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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...

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.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

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.

Dundee

Local and international stars to take to the stage at Dundee Jazz Festival

October 8 2016

A range of local and international artists are set to perform at this year's Dundee Jazz Festival. The line up for the annual event has been announced, featuring a wide selection of musical genres and acts. As well as traditional jazz, blues rock, hip-hop and swing will also be on the cards at venues across the city centre. Highlights include double MOVO award winning saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch at The Reading Rooms and Dundonian Gordon McNeil at the Dundee Rep. Agnese Daverio, festival producer, said: "We are delighted to invite so many great international and local musicians to play in Dundee, from the likes of American Nikki Hill and Aaron Diehl to Dundonians Gordon McNeil and Vardo. "We’re also very excited about our new collaboration with the Reading Rooms, and our return to the Rep for the late jazz night session. The Gardyne Theatre remains our core venue with its great acoustics, comfortable seating and easy parking. This year we’re presenting more activities in the city centre with the aim to grow the festival further in the years to come. "We’re hoping to engage with a wide range of people from the local community, from older generations to younger music fans, hence our programme is very varied and presents a different flavour every night – from edgy sounds by rapper/saxophonist Soweto Kinch, to rootsy rock by Nikki Hill and classic jazz tunes from the swing era presented in the Story of Swing by the Scottish Swing Orchestra. "As jazz is a term that umbrellas over many different styles of music, we are presenting Jazz in the Ferry, an afternoon packed of great music, during which eight bands will be taking the stage across five venues, and where audiences can freely roam between sites with a rover ticket. "This event is also great for those who are not quite sure whether jazz is for them or not, as it gives them the opportunity to explore and sample different genres at once." The event takes place from November 16-20. Tickets are available online or through the city box office, with some bookings available through individual venues.  

Angus & The Mearns

From Lionel Richie to Gary Barlow…Here are Tayside and Fife’s biggest gigs of 2018 so far

January 30 2018

It's not even the end of January, but already 2018 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for live music that Courier Country has experienced in a long time. Excitement reached fever pitch on Tuesday morning following a string of huge gig announcements, with music icons including Noel Gallagher and Lionel Richie confirming shows in the region. We've put together a list of the biggest acts heading our way in the coming months. This article will be updated as and when further acts are announced. Lionel Richie US singer Lionel Richie will perform to thousands of fans at McDairmid Park, Perth on June 3. Tickets for the gig will go on sale online at 10am on Friday, February 2. Richie is the biggest star to play the stadium since Elton John more than a decade ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqAvFx3NxUM https://twitter.com/LionelRichie/status/958249678314721280   Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67zX4oiXqqY The former Oasis man will be the headline act at the BBC's Biggest Weekend festival at Scone Palace on May 26. The guitarist and singer-songwriter, who penned some of the most famous songs of the 1990s, will perform with his High Flying Birds band. https://twitter.com/NoelGallagher/status/958254887866916864   Rita Ora Music superstar Rita Ora is another big name added to the Slessor Gardens concert list. She will play at Dundee's waterfront venue on Saturday July 28.   Gary Barlow The Take That frontman is playing two gigs in Tayside this year, one at Perth Concert Hall on April 19 and another at Dundee's Caird Hal on April 20. Tickets for both gigs sold out rapidly.   Status Quo Legendary British rock band Status Quo will be at Scone Palace as the headline act for the 2018 ReWind Festival in July.   Bonnie Tyler, The Boomtown Rats and UB40 These are just a few of the other big name acts returning to Tayside for this year's Rewind Festival.   Simple Minds and The Pretenders Scottish rock bands Simple Minds and The Pretenders will lead the line-up at Dundee's Slessor Gardens on September 9. Steps The pop group are coming to Slessor Gardens on June 22. They will be supported by fellow 90s bands Blue and Aqua.   KT Tunstall The Fife musician is providing support to both Simple Minds and The Pretenders at Slessor Gardens on September 9, and to Gary Barlow at his local gigs in April. Belle and Sebastian The influential Scottish band will play Perth Concert Hall on Friday, March 23.   Eddi Reader The Scots singer will play Perth Concert Hall on February 28. Leo Sayer The pop star will play at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, on October 9. Suggs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3AovUZgvo The Ska legend and Madness frontman is playing at Dunfermline's Alhambra Theatre on Wednesday, February 28.   Erasure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x34icYC8zA0 The 1980s synthpop act are playing Dundee's Caird Hall in just a matter of days - on Friday, February 2.   The Proclaimers The Scottish musical legends will play Dundee's Caird Hall on December 15.   Could more great gigs be on the cards for Tayside and Fife? Dundonians were treated to three shows at Slessor Gardens in 2017 from UB40, Little Mix and Olly Murs, so we may well see some more big-name musicians making their way to the city in 2018. And MoFest is yet to announce its 2018 line-up after attracting The Beach Boys last year.   Will Carnival 56 return? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29oN9VBXf_U Despite attracting thousands of music fans and earning several major award nominations, the future of Dundee's new music festival still remains unknown. Festival founder Craig Blyth has left the company that set up the popular event at Camperdown Park last year. However Dundee City Council has granted permission for it to run every year until 2021. In October last year an official festival spokeswoman said there had been “no confirmation” of the festival’s return, adding: “The debrief process is still under way”.   Sir Rod Stewart to Dundee? No, we've not given up on Sir Rod coming to Dundee in 2018! The rocker is partnered with the Liz Hobbs Group, who are behind all of the hugely-successful 2017 Slessor Gardens concerts. Sir Rod came out as the overwhelming favourite in a Courier poll which asked locals who they would most like to see next at the waterfront music venue in 2018. And the Lizz Hobbs Group themselves haven't ruled it out. Sir Rod is not believed to have played in Dundee since the 1970s, despite a number of appearances elsewhere in Scotland.   In this weekend's Courier, we speak to Simple Minds singer-songwriter Jim Kerr.

