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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...


We have £50,000 in Comic Relief cash for you!

February 5 2011

The Courier is Comic Relief's official local media partner, and will be helping give away £50,000 of Comic Relief grants to projects in your area. It may be the 13th Red Nose Day that is almost upon us, but there's nothing unlucky about it for those in Courier Country. We have teamed up with Comic Relief, and we have a total of £50,000 to give away to worthy causes in our coverage area. So if you know a group or organisation in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perth & Kinross which could do with a boost, encourage them to apply for a portion of the Red Nose Day Community Cash Fund. The grants of £500 up to £1000 are available to groups working in disadvantaged or deprived areas that have an annual income of less than £50,000 and which are run by local people. They can be used for anything from parent and toddler groups to community festivals, equipment for youth groups, befriending services for the elderly and isolated, or improving services to a group that already carries out valuable work in the community. Grants won't be given to individuals, statutory organisations (such as schools), or to fund trips abroad, community transport schemes, or building costs. The allocation of grants will be administered for Comic Relief by the Community Foundation for Scotland, with a senior figure from The Courier sitting on the grant allocation committee. Comic Relief was launched on Christmas Day in 1985, live on BBC One. At that time, a devastating famine was crippling Ethiopia and something had to be done. That something was Comic Relief. The idea was simple Comic Relief would make the public laugh while they raised money to help people in desperate need. Before too long, Red Nose Day was created and the first ever event in 1988 raised a staggering £15 million. To date, 12 Red Nose Days have raised more than £500 million. That money helps to support people and communities in dire need both in the UK and Africa. Comic Relief's UK grants manager, Sue Wicks, said, "We're delighted to be making a £50,000 Red Nose Day Community Cash fund available to small organisations in Dundee and surrounding areas that are doing great work to help local people living tough lives. "From our long experience of making grants in communities all over the UK, we know that local groups are able to make a huge impact on their communities with a small amount of money. By making the Red Nose Day Community Cash fund available we hope to encourage some of the wonderful local organisations to apply for a grant and put it to work helping people of all ages feel more included in their community. I encourage people to apply now." Even if you're not applying for a grant, Red Nose Day want you to Do Something Funny for Money. From bathing in baked beans to hosting a quiz night or a sponsored bike ride in fancy dress, the only limit to the ways of raising money is your imagination. Look on www.rednoseday.com/fundraise for some suggestions. Over the coming weeks, The Courier will be covering some of the best fundraising activities in our area, so contact us at news@thecourier.co.uk with your ideas.How to applyThere are three weeks for Courier readers to apply for a Red Nose Day Community Cash Grant. Grants of £500-£1000 are available to small organisations in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perth & Kinross that are doing good work to help local people. To apply for a grant go to www.scottishcf.org/rndcommunitycash

UK & World

Comic Relief apologises for Frankie Boyle performance

March 8 2013

Comic Relief has apologised to its supporters after Frankie Boyle caused controversy at a charity gig with a string of gags about the Queen. The Scottish comic was reported to have been booed by the audience at the Give It Up for Comic Relief concert at Wembley Arena after launching into a routine which included jokes about the Queen's recent illness, the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy and the Jimmy Savile sex scandal. A spokeswoman for the charity said: "The Give it Up for Comic Relief gig included a range of comedians and performers who all gave their time for free to raise awareness and money for a serious issue. "We appreciate that not all the personalities who take part in our campaign are to everyone's taste, and hope that our supporters haven't been offended and continue to support Red Nose Day." The concert, which was organised by Russell Brand, featured acts including Jack Whitehall, Noel Gallagher and Jessie J and was shown on BBC Three on Wednesday night but Boyle's entire act was cut from the broadcast. A BBC spokeswoman said: "It was an extremely tight edit of a three-and-a-half hour show down to 90 minutes and not every act or performance made the final broadcast." Whitehall was among the other acts cut from the final BBC show.

