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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...

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

AC/ DC frontman Bon Scott topples Barrie as Kirriemuir’s top attraction

May 10 2016

Bon has toppled Barrie as the favourite thing to do in Kirriemuir. Visiting the bronze statue of the AC/DC singer in his home town has surged ahead of the Angus Glens and Peter Pan author JM Barrie’s birthplace on reviews website TripAdvisor. The statue was only revealed two weeks ago during a staggeringly successful Bonfest weekend which thrust Kirriemuir to the centre of the international music map. The larger-than-life sized bronze of Bon – who died in 1980 after a night of heavy drinking aged just 33 – was the centrepiece of fan attention and is already the subject of countless photographs. Kirrie’s memorial will now undoubtedly become a must-visit attraction for diehard AC/DC fans and joins a similar memorial in Freemantle, Australia where Ronald Belford Scott emigrated with his family in 1956, later meeting the Glasgow-born Young brothers before embarking on the history-making journey with AC/DC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Wio1U0llM Meanwhile, AC/DC disciples from as far afield as Australia, Austria and Spain have helped Kirrie’s Gateway to the Glens Museum smash its visitor record. The Gateway to the Glens Museum received a record breaking 1,001 visitors during the three days of opening during the 10th annual Bonfest weekend. Rachel Jackson, Museum Officer, said: “The huge total surpassed the record breaking number during last year’s Bonfest and is officially the largest total of visitors in one day (Saturday’s visitor figures were 609) for the museum which celebrates its 15th birthday this month. “The visitors came from far and wide; Austraila, Austria, Madrid, but also many local visitors who came to experience the buzz of the festival. “Former band member Mark Evans viewed the exhibition, along with Bon’s soulmate, Mary Renshaw, who donated a selection of letters which were written to her by Bon during the 70s.” Bonfest has been organised by local group DD8 Music every year since 2006 and the exhibition featured rare Bon Scott memorabilia which is owned by Neil McDonald who has the biggest collection in the UK. Mr McDonald has a life-long collection of albums, posters, rare cassettes and even a Christmas card from former lead singer Bon Scott. This year he has decided to mark the milestone anniversary by delivering many items of memorabilia which have never been displayed before in Kirriemuir.

Scottish politics

Mark McDonald resigns as Scottish childcare minister

November 4 2017

Scottish childcare minister Mark McDonald has resigned over allegations about his private life. The MSP for Aberdeen Donside apologised "unreservedly to anyone I have upset or who might have found my behaviour inappropriate". He said he was standing down as minister as a result. In a statement, he said: "Some of my previous actions have been considered to be inappropriate - where I have believed myself to have been merely humorous or attempting to be friendly, my behaviour might have made others uncomfortable or led them to question my intentions. "My behaviour is entirely my responsibility and I apologise unreservedly to anyone I have upset or who might have found my behaviour inappropriate. "In light of my position in government, I believe it would not be appropriate for me to continue to serve in my role in the Scottish Government at this time and I have tendered my resignation as a minister. "I hope that in taking this step neither any particular woman or my family will be the focus of undue and unwarranted scrutiny. "It has been an honour to serve in the Scottish Government and I will continue to serve my constituents in Aberdeen Donside to the best of my ability." A Government spokesman said: "Mark McDonald MSP has left the Scottish Government. "Mr McDonald tendered his resignation to the First Minister on Saturday. "The Education Secretary is responsible for all aspects of the education portfolio including those led by the minister for childcare and early years. The First Minister will appoint a new minister in due course."

