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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...


Comic relief Beano helps Dundee school’s Kenyan library project

September 19 2013

A Dundee school has received a framed print of The Beano’s special royal edition to bolster its project supporting a Kenyan school library. Elspeth Scott, the librarian at Menzieshill High School, applied to the comic for a print when it hit the shelves earlier this year. A group from the school had been fundraising for a year to go out to Kenya in July. It now hopes to raise even more money by auctioning or raffling off The Beano print. The team stayed in the rural area of Kandaria, where they helped build the library. Ms Scott said: “We did a bit of brick shifting and brick laying. It was hard work but very rewarding and I think the pupils got a lot out of it.” By the time they went to Kenya the team had already raised thousands of pounds, but when she saw The Beano strip, Ms Scott got in touch with the comic to see if they could raise more money to furnish and paint the library. Beano artist Nigel Parkinson signed the print pages and script writer Claire Bartlett presented them to Ms Scott. The edition featured the importance of reading with the opening of the Bash Street School library. The Beano editor-in-chief Mike Stirling said: “Every issue of The Beano delivers fresh vocabulary, perfectly pitched humour and entertaining storylines. “The Beano is engaging for reluctant readers because it uses fewer words than a typical story book and scaffolds the experience with descriptive pictures. It also uses correct English to deliver the stories. “Reading is a core life skill but it can be difficult to convince children, especially when they’re absorbed in modern technology. “Comics serve as a gateway to reading, creating interest and enthusiasm.” The school has not yet decided on the best way to raise money from the print. Ms Scott said: “We will hang it up in the foyer and every time someone comes into the school we will offer them the choice to buy a raffle ticket.”


Minecraft menace launch for Beano icons on smash hit game

December 1 2014

Iconic DC Thomson comic characters Dennis the Menace and Gnasher have launched in the worldwide smash hit Minecraft. Players will be able to add The Beano’s most mischievous characters to PC versions of the game from Monday. The Dennis and Gnasher Minecraft modification (mod) was developed in a partnership between The Beano and Frima Studios. It includes all of Dennis’ best pranks: catapults, rotten tomatoes, stink bombs and booby-trapped trumping cakes. Players can also craft a sausage to summon Gnasher, but will need to watch out for ‘softy’ Walter and his stinky underpants. Mark Cotton, who led the digital expansion of The Beano, said: “The Beano has always been about great storytelling, imagination and creativity. “Minecraft is a perfect match for us, providing an amazing sandbox for kids to take our characters, tell their own stories, prank their friends and build out Beanotown.” The Minecraft mod follows an announcement earlier this year of development plans for The Beano that see Dennis and Gnasher expand in to the digital market. Frima Studio CEO Steve Couture added: “We are delighted to be partnering with The Beano in its extension into Minecraft and gaming. “It’s a privilege to be part of the digital expansion of such an iconic brand.” For information on how to install pay a visit to www.beano.com.


McManus to McMenace for Dundee exhibition

March 23 2018

Children from one of the country's most unruly schools have overrun a city centre art gallery in celebration of their 80th birthday. The McManus Gallery will feature a very special "menacing" exhibition this summer commemorating one of Dundee's most famous exports The Beano. An exhibit focusing on favourites The Bash Street Kids and the comics' birth will take place in the centre from June 2 and the gallery will be temporarily renamed the McMenace for its five month duration. The Beano was born in Dundee in 1937 at DC Thomson's Meadowside headquarters. Inspired by children playing in the grounds of the adjacent High School of Dundee, comic artists created the iconic Bash Street Kids, who spend the majority of their time getting up to hi-jinks and mischief – much to the chagrin of mortar-board-wearing Teacher. Other epochal characters who will feature in the exhibit include Dennis and Gnasher, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx. Sinclair Aitken, chair of Leisure and Culture Dundee,  said they could not wait to start the birthday celebrations. He said: "We think that the Beano’s 80th is an outstanding achievement, its influence shows the test of time as it is still so incredibly popular with children today. "We can’t wait to celebrate the birthday of this comic in its hometown. They have created so many iconic characters through the years from Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx to the fantastic Bash Street Kids. "This exhibition is a very special collaboration between ourselves and Beano Studios and we look forward to welcoming visitors of all generations from near and far, when the exhibit opens in early June." Mike Stirling, head of Beano Studios Scotland, said: "Dundee is the hometown of The Dandy and Beano, and so for us, there is no better partner than The McManus to celebrate our 80th milestone with. "The exhibit will offer fans a glimpse into the history of the comics, and showcase the rebellious and fun characters of the comics throughout the ages and display how they still connect with children today." The exhibition will be free to enter and will run from June 2 to October 21.