UK & World

Scottish party leaders united behind red noses

March 4 2011

Political hostilities were briefly put aside at Holyrood when the four main party leaders joined forces to don a red nose for Comic Relief. The Courier is Comic Relief's official media partner and got Alex Salmond, Iain Gray, Tavish Scott and Annabel Goldie together for a photo call at the Scottish Parliament. All four leaders were happy to wear the iconic nose to publicise the cause. First Minister Alex Salmond said he was "extremely proud" to support the work of Comic Relief. Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray revealed he had been working at Oxfam at the time of the first Comic Relief in 1985 and had seen first hand the popularity of the noses. "I remember we ran out of red noses and had to fly them in from abroad," he said. "Now Comic Relief has gone from strength to strength and rightly has its special place in the British calendar." Tory leader Annabel Goldie said her party would be raising money for the charity at the upcoming party conference in Perth. "Every year at our Scottish conference we hold a blue review with the proceeds going to charity and where even the journalists dig deep," she said. "I am delighted that this year in Perth our conference falls on Comic Relief Day and we look forward to handing over a big cheque." Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott said, "This is a fantastic cause and I was happy to sacrifice my dignity and pull on a red nose in support. "A big well done to The Courier for its support of |this great campaign, which supports so many people in the UK and overseas. I hope people dig deep again this year as fund-raising continues."


Review: VW Touareg 3.0 litre V6 TDI SE

March 19 2011

Normally when I test cars I try to drive them in a variety of conditions. I'll take them around town, cruising on motorways and along country roads. The VW Touareg got all this, and then some. With The Courier being the Scottish media partner for Comic Relief, the big Volkswagen found itself pressed into duty ferrying me, our photographer Kris Miller, two people from Comic Relief and the biggest red nose suit you've ever seen across The Courier's territory. The Touareg acquitted itself magnificently over the course of a 150-mile day that took us from the Beano's HQ in Dundee, to Dunfermline's East End Park, the Old Course in St Andrews, and the Guide Dog Centre in Forfar. There's probably only a handful of other cars that would have been roomy enough for the job and comfortable enough that we were all still fresh at the end of the day. This is the third-generation Touareg, which went on sale in October. It's lighter and more rigid than its predecessor and better looking, having received a range of styling tweaks. I drove the 3.0 litre V6 TDI SE version, which is the second cheapest model in the range at a smidgeon over £40,000. It has 240hp under the bonnet the cheapest model in the range costs £38,935 and comes with a 204hp version of this engine. There are other engine options a 340hp 4.2 litre V8 diesel and a V6 petrol/electric hybrid but they retail at over £57,000, which makes them almost preposterously expensive, especially when you consider how good the 'basic' diesel engine is. It's refined, with plenty of low-down power and, thanks to the eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted as standard, it's an extremely quiet motorway cruiser. Volkswagen have labelled it with their BlueMotion eco badge. This means it comes with stop-start technology, brake-energy capture, low rolling resistance tyres and so on. All this contributes to a combined fuel economy of 38.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 195g/km. Those are pretty good for such a big beast but it will still cost £425 to tax in its first year and £235 thereafter. It's not quite in Nissan Leaf territory. Nevertheless, they're decent figures for a large four-wheel drive. And large it is. Unlike Audi's Q7 and Land Rover's Discovery 4, the Touareg doesn't come with seating for seven. But this means Volkswagen haven't had to compromise to fit those extra seats in, and there's acres of room for five people and all their luggage. Standard equipment is fairly comprehensive, with leather upholstery, heated seats, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, sat nav, cruise control, and parking sensors. The car has an up-high driving position that makes you feel king of the road. The heating controls are all within easy reach and the touchscreen stereo and navigation system is one of the easiest I've used. The car's suspension is terrific, soaking up the worst Scotland's winter-hit roads can throw at it and, for such a tall car, it handles pretty well, with good traction and minimum body roll. The Touareg finds itself in a pretty tough market bracket, going up against BMW's X5, the Lexus RX450h, Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery. Some people might prefer these more 'exclusive' marques but if you're judging purely on quality and performance, the Volkswagen can cut it with the best of them. Price: around £40,195.0-62mph: 7.8sec.Top speed: 135mph. Economy: 38.2mpg. CO2 emissions: 195g/km.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