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

Collector aims to leave AC/DC fans Thunderstruck at Angus exhibition

April 26 2016

The UK’s biggest collector of AC/DC memorabilia has promised fans will be left Thunderstruck after donating rare items to a Kirriemuir exhibition. This year marks the 10th anniversary Bonfest, a celebration of the baker’s son who emigrated with his Angus family to Australia before becoming the lead singer of rock giants AC/DC, and the Angus town will witness the unveiling of a sculpture commemorating the frontman following a £50,000 campaign which enjoyed global support. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNeC3Nc6_yE Collector Neil McDonald has contributed to an extended exhibition at Kirriemuir’s Gateway to the Glens Museum in the town square for the 10th year running. He has a life-long collection of albums, posters, rare cassettes and even a Christmas card from former lead singer Bon Scott. This year he has decided to mark the milestone anniversary by delivering many items of memorabilia which have never been displayed before in Kirriemuir. Mr McDonald, who is originally from Glasgow, said: “We are all set for Bonfest 2016. “I am delighted to be back again in Kirriemuir exhibiting at the Gateway To The Glens Museum. “I have already delivered many items of memorabilia from my collection to the museum which are now on display. “Amongst the items being exhibited this year are two Reel to Reel Tapes from Atlantic Studios, USA for the album Powerage and a metal printing plate for the cover of the Powerage LP from Germany. “Also, there are promotional shop displays for the Heavy Metal series of singles released in the UK in 1980 and a cardboard Cash Register counter display for the single Moneytalks from the USA. “These are only a small number of the new items which have never been displayed before in Kirriemuir. “I will, of course, be at the museum over the Bonfest weekend to chat to visitors about the exhibition. “As you are aware, this is the 10th anniversary of Bonfest, a great achievement for the organisers at DD8 Music. “It is terrific that the Bon Scott statue will be getting unveiled at this years event and we are all very excited about it. “It is all lining up to be a superb weekend.” Mr McDonald has been a fan of the Forfar-born rocker since the 1970s and was keen his collection go on show in Scott’s home town. The first time he met Scott he was standing outside the Glasgow Apollo in 1978 before a concert. He was carrying the last tour programme when Scott drew up in a car, and he asked him to sign it, which he did. Mr McDonald asked if he would take it inside and get the other guys to sign it as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2AC41dglnM Scott asked him to come inside and ask them himself and he ended up meeting the band and they all signed his programme. He met Bon Scott three times before he died. Mr McDonald said: “I’ll never forget the day he died because it was on my birthday.” Bon Scott was born Ronald Belford Scott in Forfar in 1946 and lived in Kirriemuir until 1952, when his family moved to Australia. Once there he became part of one of music’s biggest success stories after joining Glasgow-born brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in their band, AC/DC. Scott died in London in 1980, aged just 33.

Angus & The Mearns

AC/DC collector aiming to mark 10 years of BonFest

June 9 2015

The UK’s biggest collector of AC/DC memorabilia will be returning to mark 10 years of BonFest in Kirriemuir. Neil McDonald has been exhibiting at the Gateway to the Glens Museum since 2005. Mr McDonald’s collection helped break the museum’s daily attendance record during this year’s BonFest which has been held annually since 2006. He regularly loans the museum a host of objects for its exhibitions, many of which have never been viewed by the general public. Fans of the rock band travel from around the world to Kirriemuir each year to celebrate the life of their late lead singer Bon Scott, who was brought up in the town. Mr McDonald said: “The BonFest weekend was fabulous and, as you know, the museum broke its daily attendance figure which was fantastic. “It was great meeting and chatting to all the fans and visitors about the memorabilia on display. “One of the items which created a lot of interest this year was the AC/DC promotional ‘Swag Bag’ from the USA for the single Money Talks as well as the many early Australian and European singles on display. “I will be coming up to Kirriemuir imminently and will be having early discussions with the staff at the museum regarding next year. “Interestingly, although BonFest will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year, I first exhibited at the Gateway to the Glens Museum a year earlier in 2005.” The first time Neil met Bon Scott was when he was standing outside the Glasgow Apollo in 1978 before a concert. He was carrying the last tour programme and Bon Scott drew up in a car and Neil asked him to sign it. Bon Scott took him inside to meet the band and they all signed his programme.


