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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Jagerbomb drink-driver hit mountain biker before crashing SUV into Angus field

August 20 2016

A three-time drink driver who clipped a cyclist before smashing his car in a Jagerbomb-fuelled country road crash has narrowly escaped jail. Lee Godfrey was almost four times the drink-drive limit when he hit the mountain-biker on a back road between Letham and Forfar – minutes before the shocked cyclist and an off-duty police pal came to the 34-year-old’s aid after the offshore worker’s Kia Sportage SUV ploughed off the road before coming to rest on its side. Godfrey even tried to claim to the Good Samaritans that he had downed a bottle of vodka in the immediate aftermath of the crash because he was in shock in an attempt to explain the high breath alcohol reading he would register at Arbroath police office. At Forfar sheriff court, Godfrey’s solicitor said his client realised he was at risk of a prison term after two drink-drive offences three years apart in his younger day. Godfrey, of Bradbury Street, Dundee pleaded guilty to charges of driving dangerously on August 1 last year on the unclassified Dunnichen to Burnside road and colliding with a cyclist before injuring his passenger in a crash; and driving with excess alcohol, 85 microgrammes against a legal limit of 22. The court heard Godfrey had initially been reported as a possible drink-driver by witnesses in Forfar around 2pm that Saturday, shortly before he and friend Greg Milne drove to Letham Hotel. The accused drank a lager tops at the village pub before ordering a round of jagerbomb shots. He downed one, and when Milne decided not to have his Godfrey drank that as well, the court was told. On leaving the pub Godfrey was heard to say he would be driving to Forfar and then Dundee, but on the narrow road near the village he came upon the two cyclists and clipped one with the nearside wing mirror. Passenger Milne described the accused as “panicking” and as they turned into a left hand bend he realised Godfrey was not going to make the corner. The car struck two gates and a fence before coming to rest on its side with the airbags deployed. Solicitor Nick Markowski said Godfrey realised the seriousness of his position in light of previous drink-driving convictions in 2004 and 2007. “He had been drinking on Friday night, got up on Saturday and met up with Mr Milne and agreed to go for a pub lunch in Letham, but no food was consumed,” said the lawyer. “It was the first time he had been on that road and he has very limited recollection of anything other than waking up in the police station.” He said Godfrey was well regarded by his employers and had a responsible and well-paid position offshore. “He wrote a letter of apology to the cyclist and is embarrassed and ashamed by this,” added Mr Markowski. Sheriff Pino Di Emidio told Godfrey: “It is plain your life has changed significantly and you have, in many ways, become a very productive member of society. “Nevertheless, on this particular occasion it is perhaps more good fortune than anything else that more serious injuries were not caused.” The sheriff imposed a one-year Community Payback Order, including supervision and 190 hours of unpaid work. Godfrey was also disqualified for 42 months and must sit an extended driving test at the conclusion of the ban.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Angus & The Mearns

AC/DC author’s book puts forward “already dead” theory on Kirrie rock hero’s final hours

