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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

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.


Delving into Dundee’s archives

March 11 2017

Art and design lie at the heart of the creative industries in Dundee, industries which have often been inspired by the leisure pursuits and interests of Dundee’s population. These interconnections are clearly shown in the Archives of the University of Dundee; art and design is woven through many of the collections. This article features a few items which highlight the diversity of design related material held in the Archives. Dundee Art Society started out as the Graphic Arts Association in 1890, changing its name in 1904.  From the outset the group welcomed both professional and amateur artists as well as art patrons and lovers. As the Art College in Dundee grew, many of the staff joined the Society and used its platform to exhibit their art and network with other artists. The striking design for the cover of the centennial exhibition catalogue produced in 1990 echoes to the artistic trends of the early twentieth century. The longevity of the society reflects the continuing desire of artists within the community to join together, curate exhibitions and share their passion for art. Many of these artists had connections with the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology which was dissolved in 1975 to create Dundee College of Technology and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The Art College remained independent until 1994 when it became a full part of the University of Dundee. All of these bodies are represented in the exhibition material, posters, photographs and student guides in the Archives.  Furthermore, alumnus of the College have contributed to our on-going Oral History Project. Former textile students, Pauline Hann and Sheila Mortlock, were interviewed to capture the personal stories of their time at the College, their career paths and interests. Hann and Mortlock were founding members of Embryo – Dundee Creative Embroiderers, formed in 1980, which developed from the frustration felt by numerous students at the lack of opportunities to exhibit contemporary embroidery within Scotland. The remit of the group was to promote the highest standards of workmanship, achieving this by restricting membership to graduates and undergraduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Embryo actively promoted their work through various exhibitions not only in Scotland but across the UK, eventually joining forces with two other textile groups to form Edge – Textile Artists Scotland. Edge is still going strong and attracting new members from a broader background albeit with a recognised education in textiles. The Archive’s Embryo collection includes exhibition publicity material, photographs and correspondence. Textile samples can be found in other collections, such as The Wilson Bros Ltd collection who were taken over by Pringle of Inverness. The pattern books of the woollen and cloth products they manufactured from 1927 to 1967 are fascinating. They show the changing trends in pattern and colour combinations and how design comes in and out of fashion over the decades. Other samples in the Archives show how design blended with the mass production of durable textiles as seen in the printed designs on linen which form part of the D. J. MacDonald collection. Using only two colours, the rising sun motif for the MacDonald company is bold and graphic whereas the design for Louise, seller of lingerie and hosiery has a more delicate touch with the female form and the name of the brand printed in signature style picked out in red. Jute and linen bags adorned with colourful printed designs are still popular today. Textile design in the city is thriving. Local fashion designer, Hayley Scanlan, studied textile design at DJCAD. Her oral history recording in the Archives tells of her desire to remain rooted in the city despite her burgeoning international career. Proud of her Dundonian heritage, Hayley’s designs are influenced by the changing city and she will soon open her first shop a stones throw from DJCAD where her talents were honed. Records held in the Archive are accessible to everyone. For further information about the Archives and its collections see www.dundee.ac.uk/archives   Sharon Kelly is assistant archivist at Dundee University's Archives Services 

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose murder trial: Victim’s blood found in ex-boyfriend’s flat

