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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...


Free tickets for Lord Provost’s Christmas Concert

November 8 2013

The first Lord Provost’s Christmas Concert will welcome older people from all over Dundee. A call is going out for people to apply for free tickets for the event, planned for the Caird Hall on Wednesday December 11. Lord Provost Bob Duncan said: “There is nothing that says Christmas more than carol singing and meeting up with old friends. “The Caird Hall is a magnificent setting for that and I am delighted the first Christmas concert is going to take place there.” School pupils will provide the entertainment, with a variety of musical performances lined up. This includes a performance of Away in a Manger by children. The free concert for elderly people is being staged to replace the Christmas lunches formerly held in City Chambers. Tickets are available by phoning Dundee 434 216.


Gallery: Dundee Lord Provost’s Youth Festival

August 26 2013

The £2 million refurbishment of City Square was put to the test in spectacular fashion on August 24 when it hosted the Lord Provost’s Youth Festival. The celebration of Dundee’s young people and their talents and achievements saw 450 participants show off their skills in dancing, music and martial arts throughout a fun-packed day. It was also a chance for Lord Provost Bob Duncan to perform the official reopening of City Square. To buy any DC Thomson photograph phone 01382 575002 or email webphotosales@dcthomson.co.uk.

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


Dundee Lord Provost’s Youth Festival puts new-look City Square to the test

August 26 2013

The £2 million refurbishment of City Square was put to the test in spectacular fashion on Saturday when it hosted the Lord Provost’s Youth Festival. The celebration of Dundee’s young people and their talents and achievements saw 450 participants show off their skills in dancing, music and martial arts throughout a fun-packed day. It was also a chance for Lord Provost Bob Duncan to perform the official reopening of City Square. Tayside Contracts has spent months laying new paving, updating the drainage and electrical supply, installing wall-mounted lights, planters and seating, and replacing the Caird Hall steps, including improving disabled access. The Youth Festival also took over the High Street and Reform Street where a sprinting contest was held and for the first time included the McManus, where visitors were encouraged to produce their own art at drop-in workshops. There was a vast array of information stalls run by community organisations as well as climbing walls, a fire engine and the cockpit from a Harrier jump jet for visitors to enjoy. Gallery: Dundee Lord Provost’s Youth Festival Representing Dundee’s twin towns were a string quartet from Wrzburg, Germany, a music group from Alexandria, US, and a dance troupe from Zadar, Croatia. The day ended with an open-air ceilidh to music from the Cutting Edge Ceilidh Band. Mr Duncan said it had been an “absolutely fantastic day” and the festival had been enjoyed by a large crowd. “It was really good fun and there were lots of people in the town. The City Square looked marvellous and there were many people enjoying the new benches and looking on at the performances.” He added that the Youth Festival was important for the showcase it provided for the city’s young people and, thanks to the visitors from other countries, also gave participants a chance to experience other cultures.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.


Twin city performers welcomed at Lord Provost’s Youth Festival in Dundee

September 1 2014

The Lord Provost’s Youth festival took over the City Square at the weekend with performances from four of Dundee’s twin cities. Display Dance duos from the Matthais-Grnwald-Gymnasium in Dundee’s German twin City of Wrzburg gave a performance of contemporary dance with ballet and hip hop elements. Visitors from Zadar played a selection of tunes on the piano, while those from Alexandria performed music on the flute and the tuba. The city of Nablus also had youngsters entertaining the crowds. Lord Provost Bob Duncan had a special mention for the visitors who helped make the day such a memorable event. He said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have them here. I think it’s very important for the city. “As our schools look to do more work with other countries, we are hoping that this twinning gives them a base to develop and work on what they’re going to do in the future. “Some of our pupils will get involved in schools music theatre in Germany and some of them will come to Dundee, hopefully next year.” There was also a turn from Dundee Chinese School, including a performance by the Chinese lion and a Chinese drama performance, Little Horse Cross River. Ferry Dance School’s fledgling dance company performed ballet, tap, modern and contemporary dance, while Beth Wood, a regular musician at the Shore, gave an acoustic guitar performance of pop punk songs. There was a vast array of information stalls in the Square and on the High Street as well as a climbing wall, face painting and balloon modelling. Duncan and Daisy from the DUNCAN project and the Penguin from Dundee Science Centre were also on hand to greet visitors. Mr Duncan added: “It has been an absolutely fantastic year for the city. We have had so many wonderful events which culminated in the Tattoo last week. “The City Square is an ideal public space for people to come and put on events like this.”


Relative attends ceremony for pioneering trade unionist Caroline Martyn

July 27 2010

A leading 19th century female trade unionist who died on a visit to Dundee has been commemorated at a ceremony attended by one of her relatives. Caroline Martyn died in July 1896, aged 29, after a short illness. She had been visiting the city to recruit female jute workers into the Dundee Textile Workers' Union. Her great niece Vivienne Flowers travelled from England to speak at the ceremony. It was held in Balgay Cemetery, where Caroline Martyn is buried. She said she was overwhelmed by the support and love from the Scottish community, and by how much her ancestor is appreciated. Ms Martyn's grave was rediscovered last year after inquiries by an English historian. A monument at the burial site has been restored, with its missing column reattached, after detective work by Dundee TUC secretary Mike Arnott. Mrs Flowers was alerted to the rediscovery after reading an online article in The Courier. She said, "I did a lot of reading about her and we're terribly proud. We're still quite amazed we didn't know anything about her." The ceremony, which was attended by around 25 people, was addressed by Lord Provost John Letford. It closed with a rendition of Mary Brookbank's Jute Mill Song.

