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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...

Angus & The Mearns

German ‘Munro baggers’ hit Montrose for former Runrig frontman’s gig

October 6 2014

A German army of die-hard Donnie Munro fans is planning to invade Angus. Contrary to long-held beliefs, German musical tastes range wider than David Hasselhoff. Runrig had a huge following in Germany during the 80s and 90s, when Munro was lead singer of the Gaelic band. Munro’s popularity in Germany has continued since he left the band in 1997 and pursued a solo career. There is also a Runrig fan club in Germany, based in Wuppertal a city east of Dusseldorf. Earlier this year Munro performed 12 gigs for his adoring fans across Germany, including stops in Hamburg, Hannover, Freiburg and Oberhausen. Now his German army is to travel to Scotland to watch him perform an acoustic set at Montrose Town Hall. Charlie Campbell of North East Musical and Sports Promotions said there had been “massive demand” from Germany. He said: “I knew he was big in Europe but I didn’t realise just how popular he was. “Looking through the names, there are a few Germans booked up already and Donnie’s website manager said there are more coming. “It’s definitely a pleasant surprise and it will be a great boost for the Angus economy. “His popularity in Germany seems to be a follow-on from his days in Runrig. “For one lady coming over from Germany this will be the 75th time she’s seen Donnie.” Munro will perform an acoustic set of solo songs and Runrig classics in Montrose on Valentine’s Day. Only a handful of tickets remain for the Angus gig, which will feature special guests Eric Cloughley, Maggie Adamson and support from Colin Clyne. Munro’s concert marks another big music date for the town following Status Quo’s MoFest headline gig in May and Big Country’s forthcoming show on December 13. Munro, 60, joined Runrig full-time in the early 1980s. The band went on to become one of Scotland’s most popular acts. In 1991 Runrig performed to an audience of around 50,000 on the banks of Loch Lomond at Balloch Castle before undertaking a mammoth tour of Europe. Munro left Runrig in 1997 following three farewell concerts at Stirling Castle. He then embarked on what turned out to be a short-lived political career. However, the singer returned to the music business in 1999 as a solo artist and continues to tour. More information can be found at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath man kissed gran goodbye before taking bag of knives to ‘exact revenge’

February 21 2014

A knife obsessive “kissed his grandmother goodbye” before he took a bag of blades to “exact revenge” on another man. Conor Munro, from Arbroath, was jailed for more than three years after Forfar Sheriff Court heard he posed a “significant and random danger to the public” due to his self-professed love of carrying knives. Munro, 21, took a bag of nine blades from his grandmother’s kitchen, ranging from four to 10 inches, before turning up at his ex-girlfriend’s door in search of a man in the house. Munro previously admitted an indictment alleging that on October 5 last year, at Sidney Street in Arbroath, he behaved in a threatening manner and attempted to enter the property in possession of a knife and a bag of knives. Sentencing him, visiting Sheriff Valerie Johnston said Munro only avoided the maximum sentence under statute four years in jail due to his early guilty plea. She said: “He took these knives with intent to exact revenge on a young man who he believed disrespected him. “He kissed his grandmother goodbye, told her he loved her, and he knew he was going on a course of action that meant he would go to prison.” Sheriff Johnston said a report compiled by social workers betrayed a dangerous “ideation about knives” possessed by Munro. “It says that when he drinks, he looks to take a knife,” she said. “With a knife, he said, no one thinks they are better than him.” Defence solicitor Lynne Sturrock said: “He is under no illusion that custody is the only option for him. “He apologised to his grandmother and said he wouldn’t be back.” The court previously heard Munro’s 22-year-old ex-girlfriend had asked him to leave when he appeared at her home around 4.30am. However, he returned 30 minutes later and when she opened the door she saw him holding a knife at waist level, and a bag in his other hand. Munro tried to enter the flat to approach a man who was also in the property, asking him: “Do you think you’re a big man now?” The man phoned 999 and Munro then left the flat to go to his father’s house, where police traced him shortly after. Officers found a range of steak knives which the accused had taken from his grandmother’s home, with whom he stayed at the time. Munro has been on remand or licence for four of the last six years. In 2011, he was convicted of assaulting a woman on December 30 2010 with intent to rob at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

