April 1988

Dundee’s Laser Spectacular Turns our a Damp Squib

Crowds filled the beaches on both sides of the Tay, hundreds lined the Kingsway and eager family’s clambers over Balgay Hill in anticipation of the weekend’s much-publicised laser show on the Law, Dundee.

But the event nosed-dived well off beam and the organisers have already apologised to the thousands who were left asking, “Is that it?”The North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board and Dundee Project partners Dundee District Council and the Scottish Development Agency provided £10,000 to fund a 20 minute laser show in the skies over the city.

The entertainment was intended to mark “Discovery Day”, the second anniversary of the return of R.R.S. Discovery to Dundee and lasers were chosen for the celebrations because of their connection with Dundee’s hi-tech industries.

Newspaper advertisements announcing the show claim that the lights would be visible from all over Dundee and Radio Tay broadcast music synchronised to accompany the dancing laser beams.

Sadly, the lasers were all but invisible to anybody who missed out on a ticket for the official viewing platform.

The show was so disappointing that Radio Tay mistakenly announced there had been a technical hitch.

Bewildered Dundonians called “The Courier” from all over the city, thinking the laser show had been cancelled, and crowds in Tayport area drifted home in disgust as hardly a glimmer emerged from Dundee.

One spectator compared the lasers to “a wee man running around the Law with a torch” and another estimated they cost “a thousand pounds as flash.”

Another man who took up a prime position on the rooftop car park in Bell Street said, “Full marks to the S.D.A. for trying but, this time, they boobed.

“The whole thing was badly co-ordinated and about as spectacular as a hole in a doughnut.”

“We kept waiting for the big show to get going but before we knew what had happened it was all over”.

We’d have been better off at home watching the coal effect on the electric fire!”

Last night, S.D.A. spokesman Nigel Hawkins was unreservedly apologetic towards those who were left wondering what all the excitement had been about.

“We are sorry that people were disappointed” he said. “Reports I’ve had indicate that the show was patchy. Some areas had a good view, others didn’t.

“We did say beforehand that wet weather would be better, but last night was very clear.”

“There was a drizzle during the rehearsal on Friday evening and it was superb. But there’s no excuse”.

Mr Hawkins said the company which supplied the light shoe, Laser Creations, decided to modify the programme because of the unsuitable weather.

That meant the display became less spectacular for people watching from an area of street lighting.

“If the display had been concentrated in one dark area, that would have been far more effective and enjoyable” said Mr Hawkins.

The Dundee Project partners were probably victims of their own success as the show failed to live up to their earlier spectacular fireworks display from the rail bridge.

“There was probably a high expectation because of the firework’s and it’s a fact that laser light is not nearly as spectacular as fireworks.”

“The fireworks cost £30, 000,” said Mr Hawkins “If we had spent that kind of money this time we could have had more powerful laser or more of them. Either way, if lasers are used for this kind of entertainment again, it will be in one venue where people can be sure of a good view”.

Camperdown Fun Pulls in the Crowds

It seemed as if they were all there – the world, his wife, their children and every conceivable size and variety of Easter Egg every invented – a crowd large enough to fill the Caird Hall twice over and an appetite for chocolate that would put Billy Bunter to shame.

If it was round and rolled it was eaten. If they were young or old, they were there and if it had four wheels and an engine it was most probably sitting in a queue on the Kingsway waiting to get into Camperdown Park in Dundee yesterday.

That, apparently, was the place to be for Dundonians to celebrate Easter Sunday in traditional fashion.

The rolling acres of the city’s biggest park were transformed into a seething mass of cars and humanity as thousands turned out for a special Easter fun day organised by the district leisure and recreation department.

The sheer number of cars attending posed some traffic problems for police, who were on duty throughout the day to control the long queues of traffic which built up periodically at the main entrances and exits.

Inside the park, the council has laid on a whole range of activities to keep their public entertained – a rabbit show, a vintage vehicle and road safety display, a demonstration by the Dundee Alsatian Training Club, a performance of baton twirling by the Dundee Sparklettes majorettes and musical entertainment by the City of Dundee Pipe Band.

Competitions for the best decorated eggs and bonnets also proved popular as did the Easter Egg Hunt led by a larger than life Easter Bunny.

Fortunately for the egg rollers, their happy day was not spoiled by a long wait in a traffic jam on the way out of the park in late afternoon.

The line of cars exiting on to Liff Road was able to keep moving and , surprisingly considering the number if vehicles, it took only a matter of minutes to get out of the park from the parking areas.

