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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...

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.

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


Fife event to mark 50 years since Jim Baxter’s swagger at Wembley

March 2 2017

Fifty years on from arguably Scotland’s greatest victory, the stunning performance of one of Fife’s favourite sons will be marked at a special event. Jim Baxter is already immortalised with a statue in Hill of Beath, where he lived and played football in his early years. Raith Rovers, his first senior club, plan to celebrate half a century since his iconic showing at Wembley when Scotland became unofficial world champions at a star-studded evening in Kirkcaldy next month. The show, which will take place on April 17 at the Adam Smith Theatre, will feature film footage of the famous 3-2 win over the England in 1967 and other memorable Baxter moments, as well as input from celebrities who had connections with ‘Slim Jim’. They will include Willie Henderson, one of Scotland’s greatest wingers and a lifelong friend of Jim’s; Jim McCalliog, who scored in the victory over England; ex-Scotland manager Craig Brown; former Prime Minister Gordon Brown; and crime writer Val McDermid, whose father initially brought Baxter to her beloved Raith Rovers. Raith Rovers director Dave Wann hopes as many people as possible will turnout for the event, as it will also help develop local footballing talent hoping to follow in Baxter’s footsteps. “One of the purposes behind the event is to raise funds for the Raith Rovers player development squad so that the club can aspire to find and nurture the next generation of young players with some of Jim Baxter’s skills,” he explained. “Our current national team has struggled in recent years and this event is an opportunity to remind ourselves of a time when Scotland had truly international quality players — a time when we could even brag about beating the world champions on their own turf." Baxter’s swagger during Scotland’s win over England at Wembley on April 15, 1967, remains the stuff of legend, and those who were in attendance were left mesmerised by his performance over the 90 minutes. His keepie-uppie with the ball on the touchline as the clock ticked down is one of the most iconic moments in Scottish sport. Baxter, who played for Raith between 1957 and 1960 before moving to Rangers, died aged 61 in 2001 a and the statue was erected in his honour two years later. Mr Wann said the evening promises “entertainment and nostalgia in equal quantities” and tickets are available via the Adam Smith Theatre box office by calling 01592 583302. Standard tickets are £20 and VIP tickets are £30 which include a pre-show pie and a pint and the opportunity to meet the celebrities.


Teammates of football legend Jim Baxter hail his special talent ahead of BBC documentary

September 23 2015

The life and times of one of Fife’s greatest footballers is celebrated in a new documentary. Two of Jim Baxter’s former Raith Rovers teammates were at Stark’s Park ahead of the broadcast of a film chronicling the legendary winger’s life. Simply titled “Jim Baxter”, the portrait is to be shown on BBC Alba on Thursday night in what is described by its makers as an “intimate” account of one of the nation’s greatest sportsmen. Ahead of the broadcast, two men who played behind Baxter during his time in Kirkcaldy, goalkeeper Jim Thorburn and defender Denis Mochan, hailed a special talent. “Back then we had our senior players and our junior players,” said Mr Mochan. “I would say that he learned his skills under those senior players and by the time he left here and went to Ibrox he was already a journeyman. “He wasn’t a great tackler but if you gave him the ball he would just float into space with it and that would give him time.” “If we were under pressure then I would just throw the ball to Baxter,” added Mr Thorburn. “He would take it for a walk and that would always give us a break.” Born in Hill of Beath in 1939, Baxter was a miner before he made his Raith debut in 1957, making 62 appearances for the Kirkcaldy club before leaving for Rangers three years later for what was a Scottish record fee of £17,500. After five years at Ibrox, his career would later see him enjoy spells at both Sunderland and Nottingham Forest, as well as a short stint playing in Canada. He retired in 1970 after a final season back at Rangers. Despite a highly successful club career, the winger is probably best known for his showboating at Wembley against world champions England in 1967, using his ball juggling skills to taunt the Auld Enemy. Such was his talent, both George Best and Ferenc Puskas, regarded as two of the greatest players in football history, hailed Baxter’s ability. But despite his natural talent, over indulgence off the field meant that his career was effectively over by the age of 30. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2001, age 61, and is immortalised in a statue in his home town. Director of “Jim Baxter”, Margot McCuaig, added: “He was a working class hero and his story is an integral element of Scottish popular life. “His story is both inspiring and tragic and I am sure it will have an impact on the audience.”


