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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

Answer to Easthaven carving mystery lies in Spain

March 4 2015

An expat sculptor has solved the mystery of a beautiful carving found in an Angus fishing village. Thomas (Tam) Walker, now living in Spain, said the carving was “fashioned by these fair hands of mine” as part of an art college project in Dundee in the 1960s. Mr Walker, a former Carnoustie High art teacher, contacted The Courier after his brother Mike forwarded our article to him and he said the story brightened up his day. The hard-fired terracotta sculpture depicted Robert the Bruce at the Declaration of Arbroath and it was discovered during a village clean-up in Easthaven. An appeal for information was launched after it was found close to the old post road where the pilgrims used to travel between Arbroath Abbey and St Andrews. Easthaven was popular with travellers in the 16th and 17th centuries and artefacts have previously been found there, including pilgrims’ brooches and a 12th-century coin. Residents thought the scuplture might have been of the same vintage but Mr Walker told The Courier it was “far from being of great antiquity.” He said: “By my memory o’ awfy cauld hauns when working on it, I can date it to the winter of 1967/68. “It is made of hard-fired terracotta and any metal therein was added for support and reinforcement. “I gave this panel to someone who asked if they might have it. Who that person was, for the life of me I cannot remember. “How it got to where it was found now that is a mystery.” Mr Walker, who was born in Arbroath, said he lived with his wife for 20 years at Long Row in Easthaven before the couple moved to Spain in 2000. As part of a project for college, Mr Walker made a maquette depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence at the abbey on April 6 1320. He said: “The Easthaven part, which is featured in the article, was an enlarged detail and this depicted Robert the Bruce, having the declaration displayed to him by a clerk while Bernard de Linton stands behind and Douglas stands in front.” Mr Walker said each of these figures was based on some of the people who took part in the 1966 pageant in Arbroath. He said his lecturers at Duncan of Jordanstone sculpture department gave him a lot of encouragement and it was with their good grace that the pieces were fired in the department kilns. A founder member of the Abbey Theatre and Carnoustie HSFP Rugby Club, Mr Walker continues to work in sculpture in a studio in Spain.

Angus & The Mearns

Thrums Up! Arts world coming to Kirriemuir for celebration of JM Barrie

May 9 2016

An Angus town will capture Scotland’s imagination again this week as it prepares to launch its first art, food and literature festival. Today marks 156 years since Peter Pan creator Sir JM Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, which was immortalised in his first novel, A Window in Thrums. Culture and heritage charity the Saltire Society is 80 this year and its local branch has decided to mark Barrie’s impact on the world with an “exciting programme of talent” at Thrums Up! – A Celebration of Inspiration on Saturday. It has been more than a century since Peter Pan appeared in Barrie’s novel The Little White Bird and stage play The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up – the first of thousands of books, plays, films, and works of art inspired by the character. The free event will include visits from Saltire award winning writers Meaghan Delahunt and James Robertson, and BBC Scotland’s poet in residence Rachel McCrum. Mr Robertson, author of And the Land Lay Still, said he is “very pleased” to be involved. “Scottish culture in all its forms is thriving not just in the cities but in communities of all shapes and sizes right across the country,” he said. “Kirriemuir, which happens to be just a few miles from my home, is one such place, and I don’t doubt that the day will be full of surprises and delights.” Thrums, a Scots word for the ends of warp threads or scraps of waste threads, was the word Barrie affectionately used for his home town. And an assortment of local artists, photographers and designers will feature accordingly, with guests also able to sample local food and drink. Attendees at the Town Hall will be able to view the work of 16 locals including Jonathan Mitchell and Maureen Cosby, and sample the creations of bread maker and chocolatier Johanna from 88 Degrees, beer maker Colin McIlwrathe and Kim Cameron from Gin Bothy in Glen Isla. The event, running from 10am to 7pm, is organised by the Angus branch of the Saltire Society as part of its anniversary programme. © SuppliedSaltire Society committee member Andrew Lendrum from Kirriemuir with local photographer and digital artist Catherine McIntyre. Committee member and Kirrie resident Andrew Lendrum said the event would celebrate “the wealth of cultural and culinary delights” his town has to offer. He added: “The Saltire Society aims to support and promote creativity and I think this festival is a brilliant way to get  people from throughout central Scotland and the north east involved and to show them just how inspiring and creative Kirriemuir and its people can be. “Thrums Up! is a great opportunity to see artists you admire, but there is a place too for the joyful serendipity of coming to an event where you  might just be surprised by a sight, a taste, or the spoken word.” Kirriemuir has seen a major boost to its tourism due to the recent Bonfest music festival celebrating former AC/DC singer Bon Scott. A statue to the frontman, who died aged 33 and spent some of his childhood in the town, was unveiled before thousands of people on April 30, ahead of the music taking over. Staff at the Gateway to the Glens Museum are giving visitors a rare opportunity to view the Peter Pan “book sculpture” until May 28, marking Barrie’s birth. The intricate paper sculpture was made by a mystery sculptor, commissioned by the Scottish Book Trust in 2012. The same sculptor left a series of beautiful and anonymous works of art around Edinburgh in 2011, and the Pan sculpture is usually on display at the National Library of Scotland in the city. © SuppliedThe book sculpture, ordinarily kept in Edinburgh. Museum officer Rachel Jackson said: “We are delighted to have arranged the loan of the Peter Pan book sculpture for the month of May so that visitors to Sir JM Barrie’s home town can view the creation.” The museum at 32 High Street celebrates its 15th anniversary on May 18, and the loan has been organised as part of the Festival of Museums between May 13 and 15.