Manhunt after ‘deplorable’ attacks on visitors to Dundee

January 7 2013

GOOD SAMARITANS who rushed to the aid of a pensioner when a “deplorable” thug tried to snatch her handbag in Dundee city centre have been praised by police. Officers started a manhunt after he left the 72-year-old from Fife with a leg injury and in distress after he struck on Saturday afternoon in the Cowgate area of the city. The man is also believed to have stolen money from a 37-year-old woman in nearby Candle Lane less than an hour earlier. The police said both victims had been visiting Dundee and that the incidents were “unusual, but concerning”. Chief Inspector Cathy McDonald said: “It is pretty deplorable that two visitors to the city on the same day are exposed to this sort of aggression. “This is unusual but concerning and we are doing all we can to get the person responsible. “Members of the public have intervened in the incident with the elderly lady. The male and female saw what happened and yelled at the guy and he ran off. They have probably saved her from a more serious attack. “They took care of her and handed her over to the care of some shop assistants. We are looking for the couple who intervened to come forward.” The pensioner twisted her leg during the attempted robbery, which happened between 4.30pm and 5pm on Saturday, when the man approached her from behind. In the other incident, the 37-year-old, who was staying at a city centre hotel, was robbed at 4pm at Candle Lane near its junction with Allan Lane. The man demanded that she hand over money to him and he made off with a small quantity of cash. Police said the woman was left “shaken and distressed”. The man involved in both incidents is said to be approximately 5ft 5in and was wearing dark clothing. In the robbery, he is described as 25 to 30 years old and was wearing a black tammy and black fleece. The man in the bag snatch incident is described as 19 to 20 years old, wearing a dark top, which was hooded or was possibly a balaclava. Despite the discrepancy in age, it is understood that police are hunting one suspect. Ms McDonald said: “We are keeping an open mind, but it would be wrong not to look at the incidents in conjunction with each other as it isn’t something that happens every day. The timings are close together, in the same area of the town, and the height described is the same. “We would also encourage people to take simple crime prevention advice and if they are concerned to approach any police officer.” Officers are reviewing CCTV footage and will continue door-to-door inquiries today. Anyone who witnessed either incident or who has any information can contact the police on 0300 111 2222. gogston@thecourier.co.uk


Man appears in court charged with attempted Templeton murder

August 9 2017

A 31-year-old man, Robbie McIntosh appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court accused of attempting to murder a woman in a vicious woodland attack. McIntosh appeared in private from custody before Sheriff Simon Collins QC on Wednesday afternoon, accused of the attempted murder of Dundee woman Linda McDonald. Ms McDonald is currently in a serious condition in Ninewells hospital, where she is being treated for a head injury after apparently being struck repeatedly with a dumbbell. McIntosh, of Rowan Place, Bridgefoot, made no plea and no declaration to two charges levelled against him. He was remanded in custody and committed for further examination. McIntosh was charged with attempted murder in Templeton woods on Monday August 7. The attempted murder charge alleges McIntosh repeatedly struck Linda McDonald, 52, on the head and body with a dumbbell, rendering her unconscious before dragging her along a path – to her permanent impairment and disfigurement, to the danger of her life and did attempt to murder her. The second charge alleges McIntosh attempted to defeat the ends of justice –  having allegedly committed the crime in charge one – by washing his clothes to conceal and destroy any evidence. McIntosh was remanded in custody and ordained to appear back before the court in Dundee within the next eight days. A heavy police presence was witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the alleged crime, both in Templeton woods, Clatto park and Bridgefoot. Officers continued to scour the area and maintained a cordon 24 hours after the incident is said to have occurred. Locals in the area reported seeing scores of police vans and cars lining the road toward Clatto reservoir, with dog walkers continuing to use the remaining open paths. Templeton woods has an infamous and uneasy history of murder, with the bodies of Carol Lannen and Elizabeth McCabe being discovered their in 1979 and 1980. Nobody has ever been convicted of killing the young women, but a cold case investigator and former police intelligence officer Chris Clark believes they may have been killed by World's End murderer Angus Sinclair.


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.