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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...

Restaurant Reviews

Ciao Sorrento, Dundee (40/50)

July 13 2013

If you’ve ever been to Italy, then you’ll no doubt know the welcome feeling of ducking out of the heat and into a cool, dark trattoria or ristorante that you have happened upon whilst exploring the streets. Stepping into Ciao Sorrento on a warm summer’s evening, we were reminded of a happy, sun-drenched holiday in Sorreto and the Bay of Naples in the not-too distant past. With its dark wooden tables, terracotta-coloured columns, tiled floor and homely feel, the interior of the restaurant is charming and welcoming. On the walls there are paintings of locations in the Bay of Naples and scenes from classical art. When we arrived, the restaurant was not full but there were a couple of parties looking relaxed and well-fed. Not long after we were seated more diners began to arrive. The Ciao Sorrento menu is quite a large one, serving everything from traditional antipasti such as cured meats and cheeses to bruschetta, pizza and pasta and also a wide range of meat including steaks and veal. We ordered tap water and a half carafe of the house red (£9) that came served in a delightful ceramic jug bearing the name of the restaurant. The waitress was patient when I hadn’t managed to decide what to order and after another good look at the Authentic Italian menu and a nibble on the bread sticks at our place setting we were finally ready to eat! If you like the look of a main course but also fancy trying a pasta dish then you can have the best of both worlds by ordering a half portion of pasta as a starter priced at £6. My partner and I both opted to do this. He chose the pasta al forno and I chose the fettuccine with Parma ham, asparagus, cream and parmesan. Al forno means baked in the oven and the pasta al forno is a delicious concoction of differently shaped pieces of pasta covered in a rich ragu sauce with a kick of spicy sausage. This is topped with melted cheese and baked in a dish until piping hot. It is advertised on the menu as a house speciality and a “must” and my partner was not disappointed, polishing it off just as soon as it had cooled down a little! My fettuccine was light and fresh and the combination of the creamy sauce and soft asparagus topped with small strips of salty ham worked well. The portion was a nice size, too, which meant I could still enjoy my main course. Despite the vast choice of dishes, I was in the mood for a pizza especially since I had caught a glimpse of the dough being prepared as I passed the open kitchen at the back of the restaurant. All pizzas are nine-inch a good size in my book and I opted for the Sorrento (£9.50) topped with tomato, ham, onions, garlic, olives and mozzarella. Once more the freshness was evident and my only gripe was that the delicious olives had stones in them, which made them a little difficult to slice! On the whole, though, it was a great pizza. My partner opted for something more unusual in the form of the saltinbocca alla Romana: an escalope of veal with sage, Parma ham and white wine served with vegetables (£18.95). He found the sauce full of flavour and was pleased there was a substantial amount of meat. To finish, we both chose the homemade tiramisu (£5.95). I am a big fan of this dessert and we were each delivered a generous slice, which was very good indeed. Having been in Dundee for over 15 years Ciao Sorrento has clearly perfected its menu and kept standards consistently high. Service was swift but not rushed and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Customers return to the restaurant because it is friendly, efficient and above all it serves up tasty, unpretentious cooking we’ll certainly be back very soon! Rating: 40/50 Price: starters from £5.50, mains from £9.50 and desserts £5.95. Info: www.ciaosorrentodundee.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

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.

TV & Film

FILM REVIEW: Ready Player One

March 28 2018

In stark contrast to The Post (released only a few months earlier), Ready Player One - adapted from Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel - is an entertaining blockbuster built on pop culture nostalgia. It takes place in the year 2045 with the world in deep disrepair (the reasons why only fleetingly referenced). As a way of escaping the day-to-day drudgery of life, Wade (Tye Sheridan), along with most of Earth’s other inhabitants, use OASIS; a virtual reality world that takes fantasy to another level. The architect of OASIS, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), planned an Easter Egg hunt before his death, made up of three keys hidden in various locations. The collector of all three keys be handed control of the OASIS to do with whatever they please. The first of which is discovered by Wade’s avatar Parzival during a rather explosive drag race, in which the participants are chased down by everything from swinging wrecking balls to terrorising monsters in the shape of King Kong and Jurassic Park’s iconic T-Rex. As the first key holder, Wade becomes an overnight celebrity, heeding the advice of fellow player Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) by altering his Parzival’s appearance slightly to avoid unwanted attention. The two team up, hoping to find all three keys before the IOI, the second largest internet provider headed up by Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), who plans on using his employees to win, restoring his company to their former place at the top. Most of the action takes place within the OASIS as the characters’ avatars explore the never-ending world, competing for the keys along the way. The second task takes them inside The Shining of all places. However, on the outside, Wade and his cohorts do their best to scupper Sorrento’s plans from inside the IOI. It’s a fun, past-paced ride of a film, powered along by a soundtrack that’s littered with upbeat '80s hits and visuals that zing. Spielberg, who hasn’t hit the blockbuster sweet spot with this kind of spectacle-focused film since Jurassic Park (the likes of Tintin and The BFG are no real contenders), wins us over with his knowledge, keen eye and interest in making the audience smile and shout with excitement from the inside out. The performances and real-world scenes are perhaps what let the film down. It’s not that Sheridan, Cooke and their cohorts are bad, it’s mostly that the scenes in Colorado don’t have the same spark than the ones exclusively set within the OASIS. Much like those left on the bandwidth rioted world, audiences are as keen for escape as anyone - and what Spielberg delivers in a VR realm that could well be where real society is headed is second to none and pure, unadulterated fun. The pop culture nods alone (Freddy Krueger! The DeLorean! The Iron Giant!) will have you itching for a second helping. 4/5 Review by Jamie Neish. Read more at emptyscreens.com.

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

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.

Obituaries

‘Mr Union Street’ Michael Barile

June 25 2011

A Dundee restaurateur who became known as "Mr Union Street" because of his involvement in a host of businesses in the city centre thoroughfare has died at the age of 81. Michael Barile started in the hospitality industry with a fish and chip shop in St Giles Terrace and over the years was involved in a number of city centre pubs and restaurants including the Golden Fry, the Club Bar, the Washington Cafe and the T-Bone steakhouse, later Ciao Sorrento. He never formally retired from the business and his last venture was Don Michele in Perth Road, which is still run by members of his family. Mr Barile is survived in Dundee by his wife Pat, daughter Lisa and grand-daughter Ava. He is also survived by his daughter Michelle, who has returned to the home town of her father's family in Italy and now lives in Sorrento with her husband and daughter, Ida.

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