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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


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.


Fairytale is a Beauty for Dundee Rep and Byre Theatre, despite setbacks

January 6 2011

The tale of two Sleeping Beauties could have turned into something of a nightmare, but management at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews and Dundee Rep say they have been kept busy entertaining happy theatre-goers the Fife theatre even beating its own box office record. Both theatres chose the fairytale for their Christmas show this season for the Byre in particular it proved to be a dream choice. "We are delighted to announce that Sleeping Beauty broke its target to become the highest earning box office show ever at the Byre Theatre," said marketing and sales manager David Orr. "It's the second year in a row our Christmas show has broken box office records, demonstrating our growing popularity and reputation." He added, "There is no doubt the weather affected some audiences at the beginning of the run, in particular school shows where our cast and staff were more than willing to come in on days off for re-scheduled performances to make sure the children still got to see the show. "Our New Year event, Bells At The Byre, also sold out again, which I think along with the success of Sleeping Beauty emphasises that at this time of year, despite the weather and money worries, people want to forget all that for a while and have fun." Across the Tay, Dundee Rep's artistic director James Brining admitted that the weather had proved the biggest challenge in the run-up to the festive season. He said, "Although this Christmas has been busy, the weather has made it one of the most challenging we have had, preventing some audience members from getting to the show. "Overall, we have had to cancel three performances due to the severe weather and illness although, fortunately, we managed to reallocate the majority of the bookings for the cancelled shows." He added, "The response to the show itself has been terrific and audiences have been really positive about the production, as have the critics who managed to cover it." The run of Sleeping Beauty at the Byre has ended but the Rep production continues until Saturday.

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.

UK & World

Meghan’s dress ‘simple, stylish and elegant’, experts say

May 19 2018

Meghan’s all-important wedding gown has been praised for its “classic” and “elegant” style.David Emanuel, who designed Princess Diana’s dress for her wedding to the Prince of Wales in 1981, said her dress was “simple, stylish, elegant and understated”.Mr Emanuel also paid tribute to the “clever” decision to include flora of each of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth on her veil.Meanwhile another commentator described how she paid “homage to her new British roots” through the choice of designer.Choosing British designer Clare Waight Keller – the first female artistic director for French fashion house Givenchy – also gave a message of “empowerment”, according to the editor of the fashion blog Meghan’s Mirror.Amanda Dishaw said that the wedding gown was “classic, timeless and simple”.Mr Emanuel said: “The dress is as I predicted – simple, stylish, elegant and understated.“I think the story is in the silk jewelled veil, it encompasses all the Commonwealth flowers, which I think is very clever.”Asked what he thought Diana, Princess of Wales, would think of the dress, Mr Emanuel said: “I think Diana would have approved.”Mr Emanuel said the gown would shape wedding fashion for at least a decade.“Don’t forget this dress will be beamed around the world. It will have an impression on the bridal business, people will copy this dress,” he said.“And it will influence for at least 10 years from now, people will still want that ‘Meghan gown’.”Richard Dennen, editor of Tatler, said: “I thought it was sleek, classic, elegant and demure.“She has picked a very well respected British luxury designer, at the helm of an aristocratic Paris couture house, which has a fabulous history of working with Hollywood.”Ms Dishaw said: “What a dress. Classic, timeless simplicity.“We love the empowerment message she subtly made by choosing Clare, the first female artistic director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy.“It stays very true to Meghan’s love of French fashion which is well-documented but also paid homage to her new British roots.“And as for the style? It was exactly as we had thought we would see – simple, clean lines in a very traditional cut.“There was never going to be tons of detailing and lace on this dress.“And we love that a flower from every Commonwealth country is embroidered on her veil.“A simple, clean A-line dress was perfectly attuned to the simplicity of her up-do, which held a stunning tiara.”Meanwhile, Aruna Seth, shoe designer and socialite, said the boat neckline on the white dress was “modern” complemented by traditional long sleeves.Ms Seth, who designed Pippa Middleton’s shoes for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, said: “Meghan is wearing a simple traditional flattering boat-neck wedding dress with long elegant sleeves.“[It is] chic, sophisticated and expresses her contemporary modern style.Peta Hunt, editor at large for You and Your Wedding magazine, said the gown was “romantic”.She continued: “I loved the high boat neck, so modern and with the clean lines.“This is a silk tulle cathedral length dress and works perfectly in this huge chapel.“She is definitely wearing the dress and not drowning under a huge gown, it allows her to move, I think really lovely, and hits all the right notes.“We have always been fans of long sleeves. It’s nice to see a bride in a such a modern classic style.”Designer Raishma said: “Meghan clearly went for the more sedate side of Hollywood glamour in her choice of dress – more Grace Kelly than anything ostentatious.“The veil is the real talking point, the length alone is staggering, with an embroidered scalloped border around the edges.“The colour is a brilliant white which really created an ethereal entrance.“There is an air of modesty to the gown with its very simple shape and the long sleeves – ideal for a high profile, chapel wedding.“I was personally hoping for a showstopper and lot of embroidery and embellishment but this is a beautiful, if very safe gown.”– David Emanuel is appearing on Harry And Meghan Said Yes? on TLC which is being broadcast on Sunday at 2pm.

