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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...


Sailing enthusiasts “in good spirits” despite capsize drama

July 18 2016

Dundee Sailing Club is set to review the safety of its events after two boats capsized over the weekend. Broughty Ferry lifeboat volunteers had to rescue an upturned vessel from the Tay just off The Stannergate on Sunday. Its crew were taken to safety by the club’s own rescue team, while the other boat was able to recover and get back to shore without additional help. The windy conditions were believed to have caused the incident, which did not cause any injuries to the crews. Duncan Heather, Club Commodore, said: “Everyone's fine and in good spirits. “The boat - a Wayfarer sailing dinghy - sustained some rigging damage but nothing too serious. “We had a number of boats out for a club event as, despite the strong conditions, we felt we had prepared the boats well, with experienced helms and reefed sails. “However two boats did capsize in the strong wind, with one recovering to the shore near the club, but the second one had trouble righting, so the crew were eventually taken onto the club safety boat and taken ashore. “The club safety boat was re-crewed and went out to find and recover the dinghy, but it was the smaller lifeboat rib that found the floating boat - upside down, lots of waves, so hard to spot. “We stuck around and did the final tow back to the club, but the lifeboat crews on both their boats were fantastic and the boat owner was very relieved to get his boat back. “The buoyancy tanks had flooded so it was impossible to right and was towed slowly upside down to the Fife shore before being bailed out and re-floated right way up. “We'll be reviewing the safety aspects of the event from a club perspective, though most of the sailors out reported an exhilarating sail.” The RNLI were alerted to the incident at around 1.20pm and by 4.05pm the capsized vessel had been recovered and taken back to the sailing club.

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

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

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.


Reeling back the years a Path through history

February 2 2015

Before televisions became a fixture in our homes, the only way to see the news was in the cinema. Newsreels were commonplace before movies and Path News was the best known name in the business. It operated from 1910 right through until 1970 when televisions had become so popular and news broadcasts so advanced that there was no longer any need, or desire, for news bulletins in the cinema. The films themselves remain an iconic part of British culture, despite production ceasing nearly 50 years ago. From the clipped voices narrating each story to the scratchy quality of the film stock itself, Now much of its vast archive, operated by British Path, has been posted online. The clips are an invaluable treasure trove of British and world history, covering two world wars and dozens of other world-shaping events. But they also are a priceless way to look back at life in the UK over the course of the 20th century and how much it has changed since. Over the next three days we will be looking at some of the best clips filmed in Tayside and Fife. From an invalided Winston Churchill arriving in Dundee to East Fife winning their second league cup during the Methil club’s post-war golden period, the films provide an invaluable snapshot of days gone by. Today we have chosen newsreels that capture community life in Tayside and Fife over the decades. From the massive crowds that greeted the Queen Mother in Dundee to pageants celebrating Robert the Bruce at Arbroath Abbey, the online clips show how much life has changed and, in some cases, how it has not. Tomorrow we will look at those videos which capture our changing world - from the construction of the Tay Road Bridge to celebrations of long-gone industries which once employed thousands. The Queen Mother visits Dundee: https://www.youtube.com/embed/elJ5B9Ps0cc?rel=0&showinfo=0 The Queen Mother always had a special relationship with Scotland thanks to spending her childhood at Glamis Castle. In turn, Scots loved the Queen Mum and thousands of Dundonians turned out to welcome her to Dundee in 1954, when she was given the freedom of the city from Lord Provost William Hughes. She also received the city freedom on behalf of the Black Watch at the same time. She was colonel-in-chief of the regiment at the time. The freedom of the city allowed member of the Black Watch to enter Dundee with bayonets fixed and drums beating. General Smuts at St Andrews: https://www.youtube.com/embed/UcCGcQf3tbY?rel=0&showinfo=0 The former Prime Minister of South Africa was installed as rector of St Andrews University in 1934. One of the most prominent politicians in the Commonwealth, he was one of the key figures in the establishment of the RAF. He was also a member of the British War Cabinets during the first and second world wars. Remarkably, he is the only person to sign the peace treaties that ended both conflicts. Arbroath Pageant: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ajVOqnfj2tY?rel=0&showinfo=0 This three-minute silent video shows the first ever Arbroath pageant, filmed in 1947. It shows hundreds of people dressed up in costume, from monks and soldiers to King Robert the Bruce himself, to celebrate and re-enact the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath with the town’s Abbey. Although Arbroath Abbey had not changed in the past 70 years, the clip provides a glimpse of post-war fashions and cars of the day. Sadly, the last pageant took place in 2005.