Dundee

Dundee actor and writer Peter Grimes dies after long illness

October 6 2014

Dundee born actor and writer Peter Grimes has died at the age of 48 after a long illness. Peter worked with many acclaimed UK theatre companies including The Royal Shakespeare Company, Communicado Theatre Company and Dundee Rep. He wrote and performed the show Bleach which premiered in New Zealand and had a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival. One of his most notable performances was as the male narrator of the acclaimed Dundee Community Theatre production of Witches Blood. He also adapted and performed a version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Walk the Plank Theatre Company. This show was performed on board a special theatre ship, as it sailed around the UK in 2003. Peter was born into a musical family. His older brother Ged was a founding member of Dundee band Danny Wilson and now plays with Simple Minds, whilst sister Jane was a member of 40s harmony trio, The Penny Dainties. Younger brother Mark is a former music teacher and lives in Australia. Peter attended St Matthew’s Primary School and Monifieth High School between 1971 and 1983. On leaving school he trained as a psychiatric nurse and often said that his experiences in nursing had been critical in developing his observational style of acting. His brother Ged said: “We are devastated by the loss of Peter. He was a unique individual with a real sense of social justice. “He firmly believed theatre should be for everyone and this was reflected in his eclectic choice of acting roles.” He is survived his two sons, Joe and Liam Grimes and his stepson David Evans.

Opinion

Fringe takes a look at independence . . .

