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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...

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.


Half of Turner Prize-winning artist’s new exhibition opens at DCA

March 4 2017

A new exhibition of work by Turner Prize-winning Mark Wallinger has opened simultaneously at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. MARK WALLINGER MARK is split into two parts and will be shown in both venues until Sunday 4 June. It is the first exhibition in Scotland by the artist and features Wallinger’s most recent body of work: the id Paintings (2015-16). These are presented alongside a series of sculptures, films and wall-based works which further explore the themes of identity, reflection and perception addressed in his new work. In the Dundee half of the exhibition, 12 of Wallinger’s id Paintings surround a new work, Self (Symbol) (2017), a capitalized ‘I’ aggrandized as a three dimensional statue the height of the artist. The id Paintings have grown out of Wallinger’s extensive series of self-portraits, and they reference the artist’s own body. His height – and therefore his arm span – is the basis of the canvas size. They are exactly this measurement in width and double in height. Wallinger described the paintings as the basis of both the Dundee and Edinburgh exhibitions. "There are different works in the two spaces, but these are the starting point, or spine if you like," he said. "There is quite a lot of work around the idea of identity and my presence." Video pieces are also included in the DCA gallery, including Shadow Walker in which the artist filmed his shadow walking ahead of him. In MARK, a 2010 creation, Wallinger chalked the title all over the city of London within the parameters of single standard-sized brick. This deadpan tagging is rendered as a photographic slideshow, made up of 2,265 images. A mirrored TARDIS is also on display in the exhibition. Wallinger said the development of Dundee had been notable in the time since he first visited the city to prepare for the gallery. "I came up here about a year ago to look around and think about how this show might be hung. "There has been so much work, lots of work, on the V&A since then. It looks amazing already - I quite like it as it is." Beth Bate, director of DCA, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming Mark Wallinger to our galleries and to be working alongside The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in this compelling exhibition of two parts. "Mark's first show in Scotland features his new body of work, the enigmatic id Paintings. "We can’t wait to welcome audiences to this exciting exhibition." MARK WALLINGER MARK is a collaboration between Serlachius Museums, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the DCA.

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch men among D-Day portraits to go on display in Perth

May 30 2016

The portraits of 12 D-Day veterans are to go on display in Perth. The images were commissioned by Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothsay in Scotland. They will form an exhibition entitled The Last of the Tide, which will take place at the Black Watch Castle and Museum from June 4 to November 6. Each portrait has been painted by a different artist, amongst them Jonathan Yeo, James Lloyd and Stuart Pearson Wright. The portraits pay tribute to some of the extraordinary men that played a role in the allied invasion of Normandy and guarantee an artistic record endures of those who fought in Second World War campaign. Nicola Moss, collections assistant at the castle and museum, said: "It is an honour to be able to display the portraits of 12 unique individuals of the D-Day Landings, generously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection. “Included within these are men with strong links to The Black Watch including Brian Stewart and Tom Renouf and we are truly delighted to have these on display until November." The D Day landings involved some 7,700 ships and 12,000 aircrafts and led to the liberation of German-occupied France. Dr Tom Renouf, who lives in Musselburgh, served in the Black Watch and was part of the Normandy landings. The title of the exhibition comes from General Eisenhower’s message to the troops on the eve of D-Day in which he declared, “The tide has turned! The freemen of the world are marching together to victory.” The 12 veterans featured in the exhibition all served in Regiments with which HRH The Duke of Rothesay and the Duchess of Cornwall have a formal association. HRH, The Duke of Rothesay is Royal Colonel to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3SCOTS). HRH The Duke of Rothesay wrote in the accompanying catalogue: “I am delighted to introduce this exhibition of portraits of veterans of the D-Day landings and very much hope that all who see it will share my belief that this wonderful collection of paintings captures the spirit, resolve, warmth and humanity of these remarkable men. “It seemed to me a tragedy that there were no portraits of D-Day veterans, hence this collection of remarkable old soldiers from the regiments of which my wife and I are Colonel or Colonel-in-Chief.”