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

UK & World

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

February 21 2018

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

Gadgets & Games

Video games firms welcome Scottish Affairs Committee’s report

February 8 2011

The computer games sector has broadly welcomed the publication of a Scottish Affairs Committee report on the state of the industry. TIGA, the body that represents the video games industry, has backed the committee's findings that highlight the need to improve education for those entering software and IT development, provide greater incentives to retain skilled people in this country and recommend that tax relief for the industry should be reviewed. The trade association, whose aim it states is making the UK the best place in the world to do games business, also backed the committee's findings that the sector needs more government support, calling on Westminster to offer economic incentives to gaming in a similar way that it does to British cinema. Monday's publication came on the back of last summer's announcement by the coalition government to scrap tax relief for the games industry a decision TIGA hopes will be reversed. CEO Dr Richard Wilson said, "The UK video games industry is high tech, highly skilled and export oriented. "If the coalition government is serious about its intention of rebalancing the economy then it should invest in the UK video games industry by introducing games tax relief. "This would create jobs, boost investment, power an export focused sector and generate much needed tax revenue for the government." TIGA estimates that tax relief over a five-year period could create or safeguard 9519 direct and indirect UK jobs and could more than pay for itself over the time. The body also predicts that such a move would benefit Scotland directly by creating or safeguarding £28 million in investment over the same period.Start-upAttending the announcement at Abertay University was Chris Wright, CEO of Edinburgh's Games Analytics, a company founded only last year. As a start-up firm Mr Wright was particularly keen to attend the publication of the committee's report and, while pleased at what he heard, he remained adamant Britain's place in the gaming world is in severe jeopardy. He said, "It's a hard market and the games industry is going through massive change. We're going from boxed products to digitally downloaded games and it's the same in the music and film industries. "There are lots of new ideas and opportunities and we're in the middle of that. It's an exciting time for the industry but it needs support. "If we don't watch out we will see the same as has happened in other industries." Although largely supportive of the committee's findings, Mr Wright was another who could not hide his disappointment that no consensus had been reached on the issue of tax relief. However, pleased they had recommended the issue to be put under review, he added his belief financial assistance could make or break some smaller companies. "It's not as far as I'd like to see them go and that's a shame as there was real cross-party support for tax relief and the government pulled it after the election."


Oor Wullie gets cosmic makeover at Dundee University

June 23 2016

Oor Wullie has been given a cosmic makeover by comic artist Dave Gibbons. Dundee University is a sponsor of Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, a major public arts event that will bring the streets to life with colour as 50 giant Oor Wullie sculptures are installed in the city this summer. In recognition of the University’s position as one of the UK’s foremost centres of comics scholarship and creation, it was decided that its statue should be designed by comic artist Dave Gibbons.

UK & World

Huge demand for final print edition of The Dandy as Dandy.com takes the reins

December 5 2012

The final print edition of The Dandy flew off the shelves after hitting the stands. Children young and old snapped up tens of thousands of copies of the comic as soon as the last issue reached the shops yesterday, 75 years after Britain's oldest comic was first published. Dundee publishers DC Thomson and Co Ltd printed additional copies of the comic but said there had still been ''unexpected demand'' for its final issue, number 3610. The printed version of the comic bowed out on a high with Sir Paul McCartney appearing in a strip alongside Desperate Dan, 53 years after the former Beatle told an interviewer it was his ambition to appear in The Dandy. Newsagents across the country sold out of The Dandy almost as soon as the comic hit the shelves. However, some purchasers attempted to cash in by selling the comic on internet auction sites such as eBay. One seller had already received a bid of £23.50 for the comic, more than £20 above the cover price, within three hours of posting their listing. One optimistic seller had even fixed a £100 price tag on their copy. Others were equally quick to recognise the final edition of the Dandy as a business opportunity. Desmond Barr, who runs Sinclair Barr Newsagents in Paisley, set up a special stall in the Braehead shopping centre just to sell copies of The Dandy. He said: ''I have never known a demand for a comic like it ever before.'' A spokesman for DC Thomson said: ''The final printed edition of The Dandy has now been delivered to newsagents and retailers across the UK. ''Initial demand has been considerable, in some cases higher than anyone expected.'' The Dandy's first issue was printed in 1937 and yesterday's final issue contained a reprint of the very first issue. While fans were soaking up the history of the printed comic's valedictory final issue yesterday, they were also logging on to http://dandy.com to check out its future. The new website features animated strips as well as games and puzzles. smorkis@thecourier.co.uk