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

Another big year ahead for Montrose music fans

January 23 2015

A Montrose councillor has hailed a hugely successful year for the town’s music scene after a string of high-profile gigs and bookings. David May said it has been amazing year for the local music scene and 2015 is set to be just as impressive. The East Links turned into a sea of air guitars as Status Quo performed in front of 4,500 fans in May to headline Montrose Music Festival. The three-chord legends were among 100 bands at MoFest, who also included former Seahorses singer Chris Helme. Former X Factor singer Amelia Lily performed alongside girl band Stooshe at MoFest’s Halloween gig and the former Britain’s Got Talent contestants the Loveable Rogues. Meanwhile, 2014 also saw the setting up of North East Musical and Sports Promotions by Angus father and son Charlie and Craig Campbell. They have fixed up a town hall dates by Fife rockers Big Country, Runrig singer Donnie Munro and 1980s legends T’Pau and From the Jam in 2015. Mr May said: “This has been an amazing musical year for Montrose and who would have believed several years ago that we would have big names coming to our town and to Angus? “Personally I hugely enjoyed the music of Status Quo and the event was wonderfully organised. “It must be good for the local economy to have so many visitors from far and wide coming to hear these acts and stay in our town. “We must thank Lynda Paton and her team several years ago for setting up MoFest. “David Paton and the present committee have built upon her work and moved it on and we now have headline acts and musical events throughout the year. “It has also been good to see the birth of North East Promotions from local father and son Charlie and Craig Campbell. “They have already filled the town hall for a gig by Big Country with concerts by T’Pau, Donnie Munro and From the Jam already planned for next year. “These gigs and next year’s MoFest will continue to put Montrose on the musical map.” A German army of die-hard Donnie Munro fans is planning to invade Angus for the singer’s gig on February 14. Runrig had a huge following in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s, when Munro was lead singer of the Gaelic band. Munro’s popularity in Germany has continued since he left the band in 1997 and pursued a solo career. T’Pau’s tour date in Montrose on March 13 also hit the headlines when singer Carol Decker admitted she thought she was heading for the Swiss Alps rather than Angus. She told The Courier she thought she would be in Montreux rather than Montrose in March.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Runrig frontman Donnie will kick off Forfarfest weekend

June 3 2016

Runrig legend Donnie Munro and his band will kick off a busy weekend of live music in Forfar. The Forfarfest began in 2011 and its fifth annual showcase takes place Friday until Sunday with high hopes of a bumper turnout across the town. Munro will be supported at the Reid Hall by special guests Skipinnish and Sketch and local opening act Eddie McNaughton in the only ticketed gig of the weekend. The rest of the weekend’s music is free but organisers hope that revellers will buy a £2 wristband which will allow the festival to continue to grow. Over 50 artists will perform blues, rock, folk, country, jazz and reggae in a number of venues in the town throughout the weekend. Forfarfest organiser Ian Whyte said the town will play host to an “eclectic mix of music” in around a dozen venues including an outdoor stage. He described Munro as “the most famous voice in Scots folk rock” and said his appearance in Forfar would be a “rare opportunity” to hear him perform live with his full band. “The weekend pub trail has bands playing around the town’s hostelries, halls and even the ice rink,” said Ian. “They are all within walking distance of each other. “There is music on offer from blues, rock and Scottish folk to country, jazz and reggae with 50 performances and 80 hours of music over the three days.” Tonight’s highlights include the Twa Blighters in the Caley, Shellshock in Chapter and Verse and Cherry Bombz in the Legion. Ian said Saturday is always the busiest day and he expects seven-piece folk collective Wire and Wool to bring the crowds to the Old Masons Arms. The outdoor stage featuring six acts from 1-6pm will be situated on Suttieside Road. Sunday is traditionally a “mellow” day after two days of partying but good crowds are expected on the final day. Highlights will include C-Red in the Thistle, Livewire in the Osnaburg and A Right Couple of Charlies closing the Old Reid Park Bar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9w354bJnJI Munro joined Runrig full-time in the early 1980s. The band went on to become one of Scotland’s most popular acts. In 1991 Runrig performed to an audience of around 50,000 on the banks of Loch Lomond at Balloch Castle before undertaking a mammoth tour of Europe. Munro left Runrig in 1997 following three farewell concerts at Stirling Castle. He then embarked on what turned out to be a short-lived political career. However, the singer returned to the music business in 1999 as a solo artist and continues to tour.

Perth & Kinross

Brave Olive taking on walk across Europe “before I am no longer able”

February 24 2018

A Perthshire woman facing an uncertain future is taking on a major walking challenge to help raise funds for medical research. Olive Munro, 67, and her husband Ronnie, 73, are embarking on a three-month trek across Europe in aid of Alzheimer research. “I have been diagnosed with dementia and felt I would like to do something before I am no longer able,” said Olive, who lives on the south side of Loch Tay at Ardtalnaig. "Dementia runs through the female side of our family. It is very mild at the moment but will become more recognisable in four or five years. "I always wanted to be tested. It is better to be pre-warned and, as a result, we decided to do the walk." On May 1 the couple set off on the famous Camino de Santiago walk, the ancient pilgrim path also known as The Way of St James. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrwircOWVCY “The challenge we set out for ourselves takes a normal fit person six weeks but being realistic we are taking 90 days,” said Olive. “We leave from St Jean Pied de Port, France, walk over the Pyrenees Mountains and across the north of Spain to Santiago. “We will walk 780km carrying what we need in backpacks and staying in hostels. “Ronnie and I are doing this to raise money for dementia research, hoping to raise £10,000 which will give Alzheimer Scotland the amount needed for one person to do research for six months. “Dementia has been featured prominently in the news lately and the devastation it causes to families and friends of the person with dementia. “We just want to make people aware. If anyone wants to give a couple of pounds that would be great — every little helps.” The couple, who are originally from Edinburgh, lived in Canada for a number of years and their children and grandchildren who are still out there are backing their efforts. Mr Munro is a former member of the band of  The Black Watch and Mrs Munro managed a care home. For anyone who would like to help the couple, the couple’s online fundraising page can be found by searching for MyDonate Olive Munro.

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