November 1 2017

A new book has claimed Bon Scott may have already been dead when he was left lying in a car on a London street in 1980. Jesse Fink’s book ‘Bon: The Last Highway: The Untold Story Of Bon Scott and AC/DC’s Back in Black’ claims to reveal the truth behind the Kirriemuir rocker’s death, which Fink describes as “the Da Vinci Code of rock”. Scott is said to have choked on his own vomit after being left to sleep in a Renault 5 owned by former friend and neighbour Alistair Kinnear, following a night of heavy drinking in a London nightclub. The following morning, Kinnear claimed to have found Scott lifeless, and alerted the authorities. The coroner concluded the vocalist had died due to acute alcoholic poisoning. But Fink’s book puts forward two theories based on gathered evidence for how the AC/DC legend perished. The first is “almost completely new” and the second is already well known by AC/DC fans but with a heroin overdose substituted for alcohol poisoning. Fink’s first theory is that Scott may have already been dead when he was left in Alistair Kinnear’s car. He said Scott went to the Lonesome No More gig at The Music Machine, “where heroin and free booze would be in abundance”. Kinnear’s friends Peter Perrett and Zena Kakoulli were there. The book states: “So Bon went to Camden, drank his usual amount of whisky but also snorted heroin backstage in the company of unknown persons at the gig. Alistair was among them. “Early on the morning of the 19th, Bon, Zena and Alistair left the gig in Alistair’s car to either party on at another location, get more heroin from a dealer or go to Chapman’s in Fulham (as Bon had promised), but not long into the journey Bon began nodding off. “He fell unconscious. He vomited. Alistair panicked and made his phone calls to Silver (Scott’s girlfriend). “Not knowing Bon had snorted heroin, Silver reasonably presumed he’d passed out from drinking. “He’d done it many times before. Alistair (who wasn’t letting on at this stage what he’d witnessed backstage at The Music Machine - Bon snorting heroin) relaxed when told this. Maybe it was just alcoholic intoxication after all. "But then Bon stopped breathing altogether. Alistair attempted to resuscitate him but failed, in the process leaving marks on Bon’s neck. “AC/DC’s lead singer was dead and dawn hadn’t even broken in London.” Fink said Kinnear was cognisant that he – and potentially one of his higher profile friends – could be in serious trouble if pathology tests showed that Scott had snorted heroin supplied by either him or one of his friends at The Music Machine. The book continued: “The priority for Alistair was ensuring the heroin was undetectable. So Bon’s body was left, not in the front passenger seat, but under a blanket in the back seat of the car or even put in the boot with the back seat folded down. “There is another possibility, worth considering, that Bon’s body was left in another location altogether, such as Alistair’s apartment.” Fink also described both the police investigation and inquest as “grossly inadequate, demonstrably deficient and potentially incompetent”. Scott was born at the Fyfe Jamieson maternity hospital in Forfar in 1946 and his family lived in Kirriemuir, where father Charles Scott worked in the family bakery in Bank Street. In 1952, when Scott was six years old the family emigrated to Australia. 'Bon: The Last Highway: The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC’s Back In Black is out from Black & White Publishing now, RRP £17.99’.

Fife

Adam Smith College payments part of ‘disturbing trend’, councillor claims

January 29 2013

Adam Smith College has hired two consultants to support senior management after staff were suspended amid allegations the college fraudulently claimed European funding. Louisa Thomas was taken on to lead the organisational development and regionalisation programme, while Jim Godfrey was brought in to provide financial support, the institution has confirmed. The pair are paid through private companies JM Godfrey Ltd and Thomas HR Consulting Ltd, prompting a senior councillor to raise concerns about the arrangement. Labour politician Altany Craik, who sits on the local authority’s financial scrutiny committee and also lectures at the college, said: “While I am unable to comment on the work of the individuals concerned, I am surprised that those charged with the governance of the college would enter into this type of arrangement. “Though there is no question of illegality, it does reflect a disturbing trend in executive payments being handled off payroll.” The payment arrangements are published in the institution’s register of interests. The board of management of Adam Smith College has a contract with JM Godfrey Ltd which commenced in October 2012 and can be terminated with one month’s notice. It also has a contract with Thomas HR Consulting Ltd, which was signed in June 2012. The other seven members of the senior management team appear to be paid in a different way. Interim principal Martin McGuire said both Mr Godfrey and Ms Thomas are “not permanent members of staff”. He said: “Last year two consultants were appointed to provide senior level support to the college following recent events. “Both these individuals have been brought on board due to their extensive experience in the Scottish further education sector, to carry out specific tasks on a project basis and over a finite period of time.” The college is in the process of merging with Carnegie College to form a new regional college for Fife. This month police were asked to investigate allegations the college fraudulently obtained European Structural Funding that could run into millions. Staff were also suspended after an audit by the Scottish Government indicated the institution will have to repay a “substantial amount”. Mr McGuire said the action was being taken following an investigation by auditors into funding received by the college between 2007 and last year.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Speeder ‘in a hurry’ asked police ‘Will this take long?’

March 4 2015

A man stopped for speeding in his BMW asked detectives: “Will this take long? I’m in a hurry to get to Dundee.” Lee Godfrey had caught the attention of CID officers after pulling out to overtake a queue of traffic on the outskirts of Arbroath but he blew his chances of a roadside fixed penalty with his attitude to being pulled over, Forfar Sheriff Court heard. Godfrey, of Bradbury Street, Dundee, pleaded guilty to driving carelessly on the A92 Montrose to Arbroath road near Marywell on May 15, at excessive speed and into the face of oncoming traffic, causing another driver to take evasive action. The 32-year-old was originally charged with dangerous driving but had a plea to an amended charge accepted by the Crown. Defence solicitor Nick Markowski said Godfrey had now got rid of his powerful three-litre BMW and replaced it with a one-litre Fiat 500. “He is now driving the small Fiat so I don’t think there will be any repetition of this behaviour,” he said. Sheriff Pino Di Emidio fined Godfrey £500 and placed seven penalty points on his licence.

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.

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