Remembering ‘Slim’ Jim Baxter – Army days of a great

April 14 2016

To mark the 15th anniversary of Fife-born football legend Jim Baxter’s death, his former Black Watch drill instructor at Perth spills the beans to MICHAEL ALEXANDER. Jim Baxter knew how to shoot in more ways than one, according to an instructor who was in charge of the footballer’s basic training during the early days of his National Service. The west Fife-born Scotland legend served two years in the Black Watch from 1961, despite being a household name playing for Rangers. And retired Sergeant Jim Beedie, who was a corporal at the time, has revealed that Baxter was as good a shot with a rifle as he was with a football. Yet the retired soldier laughs when he thinks back to another side of the legend. “He was an awfully lazy man,“ Sgt Beedie told The Courier. “Being as fit as he was, if he got the chance of two minutes lying on his back then he would bound up the stairs and would take the time. “He was fortunate Rangers always picked him up on Friday afternoons and brought him back on Sunday afternoons after the game! A big white Jaguar used to come for him.” Sgt Beedie, now 76, of Blairgowrie, put Baxter through his first 10 weeks of army training at Queen’s Barracks in Perth. It was his job to teach him everything about life as a soldier from drill to shooting to cleaning his gun. And he was good at following orders. But Sgt Beedie, whose family followed a strong Black Watch tradition, remembers having to have a word with Baxter after their first encounter. Sgt Beedie recalled: “One of the things that sticks in the back of my mind was when the intake of recruits, including Baxter, arrived at the Queen’s Barracks. “The new intakes always got their haircut. He was sent to the barbers like the rest of them, to get a short back and sides. But when he came back I said ‘I thought I sent you for a haircut?’. He thought that because he was Jim Baxter he could tell the barber how much to take off. But I had to tell him to go back because it was not short enough. He had just wanted a trim up around the ears!” Sgt Beedie only knew Baxter for 10 weeks. In his nine years as a regular soldier, Beedie was posted to Cyprus and Germany. But the footballer certainly left his mark in the relatively short time their paths crossed. Born in Hill of Beath in 1939, Baxter was a miner before he made his Raith Rovers debut in 1957, making 62 appearances for the Kirkcaldy club before leaving for Rangers three years later for what was a Scottish record fee of £17,500. After basic training National Service soldiers would usually move on for advanced training with the battalion. And Baxter did go on to finish his training at Stirling Castle after the Perth barracks closed. But because he was a footballer playing for Rangers and Scotland, an arrangement had been made between the club and the army meaning he was kept in the depot and not sent overseas. Sgt Beedie, himself a Rangers fan, played football at a ‘kick-a-bout’ level. But he always thought Baxter’s talents were wasted in those army depot games because he was such a clever footballer. “He was way above the standard of play of the average soldier and used to really stand out, “ he recalled. “He was a regular soldier when it came down to it. But he was kept at a certain level so that he could still play for Rangers. He was ahead of the majority of the depot when it came to fitness and found his drill and endurance works easy.” Sgt Beedie said Baxter was well liked by the other soldiers. There was a lot of ‘kidology’ from supporters of other teams, as you might expect. “He was a right story teller as well, “he added. “He always had a crowd around him in the NAFFI when they were having drinks. He was a bit of a boy like! “But he certainly didn’t think he was above everyone else. He was a good enough soldier. He did his bit.” After five years at Ibrox, Baxter’s career would later see him enjoy spells at both Sunderland and Nottingham Forest, as well as a short stint playing in Canada. He retired in 1970 after a final season back at Rangers. Despite a highly successful club career, the left-footed winger is probably best known for his showboating at Wembley against world champions England in 1967, using his ball juggling skills to taunt the Auld Enemy. But despite his natural talent, over indulgence off the field meant that his career was effectively over by the age of 30. He died of pancreatic cancer on April 14 2001, age 61, and is immortalised in a statue in his home town. Sgt Beedie, who ran Blairgowrie-based refrigerated transport company 4JA after the army, was saddened to hear of Baxter’s passing. But he feels honoured to have played a small part in the life of one of Scotland’s greatest football icons.


