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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...

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

Passchendaele heroes added to Dundee war roll

August 10 2017

Three members of a Dundee family who survived the Battle of Passchendaele have been added to the city’s roll of honour. The Great War Dundee Project is the story of the 30,490 men that left the city to fight in the first world war and of the people left at home. Dundee gave 63% of its eligible men to the armed forces and the directory was updated following Saturday’s Courier article about the role the city’s Johnston brothers played in the war. Of the five Johnston brothers, Frank, Walter, David and Peachy were artillerymen, and the fifth, John, was an army doctor. Frank and Walter’s entries have now been updated while David, Peachy and John have now had entries created in the returnee section of the honour roll. Gary Thomson from the Great War Dundee Project said: “Following Saturday’s Courier article on the five Johnston brothers who served in the war, with both Frank and Walter paying the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that Frank, for reasons unknown is not recognised as a casualty of war, the Great War Dundee Project has updated the entries for both Frank and Walter on the new roll of honour. “Dundee paid a high price for her war efforts. By the armistice, over 4,000 men had made the ultimate sacrifice. “Their names are recorded in the city’s original roll of honour, a simple alphabetical list of names, ranks and regiments. “Over the years mistakes and omissions have been discovered by families viewing the list resulting in handwritten corrections to the record.” Mr Thomson said one of Great War Dundee’s main objectives is to produce an “inclusive, fully searchable online roll of Dundonians who contributed to the war effort” and in doing so honour the men and women who lost their lives and those who survived. He added: “Due to the fact that Frank was not recognised as a casualty his entry on the original Dundee Roll of Honour was very sparse with only his name and regiment listed. “Saturday’s article allowed us to contact Frank’s relative who provided us with a fantastic amount on information about Frank and Walter which have been added to their entry. “Not only that but the three brothers who survived, David, John and Peachy have now have entries created, in the returnee section of the honour roll. “It is thanks to people like Douglas that these entries now have added information and photos.” Frank is believed to have been wounded in Flanders in 1917 and he endured a prolonged and difficult death in November 1919 in a private nursing home in Dundee as a result of his injuries. The family have been unable to provide sufficient independent corroboration that he died directly of his war wounds as his army records have not survived. Frank’s great nephew Douglas Norrie from near Arbroath is trying to find documentary evidence to correct this. David and Frank were both with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and their batteries of large long range howitzers were deployed at Corps level and primarily used to attack specific enemy targets, particularly enemy artillery. Walter and Peachy served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) with their respective brigades being attached to infantry divisions and their smaller, highly portable field guns being used in support of infantry. The fifth of the brothers, Captain (Dr) John McPherson Johnston was a doctor and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was awarded the Silver War Badge after being discharged with TB.

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

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

Readers' letters

June 17: Correct to recall 51st’s sacrifice at St Valery

June 17 2010

Today: memories of St Valery, grass-cutting in Fife, the importance of experience, freedom of expression, and more on faith and religion. Correct to recall 51st's sacrifice at St Valery Sir,-Thank you for the article about St Valery (June 14). Television barely gave these men a mention. Maybe the Scottish Government could do more to remember them, too. Like today in Afhganistan, most of these men were only 19 years old. My father had his 20th birthday whilst escaping from St Valery.Margaret Borland.57 Rodd Road,Dundee. Fife verges need mower attention Sir,-I wonder what Taysiders think of Fife when they journey south across the Tay Road Bridge and encounter a roundabout that, with its long grass and tall weeds, wouldn't look out of place in a jungle. It is in a disgraceful state and would really benefit from some tender, loving care from Fife Council. The rabbits are having a whale of a time. As you leave the roundabout, you are confronted by grassed banks that haven't been cut for two years. This is a Fife-wide problem. In Tayside, the grassed areas are always kept in exceptional condition, for which they should be congratulated. I think it is about time Fife councillors took a wee trip over the water and saw for themselves what can be achieved.Michael Davies.26 Scott Crescent,Tayport. Experience comes with age Sir,-I could not disagree more strongly with Bob Taylor's wish for more young politicians (June 11). As far as I am concerned, the root cause for all our major problems lies in our having had too many young politicians for far too long. Politicians are required to make decisions which affect our lives. How can it be sensible to allocate such power to people who lack judgment, simply because they have no experience? Not only should we worry about the inexperience of youngsters, who, like the rest of us, have to learn from their mistakes but we should legislate to ensure that no-one is eligible for elected office until he/she has attained a minimum age, which has allowed them to have gained experience of such things as doing a real job and bringing up a family in the real world. I favour a minimum age of 40 but, in these days of compromise and consensus, I am amenable to a smidgeon of flexibility -- say 39.Jim Parker.9 Banchory Green,Collydean,Glenrothes. Freedom under threat Sir,-Stephen Moreton rubbished Frank Henderson's letter expressing misgivings about some of the unexpected and unwelcome outcomes which have developed in line with the increased sexual freedoms brought about by widely available contraception. Mr Henderson echoed the disquiet of the majority when he expressed concern over the potential effect upon children of emerging unstable "sexually bonded groups." He was also concerned that women have become widely viewed primarily as sex objects. Dr Moreton applauds the "more relaxed atmosphere" that we have in today's society as a great benefit and achievement. He frequently pontificates in the press and pushes a strong anti-religion and pro-gay agenda. Many of his persuasion use the tactic of bullying and brow-beating anyone, or any belief system, that disagrees with their own ideas and lifestyle choices. Freedom of speech has become a thing of the past. We can, however, still criticise a white, heterosexual male. Should an individual have the courage to express any reasonable difference of opinion, they are met with thunderous cries of bigotry, hatred, discrimination and deafening accusations of intolerance and breach of human rights. It is a one-way street, however, for these strident activists do not practise what they demand from others, nor do they show respect for their opinions. They are aggressive in running rough-shod over the finer feelings and deeply-held beliefs of others. We should live and let live. That is a basic freedom. People's choices are up to them, as long as they do not interfere with the well-being of others. However, there are those who would force us to believe that we are wrong if we do not agree with them. If we fail to approve of their choices, we are in some way criminal or inhumane. We must stop allowing ourselves to be manipulated and intimidated by those who undermine the stability of the family. It is the only way forward for a stable and thriving society.Sylvia Brown.9 Beech Avenue,Ladybank. Christianity's wishful thinking Sir,-I was intrigued by James Thomson's assertion (June 14) that atheism is a religion. As well as being an atheist, I am also an afairyist -- I don't believe in fairies. Does Mr Thomson think afairyism is a religion, too? Atheism is very simple -- it is a lack of belief in a supernatural god. Believers can offer me no objective or measurable evidence for the existence of this god other than their assertion it exists. I prefer the approach of Scotland's great Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, who said that a wise man should proportion his belief to the evidence. He might have added that if religion wants respect, it has to earn it. The point is not whether atheism is a religion but why Mr Thomson wants it to be. Perhaps it makes the world easier to understand from his Christian perspective, since most, if not all, organised religions start and end by dividing people into two groups and setting them against each other-believers and unbelievers, saved and damned, sacred and profane, believer and infidel.Alistair McBay.Lawmuirview,Methven.