Courier proves Seville’s claim as Spain’s oldest football club

February 7 2013

A 123-year-old page of The Courier is to hang in the offices of the Spanish Football Association after it was revealed that, thanks to an article in the paper that day, Sevilla FC can officially claim to be Spain’s oldest club. The Courier revealed in September that the discovery of the club being founded 15 years earlier than previously thought was due to the story on page four of the paper from March 17 1890, which details how a group of young British, mainly Scottish, men met in a pub in Seville on January 25 that year to celebrate Burns Night. Along with some Spanish friends, they decided to form the country’s first official football club, and, word having reached back to Dundee, The Courier carried an article documenting the club’s act of constitution. As a result, current members of the club say the article can be considered the founding document of Sevilla FC. The president of Sevilla FC, Jos Mara del Nido, was presented with a copy of the page, certified by the British Newspaper Archive, by the club’s history department on January 25, 123 years after the club’s formation. Another print of the page will be presented by the club to the Spanish FA. Grant Millar, marketing executive of Dundee online company brightsolid, which hosts the online version of the British Newspaper Archive, was told of the presentations by Spanish researcher Javier Terenti. Javier said: “The page in question contains a treasure for the history of Spanish football, since it is an article that describes in detail how the club was founded 15 years earlier than it was thought, thus being Spain’s oldest football club. “The article that is extremely rich in detail shows how the club’s founding date was not a coincidence. “Everything suggests that that Saturday 25 January, 123 years ago, a group of young British, mainly Scots, along with other young men of Spanish origin, met at one of the cafes in the city and celebrated Burns Night with the excuse of founding the first football club in Spain. “Among the most prominent Scots was the club’s first president, EF Johnston, and first captain, Hugo MacColl, who later, upon returning to the UK, became chairman of Sunderland Burns Club. “The discovery of the club’s Act of Constitution within an old edition of the Dundee Courier has been published not only in Spain but also in several important newspapers outside the country.” Mr Carlos Romero, director of the club’s history department, said: “It’s a beautiful article that chronicles the adventures of those first ‘Sevillistas’, in which the following paragraph appears: ‘Some six weeks ago a few enthusiastic young residents of British origin met in one of the cafs for the purpose of considering a proposal that we should start an athletic association, the want of exercise being greatly felt by the majority of us, who are chiefly engaged in mercantile pursuits. After a deal of talk and a limited consumption of small beer, the “Club de Football de Sevilla” was duly formed and office bearers elected.” Mr Miller added: “The reason why this important report was published in the Dundee Courier is probably due to the fact that, at that time, tonnes and tonnes of Seville oranges were loaded on steamships, travelling from Seville to Dundee for the manufacture of the city’s famous marmalade. “However, this connection between Seville and Dundee could even go further if we take into account that two of the members of the Sevilla Football Club at that time, D Thomson and Robert Thomson, could have been related to DC Thomson, founders of the Dundee Courier.”


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.

Angus & The Mearns

The curious case of John Dora – the Italian football hero who became an Arbroath racing pigeon champion