December 14 2016

Blood matching Montrose mum Kimberley MacKenzie's was found throughout her ex-boyfriend's flat, a jury has heard. Forensic biologist Jacqueline Sharp told Glasgow High Court a total of 45 blood spots were found at the Market Street property of murder accused Steven Jackson. Miss MacKenzie's blood was also found on one of his shoes. Ms Sharp said spots of blood were found on a sofa and armchair in the living room, as well as on a glass table and skirting board. More samples were taken from the hallway and bathroom. Asked by Advocate Depute Ashley Edwards if blood found at the bathroom door could have been caused by an injured person being carried into the room, Ms Sharp said: "Yes, that would be one explanation." Under cross examination by Donald Findlay QC, representing Jackson, she also accepted there could be "thousands" of reasons. Miss Sharp said that some of the blood found in the flat had been diluted or smeared as if the area had been washed or cleaned. Jackson, 40, and co-accused Michelle Higgins 29, deny murdering and dismembering Miss MacKenzie. They face further allegations that they disposed of Miss MacKenzie's body parts in bins and cleaned the flat and bath with bleach and caustic soda. The court has heard the 37-year-old died at the flat in October, last year. Forensic scientist Barry Mitchell said traces of DNA matching Jackson were found on the handle of the suitcase which held Miss MacKenzie's severed head and thighs. Traces of Miss MacKenzie's blood were also found on one of Jackson's shoes. Mr Mitchell said the chances of the blood being anyone else's were one in more than a billion. The court heard more of Miss MacKenzie's blood was found on Higgins' mobile phone, underneath its outer casing. DNA and blood matching Miss MacKenzie were also found on a claw hammer found in Jackson's living room. The jury was also told Jackson had texted Miss MacKenzie on October 17 — 10 days before she died. He wrote: "I'm with Mishy now and it would be easier if you stop coming. Please. I really want to make a go of it with her." Miss MacKenzie replied: "Yeah, no probs. I'm sorry I've made things difficult 4 u. What happens when you get gear again. Will still sell me? x" Dr Robert Cumming, who examined Higgins while she was in police custody, told the court she had the initials SJ "carved" on her leg. The trial before Lady Rae continues.


First Minister a ‘bull in a china shop’

January 18 2013

ALEX SALMOND has been accused of acting “like a bull in a china shop” by a prominent ex-SNP politician. Independent MSP for Lothians Margo MacDonald has written to the First Minister to urge him to improve the way he presents his ideas and vision of an independent Scotland. Ms MacDonald predicted the First Minister would regret the “wasted energy and diminished public approval” that she said resulted from trying to jump the gun on an independent Scotland’s potential European Union membership. She made scathing reference to the confusion over what discussions, if any, had taken place over the issue in the wake of controversy over when the Scottish Government asked for legal advice. She said: “Fair-minded people can see that Alex Salmond wants our country to be decent, caring, and willing to share responsibility for trans-national policies. “But he’ll lose such acceptance of his foibles if he continues to act like a bull in a china shop, confusing his party and the public over the difference between the principles of independence and the policies that might be adopted by political parties in Holyrood, after independence.” Ms MacDonald, who left the party in 2003, also criticised moves by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to publicly brand her desire to hold talks with Westminster before the 2014 referendum as “negotiations”. She said: “A discreet approach should have been made to the business managers of the parties opposed to the SNP, and agreement sought to examine together the situations that will require swift action, and those which can be resolved over a longer period.” A Scottish Government spokeswoman defended Mr Salmond’s approach to the independence debate, citing his outlining of a planned Scottish Constitution earlier this week as an example of that approach. She said: “The Scottish Government is setting out the positive case for an independent Scotland, and as part of that the First Minister this week outlined some of the things that could be included in the written constitution of an independent country.” kiandrews@thecourier.co.uk

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.