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.


Policeman accused of using CCTV to spy on ex-partner

April 8 2015

A hairdresser has told a court she “felt like she was on Big Brother” after her policeman ex allegedly stalked her by spying on her using her work CCTV system. David Fearn, of Police Scotland, denies a 20-month campaign of harassment against former partner Nicola Thomson. Miss Thomson told Dundee Sheriff Court that she had set up her own hair salon, Nix Hair, in Dundee and installed a CCTV system that allowed her to monitor the premises via a smartphone or laptop. She claims she became aware Fearn was using the system to watch her. Miss Thomson, 44, told the trial: “Mr Fearn had access to the system on his phone as I’d put it on there so I could check it when we were on holiday. “After that he was using it to keep tabs on me all the time. He would phone if I wasn’t in the shop. “One time his friend was in the shop and he was on the phone to David he said he was watching on the cameras and started gesturing to them.” Depute fiscal Douglas Wiseman asked: “How did you feel about the fact he was watching?” She said: “I felt like I was on Big Brother with him sitting watching me . There were arguments about it and he would always deny it. “But on one occasion there was an incident where two people came in the shop fighting. “I phoned the police, then two minutes later he called me.” It is alleged that between January 2012 and August 2013, at addresses across Dundee, Fearn engaged in conduct that caused Miss Thomson fear and alarm. Prosecutors say he used a CCTV system at the hair salon she worked at via a remote link to monitor her, as well as monitoring her emails and attempting to gain access to her mobile phone account. It is further alleged he loitered around her house, and on one occasion placed his hands around her throat to restrain her. A further allegation is that on Balgillo Road, Dundee, he drove his car in close proximity to Miss Thomson’s car, sounded his horn, gesticulated at her and cause her to stop her car. The charge against him states that he adopted a menacing attitude towards Miss Thomson and shouted and swore at her. Fearn, 42, from Craigie, pleaded not guilty to the charge on summary complaint. The trial, before Sheriff Alistair Brown, continues.