Stobsfest gets under way with art exhibition and first ever Westie Walk

May 3 2018

Stobswell's community festival will get under way on Friday night with a packed week-long programme of events for all the family. An exhibition by local artists will start the third annual Stobsfest at Arthurstone Community Library at 7pm, with the chance to purchase a variety of art. On Saturday there will be an opportunity to see the neighbourhood's newest street art during the inaugural Open/Close Stobswell tour, starting at Tayview community garden at 12.30pm. The project has seen a number of neglected doorways and walls painted with striking designs. Dog lovers will be able to get together for the first ever Westie Walk at Baxter Park, with dogs of all breeds welcome despite the name of the event. The Westie Walk will be held on Sunday at 11am, starting at the Baxter Park Pavilion. Organiser Alison Carr explained similar walks had proved popular across the UK. She said: "As far as I’m aware there hasn’t been an event like this in the park. "It will certainly be the first time it has been incorporated into Stobfest." Colin Clement, chairman of the Stobswell Forum, who are organising the festival, said: "Stobsfest is different from other events like WestFest or the Broughty Ferry Gala Week, as we're not really about the numbers. "We provide a range of different events to suit everybody, and some of them will have more people than others. "A highlight this year is a poetry reading by premier Scottish poet Brian Johnson at Arthurstone Library on Monday night. "He has composed a poem about Dens Market specially for this event." A number of other events will also be held including open-air yoga at Baxter's Park, beginning at 10.30am on Saturday and meeting at the glass pavilion. A science day, family ceilidh, zumba, Tai Chi and belly dancing taster sessions will also be held as part of the programme of events.  The week-long bonanza will culminate with Stobsfest Gala Day on May 12, when a pipe band will parade down Albert Street and a community festival will be held in the Boomerang Centre.


Pitching in with Baxter the Bridie

August 6 2016

Ever wondered what makes a football mascot tick? Join us as we peel back the crust of Forfar Athletic's latest signing... Prancing around on the football pitch, throwing shapes and high-fiving players while dressed as a giant meat pasty, you might suspect I’d feel a bit of a plonker. But as I hug yet another fan and join in the pre-match warm-up regime, I feel surprisingly liberated. “You’re really enjoying this, aren’t you?” laughs photographer Kris Miller, and I have to admit, that yes, I am. I’ve taken on the role of Baxter the Bridie – Forfar Athletic’s new mascot – and I’m pretty much ad-libbing my duties. Stepping into the super-size character’s costume, I’m struck by how warm it is inside. Luckily it’s a cool evening, with light showers, or I’d be cooked alive. It’s quite tricky to see through the mesh covering Baxter’s “eyes”, but maybe that’s a good thing – it certainly enhances the surrealness of the experience. As I chatter and flap around, Aisling Fitzgerald, of Forfar’s merchandising team, tells me I’ve got artistic licence to do whatever I want...within reason. “Don’t talk though – you’ll shatter the illusion,” says Kris. The aim is to entertain the crowds, and plenty of folk seem to love Baxter, who sports white gloves, a chef’s hat and a fixed grin. I get pats on the back, high-fives, hugs and banter from fans on both sides (Forfar Athletic are hosting East Fife at Station Park). I jog alongside players as they do their warm-up drills, run sideways and backwards waving my four-fingered floppy “hands”, perform some jumps, squats and static stretches, and even kick a couple of balls, all the while, beaming my huge, unwilting grin. But I really get into the swing of things when the music starts, and on hearing the famous Korean dance pop single Gangnam Style booming out through the speakers, I start to dance. I’ve no idea how good or bad the moves looked – it’s quite difficult to judge while leaping around in giant bridie “feet” with dexterity limited by the narrow placing of the arm holes, but it feels fantastic. What better excuse to go wild and lose your inhibitions than when dressed as a bridie! The fact Kris is laughing is a positive outcome...I think. A major highlight is being presented with a Frank’s Law (a campaign for free care for dementia sufferers under 65) T-shirt by Dundee United legend Frank Kopel’s wife Amanda ahead of the match. The Kopel family, who are fronting the Frank's Law campaign for free care for dementia sufferers under 65, have a strong connection with Forfar Athletic – Frank’s son Scott played for the team in the early 1990s. When kick-off approaches, the players run out on to the pitch, and Baxter takes the opportunity to give as many of them as possible a lucky high-five. Sadly, some of the more serious team members sprint on by, but those who do take him on do so with good grace. Duties done until half time, I head back to the dressing room and strip off the sweatbox costume. My hair is frizzy and stuck to my forehead, my mascara is running, my eyes are bloodshot; quite frankly, I looked a lot better as Baxter. It was the second time the mascot had entertained fans after making his debut at a friendly against Dundee United at Station Park on July 5. And Baxter — already well on his way to cult status — proved his worth as a lucky mascot, with Forfar beating East Fife 2-0. Alll in all, being a bridie was a fun and somewhat enlightening experience and one I may even (whisper it) repeat. The club is keen for volunteers to take on the role on match days and stress it’s open to anyone. No previous experience or knowledge of football required! Anyone interested should email fafcretail@gmail.com info Baxter the Bridie is Forfar Athletic’s first mascot. The bridie (a horseshow-shaped meat product) was an obvious choice as it’s iconic to the town. The club has been delighted by the reaction to Baxter since he was launched in May, and there’s a long waiting list for replica mini bridies. As well as meeting golf hero Phil Mickelson and Scottish football legend Kenny Daglish, fun size versions of Baxter met rugby giants Gavin Hastings and Craig Chalmers, and presenter Hazel Irvine. Baxter even boasts his own Facebook page and there’s a competition for fans to take mini-mascots to far-flung places.


