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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

Two years’ jail for addict who befriended frail pensioner to steal his medication

February 22 2012

An Angus drug addict has been jailed for posing as a pensioner's granddaughter before stealing his medication. Nicola Cargill (26), a prisoner at Ratho House in Edinburgh, had previously admitted robbing the 69-year-old man at Boots in Arbroath, on September 19. Abroath Sheriff Court heard that Cargill approached the frail man, who requires the aid of a walking stick, and offered to help him with his shopping. Depute fiscal Arlene Shaw said: ''The two of them went to Superdrug where the complainer purchased items including shower gel and Nicorette patches. They then went to Boots chemist where the complainer had to pick up a prescription.'' The man had to steady himself as he entered the store, with Cargill holding on to his arm to assist him. After approaching the sales counter, she introduced herself as the man's granddaughter and was provided with his medication. As they went to leave the shop together, Cargill turned and ''snarled'' at the man, before attempting to grab his two bags. Ms Shaw said: ''The complainer tried to keep hold of his bags. However, he lost balance and required to steady himself. The accused took the bags from him and made off out of the store.'' Members of the public heard the man shouting ''get off me and let go of my bags'' during the struggle in the shop. Cargill was seen to leave the store and immediately get into a taxi. The police were contacted and, following enquiries with the taxi firm, it was found the attacker had gone back to Superdrug, where she exchanged the stolen goods bought previously for a £19.96 refund. Officers traced her by 7.35pm that evening and during an interview she said: ''I swear there was a reason. It wasn't just any ******* robbery.'' Ms Shaw read aloud desperate claims made by the thief that the man had attempted to solicit her services as a prostitute and had touched her bottom. Analysis of CCTV footage later showed the claims were totally unfounded and Cargill's defence agent Bob Bruce said she now accepted these were false. ''At no point was the complainer touching the accused at all,'' said Ms Shaw. Cargill has a serious drug habit and is on a methadone prescription. Mr Bruce said his client was ''gutted with herself'', adding that she had now shown ''adequate remorse''. He went on to explain that Cargill had had a troubled upbringing and had lived a ''rootless life'' between prison sentences. Sheriff Kevin Veal said: ''I have to recognise the serious nature of the complaint and the fact that there are 45 previous convictions.'' Cargill was sentenced to two years' imprisonment backdated to September 20 and will be placed under a supervision order for 12 months after her release.

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.

