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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

UK & World

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

February 21 2018

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

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

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.

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


Theatre review: Sunset Song, at Dundee Rep

November 7 2014

Most of us will remember struggling to identify with the trials of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s “Sunset Song” in stuffy classrooms at school; the brutal world of crofter’s daughter Chris Guthrie being a far cry from our lives of convenience today. Many again, however, will have picked it up in later life and realised the power of Gibbon’s classic in capturing perfectly a time passed from living memory. Indeed, so many have come to enjoy it that it was voted Scotland’s favourite novel back in 2006. Julie Ellen’s new stage production of Sunset Song stopped over at Dundee’s Rep Theatre this week on its Scottish tour, and it was with more than a little trepidation that I attended the performance. There were so many things that I was convinced wouldn’t translate on to the stage: the introspective nature of the novel, for example, as Chrissie considers her surroundings and, most importantly, the detailed surroundings themselves. #Sunset Song Venue no. 9 on the Sunset Song tour @DundeeRep until Sat 8th Nov pic.twitter.com/Fi4ekqUucC — Oliver Gorman (@ORGorman) November 6, 2014 The open stage on which the performance is set, however, subtly evokes the landscape of the Guthrie’s croft perfectly: the early 1900s setting is conveyed through simple homespun costume, paraffin lamps and scuffed, wooden barrels, which do just enough to firmly place the performance in time, leaving the rest to the audience’s imagination. My misgivings about Chrissie proved unfounded, too, as Rebecca Elise shines in the multifaceted role: strong-willed and bright, yet vulnerable and oppressed by turns, while the supporting cast particularly Alan McHugh as John Guthrie and Sandy Nelson as Long Rob are exceptional. The bitter harshness of Chris’s life on the Blawearie croft serves to highlight the crueller aspects of religious patriarchal culture, and the resistance to change. As the First World War breaks out, the audience sees notions of socialism creep into the insular village, paving the way to suffrage, equal rights, fair wages and the human right to an adequate standard of living. As I exited the Rep, I overheard several high school groups animatedly discussing the performance, obviously having been taken through the novel at school. They, like me, were struck by the simple fact that harsh lives like Chrissie’s played out like this all over the country a mere hundred years ago. The realism of Guthrie’s masterpiece shines even brighter on the stage, and it is good to see that history is being kept alive through performances like this, and through theatres like the Rep’s continued devotion to Scottish heritage. Sunset Song is at Dundee Rep until Saturday November 8. For ticket information click here.

Twitter laments the brevity of Chris Grayling’s tenure as Tory Party chairman after reshuffle gaffe

January 8 2018

A hastily deleted tweet which saw the wrong Conservative MP named as the party’s new chairman has been mocked on social media. For a few minutes it looked as though Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was to become the party’s chairman in Theresa May’s January reshuffle. (@Conservatives/Twitter/PA) But the actual new chairman has been confirmed as Brandon Lewis, the MP for Great Yarmouth, who has moved from a ministerial position in the Home Office. He has also been made minister without portfolio. Brandon Lewis confirmed as Conservative Party chairman after Chris Grayling was incorrectly announced by the party's official Twitter account and a couple of MPs.— Arj Singh (@singharj) January 8, 2018 The gaffe proved an amusing sideshow as the media was watching and waiting for answers on who was in and out in the reshuffle. CHRIS GRAYLING IS NOT PARTY CHAIRMAN THERE HAS BEEN A MISTAKE pic.twitter.com/z99JT1XeZu— Loes (@loespl) January 8, 2018 Grayling’s Wikipedia entry was updated to say he served in the chairman role for between “10 and 37 seconds”, although the edit was later removed as vandalism. Chris Grayling's 2 minute tenure as Party Chairman recognised on wikipedia pic.twitter.com/3lsci9svmY— Alex Hacillo (@AlexHatsila) January 8, 2018Good to know that Chris Grayling's tenure as chairman is being recognised on Wikipedia pic.twitter.com/rWKCFVb8bV— Siraj Datoo (@dats) January 8, 2018 In spite of its brevity, people spoke longingly of Grayling’s chairmanship. People are already looking back, misty eyed, on Chris Grayling's tenure as @Conservatives chairman.— Thom Dinsdale (@thomdinsdale) January 8, 2018Congratulations to Brandon Lewis on outlasting his predecessor after four minutes in his role as Conservative Party Chairman.— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) January 8, 2018Brandon Lewis has been Tory party chairman for 3 minutes. Showing the stamina and dedication sadly lacking in the previous incumbent…— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) January 8, 2018 Among those getting in on the joke was MP Ed Vaizey, the Conservative member for Didcot and Wantage, who recalled a mix-up between him and Liberal Democrat Ed Davey. Sharing a tweet by Guardian journalist Gaby Hinsliff about a reshuffle which went wrong during the Blair years, he said: “That happened with me and Ed Davey. I was trade minister for 30 minutes.” Even Lewis’s official announcement, on the Number 10 Twitter account, was marred by a spelling error although it was swiftly adjusted. Brandon Lewis MP becomes Minister without Portfolio (and Conservative Party Chair) #CabinetReshuffle pic.twitter.com/Q0uNuKsThl— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) January 8, 2018 The original tweet named Lewis as the minister without “porfolio”. (Number10gov/Twitter/PA) Hold on, there aren’t missing letters again are there? Looks like the reshuffle is going well… pic.twitter.com/bu7l97fglv— Justin Madders MP (@justinmadders) January 8, 2018 (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Nicola Irwin, Press Association'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '54b44cfa-d2cc-4a82-804b-5410aa6d2ba2'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:viral,paservice:viral:news'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Twitter laments the brevity of Chris Graylingu2019s tenure as Tory Party chairman after reshuffle gaffe'});