August 7 2014

I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted. Twelve days of an emotional roller coaster that was the most successful Commonwealth Games in its history has left me in need of a holiday. Every time I watched another one of Team Scotland pick up a medal I was roaring at the telly and shouting in jubilation, followed by a mandatory wee greet at the medal ceremony hearing Flower Of Scotland. It gets me every time . . . But there is no rest for the wicked. As the curtain closed on Glasgow another one opened in Edinburgh, with the start of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s a bumper year this year for Scotland, with Bannockburn Live, the Games, that small subject of a referendum and the Ryder Cup. And I can only imagine what Pete Irvine of Unique Events has got up his sleeve for this year’s Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party. But the Edinburgh Fringe is no shrinking violet and, not to be undone in this year when the world’s eye is most definitely on Scotland, it has landed with a bang bringing the capital its biggest ever programme in the festival’s history with 49,497 perform-ances and 3,193 shows in 299 venues across the capital. Proving the point again that Scotland really does punch above its weight in terms of international events. To kick-start the festival in style, I had a marathon weekend sampling some of the best of the Fringe so I could report back with some hot tips for Courier readers. In what will be no surprise, a big theme running through the entire festival, not just the Fringe, is the topic of independence. In usual Fringe style it tackles these big subjects in a mix of politics, poetry, polemic and pop in a variety of ways. Saturday lunchtime I sought refuge from the rain at the Stand in the Square, a fantastic new addition to the festival transforming St Andrew’s Square. Stepping into top playwright David Greig’s alternative world of David Bowie in All Back to Bowie’s, inspired by Bowie’s unexpected “Scotland stay with us” declaration at the Brits, I was transported into a world of performance, ideas and discussion. David opens his extensive contact book to offer some of the best talent and minds Scotland has to offer. Then I experienced a real treat with playwright Peter Arnott stepping into the shoes of Sir Walter Scott and reading a letter he had penned summing up neatly that: “Scotland isn’t a country, it’s a costume.” On Monday the Deputy First Minister also made her Fringe debut at the show. Billed as Lady Stardust, it’s no surprise it sold out. On daily at 12.20pm, you are always going to be in for a real treat. A real little gem is The Pure, the Dead and the Brilliant at the Assembly Rooms by author and playwright Alan Bissett who seems to be unstoppable right now. The satirical show wonders what would happen if Scotland’s mythical creatures were involved in the referendum and has a star-studded line-up including Elaine C Smith. With Alan Bissett you never know what to expect, but never disappointed. This is a serious production, challenging yet inducing big belly laughs whether you are a Yes, No or dinnae ken. The fact he manages to do this from the perspective of Scotland’s fairy kingdom shows the depths of his creative talent and the fact he isn’t scared to take a risk. For me, it’s the best indyref play of the festival, hands down. Also at the Assembly Rooms and tackling one of the key themes of the referendum, is The Pitiless Storm by iconic Scottish actor David Hayman. David stars as a trade unionist facing a crisis of conscience on eve of referendum. It nails the choice thousands of Scotland’s Labour voters face the decision to toe the party line or vote for a return to their social values and re-birth of their party. David has clearly put his heart and soul into this strong production and it’s a great display of his acting talent, not that we needed reminding. Young hipsters National Collective have put on National Collective Presents at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Fresh from their successful Scotland-wide Yestival, you can guarantee to be entertained with performances, speakers and discussion to provoke debate about the referendum. If you fancy something avant-garde, Summerhall features the Scottish Enlightenment Project, with National Theatre of Scotland and Brooklyn theatre group dismantling Scottish and American mythologies. And for a total break from the seriousness of the referendum, try the Frederendum, with Fred MacAulay at the Assembly Rooms. With Fred you will never fail to have fun. And this is only a handful of the indyref shows the Fringe has to offer. It’s eclectic, it’s diverse and it’s never dull, proving once again the Fringe will always be at the centre of things and never scared to provide a platform for what’s happening in Scotland and the world. The only challenge is choosing what to see!

Dundee

Dundee Rep performance scoops trio of awards

June 12 2017

Dundee Rep's production of Arthur Miller’s classic, Death of a Salesman, has claimed a host of awards at a national awards ceremony. The production received gongs for the best ensemble, best male performance (Billy Mack) and the supreme award, best production at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) on Sunday. CATS co-convener Joyce McMillan described the Rep show as "beautiful, memorable and heart-breaking". She said: "Dundee Rep used all the resources of its fine ensemble company to produce a beautiful, memorable and heart-breaking production of Death of a Salesman. "The Rep used superb design and sound to set one of the 20th Century’s greatest plays in its full historical context, while always remaining fully focused on the profound and enduring human tragedy at the heart of the story." Joy Watters of Across the Arts, praised the performance of award-winning actor Billy Mack. She said: "Billy Mack's performance as Willy Loman was unforgettable. "He movingly ran the gamut of Willy's emotions, raging against what life has done to him, bursting into unfounded optimism and finally, heartbreakingly, the realisation that it has all been for nothing." The awards ceremony was held at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre. For more on the awards visit www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

Theatre

Exchange groups perform ‘Scottish play’

April 13 2010

A group of French youngsters will take to the stage of Perth Theatre this week as part of an exchange visit. The group, aged 15 to 18, from theatre company Theatre du Sycomore from Tournon-sur-Rhone will perform a Macbeth-themed double bill with Perth Youth Theatre senior company. Short, sharp and dynamic, the two new productions inspired by Shakespeare's "Scottish play" take place tonight and tomorrow. The performances form the highlight of the French group's seven-day visit to the Fair City as part of the theatre exchange project Bard Without Boundaries. Funded by the Lefevre Trust, with support from Perth and Kinross Council's common good fund, PYT seniors took their production of True, based on Shakespeare's Othello, to Tournon's Shakespeare Festival on the first leg of the project last summer. The 14 young people from Theatre du Sycomore will spend the week with 20 members of PYT and will participate in workshops and rehearsals with them. During their stay, the visitors will have the chance to sample Scottish hospitality and local cuisine including fish suppers and haggis. On the Bard Without Boundaries exchange project, Jennie McGregor, associate director of Perth Youth Theatre at Horsecross Arts, said, "Our group had a fantastic welcome on our trip to France last year... when one of the highlights was performing in a courtyard to 100, to a standing ovation. "We are looking forward to the people of Perth extending the same hospitality to our French visitors and we expect it to be an amazing week. "The performances are a highlight, but the real aim of the project is to break down barriers between the two groups of young people, to share info about each other's culture and theatre-making."

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