Perth & Kinross

Signs of solvent abuse in rubbish left at beauty spot

October 24 2013

A woman has hit out at litter louts who trashed a Perthshire beauty spot in an apparent bout of post-school hijinks. Eva McDonald’s daughters, Saci and Amy, filled more than a dozen bin bags with rubbish, which included a burnt-out tent and revision textbooks. Ms McDonald, 77, hit out at the culprits forendangering wildlife in Scone Woods. She said: “We were so shocked at the amount of rubbish lying up there that they (Saci and Amy) returned the following day with 15 large plastic bin bags. “These did not suffice, so there is still more to be gathered. “I saw the results of theirefforts before they continued to the tip. “The whole of the boot of the car was packed to the roof, as was the back seat. “The haul consisted of a burnt tent and sleeping bags, a child’s paddle pool, empty wine and spirit bottles, alcopops and beer cans, cut open tins of deodorant which I am told are used for sniffing rather than for hygiene and the whole liberally sprinkled with broken glass. “There were also Higher Grade revision books. “The sheer irresponsibility of leavingall this garbage lying around to the endangerment of the wildlife in our countryside is mind-boggling, “Furthermore, I think parents and schools should be made aware of the nature of ‘revision’ going on amongst some of our young. “From time to time I myself have gathered rubbish in these woods but never have I come across anything so thoroughly disgraceful.” Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, applauded Eva’s daughters for their efforts. He said: “Eva McDonald is not alone in her observation that there is too much mess and too much discarded litter around Scotland. This is especially troubling when it is dumped in areas of natural beauty, such as Scone Woods, and may cause harm to local wildlife. “At Keep Scotland Beautiful we are working hard to change our nation’s attitudes to the casual disposal of litter through our Clean Up Scotland campaign, encouraging the public to take action so that Scotland shines when the eyes of the world are on us in 2014.”