St Johnstone 1 Rangers 2: Saints captain has words for man in the middle

January 16 2012

I think it's safe to say that referee Craig Thomson hasn't won a friend in St Johnstone captain Jody Morris. The Perth midfielder did his best to keep a lid on his frustrations with the man in the middle in the wake of Saints' defeat to the SPL champions on Saturday. But he didn't quite pull it off. He and the rest of the home team were irate that Thomson allowed Gers' Steve Davis to take a quick first-half free-kick from a good few yards away from where David McCracken was adjudged to have fouled David Healy. Nor was the former Chelsea man best pleased with the referee's manner. Morris said: ''When there's a free-kick you expect it to be taken where the foul was committed. I wasn't even sure it was a foul but I knew where it was supposed to have happened. ''Obviously we felt aggrieved at where it was taken. It must have been five or six yards away and it allowed them to break on us quickly. ''I'm all for keeping the ball moving quickly but the other team needs to know where it's going to come from. As soon as you lose the ball you set up to defend from where the foul was. You don't expect the play to be restarting until it's back to that place. ''I'm not knocking Steve Davis but you've got to expect the referee to make him take it in the proper position. ''He let them take another in the second half which was about 10 yards away. ''We did it ourselves in the first half and got pulled back for it, which was fair enough because it was about 12 yards away. At the end of the day it was poor.'' He added: ''Without going into too much detail I already had the hump with the referee for something he said to me after I was kicked. I won't go into what he said but I wasn't too happy about it. So I wasn't in the best frame of mind with him. ''I said to him 'Surely you've got to take the free kick where the foul was supposedly committed?' but he just batted it off. He just didn't want to know about anything we were saying. ''The more he was doing that, the more I was getting annoyed. It's not good for me to be getting a booking for opening my mouth but there are certain things you expect when you're playing, and if it results in us losing a goal you're going to be aggrieved, as well all were. ''I don't mind a referee speaking to me a certain way if I'm allowed to speak to him a certain way but I wasn't having what he was saying to me.'' Whatever your take on Thomson's acceptance of Davis's free-kick, what can't be disputed is that it allowed Sone Aluko the opportunity to carry the ball unchallenged into the Saints box after it was swiftly moved on to him. From there he worked himself space for a shot which was redirected past Peter Enckelman by Nikica Jelavic for the opener. The incident had the double effect of knocking Saints off their stride for the remainder of the first period and the start of the second, as well as raising the temperature both on the pitch and off it. There were some tasty challenges dished out from the likes of Murray Davidson, and rival managers Ally McCoist and Steve Lomas got involved in a technical area barney. The match looked to be under Rangers' control until Saints snatched an equaliser on 67 minutes when a Liam Craig cross was headed goalwards by Marcus Haber, with Carlos Bocanegra getting the decisive touch which left keeper Neil Alexander helpless. Seconds later David Robertson, who was wasteful with a great aerial chance in the first half, was inches wide with a shot from the edge of the box. We were into the 82nd minute when Steven Anderson conceded a needless free-kick in midfield. From the free-kick Enckelman brilliantly finger-tipped a header from one of his own men Murray Davidson on to the bar but the ball rebounded to Jelavic and he had a simple tap-in for his second and Rangers' winner. For this goal, Morris admitted they had no-one to blame but themselves. He pointed out: ''We'd got back into the game and it was a bad goal to concede. We should be defending a floaty free-kick like that, whether it's the keeper coming to catch it or somebody heading it away.'' Fran Sandaza was always going to be the man under closest scrutiny at McDiarmid given Rangers' public courting of the Spaniard. He didn't get a sniff of a chance but his link-up play was first class and McCoist, or indeed any other suitors, certainly wouldn't have been put off by what they saw.


DCA Thomson: DCA Dundee, December 3-February 19 2017

December 2 2016

As a child growing up in Japan, artist Hideyuki Katsumata loved reading The Beano and was thrilled to be in the comic’s hometown when he first came to Dundee. No surprise then that he is one of six artists taking part in DCA Thomson, a unique free exhibition in partnership with The Courier’s publisher DC Thomson to celebrate the 80th anniversary of The Broons and Oor Wullie. Beth Bate, director of DCA, is delighted to be working with DC Thomson on this exhibition, which celebrates Dundee’s fantastic comics and design heritage through the lens of contemporary art. “We’re going to see six very different responses to the riches of the DC Thomson archive from the artists taking part, and can’t wait to share them with audiences.” Each artist has visited the DC Thomson archives and will be exhibiting their own individual take on the rich cultural history of Dundee publishing. The six exhibiting artists are: Rob Churm, Rabiya Choudhry, Craig Coulthard, Malcy Duff, Hideyuki Katsumata and Sofia Sita. Rob has chosen to work with the Jonah strips that appeared in The Beano in the late 1950s and early 1960s while Malcy Duff has taken inspiration from Oor Wullie and produced a brand new comic for the exhibition that can be read within a new sculptural installation inspired by Wullie’s famous bucket. Rabiya Choudhry’s work for the exhibition is loosely based on her family and inspired by DC Thomson’s comic strip The Numskulls, about a team of tiny human-like technicians who live inside people’s heads. Craig Coulthard was an avid reader of DC Thomson’s Commando comics and has created a series of drawings inspired by these for the exhibition. Hideyuki Katsumata is using characters from his imagination to converse with the DC Thomson universe, and Sofia Sita is inspired by The Broons, creating a mural celebrating The Dundonians – a happy family of DCA visitors. “Dundonian32s and people across Scotland and the UK hold DC Thomson’s titles in such high regard and have a huge affection for them,” says Beth. “All the comic characters still appeal to all the generations. This exhibition demonstrates the richness of DC Thomson’s archives and we are so grateful to them for their generosity.” There will also be a host of creative workshops for younger visitors inspired by the works in the galleries, starting from tomorrow when families can join Hideyuki Katsumata for Comic Inspirations – a fun-filled workshop where children can create artworks inspired by comics and annuals. www.dca.org.uk