Baxter Park’s big day will tap into ‘euphoria’ of 1863

August 28 2013

A day of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the opening of Baxter Park will take place next month. Organisers hope to “recapture the euphoria” of the opening ceremony in 1863 when more than 30,000 people gathered in the park on a specially declared public holiday, following a 7,500-strong procession from Barrack Park via the city centre. Friends of Baxter Park vice-chairman Kenny Crooks said that, while their celebration on Sunday September 15 was a little more modest, their enthusiasm for what the park represents is no less than that of the original organisers. He said: “In putting together the celebrations to mark the anniversary, we are trying to recapture and recreate in a small way the euphoria that took over Dundee in September 1863. “We know from the historic records that there was a procession, pipe bands, brass bands, speeches and a hot-air balloon, and what we have put together for the anniversary is our salute to the original programme. “In 1863 there were actually cannon salutes from the park but we had to draw the line somewhere.” Next month’s event, which runs from noon to 4pm, will feature a full-size hot-air balloon on the front lawn and a vintage carnival with coconut shy, test your strength and wooden swing boats. Dundee Heritage Trust will be running Victorian street games on the terrace and the City of Discovery Brass Band will play in the amphitheatre behind the park centre. An exhibition of photos and people’s memories of the park will open for public display in the pavilion and the Boomerang Cafe in the west wing will be open for teas, coffees and light snacks. Mr Crooks added that, in keeping with the original event, a small procession would mark the anniversary. He said: “Leaving at 1.30pm from Trinity Church in Crescent Street, Mains of Fintry Pipe Band will lead the procession, followed by Lord Provost Duncan, Friends of Baxter Park and a collection of local community groups. “The procession will make its way along Victoria Street and Arbroath Road, entering the park at the main south gate and proceed across the front lawn, up to the foot of the steps in front of the pavilion. “Here, a short address will be given by the lord provost.” Prior to the day, the groups that have registered to participate will be taking part in workshops being held in the park centre, where they will be making banners to identify themselves in the procession. Mr Crooks said: “Baxter Park is a long-standing, integral part of Maryfield and is treasured by many, many people of all ages, in the local community and across Dundee. “Personal contributions I’ve received for the exhibition of photos and memories bear testament to the fact that Baxter Park has, and continues to be, a part of growing up in this and surrounding areas and people’s love of the park continues throughout their lives, as they go on to bring their own families here. “I’ve received some wonderfully vivid recollections from people now in their seventies, going back to their own childhood times in Baxter Park. “Over £3 million was spent on the renovations that were completed in 2007 and it is due in large part to that investment in the future that the park is as resplendent as it is now, in its 150th year. “We would also love to see people out on the street, showing their support for the procession.”


Pitkerro Road crossing campaigners hope for news this week

February 28 2011

Campaigners demanding a pedestrian crossing on a busy Dundee road hope to hear this week whether their efforts have succeeded. Almost 300 people have signed an online petition requesting that the city council construct a recognised crossing on Pitkerro Road with three pedestrians believed to have been hit by cars in the past 15 months. Earlier this month Dundee City Council said it would conduct a review of the road to study whether it would be suitable to construct a crossing and campaigners remain hopeful that a safe passage across the road will be installed once the relevant data have been analysed. One of them, Cory Campbell, a resident of Baxter Park Terrace, said, "We have proven that the community wants this. The problem with the council is that in the past they have taken a position and stuck with it. "We've had to fight for this but we're hoping to hear something later this week." Following an article in The Courier, public support for the petition gathered at pace and this morning stood at 260 signatures. Used by motorists to travel between the city centre and Kingsway East, the popular route runs alongside Baxter Park and Morgan Academy.