Tag Archives: Dundee

Dundee loses Capital of Culture Bid

Image source: DC Thomson
Tay Bridge, Dundee – Image source: DC Thomson

By Hamza Jabir

Dundee has lost its bid to be crowned UK Capital of Culture for 2017, losing out to Hull. The city’s council had invested heavily in the bid and could have expected as much as £80 million worth of tourism income alone had it been successful.

The city had hoped its proposed £25 million year-long programme of events, including a festival of football and light installation spanning the Tay bridge would bring the title to the city in just over three years time.

Bid Director Stewart Murdoch confessed to being ‘brokenhearted’ at the defeat, but was quick to highlight several positives to be taken from the campaign.

He said: “I don’t think the work has been wasted. It carries Dundee forward and has raised its profile and aspirations, and that’s the best thing from a disappointing outcome for us.

“I think a lot of the events will still go ahead. Obviously, the large-scale ‘big bangs’ wont happen, but I think the commitment to culture has been bought into by the private sector and the council and the universities and we’re going to continue to put culture at the centre of the city for a generation.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop took to twitter express a positive outlook despite the disappointment.

Hyslop said: “Dundee has already embarked on a pioneering journey that uses culture and creativity to promote regeneration and tackle wider social issues in a range of innovative ways.

“A city rooted in culture and heritage, Dundee not only cherishes its diverse heritage and traditions, but also seeks further opportunities to share, celebrate and regenerate, and I am confident that its cultural journey is well on track to continue.”

Scottish Scientists Make Cancer Breakthrough

By Gabriel Neil

It was announced last week that scientists from the University of Dundee have made a discovery which could lead to a deeper understanding of how cancer occurs. The research team, led by Dr Joost Zomerdijk discovered a “previously hidden link” within the ways in which human cells make the structures they need to function, a process called “transcription” – specifically the way in which genes regulate ribosomes which produce proteins vital for growth. Understanding transcription is important in cancer research as when the genes controlling it fail, cells can grow out of control, creating cancers.

Dr Joost Zomerdijk
Dr Joost Zomerdijk led the study.

This breakthrough was hailed by Dr Zomerdijk, claiming that it “advances our understanding of how normal transcription is maintained in human cells” adding that this may help to discover how to reverse the damaging “deregulation” of transcription.

Dr David Wright a biologist from the University, who was not involved in the research, cautioned that this finding is “a tiny crucial cog in a complicated machine… it is not particularly important on its own” but it “ties the information that we already have about the ways in which cancer cells go wrong to our understanding of how normal cells do their jobs” which could possibly lead to new kinds of cancer therapies.

Dundee University’s College of Life Sciencesreceives over £40million of research funding annually is renowned for research into cell Biology, having recently been ranked 1st in the UK for Biological Sciences.

The Bang: Rory Speed Interview

by Sam Eastop

The Bang are a Scottish band that are certainly making quite a name for themselves. Playing gigs around the country, receiving air time for their songs on the radio, and notably winning the Dundee Battle of the Bands last year.
Since then, The Bang have been recording and spreading the word about their new and exciting sound to the population…and bucket-loads of praise and support seems to follow in their wake.
With top-notch songs and an excellent live performance quality, The Bang are definitely an up-and-coming band to keep an eye on.
To find out a bit more and discover what’s new with The Bang, I caught up with the band’s lead singer, Rory Speed:

Tell us a bit about how the band formed and where did the name come from?

Rory: Well the band formed a few years ago. The guitarist Stewart Black and our drummer Jamie Dunleavey formed as a younger school band which eventually fell through. Just in the past year, Stewart took a few months off to write some new material and they both started looking for a vocalist and a bassist. That’s when they came across me, and I quite rightly said, ‘yeah, I’ll take on the job!’
We were just going to be a two-piece to begin with- just guitar and drums to be a bit different, however it sounded a bit empty so we started looking for a bassist. It was at this point we took on Stewart’s brother Cameron as an additional member and it worked out really well.

‘The Bang’ came around when Stewart was looking on the back of an Arctic Monkeys t-shirt, and one of the songs was ‘Bang Bang.’ So he thought it sounded like a good name for a band, but it was already taken and so we decided to change it to ‘The Bang.’

What would you say your main musical influences are and do you fit into any genres?

Rory: We all come from different backgrounds and what we all listen to is different. A really wide variety of bands and genres such as Death Cab For Cutie who are an alternative rock band to Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Led Zeppelin and The Who which all range from 40 years ago to modern day music.
I think this is great as it allows us to explore different genres but I’d say we do fit into the ‘alternative rock’ genre. We’re trying to introduce a few pop hooks [in our music] too.

What has been your favourite gig so far? Any particularly memorable ones?