St Johnstone

St Johnstone boss believes duo have earned their new deals

February 24 2015

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has hailed young striker Chris Kane as “the future of this club”. The young forward has been tied down on a long-term contract through to the summer of 2018, and Wright is expecting big things from the McDiarmid Park youth product over the next three years. “Chris deserves a three-year deal,” the Perth boss pointed out. “We felt it was important to show how much we wanted to keep Kano. That is reflected in the length of contract. “He has taken note of everything we have told him. He went out to Dumbarton on loan and I have been delighted with his contribution in the games he has started since the turn of the year. “He only 20 and he is the future of this club.” Kane may still be goal-less as a Saints player, but it isn’t a statistic that is worrying his manager. “He just needs a bit of luck in front of goal to get that first one for St Johnstone,” Wright explained. “He was ready for a tap-in against Dundee United before their lad slid in. But I have no doubt that he will score plenty of goals for this club. “His contribution is being appreciated by the players. He has played a part in creating goals and is proving a real handful for defenders. “He is similar to Stevie May in that regard. He will chase down long balls and Chris gets us up the pitch. “I know strikers are judged on their goals but they will come for Kano.” The length of the deal reflects Wright’s faith in his player, but it is also there to look after the club’s interests should scouts start to take an interest in Kane. He said: “The chairman recognises that we want to hold onto our better players and Chris is in that bracket. He will benefit from a long term deal and the club is protecting itself. “I have no doubt that if he progresses the way we believe, bigger clubs will be interested in him. That’s just the way it is. Look at Dundee United. Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong were doing well and they attracted bids from Celtic. But at least we have him on a long term contract. “Kano is forging a partnership with Steven MacLean and it will only get better. But he can also play alongside Brian Braham and James McFadden.” Murray Davidson was another to agree a fresh deal at the weekend – through to 2017. Wright said: “Murray was doing well until he picked up that calf injury against Celtic. He has been getting back to the form which had him banging on the Scotland door a few years ago. “It was really a no-brainer to get him fixed-up. He has been operating on shorter contracts since even before his knee operation. “But we have recognised how hard he has worked after suffering that knee injury a year ago. He will benefit from having the security of a long term contract.” Meanwhile, Wright stressed that Tam Scobbie wasn’t “dropped” for the Tayside derby. He said: “It was a tactical decision because I felt Frazer Wright has always handled Ciftci well. He was quiet again at the weekend. “They are quite a big side now, with McGowan and Anier coming in. We had to deal with a lot of long throws and corners into the box and did so effectively. “It was an important result for us. It keep us right in the mix for the top six. I’m sure our rivals thought we would drop something at Tannadice given their very good home record.” Simon Lappin’s knee injury is to be assessed, with a prognosis expected later in the week.

Scottish politics

FMQs: Sturgeon hits back over claims she is ‘squandering’ millions of pounds on independence

February 23 2017

Nicola Sturgeon defended her government’s £136,000 intervention in the Supreme Court case on Brexit as a Conservative MSP accused her of splurging millions on breaking up the UK. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); First Minister's Questions – 23rd February 2017 Earlier today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took questions from party leaders and other MSPs in the Debating Chamber at Holyrood.Please take the time to read our online discussion rules before commenting: www.parliament.scot/discussion-rules. Personal insults will be removed.We're trialling Facebook Live over the next few weeks, so please be patient as we work things out!#FMQs Posted by The Scottish Parliament on Thursday, 23 February 2017 The SNP leader laid into Tory backbencher Maurice Golden at First Minster’s Questions after he lambasted her for wasting taxpayers’ cash on promoting independence. She struck back saying her administration would not have needed to take part in the court action over the triggering of Article 50 if the UK Government did not pursue a case they were not going to win. Mr Golden, a West Scotland MSP, asked the First Minister if she thought the £136,000 outlay was good value. He added: “This SNP Government will literally say and do anything that they think furthers their goal of tearing our Union apart. “And they don’t care how much Scottish taxpayers’ money they squander in the process. “This £136,000 is one example of the 10s of millions of pounds that this SNP Government spends on policy decisions that they believe will promote separation.” Ms Sturgeon mocked Mr Golden for raising the issue of cost when the Conservative Government had refused to reveal how much they have spent on the case. She added her government’s intervention was “necessary to force the UK Government to enact the legislation that is currently going through the Westminster parliament before the triggering of Article 50”. “The case also raised fundamental issues about the rights of people in Scotland and the role of this parliament,” she added. “So yes I do think it was absolutely right that this government, like the government in Wales, defended our interests in what was the most important constitutional law case for many, many years.” The Lord Advocate last month made representations before the UK’s most senior judges, who ruled that the triggering of Article 50 required parliamentary approval. It was also confirmed that Holyrood could not block the start of the Brexit process.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.