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

Dundee United

Kilmarnock 2 Dundee United 4: Ray McKinnon sees Tangerines end with win

May 14 2016

New Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon watched from the Rugby Park stand as the Tangerines beat Kilmarnock in their final match of the season. The visitors took the lead on 12 minutes when Mark Durnan headed in a corner but Killie hit back through Kallum Higginbotham (27) and Tope Abadeyi (34). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIloFu3Kgg4 Simon Murray then made it all square on 74 minutes with an excellent strike before grabbing a second and United's third on 82 minutes. Sub Harry Souttar wrapped things up with a fine header with four minutes left to secure a morale-boosting victory for the relegated Tannadice side. United changed their keeper from the 3-3 draw against Partick Thistle on Tuesday, with Luis Zwick coming in for Eiji Kawashima, who sat on the bench. Durnan and Coll Donaldson returned to the centre of defence, with Sean Dillon and young Souttar both listed as subs. There was no sign of Billy Mckay and his place in attack was taken by Justin Johnson, the scorer of the injury-time equaliser against the Jags. On five minutes, Killie threatened when Alex Henshall’s cross from the left was headed over by Obadeyi. Three minutes later, though, the Tangerines sprung forward and Johnson’s shot from a tight angle was well saved by home goalie Jamie MacDonald. With 12 minutes on the clock, the visitors took the lead with a simple goal. Scott Fraser took a corner out on the left and, as the Killie defenders stood like statues, Durnan nodded down and into the net. Some great skill from Johnson saw him wriggle into the home goalmouth just a minute later but MacDonald blocked his strike at the near post. From the resultant corner, Durnan got in at the back post but his shot went wide, then Donaldson fired over from 15 yards as the Tannadice men enjoyed an excellent spell. However, Killie were level on 27 minutes and it was a nightmare for captain Rankin. A shot from 20 yards by Craig Slater seemed to catch Zwick by surprise and he parried the ball without getting any distance on his clearance. The loose ball should have been booted clear by captain Rankin, who instead played it back to the young German only for Higginbotham to nip in and clip it past Zwick. That was a shame for Rankin in his final match for the club and a pity for the Tangerines, who then fell behind on 34 minutes. There was yet more sloppy defending from United and they saw their offside trap sprung by a fine pass from Higginbotham, which was converted by Obadeyi. Matty Smith, Murray and Johnson all found room inside the Killie box after the restart but couldn’t finish. On the hour, it should really have been game, set and match to the Ayrshire side. Firstly, Higginbotham pulled his shot wide when it looked easier to score then Henshall broke up the left before smashing a strike against Zwick’s post. It was United’s turn to miss a golden chance on 63 minutes when Smith sent a free header over the bar after being found by a Fraser cross. That was the youngster’s last act of the match as he was replaced by Bradley Smith. Donaldson stabbed the ball past Killie’s near post after a Fraser corner on 71 minutes as United tried to get back level. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFOQFo3zL1o They did get it back to 2-2 a couple of minutes later and it was a fine strike from Murray, who showed quick feet to make room for himself after taking a pass from Fraser. Murray then had a shot saved from MacDonald – the Killie keeper pushing the ball around the post – then Fraser has a strike blocked as the Tangerines looked to grab a winner. Zwick did brilliantly to save at point-blank range from Julien Faubert before Murray sent United into the lead on 82 minutes. This time Murray did all the work himself, winning possession just inside the Killie half then racing towards the box. He then sized up a shot and let fly from the edge of the area. MacDonald should have done better but the ball flew past him and into the net. The Tangerines weren’t finished and, remarkably, they went 4-2 up with four minutes to go. They had just brought on young duo Cammy Ballantyne and Souttar and the pair combined to score, with Ballantyne helping the ball on and Souttar heading into the net. Attendance: 2,702. Kilmarnock: MacDonald, McKenzie, Hensahll, Higginbotham (McHattie 80), Obadeyi, Ashcroft, Slater, Balatoni (Clark 67), Hodson (Faubert 70), Taylor, Frizzell. Subs not used: Brennan, Kiltie, Dicker, Whittaker. Dundee United: Zwick, Dixon, Rankin, Ofere, Knoyle, Murray, Durnan (Souttar 83), Fraser, Donaldson, Johnson (Ballantyne 85), M. Smith (B. Smith 66). Subs not used: Kawashima, Dillon, Morris. Referee: Bobby Madden.