Rory: I’ve had a few favourite gigs. The band ‘Make Sparks’ a signed Scottish band that played T in the Park, were a great band to play with. That was a Halloween gig so everyone was dressed up for a laugh and it turned out to be an absolutely amazing place to play, with about 200 people there. It was a good high for us.
The most memorable gig was definitely the Battle of the Bands final in Dundee. 340 people turned out to watch us play and we came out on top in the end and won a recording deal. This was really good and it’s helped us a lot with experience, seeing as we are younger than a lot of bands at the moment.

What’s your favourite song to perform and why?

Rory: It’s got to be ‘Qwerty.’ As I joined the band, I got a snippet of the instrumental and thought it was absolutely fantastic. So to put vocals over that track and play it live to a crowd is brilliant. It’s on our demo and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser, it’s so jumpy and upbeat that it seems to go down an absolute storm! It’s good fun.

Any exciting projects in the near future?

Rory: We’ve got a few coming up, we’re quite busy. Just over the next few months we’re playing with bands like Sucioperro and Page 44, really big up-and-coming bands at the moment with a lot written about them in Q magazine and Kerrang. We’re playing with Sucioperro on the 6th of April and Page 44 in Dundee on the 11th of May. So once we get some money in, it’s going to be all about recording after that and hopefully by June we’ll have a fully-fledged EP which will probably be on iTunes. Hopefully if all goes to plan, that’s us sorted.

Where do you hope to be in a few years time?

Rory: That’s a difficult question. Hopefully we’ll have built up a substantial fan base. We’re quite new, we’ve only been going for about eight months so it’s hard to say where we’ll be. But things have looked promising from the start so hopefully in the next few years we’ll be playing up and down the country to big crowds in England and Wales too. The best we can hope for is to possibly be signed and take on bigger challenges like T in the Park and things like that. We’ve had a few reviews, one of them stating that we were one of the best new live acts at the moment and that we’ll definitely be ‘on the scene’ sooner rather than later, which is really promising and exciting.

How can fans get access to your music?

Rory: Just now, through Facebook. If you type in ‘The Bang’ on Facebook we should be the top search. Our Myspace is http://www.myspace.com/thebanguk. That’s got all the details of gigs etcetera.
In the next few months, before we get out EP out, we’re getting a web page set up too. There’ll be a lot of information in the next few months coming up about gigs and different leases so keep in touch.

Sam Eastop

Early morning blaze sparks investigation at oil refinery

by Jack Matthews

The Nynas oil refinery in Dundee was closed today, for the second time in the last year, after a fire broke out in the early hours of this morning.

Firefighters from Tayside fire and rescue service were called to the scene of the blaze, which broke out at around 0140 on Wednesday 10 November.

Oil tanks at a Nynas oil depot

Around 30 firefighters attended the scene and the fire was brought under control by around 0300.  Firefighters remained at the scene until 0950 to ensure that no further fires broke out and that the area was safe.

Paul Adby, a spokesperson for Nynas said in an official statement released by the company: “There was a small fire at the Nynas refinery in Dundee.  There were no injuries and the fire was extinguished promptly by Tayside fire and rescue service.

“A detailed investigation involving Nynas and Tayside fire and rescue is underway.  The process plant has been shut down to allow the investigation to proceed”

A press release from Tayside fire and rescue said: “The fire was confined to the Distillation Plant within the premises and involved a pump which leaked crude oil which subsequently ignited.  The fire involved approximately 2000 litres of burning crude oil which had leaked from the pump.”

This latest incident comes less than a year after the plant was forced to shut down after a blaze.  Two separate fires at Bitumen tanks last December within one week of each other lead to the plant’s closure.  An investigation at the time found that the water level in the crude oil had been too high and this caused the tanks to overheat and ignite.

Nynas are one of the largest European suppliers of bitumen. A Swedish based company, their operations stretch around the world.

Victoria and Albert Museum at Dundee to be a World landmark

Victoria and Albert at Dundee:  is to redevelop the city’s Waterfront and is destined to become a world landmark. V&A at Dundee will be Scotland’s leading centre for design. It will showcase Scottish 2oth and 21st century design talent, provide a UK base for major international touring exhibition and will aspire to be Scotland’s National Design Centre.

The new building is going to be an architectural phenomenon and a manifestation of 21st Century museum, both in design and operation. Over 120 architects from across the world took part in the competition to design V&A at Dundee building. Six remarkable designs have been shortlisted, and  are currently on display at Abertay University Library until the 4th of November. The visitors can contribute to the project by leaving their comments and opinion which will be taken into account by the judging panel. The space will open in 2014/2015.

The V&A at Dundee project is a collaboration between Victoria and Albert MuseumScottish EnterpriseDundee City Council, and the Universities of Dundee and Abertay. The gallery space will be a statement of the country’s commitment to contemporary design. The project will provide a unique resource for education in the applied arts as well as deliver a memorable landmark structure. It will lead to definite boost for Scotland’s economic growth.

