collapsed in a restaurant and was rushed to hospital. The Two Ronnies' partnership dated back to a fortuitous meeting with David Frost, who invited Corbett to appear in The Frost Report. Following his success alongside Frost, Barker and John Cleese in The Frost Report, Corbett went on to enjoy a string of other TV successes including Corbett's Follies and No, That's Me Over Here.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Scotland

Ronnie Corbett was being considered for knighthood

April 1 2016

Ronnie Corbett died as officials were considering honouring him with a knighthood, according to reports. It is understood a panel that bestows the titles had received letters from famous names in support of his nomination, that would have seen the actor and comedian become Sir Ronnie in the Queen's 90th Birthday Honours, if approved. Corbett died on Thursday aged 85, having been one of Britain's most popular entertainers for decades. According to the Daily Telegraph a low-key campaign led by comedian David Walliams to include Corbett on the Queen's Birthday Honours list was launched amid concerns over his deteriorating health. Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes, who sits on the arts and media honours committee, told the newspaper he thought "he [Corbett] should have been awarded a knighthood," although he refused to discuss the workings of the panel. Writing in the Daily Mail, a friend of the entertainer, Michael Thornton, said he contacted the Cabinet Office to propose a knighthood "several months ago". He said there was a "virtual stampede on the part of celebrated figures" when it came to gathering letters in support of the nomination. At the time Corbett was "fighting to survive" after being diagnosed with suspected amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease, Mr Thornton said. The entertainer's first honour came in 1978, when he was awarded the OBE alongside comedy partner Ronnie Barker, the pair household favourites at the time for their sketch show, The Two Ronnies. In 2011 Corbett said he did not imagine he would receive a knighthood, adding that Barker, who died in 2005, should have been made Sir Ronnie. Corbett was made CBE in 2012, although the knighthood some felt he also deserved eluded him. Speaking in 2015, Sir Bruce Forsyth questioned why figures from the world of comedy "seem to be left out". In a tribute to the diminutive comedian in The Sun on Friday the former Strictly Come Dancing host said: "A great big hole has been left in show business."

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

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.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

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