Readers' letters

So many near misses approaching bridge

April 15 2013

Sir, I sincerely hope that when the roadworks are complete at Dundee’s waterfront there is a totally separate lane leading on to the Tay Road Bridge. Last Monday I was heading home to Tayport along Riverside Drive only to be stopped at the Tesco entrance at exactly 5pm. I was in the correct lane unlike so many who chanced their luck in the left-hand lane, only to later indicate and push their car into the right-hand lane. So many near misses. Because of this it took me and everyone else in the correct lane 28 minutes to reach the Tay Road Bridge access. No mention was made of this on the Radio Tay jambuster line. When I eventually got home I searched my phone book and checked online for their number to alert them to the congestion. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Why not display it on the billboards? Goodness knows there are plenty of them en route! So, come on, traffic controllers and pushy drivers get your act together! Anne H F Lowe. 13 Nelson Street, Tayport. Biomass makes no sense Sir, Recent Courier reports relating to the proposed biomass plant in Dundee have focused on the health impact associated with emissions of nitrogen dioxide but what is never mentioned is the increase in local carbon dioxide emissions. No new coal-fired generation facility would be allowed in Scotland without carbon emission mitigation and yet people seem to be sleep walking into supporting a so-called biomass (wood burning) facility which also emits significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Both coal and wood-burning involve the oxidation of carbon to form carbon dioxide. In fact, a wood-burning generator emits almost 25% more carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated than a coal-fired generator would. In effect, Dundee would be importing carbon emissions from the countries from which the wood will be sourced. This makes no sense when we are ravaging our countryside with ever more wind turbines in an effort to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions. Dr G M Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross. Figures are dwarfed Sir, I wish to congratulate Steve Flynn on his excellent letter (Courier, April 11) on the inequalities of present government legislation. While most people do not wish to see illegal benefit claims made, these are dwarfed by tax dodging from the well-off and by reduced taxes, again, to people who are much more than comfortably off. Another group of people Mr Flynn does not mention are the directors of banks who, through inefficiency and cavalier decisions have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds yet, many are still being paid large bonuses and pensions. I am sure that the amounts of illegal benefit claims pale into insignificance when compared to these latter items. John Baston. 9a Seabourne Gardens, Broughty Ferry. It is a time to show respect Sir, Why should anyone want to organise a street party to celebrate the demise of a former prime minister? The only appropriate time to organise such a gathering was surely when that person left office(in the case of Mrs Thatcher, over 22 years ago). But dancing on the grave, so to speak, of the former leader is not just distasteful it is perverse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the Durham coalfields, the republican streets of Belfast and Londonderry, or the centre of Glasgow or Brixton. Events like these don’t just diminish our reputation for tolerance, they undermine the whole texture of political debate and democracy. Respect for your opponents in time of personal difficulty and death is simple good manners and humanity. Nobody contests that Mrs Thatcher was a controversial figure. But the plain fact is that her attitudes and beliefs (honestly held and worthy of respect at a time of her passing), were subject to the test of the ballot box. For good or ill she was successful on three occasions. In the end it was her own MPs and Cabinet who prompted her resignation in November 1990. Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.Remarks show a lack of classSir, I write with reference to your article featuring Labour councillor Tom Adams and entitled, A dram to toast the lady’s demise.I found the tone of the article to be in incredibly poor taste and I am very uncomfortable with the pleasure Mr Adams appears to derive from the death of an 87-year-old frail lady with Alzheimer’s. Mr Adams, of course, makes no mention of the fact that Harold Wilson closed three times as many coal mines as Margaret Thatcher ever did. Nor does he appear to apportion any responsibility for his plight as a young man to the militant NUM leader Arthur Scargill. Most of those in his party seem to accept that Mr Scargill and his fellow militants played a major role in the failure of the mining industry. That aside, his comments, coming from an elected member of Fife Council regarding Mrs Thatcher’s death are disgraceful and show a distinct lack of class. Allan D S Smith. 10 Balgonie Place, Markinch.

Angus & The Mearns

New competition dedicated to Angus teacher who helped opera star Karen Cargill find her voice

May 4 2017

An international opera star has dedicated a new competition in memory of the Angus teacher who first helped her find her voice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfmPMZFL8dM Born and raised in Arbroath, Karen Cargill started singing lessons with Molly Robb at the age of nine and was a regular member of Molly’s well-known concert party and her choir at the Old and Abbey Church. The Arbroath Music Festival was another regular event for Molly’s pupils where Karen won various prizes, including the prestigious Blue Riband. The Scottish mezzo-soprano dedicated a new competition for emerging classical singers at Scotland’s national conservatoire in memory of Molly which took place on Tuesday with Matthew McKinney and Olivia Singleton the inaugural winners. https://twitter.com/RCStweets/status/859376678598049797 Karen, who last month received critical acclaim for her lead performance in Scottish Opera and Vanishing Point’s dramatic new production of Bluebeard’s Castle and The 8th Door, and has upcoming performances in some of the world’s most prestigious cultural locations, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Edinburgh International Festival, is supporting the Molly Robb Prize for Young Singers to honour the inspirational Arbroath teacher. “Molly was my first singing teacher, she gave me the confidence to sing the way I felt the music,” said Karen. “She had an incredible influence on my early musical development, she was a real inspiration to me,” said Karen. “Molly taught me everything - from how to read music to expressing emotion through my singing. https://twitter.com/RCStweets/status/859457981221568512 “I was always singing at home from a very young age. “My auntie suggested that I might enjoy singing lessons, so when I was nine years old I began to have lessons with Molly. “I owe so much to those early days learning about communicating through music both in my lessons and as part of Molly’s concert party.” Karen Cargill is recognised as one of the great mezzos of her generation. She has graced the stages of some of the finest opera houses in the world including New York’s Metropolitan Opera and The Royal Opera in London, working with some of the world’s top conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Donald Runnicles, James Levine and Yannick Nézét-Séguin. No matter the success and accolades, Karen has never forgotten her childhood in Arbroath and the path that led her to train at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the beginning of her career. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s prestigious Alexander Gibson Opera School has an international reputation for producing outstanding vocalists who perform in opera houses throughout the world. “I owe so much to Molly Robb and my years with her, that’s why I have created this prize in her memory,” she said.