Dundee sculpture helps Bowie sale fetch milllions

November 11 2016

A six feet five inches bronze sculpture by the late Dundee sculptor, William Turnbull, which was treasured until his death by David Bowie, sold for £317,000 at auction. It was more than double the £80,000 to £120,000 the sculpture, Large Idol had been expected to fetch. The mystery bidder at the Sotheby’s sale made it the third most valuable sculpture by Turnbull sold at auction. Small Venus,the other William Turnbull sculpture in the David Bowie auction, sold for £35,000, nearly three times the expected £8,000 to £12,000. Turnbulls Large Idol sold for £317,000 In total, buyers spent £24.3 million on the sale of Bowie’s vast personal art collection after initial estimates predicted sales of between £8.1 million to £11.7 million. A 1984 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat called Air Power sold for an unprecedented £7.1 million after intense bidding. Air Power by Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for £7.1 million Frank Auerbach’s painting Head of Gerda Boehm – a piece famously adored by Bowie – sold for £3.8 million, 10 times its estimate and a record for the artist. Frank Auerbach’s painting Head of Gerda Boehm Along with the Auerbach piece, the first session of auctions for Bowie’s collection broke 11 records for 20th Century British artists. The musician, who died in January aged 69, was a passionate collector of modern art and, during his life, kept his collection largely private. Collectors from 46 countries registered to bid for the 47 works on offer, after 37,000 people attended the display at Sotheby’s, the most visitors ever at a pre-sale exhibit in London. Oliver Barker, the chairman of Sotheby’s Europe said: “Sotheby’s is truly honoured to have had the opportunity to share this collection with the world and, in doing so, offer a fresh insight into the creative mind of one of the greatest cultural figures of our time.” A spokesperson for the Estate of David Bowie, which will receive the money raised at the auctions, said: “David always enjoyed sharing the works in the collection, loaning to museums and actively supporting the art and artists that were part of his world. “While the family have kept certain pieces of particular significance, now was the time for others to share David’s love for these remarkable works and let them live on.” More of Bowie’s collection is due to be auctioned on Friday in two further sales. William Turnbull Dundee-born Turnbull’s life was a classic rags to riches story. When his father lost his job as a shipyard engineer during the Great Depression the 15-year-old was forced to leave school and find part-time work as a labourer. William Turnbull He went on to a role painting film posters before being employed as an illustrator by DC Thomson. He also attended an evening drawing class at Dundee University,where he was taught by Dundee artist James McIntosh Patrick. In 1941,during the Second World War,he joined the RAF and served as a pilot in Canada,India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). When the war ended he became a sculptor. In 1960,he married artist Kim Lim and in 1962 he travelled to Japan, Cambodia and Lim’s native Singapore. He later produced a series of totemic sculptures which were inspired by the religious sites he had visited on his travels. William Turnbull was ninety when he died on November 15, 2012. Some of his work is owned by the Tate Gallery,in London,and by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