Roger Grace from Dundee City Council Engineers Division said: “It is an excellent project. It is very exciting and it will definitely be positive for city’s development.”

The project is a massive enhancement to the City of Dundee’s undergoing process of visual metamorphosis. The city’s Waterfront  regeneration started 10 years ago but has 20 years of work remaining.  The alteration of city’s image will provide new opportunities for economic growth.

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Continue reading Victoria and Albert Museum at Dundee to be a World landmark

Sport News

The fit-again Craig Gordon and Gary Caldwell are among a number of changes to Craig Levein’s Scotland squad for the crucial European Championship Qualifying double header against Czech Republic and Spain.

Despite recovering from a broken arm sustained in pre-season Sunderland’s Craig Gordon will act as back-up to the impressive Allan McGregor, Levein has all but confirmed. Gary Caldwell looks likely to take part in at least one of the two games even though he has only played in Wigan reserve games.

While James McFadden and Paul Hartley are excluded through injury, Middlesbrough’s Kris Boyd has been left out because of his poor form for Gordon Strachan’s struggling side. As expected, Queens Park Rangers striker Jamie Mackie, who leads the Championship’s goal charts with eight goals in nine games, has been given his first call-up after qualifying for Scotland through his grandfather.

Celtic’s Shaun Maloney and Barnsley’s left-back, James McEveley, also return to the squad.

Dundee were plunged into further crisis after their players failed to receive their wages yesterday heightening the threat of administration.

With a tax bill of £325,000 hanging over their head the club have called in financial expert Blair Nimmo, who shut down Airdrieonians when they hit money troubles, for advice. On behalf of the club Nimmo has been working with the taxman trying to do a deal where the debt will be settled in one lump sum.

Controversial Director Calum Melville has pledged £100,000 to the debt while local businesses will provide £75,000. However the club also owe £1.6m to Melville, Bob Brannan and John Bennett in soft loans.

The club hope to pay the staffs wages next week.

For the first time in Ryder Cup history the event is set for a Monday finish after the play in Wales was suspended with barely five holes played.

Non-stop heavy rain left the course with a large number of waterlogged areas. Play started at 7.45am but conditions did not improve which forced play to be suspended at 9.43am.

Europe Captain, Colin Montgomerie, believed anything later than a 1.45pm start would result in a Monday finish. It looks even more likely once officials announced there would not be an announcement on the re-start of play until 2pm.

Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer were first out against Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson and led by two after five holes. In the other three matches Europe led two while USA were leading in one.

Obesity ‘not only factor’ in family’s removal

The top UK body for social work has warned against a hysterical reaction to the removal of seven children from an obese couple in Dundee.

Ruth Stark from the British Association of Social Work said it is not solely a social workers opinion that leads to removal of children from family homes. Continue reading Obesity ‘not only factor’ in family’s removal

Swapping cigarettes for courgettes… will Dundee’s new anti-smoking scheme work?

By Rebecca Jamieson

Would £150 encourage you to give up smoking for good? NHS Tayside hopes so.

They have just launched a pilot scheme in Dundee, which gives participants from disadvantaged areas £12.50 a week if they manage to stay off cigarettes. The money is credited onto an electronic card and can be spent at Asda on fresh fruit and vegetables only – not cigarettes or alcohol. Participants can stay on the scheme for up to 12 weeks, earning them a total of £150.

Public Health Minister - Shona Robison

Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison, was in Dundee for the launch of the Quit4u scheme. She said “The most important thing anyone can do to improve their health is to quit smoking – it’s the biggest preventable cause of ill health and premature death in Scotland. This is an innovative project and I’ll be following the results with interest to see if lessons can be learned.”

Life expectancy in Dundee is among the lowest in Britain, according to Scottish Government figures. There are thought to be around 36,000 smokers in Dundee, around half of whom live in poverty. Paul Ballard, NHS Tayside’s Deputy Director of Public Health, says deprived areas are often the worst affected.

“We know that the highest smoking rates are still in our poorest and most deprived communities. This is simply because, on a day to day basis, for them quitting smoking is not the most important thing – the most important thing is actually putting food on the table. What Quit4u does is helps and supports them to put food on the table, so they can make quitting smoking a top priority.”

But will £12.50 a week really be enough to persuade smokers to give up? Granted the first 12 weeks of the scheme are an attractive proposition – they will receive the weekly ‘reward’ money, as well as the extra cash they have saved by no longer buying cigarettes. But concerns have been expressed about the long term success of the project.

Health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, Ross Finnie, said “We welcome any initiative that helps people kick smoking1the habit. We do, however, have concerns over the exit strategy. Support must continue over the three months to ensure smokers who use the financial contribution as an incentive to quit do not light up when the money has dried up.”

NHS Tayside hopes up to 50% of smokers who join the scheme will be successful in their attempt to quit. At the end of the two year trial they will discover if that offer of £150 was as much of a lure as they had hoped.

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