December 18 2017

He was the Italian football hero who disappeared from the game and became a racing pigeon champion in Arbroath. John Dora, who was born in the Angus town, made his debut for Parma in 1925 and played against Juventus and AC Milan in his first season in Italian football.   He returned to Scotland despite interest from Bologna and Inter Milan and played for Arbroath - scoring a hat-trick on his Lichties debut - and Falkirk, where he scored two goals in three games before hanging up his boots in 1930 after breaking his leg. Mr Dora ran a fish and chip shop in his home town after his career ended and eventually became one of Scotland’s top pigeon fanciers. Very little is known about his remarkable career today, but now his two former Scottish clubs are making efforts to find out more. A spokesman for Arbroath FC said: “Johnny was one heck of a gentleman with an incredible life story and it would be nice to find out more about him and his life. “I think there is something quite romantic about the search for players who are a part of the club’s history but their story is now only told in the archives of local newspapers. “With the internet we can find out how many times a player touched the ball during a season to what they eat for breakfast. “But there are footballing greats with Hollywood-esque stories out there, and hopefully articles like this allow their story to be told again.” Mr Dora’s father left Italy to settle in Arbroath at the beginning of the 20th Century and survived the Elliot Rail Disaster in 1906, which killed 22 people. Born in Arbroath in 1905, the budding sports star played for the now defunct Arbroath Ardenlea Junior Football Club as an inside forward. His career with Parma didn’t get off to the best start after he was mocked because of his provincial origins by his own fans who were known for their “snobbery”. However, Mr Dora silenced his critics - quite literally - during a friendly against an Austrian team. He dribbled through the other side's defence and rounded the goalkeeper before gently placing the ball on the goal-line - then walked straight off the pitch. A hush fell over the stadium before the Parma fans erupted in praise and a legend was born. After the match the Parma officials awarded him a gold watch and the incident is still fondly remembered to this day by the Italian club.     Mr Dora, who served in the Royal Navy during the second world war, was described during his time in Italy as a footballer who had managed “to graft into his Latin fantasy, the solidity and the concreteness of the British style”. A member of Arbroath Racing Pigeon Society for almost half a century, he crowned a long list of successes by winning the Scottish National Blue Riband in the race from Rennes in 1961. He ran the family’s fish and chip shop in Arbroath High Street for many years before he died at the age of 65 in 1971. Falkirk FC historian John Meffan has also been trying to join the dots in his research and hopes readers of The Courier will be able to help piece together Mr Dora's story.

Angus & The Mearns

Five big names inducted into Arbroath FC hall of fame

September 11 2016

His goals tally during the 1958/59 put the likes of Jimmy Greaves and Brian Clough in shade. Greaves topped the English First Division charts with 32 goals while Clough was the Second Division’s top marksman with 42 goals. But Arbroath’s Dave Easson notched 52 league and cup goals during the campaign — scoring 45 of Arbroath’s 86 league goals. His goals helped fire the Lichties to a League Cup semi-final and promotion to the First Division. Easson was among the legendary names that were inducted into the Angus club’s hall of fame on Friday. He was joined by record goalscorer Jimmy Jack who hit the back of the net 120 times between 1965 and 1971. The hall of fame dinner was held in a marquee on the pitch at Gayfield following last year’s inaugural event. Bob McGlashan, Ian Stirling and Paul Sheerin were also inducted at the event, which was hosted by journalist Bill Leckie. Club chairman John Christison said the inductees were chosen for their “great service, commitment and dedication” following consultation between the club and its supporters. “I am sure all supporters of Arbroath will be delighted that the club are formally recognising the contribution that Dave, Jimmy, Bob, Ian, and Paul made in furthering the fortunes of our club,” he said. McGlashan joined the club as a player in 1895 and subsequently filled the role of secretary and manager for a continuous period up to his retirement in 1946. He continued to attend Gayfield until shortly before his death at the age of 74 in 1949. McGlashan led Arbroath into the Scottish League in 1921 and guided the club to promotion to the old First Division for the first time in season 1934/35. The Lichties stayed there until the outbreak of World War Two in 1939. Ian Stirling was a local lad who was club captain of Arbroath before eventually becoming chairman. Paul Sheerin guided Arbroath to the Third Division championship in his first season in charge in 2010/11, which was the club’s first national trophy win in its history. Archie Knox, Jimmy Bone, John Blackley, John Brownlie, Gordon Wallace and Jocky Scott were also in attendance. Club manager Dick Campbell hosted a question and answer session with Knox who is a former assistant manager of Manchester United and Rangers.