Readers' letters

December 14: We need to wait for consultation results

December 14 2012

Sir, I was very disappointed to read in The Courier (December 12) that people attending the community council meeting in Dundee’s West End the previous evening voted unanimously against Dundee Council’s plans for residential parking in our area. We have been trying to get residential parking in Dundee West End for many years, as it is well-nigh impossible to get parked between 9am and 5pm anywhere near your house or even in one of the local car parks. It is also a problem for anyone working on a house in this locality. I think that it is the charging that people are objecting to £80 per year as opposed to the £5 a year charged in Menzieshill. I also think that the people who went to the meeting were there because they opposed the proposals. Thirty people don’t represent the whole of the West End. I wanted to attend this meeting myself, but I didn’t know when it was to be held. I don’t think that we should pre-empt the consultation process. That will give a better idea of what all residents in the West End think. Obviously no-one wants to pay to park their car and that is the reason why people who attend the university or work in town park outside our houses and in our local car parks. That’s why we cannot get parked near our homes. Katharine A Smith. 29 Westfield Place, Dundee. Did not “run” Dundee club Sir, We are writing with reference to your article in The Courier on Saturday November 17 which refers to Andrea Law, who was sentenced recently for embezzlement, as the person “who runs disability sport group Dundee Boccia Club”. This is in fact incorrect. Dundee Boccia Club was established 10 years ago and is a fully constituted club which is affiliated to Dundee City Disability Sport and holds Development Level of Leisure and Culture Dundee’s Club Accreditation programme. The club was set up by parents of children and young people who want to participate in the sport of Boccia which is a Paralympic sport. Dundee Boccia Club holds an AGM each year where members elect the committee and office bearers to assist with the running of the club. We have held the positions of chairperson and secretary for nine years and oversee the day-to-day business of the club with the assistance of the committee. Although Andrea Law has been part of the committee and did hold the post of treasurer, this was quickly changed as soon as her case was highlighted. We feel although she was involved in the club she did not, as your article states, run Dundee Boccia Club. Mari Macmaster. Chairperson. Craig Macmaster. Secretary. Dundee Boccia Club. A rather ironic state of affairs Sir, So Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing compared the UK Government to an “absentee landlord” trying to keep a grip on Scotland’s energy resources (Davey warning on Scottish energy bills, December 12). How then would he describe his own proposals, which would result in subsistence communities in other countries being cleared off their land to make way for plantations of trees, which can be cut down to burn in Scottish power stations such as the one proposed at Dundee? If Mr Ewing’s proposals on renewable energy subsidies for biomass are approved by the Scottish Parliament, that’s likely to be the outcome. Rather ironic that Scotland will be inflicting clearances on other countries. Andrew Llanwarne. Co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth Tayside, 8 Glasclune Way, Broughty Ferry, Dundee. Denied vote in referendum Sir, Like George McMillan (December 11) I too am a Scot, but British first. Unlike Mr McMillan my job forced me to emigrate south of the border in 1990 and I now find myself in the unhappy position of being denied a vote on the future of the land of my birth when the time comes, whilst English folks resident in Scotland can do so. As the potential break-up of the UK would dramatically affect all its citizens, there is a case for letting them all have a say. It also leaves me wondering where I would stand in the event of Scotland seceding? Will I be a foreign national in England and need a new (Scottish) passport? Dr Stephen Moreton. 33 Marina Avenue, Great Sankey, Warrington, Cheshire. Not such a good idea? Sir, After reading in Saturday’s Courier about the massive substation plan for Tayside, I wondered if the parties involved had checked the Scottish Environment Protection Agency flood map for the area (an indicative representation, so it could be worse than illustrated) which shows the area Haughend Farm is on is part of a flood plain? Surely not a great area for an important substation. R McVicar. 1 Belmont Place, Meigle. We should support TS1 Sir, I read with interest the report on Taxpayer Scotland’s stance that the provision of a car and driver for Dundee’s Lord Provost was “total hypocrisy”. Our present Lord Provost, Bob Duncan, is a committed advocate of our city, as was his predecessor, John Letford. He has been elected to represent us locally, nationally and internationally. He fulfils this role fully, working days and hours that many of us would find unsocial and excessive, to the best of his ability. Symbolically, his role merits appropriate support. This includes the provision of transport befitting the office. Most Dundonians, myself included, are proud to see the Lord Provost’s car around town, with its weel-kent TS1 plate, as he attends important functions. It is a symbol of Dundee’s aspirations. It represents the strength of our voice in the world and the voice we know we can have in the future. Practically, the Lord Provost’s role demands timely and engaged attendance at many events and functions. The bus, or taxis, just wouldn’t hack it. Additionally, the Lord Provost’s driver has many duties beyond the chauffeur role. He adds value for the city, as does the Lord Provost himself. We should support and feel proud of TS1 and of the office of Lord Provost. It is one of the many elements that will maintain and grow Dundee’s thriving reputation. This, in turn will generate economic and social returns to benefit all of its citizens. Andy Lothian. Chief Executive, Insights, Dundee. Churches are so out of touch Sir, Whether the topic is assisted death or sexual orientation, the established churches north and south of the border have never looked so out of touch with the rest of the nation. In a shameful moment on Tuesday, the only organisation that has a duty to marry English citizens was legally allowed to discriminate once more against gay men and women. I have a terrible feeling Alex Salmond will also betray his undertaking to offer equal treatment to all couples wishing to marry by allowing the Kirk a similar cop-out. There is a belief that all clergy oppose gay marriage but though conservatives and the hierarchies are against it, a growing number of parish clergy have a more nuanced view. This makes the clause legally barring ministers marrying same-sex couples unless their hierarchy ‘opts-in’ doubly unfortunate and a manifest breach of religious freedom. Rev Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews. Mall and hall will help each other Sir, It is very disturbing that Councillor Alan Grant, Depute Leader of Perth & Kinross Council (Letters, December 10), rushes to condemn Perth City Market Trust’s proposals for development of the City Hall prior to any consideration by the responsible committee and apparently without having seen the plans for himself. It is even more disturbing that he does not know the difference between a shopping mall and a market hall which are in fact complementary and mutually beneficial. What we propose is not only Perth’s but Scotland’s first fresh food market, whereas there is not one fresh food shop in the St John Centre in fact, there are very few anywhere in the city centre. Fully integrated with St John’s Place on both sides as well as with Kirkside and King Edward Street, the building will become “a market hall in a market square”. If Councillor Grant imagines that retailers in the vicinity of City Hall would prefer to see their businesses ruined by the whole area becoming a building site for two years, as the hall is demolished to create a useless backyard, rather than have thousands of new customers flocking into Perth to enjoy the buzz and variety of this whole new scene, then he is completely out of touch. It would be a pleasure to show him our plans and discuss them fully if he would care to get in touch. Vivian Linacre. (Perth City Market Trust), 21 Marshall Place, Perth. Name to reflect bridge users? Sir, Regarding the naming of the new Forth crossing. As the existing (perfectly adequate) bridge is to be used solely for buses when the new one comes on stream why not call the new bridge the Forth Road Bridge, then the old bridge could be renamed the Stagecoach Bridge? Tom Minogue. 94 Victoria Terrace, Dunfermline.