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

‘Outsider’ artist Adam Christie’s profile set in stone

January 26 2016

A sculpture commemorating an “outsider artist” who spent 50 years in an Angus mental institution has been unveiled at the end of an eight-year project. Adam Christie from Shetland spent his adult life in Sunnyside Royal Hospital and was buried in a pauper’s grave at nearby Montrose in 1950. His resting place at Sleepyhillock Cemetery had been marked by a Historic Scotland plaque, with a counterpart unveiled in his birthplace of Cunningsburgh. The campaign to keep his name alive has culminated in the unveiling of a stone head by Arbroath sculptor Brian Wyllie. Facing towards Sunnyside and Shetland, the Christie study was based on a photograph in the book The Gentle Shetlander by Ken Keddie, which related the artist’s life at the institution. https://youtube.com/watch?v=Ns5kVSaHwfQ%3Frel%3D0 Christie was taken under the wing of celebrated Montrose sculptor William Lamb, but shunned sophisticated tools in favour of a six-inch nail and old file. “In 2014 we unveiled a plaque here and it was dedicated by Historic Scotland,” said project director Dave Ramsay. “It was always the idea we would finish this off with a sculpture that would commemorate Adam Christie, almost forever.” Aberdeenshire Deputy Provost Allison Grant and Angus Deputy Provost Alex King helped unveil the sculpture along with descendants of Christie from Shetland. Local music teacher Beth Wyllie performed a piece entitled Slow Air to Adam. Ms Wyllie said: “I was so delighted to be asked to contribute to this wonderful venture and feel honoured to have been able to play a small part in the creative process to celebrate the life of Adam Christie.” Mr Ramsay added: “I was looking for someone like Brian who could be creative and pay a fiddle tribute to Adam, as a fellow fiddler, to celebrate another of his talents. “I had outlined to Beth what I thought the piece should involve but the finished composition is way beyond my original expectations.” Following the memorial, Dr Cheryl McGeachan of Glasgow University gave a talk at the Park Hotel in town, on the links between mental illness and what is now termed outsider art.


Lemmings find their way home to Dundee with new Seabraes sculptures

July 26 2013

One of Dundee’s most famous computer game creations has been immortalised as the city’s latest piece of public art. The Lemmings sculptures, featuring the popular gaming characters clambering over a stone pillar, appeared unannounced in Seabraes earlier this week, sparking a flurry of online excitement from locals and from fans of the legendary game across the world who have hailed them as “awesome”. It has now been revealed that the Lemmings are a new public artwork by sculptor Alyson Conway. Lemmings, originally developed for the Amiga by Dundee-based DMA Design, was one of the UK’s first blockbuster titles, selling 55,000 copies on its first day, and eventually recording over 15 million sales.Photo gallery: Dundee’s new Lemmings sculpturesThe new Seabraes sculpture sits a few hundred yards away from the site of DMA Design’s former office in Nethergate, where the game was developed in the early 1990s. The sculpture follows on from other public art, including the Minnie the Minx and Desperate Dan statues in the city centre, reflecting Dundee culture. For the full story, including an exclusive interview with the sculptor, see Saturday’s Courier or try our digital edition.


Crail sand sculpture comes dune a little too early

June 27 2015

A horn player made of sand played a flat note when she collapsed just as sculptors put the finishing touches to her. The 9ft high work of art was almost complete when it collapsed just hours before its public unveiling. Brassed-off sculptors Jamie Wardley and Claire Jamieson are now working against the sands of time to rebuild the statue in Crail. Each year during the East Neuk Festival, the Sand in Your Eye team create a stunning sand sculpture in the village’s High Street. The horn player is in recognition of the world premiere of a piece for 32 horn players by Grammy Award-winning American composer John Luther Adams, which will be a highlight of the music festival. Last year, the artists created a giant rhinoceros. Festival spokeswoman Debra Boraston said: “Great progress was being made on the sand sculpture of a horn player, but this morning it unfortunately collapsed. “It’s a rare occurrence, but it does sometimes happen and the weather may well have played a part. “Undaunted, the team are busy back at work and we will have a beautiful horn player by Sunday, and well before the festival finale for 32 horn players next Sunday, which is the key reason for this sculpture being themed on a French horn.” Graham Anderson, owner of the Honeypot Tearoom which the sculpture sits outside, said the artists had worked for two days on the creation. He said: “It was looking beautiful. “They build the sculpture in forms and when they raised the second form it cracked and just collapsed. “They were absolutely devastated.” On Monday morning before the tide comes, Sand in Your Eye will also make a sand drawing of a giant violin on Elie Beach. Members of the public will pose as tiny players holding the bow of the instrument. The classical music festival begins today and continues until July 5.