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

Angus & The Mearns

From Webster Theatre to New York Carnegie Hall for Arbroath mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill

January 22 2015

World renowned mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill debuts at the Carnegie Hall in New York this April. It is the latest prestigious venue for the Arbroath woman who credits her home town’s music festival as the spark for her exceptional international career. The 39-year-old, who delighted her “ain folk” when she declared: “Well hello Arbroath” from the stage of the Webster Theatre a few years back, is undoubtedly one of the Angus town’s finest exports. She earned wonderful reviews on her debut at New York’s Metropolitan Theatre, where in 2013 she excelled in the vocally-demanding role of Waltraute in Gotterdammerung, the last of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Her Carnegie Hall appearance will perhaps be a little less demanding and less dramatic than vocalising the fall of Valhalla. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cn03d5Nltoo?rel=0 The concert takes the form of a recital with piano. Karen told the Scots Magazine: “Whatever venue I am in, I’m grateful for the chance to share my music with others. “Carnegie Hall is a very special venue and I cannot wait to perform there.” The celebrated diva had her first singing lesson aged nine, after her parents recognised her interest in music. https://www.youtube.com/embed/iLN0opRXv1k?rel=0 Her aptitude for arias came when she was older, but it was local music teacher Molly Robb, who encouraged her through Scots songs, as well as songs for concert parties. She said: “Arbroath Music Festival was a seminal moment. It was there I realised the power of music, of singing. “It was fantastic to stand up and do something I loved and have people in the audience enjoy it so much.” Karen went on to study at the Roal Scottish Academy for Music and Dance, as well as the University of Toronto, and the National Opera Studio in London. She lives in Bearsden, near Glasgow, with her husband Nick and son Adam. Karen Cargill sings Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, on January 29, and at City Halls, Glasgow, on January 30.

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.


Fife’s own KT Tunstall confirmed for Proms in the Park

August 12 2016

Fife singer songwriter KT Tunstall has been confirmed on the line-up for Proms in the Park 2016 on Glasgow Green on Saturday September 10. After a two-year break from performing, the multi-million selling Brit Award-winning singer will take to the stage alongside the likes of Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro, Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, Gary: Tank Commander actor Greg McHugh, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. KT said: "It's such a great honour to perform with the BBC SSO, as well as a beautiful musical adventure to reimagine songs in different ways. “There's a deep and rich world to be found in recreating songs with orchestral arrangements, and everyone, performers and listeners alike, comes away from it with an expanded creative mind." Scotland’s Proms in the Park will be broadcast live on BBC Two Scotland from 7.15pm until 8.30pm on September 10, and will feature on Red Button throughout the evening. The whole evening will be live on BBC Radio Scotland. Donalda MacKinnon, BBC Scotland head of programmes and services, said: “Glasgow Proms audiences are renowned for creating a great atmosphere, which makes this one of the most special evenings of the year.” Tickets for Proms in the Park are still on sale and are available from bbc.co.uk/promsinthepark.