Readers' letters

Irony of the Typhoon display at Leuchars

September 13 2013

Sir, As the RAF Ensign was lowered at the sunset ceremony at the last RAF Leuchars Airshow, well- informed observers and commentators would have seen the irony in one of the displays during the flying programme, namely the Quick Reaction Alert scramble of two Typhoons. With the planned move of air assets some 150 miles north to Lossiemouth, it is in danger of being renamed Delayed Reaction Alert or Diminished Reaction Alert as even travelling at a supersonic 660mph at, say, 35,000 feet, it is going to take the aircraft approximately 14 minutes to fly from Lossiemouth to Leuchars. RAF Leuchars QRA aircraft have been protecting British airspace for over six decades, with no complaints as to their ability to do so, and as a 9/11 style attack is probably the most likely threat to our airspace these days, it is very strange that these same aircraft will be asked to patrol our skies from Lossiemouth to protect us from rogue civilian aircraft that will be flying in air corridors over Britain, 95% of which are south of the Glasgow/Edinburgh corridor. It would appear that the politicians know they have got it wrong, but none are prepared to reverse the decision. The army are destined to come in 2015, even though rumour has it they don’t want to, as it is completely unsuitable for their needs the runway and its services are being retained for emergency diversions. The £240 million price tag for this folly seems steep, but when compared to the £1.5 billion which has reportedly been wasted by the MoD over the last two years, it doesn’t seem so bad. The taxpayer also gets to see £10.2 million wasted every year in increased training costs for the Typhoons, as they fly all the way back to Fife to practise in well-established training grounds just east of Dundee. The prime directive of government is to protect its citizens. Good defence is not determined by luck but by strategy, something the Government decided to leave out of their SDSR. Mark Sharp. 41 Norman View, Leuchars. Jenny’s got it wrong Sir, Jenny Hjul’s article (yesterday’s Courier) takes up the cudgels on behalf of “female exploitation” in lads’ mags. Jenny has got this one wrong, however. In cases of exploitation it is usually the end user, or purchaser, who is being “exploited” and these magazines are no different. The ladies whose images make up the content are being handsomely paid for being photographed, with their full consent, and the magazines’ proprietors are raking in the cash. Nobody is being exploited at that end of the trade, but it is the blokes who part with their cash to buy the mags who are being exploited. No, Jenny, it’s not male exploitation of women, but quite the reverse. It’s female exploitation of men for profit. It’s being going on since the beginning of time and trying to sound trendy by reversing the roles ain’t going to stop it. Vive le difference! (Captain) Ian F McRae. 17 Broomwell Gardens, Monikie. No Scottish jobs created Sir, The brief article re Seimens turbines arriving in Dundee docks should be of interest to readers. The SNP have consistently declared these monstrosities, which are destroying our beautiful landscape, create jobs. The reality is they are manufactured abroad, connected using foreign cables and do not create any Scottish jobs, courtesy of EU procurement rules. We all know the enthusiasm Mr Salmond has for the EU, so he is right in one respect. They do create jobs. For the Germans. However, they cost us all huge amounts in massive subsidies in our electricity bills. If, God forbid, we secure independence, we will have the euro thrust upon us, increasing cost even more. Iain Cathro. 31 Ferndale Drive, Dundee. Slipping into a ‘dark age’? Sir “Humans have stopped evolving” (The Courier Tuesday, September 10). This statement by Sir David Attenborough may be the most significant of his career and deserves to be taken very seriously by governments around the world. Should he be correct, and there is much evidence to indicate he is, then we are already in regression and slipping into a “Dark Age”. Perhaps it is now time for ad hoc “think tanks” to formulate strategic global plans for the way ahead . . . taking into account the objectives and aspirations of all good people before it is too late! Kenneth Miln. 22 Fothringham Drive, Monifieth. A great day all round Sir, Having been an outspoken critic of the traffic and parking management in the past, I must now congratulate all concerned with last Saturday’s air show. In light of the number of people attending, getting on site was, for us, a breeze. The show was excellent even though the Vulcan and red nine (only eight red arrows some shapes just didn’t work!) were sorely missed. Even the weather held up. a great day all round. Marcia Wright. 19 Trinity Road, Brechin.

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


MasterChef star Gregg Wallace is on the lamb during ‘whistle-stop’ tour

August 6 2015

TV chef Gregg Wallace has visited Dundee ahead of his appearance at next month’s Flower and Food Festival. The MasterChef favourite visited iconic city butcher shop Yorkes to help launch a new campaign to promote Scotch Lamb. Gregg famous for his sweet tooth and love of hearty portions is on a “whistle-stop tour” of the area, which will include linking up with former MasterChef champ, Arbroath’s Jamie Scott. Although the kitchen king admitted he had known little about Tayside before arriving, he said he has been very impressed by the quality of the area’s farming as well as its food. Fresh from wrestling a sheep on a local farm a tussle he insists he won Gregg said: “I haven’t seen much of Dundee yet, if I’m honest. “My first stop is the beautiful butchers shop and, I must say, it’s of serious quality. I’d be very happy if there was one of these round the corner from me. “I’m on a bit of a whistle-stop tour of Dundee. I’ve learned about the farming. I’m here to talk to the butcher to find out about the cuts and, after this I’m being reunited with a professional former MasterChef winner Jamie to do some cooking. “We’re taking the whole step-by-step journey of the husbandry of the sheep, the care and welfare of the sheep, as well as different cuts and ways to cook lamb. “Scotch Lamb has a very good reputation throughout the UK and abroad. This is a beautiful part of the world and there is a serious commitment to providing quality food here. It’s actually taken me by surprise. I had no idea the level of care and welfare taken.” Carol McLaren from Quality Meats Scotland said she hopes Gregg’s intervention will help boost the popularity of Scotch Lamb among Scots. She said: “Gregg is a huge lamb fan it’s his favourite food. However, he’s never been on a sheep farm in his life. “To get him on to a farm was a real coup and he’ll take that knowledge with him for the rest of his career. “Scots don’t eat anywhere near as much lamb as people do south of the border, so we need consumers to know about the quality of Scotch Lamb.” Dundee City Council environment convener Craig Melville said “I am delighted to welcome Gregg Wallace to Dundee this week, where he will get to sample some excellent food.”