Mach’s ‘ugly’ sculpture will stay on Kirkcaldy prom despite claims it is crumbling

February 10 2017

Sculptor David Mach has insisted his self-declared ugliest work yet will remain on Kirkcaldy Esplanade despite claims it is crumbling. Holes have appeared in Phantom, his controversial piece which stands outside the town’s Morrisons supermarket and has been compared to a whale’s penis. Opinion has been divided over the 30ft tall sculpture crafted from driftwood and more than a million nails since it was erected two years ago. But Turner Prize-nominee Mach, originally from Methil, has had it inspected and believes the £35,000 installation may have been deliberately damaged. © Steven BrownHoles in Mach’s sculpture prompted claims it is falling apart He said: “It’s supposed to rust, it’s not falling apart. There may be a little bit of repair work needed and if it is more than that I will make sure it is done.” When it was unveiled, Mach, who was commissioned by Morrisons, said that nails would rust and change colour with time. It was recently revealed, however, that many of the nails had fallen onto the paving round about, but they have since been cleared up. Mach also insisted he remains proud of the abstract artwork, which was recently shortlisted for an award by the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association won by David Nash. He said: “It’s an ugly son of a bitch that I made to stand on the prom at Kirkcaldy, the ugliest I’ve made in my life, but I still like it. I stand by that sculpture.” Mach, who lives in London, is due to return to Fife next week and will inspect the sculpture himself following an initial third party assessment. Kirkcaldy councillor Neil Crooks claimed the piece was an “embarrassment” to the renowned sculptor. He said he would “not be sorry to see it taken down” as it had deteriorated and failed to achieve the ambition for an iconic piece of artwork. He said: “People have called Mach’s work a whale’s penis, but since its erection it has not brought a lot of pleasure to its surroundings.”


Dino Rexie’s move is a real saur point in Glenrothes

February 24 2011

An artwork’s move to a more prominent location in Glenrothes has provoked roars of disapproval among locals. Residents in the Caskieberran area have been outraged at the decision to move Rexie, a large dinosaur sculpture, from its spot on Waverley Drive to the centre of Caskieberran roundabout. Now it has emerged that a petition has been drawn up urging the council to return Rexie to its rightful position, while local comedy singing duo The Tam Tam Club have also written a protest song about Rexie to show the community’s strength of feeling. You Rexie Thing, which is sung to the tune of Hot Chocolate’s 80s hit You Sexy Thing, has been posted on the internet and contains the line, “I believe in dinosaurs, where you from, you Rexie thing.” It also samples the Was (Not Was) record Walk The Dinosaur, featuring the lyric, “Caskieberran get off the floor, everybody save the dinosaur.” Rexie’s move was decided by Glenrothes area councillors in December, when £15,000 was granted towards the repair and moves of a number of the town’s outdoor sculptures. But while the upkeep of the artwork was welcomed by many, relocating the dinosaur did not go down well with locals. Despite being given an assurance by Fife Council that public consultation on any move would take place, Central Fife MSP Tricia Marwick said she was “appalled” to learn it had already happened. “I had an undertaking that the dinosaur would be removed for repairs and that local people would be consulted and that hasn’t happened,” she said. “I will be writing to the chief executive demanding an explanation as to why they told me one thing and did another. The town art belongs to the town, not Fife Council officials.” In addition to the protest song by locals Tam Short and Tam McKay, it is understood over 150 people have signed a petition calling for Rexie’s return. Among the other items of public art being moved are the giant hands, the horse and chariot, the picture frame, the giant mushroom and the elephants in Pitcoudie. Glenrothes has nearly 150 pieces of public art and, in taking the decision, Fife Council stressed some of the works had deteriorated because of age and vandalism. Councillor Fiona Grant, who chairs the Glenrothes area committee, said at the time, “These measures will prolong the life span of these sculptures and help safeguard some of the town’s heritage. “A great deal of thought has gone into where the sculptures should be re-sited with regard to complementing existing art in the area or simply moving into positions where more people can enjoy them. “The aim is for the art to be both visually pleasing and to get people talking about them.” You can find The Tam Tam Club’s song at www.dailyreckless.co.uk