Dundee lord provost’s ‘jet-setting’ called into question

April 15 2015

Opposition politicians have questioned the costs of sending Dundee’s lord provost on foreign trips. Bob Duncan, his wife and a council officer flew to Frankfurt for the Mozart Festival in May 2013 and then to Washington to attend a Scottish Christmas Walk, with a combined bill to the taxpayer of £2,361.52. Opposition councillors have criticised the bill, claiming that in times of austerity when the council is trying to cut expenditure such trips cannot be justified. Lib Dem councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “We are living in challenging times and the budget has to be very carefully constrained. “I am keen to see our twinned cities supported, but we have to be careful to minimise travel and expenditure as well as hospitality for the council.” Labour councillor Brian Gordon said: “I would always oppose gross expenditure of this nature, and all should go through the appropriate committee. “In times such as these I would always oppose things like this, as we’re cutting public services that some residents of our city rely on he should not be jet-setting.” Conservative Derek Scott said: “I’m very much against money being spent on sending councillors to conferences and other unnecessary expenditure, but I think it is reasonable for our civic head, during their term of office, to support a small number of events hosted by our twin cities as it reaffirms our ties with them.” Questions were asked about whether cheaper travel alternatives could be found. A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “The costs for these flights, as with every similar request to attend events in any of our twin cities, were approved by the city council. “The flights were taken by the lord provost, Mrs Duncan and a council officer in economy class. “Invitations to the two events were for three people. Accommodation and expenses while the delegates were attending were met by the hosts.” FACT-FINDING DOESN’T COME CHEAP Over the last two years local authorities across Scotland have spent more than £2.6 million in flying dignitaries around the world. Las Vegas, Rio, Miami, Dubai and Tokyo were among locations visited by council officials in 2013 and 2014. One of the flights was to Malawi on an aid mission, costing £10,000 20 times the average income in the country and a sum that could have purchased 3,000 anti-malaria nets. Aberdeen City Council racked up the most overseas air miles, with a number of foreign trips that included Rio, New York, Mumbai and Las Vegas, costing taxpayers £219,693. Clackmannanshire Council used the public purse to fund a week-long holiday in Tenerife for four staff and three children from a care home, at a cost of more than £2,000. Edinburgh Council sent employees to the Cannes film festival. All the island councils, the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland, saw the highest spending, but the majority of the flights were between the islands and the mainland. A spokesman pointed out it was “hardly surprising” given the geography of the area.