Doctor Who gives Beano readers a blast from the past

May 15 2013

Beano fans will get the chance to travel back in time this week thanks to Doctor Who. Matt Smith was seen reading a copy of The Beano’s 1981 summer special in Doctor Who episode The Rings of Akhaten last month. This prompted legions of Beano fans to contact the comic asking how they could get hold of The Doctor’s favourite. Luckily, they will not need a Tardis to travel back to 1981 as the entire special will be reprinted in this week’s issue. And although the Doctor has vanquished Daleks and Cybermen aplenty, readers will also get the chance to see how he fares when he comes up against the universe’s biggest menace a boy called Dennis, Beano editor-in-chief Mike Stirling said: “Everyone at The Beano was delighted to see one of our summer specials appear on Doctor Who. “We’re big fans of the show, and so are our readers who haven’t stopped talking about it. “ “We decided to travel back in time and get a copy of the 1981 summer special, which we’ve reprinted inside the latest issue in time for the last episode of the season. We’re all really excited about this issue.”

UK & World

Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘flattered’ to be compared to Beano character Walter the Softy

April 4 2018

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he is “flattered” to be compared to Beano character Walter the Softy, after the comic called on him to stop imitating the arch-enemy of Dennis the Menace. Beano Studios has written to the Conservative MP, warning that his distinctive style is a rip-off of Walter and calling on him to “cease and desist”. The Beano’s Mike Stirling listed alleged infringements of the comic’s copyright including Walter’s hair parting, round glasses, spotty ties and vintage apparel, and enjoyment of classical music. And he said the North East Somerset MP had copied Walter’s “snootiness” and his efforts to stop others having fun. Accusing the prominent Eurosceptic backbencher of “masquerading as Walter Brown”, Mr Stirling wrote: “It is evident that there are numerous instances whereby you have adopted trademarked imagery and brand essences of the character to the benefit of enhancing your career and popularity. “We firmly request that you cease and desist in your ongoing impersonation of the character, which remains the exclusive property of Beano Studios. “A swift response on this matter would be greatly appreciated to avoid getting Teacher involved.” Mr Rees-Mogg responded on Twitter: “I am flattered to be accused by the Beano’s legal eagles of imitating Walter the Softy whose powerful physical prowess is so much greater than my own.” Mr Stirling, who is head of Beano Studios Scotland, said the similarities between Walter and Mr Rees-Mogg had been spotted by young readers of the comic and its beano.com website. He said it was clear that Walter had devised his trademark style first, as he first appeared in the Beano in 1953, 16 years before Mr Rees-Mogg’s birth in 1969. “We were flattered when we discovered that Jacob Rees-Mogg has dedicated his life to impersonating one of my favourite Beano characters, young Walter,” Mr Stirling said. “Nonetheless, as a hard-working British media company, we would prefer the public gets its Walter fix in the pages of our comics and on beano.com, rather than played out on the political stage. In other words, bog off Rees-Mogg!”

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

Angus & The Mearns

Minnie the Minx artist Jim Petrie

August 29 2014

An artist who became synonymous with a DC Thomson comic strip character has died peacefully at Roxburghe House, aged 82. Jim Petrie, from Kirriemuir, drew more than 2,000 strips of Minnie the Minx in The Beano after taking over from original artist Leo Baxendale in the early 1960s. Mr Petrie was born in June 1932 and went to school at Webster’s High School, leaving for Dundee in 1950. He taught at Kirkton High School after qualifying as a teacher but always dreamed of working in comics, and combined his first career with working freelance for a decade before joining DC Thomson. Mr Petrie’s first Minnie the Minx strip appeared in The Beano on June 6 1961. He also drew The Sparky People in Sparky, Sneaker for The Dandy, Says Smiffy and “What to do with a sleeping dad” for The Beano, The Incredible Sulk for Jackpot comic from 1979 to 1982, and Billy Green and his Sister Jean, which appeared in the Dandy annuals of 1993 and 1994. His final strip, dated January 13 2001, consisted of Minnie the Minx meeting her former artist and bidding farewell. Although Mr Petrie was retired, he returned to work for Beano publishers DC Thomson on a nostalgic piece in 2011 The Tummy Returns featuring Fatty Fudge. The Beano’s editor-in-chief, Michael Stirling, said: “Jim had retired from his fantastic work on Minnie the Minx before I came to work on The Beano, but we were fortunate to persuade him to return to the drawing board and bring Fatty back in 2011.” An active member of Roseangle Art Society and Style dance club, Mr Petrie continued to paint long after his retirement. Mr Petrie is survived by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A funeral service will be held in Dundee Crematorium on Tuesday at 11am, thereafter at the Park Hotel.

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.

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