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


Cecil Beaton’s royal portraits will be city’s first V&A exhibition

June 9 2011

A unique collection of royal portraits will become Dundee's first V&A exhibition later this year. The McManus art gallery and museum is to be the first place in the UK to host the display of portraits of the Queen by Cecil Beaton to celebrate her diamond jubilee. The exhibition will run from September 30 to January 8 and is the first in a series of partnership projects between the McManus and the V&A as part of the run-up to construction and eventual opening of the V&A in Dundee. Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, said, "Part of the £5 million of government funding that I announced in January included support for the pre-opening programme of exhibitions that will begin with this outstanding selection of Cecil Beaton's royal photography. "The V&A will be a stunning landmark building on Dundee's waterfront, and the funding is a reflection of the significance we attach to this project as a showcase for our creative industries and as a magnet for visitors, enhancing Scotland's reputation as a creative nation. "I am delighted the programme is starting with such an appealing free exhibition that provides just a foretaste of the unparalleled shows that Scotland will enjoy in future from the V&A." Dundee City Council leisure, arts and communities convener Bob Duncan said, "I am delighted that this exhibition is coming to Dundee. It will act as an additional attraction to the McManus, which is a hugely popular destination in the city. "People of Dundee and further afield are excited at the prospect of the V&A at Dundee, and this exhibition shows how the partnership is already delivering benefits." Lesley Knox, the chairwoman of Design Dundee, the company delivering the V&A at Dundee, said, "We are looking forward to an exciting and varied range of exhibitions from the V&A over the next four years as we work towards opening our new building." The images in the exhibition depict the Queen and royal family, contrasting highly staged state occasions with intimate family moments. It charts how the representation of the royals has changed and also examines Beaton's working methods, styles and approaches, revealing him as one of the 20th century's masters of photography. Beaton's royal portraits were among the most widely published photographs of the 20th century. The exhibition explores his long relationship with the Queen, who was a teenage princess when she first sat for him in 1942. Over the next three decades, he photographed her on many significant occasions, including her coronation day. The exhibition in Dundee will feature over 60 items, from wartime photographs of Princess Elizabeth with her family, to tender images of the Queen with her own young children and official portraits that convey the magnitude of her role as Britain's monarch. An expanded exhibition will be hosted at the V&A in London from February 8 to April 22 next year. The display will then visit Leeds City Museum, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, and Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

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 Victorian maritime heritage is given stamp of approval

February 26 2015

Fife’s Victorian maritime heritage has been celebrated in a new set of Royal Mail stamps. The stamps feature sailing boats and include a Fifie painted in Pittenweem in 1890. The stamp set, Working Sail, which are available now from Post & Go terminals in 146 Post Office branches, feature illustrations of the sailboats Falcon, Briar, Stag, Harry, Nell Morgan and Margaret. Henry Lawson was the artist behind Margaret. He was a fisherman in Pittenweem, who, as a teenager, earned extra money by painting boats. The Margaret was his father’s first boat and was used for line-fishing as well as drift-netting. Over the centuries, the beauty of sailing ships inspired many paintings, and it is the work of folk artists who observed ships as they came into the port that has captured for posterity many types of traditional merchant and fishing vessels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These artists would sketch from life and produce portraits of the vessel before the ship sailed again, usually within days. The typical portrait was a broadside view of the vessel at sea or leaving harbour, with details added in the background to help identify the location.

Angus & The Mearns

18th century art masterpiece discovered in Montrose after being neglected in store room

October 7 2016

A torn and unloved 18th century painting, long-relegated to the store room of Montrose Museum has now been heralded as a true art treasure. The painting of Dr Richard Mead, who is believed to have been King George II’s physician and a patron of acclaimed 18th century artist Allan Ramsay, had been hidden from the public eye for years. It was believed that the painting was a copy of a Ramsay portrait which is in the custody of the National Portrait Gallery in London. With its canvas horribly ripped, it was put away out of sight. However, a listing on the Art UK website, which catalogues public art, attracted the attention of art historian and writer Dr Bendor Grosvenor, who is a presenter on BBC4 programme Britain’s Lost Masterpieces. Suspecting the painting had greater significance, he was keen to take a closer look and contacted ANGUSalive, who operate the museum and care for the Angus Council collections, to arrange an viewing. The programme makers Tern TV took care of the much-needed restoration of the Dr Mead, which was carried out by Simon Gillespie at his studios in New Bond Street at the heart of the London’s art district. Dr Grosvenor observed the painting style, tell-tale clues offered by long-since brushed strokes of paint so typical of the great old master Ramsay and concluded the Montrose piece, and not its elevated counterpart in London, was the genuine article. His suspicions were confirmed by art historian Dr Duncan Thomson. He said: “It wasn’t known where the original was. It was thought that the original was probably the one in the National Portrait Gallery. “However, I’m very pleased to say that this (the Montrose painting) is in fact that lost original portrait and the restoration and the cleaning of the picture has revealed actually a work of extreme brilliance. “It’s very nice to have it back and be able to put it on public display again. “I feel fantastically privileged to be able to rescue works like this picture and see the pleasure it brings to a small institution like Montrose Museum.” Quite how the original and its copy came to be confused is a mystery that remains to be solved. John Johnston, ANGUSalive’s collections officer, said: “We were amazed by the news and fascinated to learn about the detective work that went into establishing the truth about the painting’s origin. "The results of the restoration work are superb. It is wonderful that a painting by the esteemed Allan Ramsay, perhaps the greatest portrait painter in Britain in the 18th century has been so expertly restored.” Edinburgh-born Ramsay’s painting of Dr Mead languishes in the shade no more. It takes pride of place in Montrose Museum’s public display.