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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…


Copper Lungs scoop gold in Battle of the Bands

February 12 2013

Young Dundee/Perth band Copper Lungs are celebrating after winning one of Tayside and Fife’s most prestigious Battle of the Bands competitions. The four-piece alt-rock outfit scooped the major prize of £1,000 worth of equipment provided by Kenny’s Music and an EP recording session at Gardyne Studios at the final of the Tay FM Under The Radar unsigned bands competition. Copper Lungs beat competition from three other excellent local acts, Courtney’s Chain, Mass Consensus and Neil McLaren to also win a photo session from ICU Smile, media services from Lorraine Wilson PR and they will also now become Tay FM’s adopted band for 2013.

Perth & Kinross

ASBO breach case against Perthshire pensioner collapses

March 1 2014

A Perthshire ASBO pensioner accused of screaming abuse at her neighbour was let off after he admitted it had happened so often he’d ceased to care. Joan Courtney, 73, recently became the UK’s oldest female recipient of an antisocial behaviour order. She has appeared in court on a number of occasions in connection with verbal and physical assaults upon Derek Scotland and his family, and she was banned from harassing neighbours in Stanley as part of the ASBO imposed at the request of Perth and Kinross Council. The latest allegation saw her accused of breaching that order by shouting abuse at Mr Scotland, 42, on August 21 this year outside the block of flats they share in the village. Mr Scotland explained that he’d been approached by Courtney and her daughter while gardening. He said: “They were talking about me, but not to me, and she quickly became irate and aggressive. She started mouthing obscenities about my granddaughter, who at the time was just seven. She said stupid things about her.” The case began to unravel, however, when Mr Scotland said: “I’m not bothered about the way she speaks to me I don’t even think about her language towards me any more.” He said Courtney’s daughter had “rattled” gardening tools down his car and: “I thought I was here to speak about that.” After hearing Mr Scotland’s evidence, the Crown decided not to seek a conviction.

Perth & Kinross

‘Asbo gran’ gets fine for attacking neighbour

July 12 2013

A pensioner dubbed “Asbo gran” because of her history of offending has been fined in her latest court appearance. At Perth Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Lindsay Fowlis ordered Joan Courtney to pay £100 for assaulting neighbour Derek Scotland and another £100 for approaching him again despite being banned from doing so by a court order. The 73-year-old, of County Place, Stanley, admitted approaching Mr Scotland on May 25 and shouting at him on the street. She was also charged with assaulting Mr Scotland by grabbing his arm on May 3. Courtney’s history of offences saw her given an Asbo last year, making her one of the oldest women in the country to be given such an order. The year-long Asbo forbids her from attacking people in the area around her home. Perth and Kinross Council went to court to get the Asbo granted in the wake of several incidents, including one which saw her attempt to strangle a 77-year-old woman in a fight over a parking space. Courtney was arrested in July 2011 and charged with attacking Ruby Anderson by throttling and slapping her.

Angus & The Mearns

Somefin’ special for daring fundraising birthday boy Oliver

September 10 2015

Angus youngster Oliver Bernard has sunk any suggestion that young brothers and sisters don’t get on by taking the plunge in a shark-infested pool for his sibling. The brave Forfar lad made a weekend splash at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry to raise money for organisations which have helped his sister Courtney as she continues her impressive recovery from major surgery to correct a triple curvature of the spine. Courtney, 16, underwent a spinal fusion at Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Sick Children in April and is delighting medics with her progress. As a thank-you for the care she received, little brother Oliver decided to take on the daring challenge of a shark dive for his ninth birthday and raise money for both the Sick Kids Friends’ Foundation and Scoliosis Association UK in the process. Oliver’s dad, Pierre said the experience lived up to all of Langlands primary pupil Oliver’s expectations. “He had a ball and absolutely loved it so much so that he was saying he wants to do it again,” Pierre said. “Oliver loves programmes about sharks and has wanted to dive with them for a couple of years so when Courtney had her surgery he said he wanted to raise money for the two charities, which we thought was a great idea.” The youngster’s fundraising page at www.virginmoneygiving.com/OliverBernard will remain open as the birthday boy hopes to hit a target of £500. Pierre, a regional representative and trustee of the Scoliosis Association UK, added: “They are really pleased with Courtney’s progress. “She loves swimming and hopefully they will allow her to get back in the pool quicker than she expected.” In 2014 father and daughter passed the Commonwealth Games relay baton to each other as the celebration passed through Forfar. Courtney was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of eight and wore a spinal brace for up to 20 hours a day until the decision was taken for her to undergo the complex surgical procedure. The Bernards hope the success of her operation will raise awareness of scoliosis and give encouragement to other families who are facing the same situation.

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.


Teenage hopefuls light up the stage at Gardyne Youth Music Initiative concert

November 4 2013

The future of Dundee’s music scene was superbly showcased at Gardyne Theatre on Saturday night at a concert by nine of the city’s most promising young acts. The fruits of four months of hard labour in the studio for the teenage musicians were there for all to see as the bands, solo artists and female acoustic duo played their own, original material, much of it written during the mentoring course they have attended at Gardyne Studios since June. The musicians have all been mentored by four of the city’s finest musicians, Christopher Marra, Dave Webster, Stevie Anderson and Paul (Lefty) Wright. The nine acts that performed were Elephant, Courtney’s Chain, Syann Gilroy, The Alley, Drenched, Blood Indians, Marley Davidson, Stobie Boy and Room 7.


Big Sunday a great start for Westfest

June 10 2013

This year’s Westfest got off to a flying start as Big Sunday hit Dundee’s Magdalen Green. Now in its fourth year, Dundee’s biggest live music festival featured 11 acts including Courtney’s Chain, Room 7 who won the Westfest Battle of the Bands and Buffalo Soldiers. Festival goers were kept entertained throughout the day by the bands and a variety of stalls including that of local woman Christina Gibson. The Dundee Relay for Life fundraiser bravely shaved her head in the afternoon to raise money for Cancer Research UK and to drum up more volunteers to take part in this year’s overnight relay where participants complete laps of Caird Park Stadium. The sun may not have been shining as strongly as on Saturday but Westfest chairwoman Paola McClure was delighted with the turnout.Photo gallery: Big Sunday at WestfestShe said: “It’s going really well. Although it’s not sunny there’s no rain and it’s actually quite warm.” She encouraged people to take advantage of the wide range of activities running throughout the week. “One of the things which is a great thing is the workshops by street poet Kevin McCabe. “Poetry has changed his life and I would really like people to take the opportunity to attend the workshops,” she said. Other highlights of the week’s festivities include a talk by Caroline Wilkinson and Janice Aitken about their work and how they recreated the face of Richard III and film screenings at the Generator Project, which is taking part in its first ever Westfest. For the full line-up, visit www.dundeewestfest.co.uk

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