Readers' letters

Those remarks: much ado about nothing

May 8 2014

Sir, Having heard all about Alex Salmond’s comments re Vladimir Putin I decided to read the article myself to see what the fuss was all about and can only say I was underwhelmed. To say that the response from unionists has been a touch melodramatic would be an understatement. That is why Ken MacDougall’s letter (May 5) was a trifle bizarre. One can only presume that he has not read the article and has fallen for the spin. If he has read the article then we must take his letter with a pinch of salt. Either way, I think he owes the First Minister an apology. I cannot recommend enough that people read the article for themselves and make their own mind up. As for the rest of Mr MacDougall’s letter it says it all about the mentality of unionists that they think it is somehow wrong that Scotland should receive a fair share of the UK’s assests. After all it is now conceded that Scotland not only pays its way but actually contributes more to the economy of the UK than every other part of the country bar London and the South East of England. As for oil, Mr MacDougall’s attempt to grab the oil for the rUK after independence shows a lack of knowledge of international law. I suggest he reads up on that and then he will realise just how ludicrous his suggestion is. It does, however, say a lot that unionists, after independence, want to ensure the worst possible outcome for Scotland even if it goes against international law, common sense and common decency. Stewart Hunter. 61 Greenlee Drive, Dundee. Pensioner figures not “a fact” Sir, I have to take issue with the assertion by many in the No campaign that Scotland will have a higher proportion of pensioners in its population than the rUK within two to three decades, making the provision of services less affordable here. They claim this to be a “fact”. It is not a “fact”; it is a projection. If we do nothing over the coming decades, then that projection will be validated. However, who is to say nothing will change? In the late 1990s, it was projected that Scotland’s population would fall far below five million. This was considered unavoidable but things changed with the coming of devolution and instead of falling it has risen by around 300,000. By claiming the projection concerning pensioners is unavoidable fact, the No campaign is effectively telling us they will do nothing to remedy the situation in the event of a “no” vote but not to worry, the English taxpayer will see us alright. To me, that is neither acceptable nor a given. If devolution can help turn around a dwindling population, independence offers us the opportunity to build on that success and make decisions in our own best interests to address the challenge of an aging population. Scotland has the wealth and expertise to do this despite what No campaigners would have us believe. Stuart Allan. 8 Nelson Street, Dundee. Urgent review is needed Sir, I find the report on the Metropolitan Police (Tuesday’s Courier) disturbing and indeed alarming. Sir Robert Mark, who became the Commissioner of the Met from 1967 to 1977 tried very hard to clear up corruption but admitted, that having come from the Leicester force, he felt a bit like the leper attending the Colonial Governor’s garden party as he did not know who to trust. One of the problems is the fact that the force is too big to control and it would appear from recent events, that discipline is relatively non-existent. A review is urgently required as respect and trust are primary factors. John McDonald. 14 Rosebery Court, Kirkcaldy. Don’t make same mistake Sir, “No” voters often revert to the wonderful union within Britain that has worked for Scots over the past 300 years. The way in which that union was forged was in a dingy ale house in Edinburgh, by those often referred to as a “parcel o’ rogues” who sold their enslaved Scottish nation to a corrupt Westminster Government for a few favours and for their own benefit. There was no referendum for those Scots to decide what they wanted for themselves. The decision was taken for them by these few corrupt landowners and lairds. In September, after 300 years of subservience to the Westminster establishment, Scots will have this right to decide their future, a future that was denied them all those years ago. Many of our older generation, myself included, will be persuaded, again by the wolves of London, with scare stories to their pensions and threats of being returned to uncertainty and poverty, if they decide to vote “yes”. In the hope that they will now start to see through the London lies, and knowing that our time to shuffle off this mortal coil is always approaching, have we the right to deny our offspring the opportunity to make up their own minds,and learn from those denied democracy three centuries ago? If we do not curtail our own selfishness we may stand to be accused of being a “parcel o’ rogues” from the 21st century. Bob Harper. 63a Pittenweem Road, Anstruther.

Perth & Kinross

Perth pupils reach height of success in Duke of Edinburgh Awards

March 26 2014

Hard-working pupils from Perth High School are celebrating after completing a tough project. A group of 18 students took part in the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, the top achievement for the initiative. Presented with the coveted badge were Steven Stewart, Hazel McArthur, Eilidh Vandome, Kim MacDonald Amy Robb, Abigail Paul, Emily McCullagh, Emma Mathieson, Hannah MacRae, Adam Legge, Amy Straiton, Lia Hay, Raheem Beg, Gemma MacDougall, Catriona Beattie, Lee Alexander, Alannah Tulloch and Alex Peddie.