S.N.O Proms 88

Caird Hall, Dundee
19-21 May
Book now for this season of great music by some of the great composers…
3 concerts for the price of 2…..

Tchaikovsky Night
Thursday 19 May
Romeo and Juliet,
Fantasy Overture
Piano Concerto No. 1
Francesca de Rimini
1812 Overture.

Beethoven Night
Friday 20 Friday
The Ruins of Athens Overture
Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor)
Symphony No.7.

Traditional Last Night
Saturday 21 May
With favourites such as
Land of Hope and Glory.
La Boutique fantasque.
Shostakovich Festival Overture.
Elgar Cello Concerto
Traditional Scottish songs and reels.

Conductor Sir Alexander Gibson
Cello Julian Lloyd Webber

Tickets and brochures from
Central Booking Office, 6 City Square, Dundee.
Tel 23141 ext. 4288.

1200 Tickets on Sale at Dens Park Today

Dundee Football Club have received an additional allocation of 1200 tickets for tonight’s Scottish Cup tie between Dundee United and Aberdeen which will go on sale at the ground from 10 a.m.

Aberdeen are struggling to sell their allocation, have passed 1000 ground tickets to Dundee for sale to Dons fans and neutrals in Tayside.

In addition the S.F.A. are sending the Dark Blues a further 200 stand tickets.

While United supporters can buy stand briefs from Dens, they cannot buy the ground tickets which are for sections reserved for Aberdeen fans.

Any Tangerines follower found wearing club colours in either the South Enclosure or Provost Road end will be ejected from the stadium.

Protesting Against Circus in Dundee

Animal rights protestors will turn out to picket when the Austen Brothers Circus comes to Dundee.

Mr Paul Smith, of Dundee Animal Rights Campaign Group, yesterday pledged demonstrations outside the circus throughout its stay at the city’s Gussie Park.

Dundee District Council licensing committee approved an application on Wednesday for permission to perform at Gussie Park, despite strenuous opposition from DARG.

The council has already taken a decision not to allow circuses on council property but, under the terms of the act, the committee agreed to grant a licence for the private ground at Gussie Park.

In spite of the decision, Paul Smith of DARG pledged the fight would go on. “We will be outside every performance, with placards, handing out leaflets to customers” he said.

“In addition, we will ask concerned Dundonians to lobby their councillors.

“Circus animals are taken up and down the country in small vans and made to perform tricks completely against their natures. In addition, the stresses placed on the animals by removing their normal patterns of behaviour are enormous”.

Top Ten

1 – Heart…..Pet Shop Boys
2 – Drop the Boy…..Bros
3 – Everywhere…..Fleetwood Mac
4 – Could’ve Been…..Tiffany
5 – Love Changes Everything…..Climie Fisher
6 – Cross My Broken Heart…..Sinitta
7 – Pink Cadillac…..Natalie Cole
8 – Prove Your Love….Taylor Dane
9 – Don’t Turn Around…..Aswad
10 – l Want You Back…..Bananarama

1 – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son…..Iron Maiden
2 – Push…..Bros
3 – Best of…..O.M.D.
4 – Now 11…..Various Artists
5 – Introducing the Hardline…..Terence Trent D’Arby
6 – Gladsome, Humour and Blue…..Martin Stevenson
7 – Lovely…..The Primitives
8 – Kick…..INXS
9 – The Story of the Clash…..The Clash
10 – Love Hysteria…..Peter Murphy

*Charts supplies by Virgin Records, Wellgate Centre, Dundee.

Urban Wildlife Project Underway

The results of the first phase of the Dundee Urban Wildlife Project were revealed yesterday in a report and exhibition at the National History Museum, Barrack Street.

Instigated by the Nature Conservancy Council with the co-operation of Dundee District Council, the aims of its first phase were to survey and assess the derelict land and green spaces in the city.

Project officer Miss Tracey Gordon visited over 70 prospective sites.

The report revealed that of the 74 which were viewed, eight are of particular value, ranging from the Law to portion of old railway lines and another eight have potential for development as nature parks.

“The sites identified in the report are those which the N.C.C. believes offer great opportunities for local communities, schools and individuals to encourage and enjoy wildlife” said Miss Gordon.

“We want to see the formation of local nature groups around each site to carry out improvements and keep a watchful eye on the wildlife”.

The exhibition reveals that areas of what are commonly regarded as “waste ground” can be of great value to wildlife and to city dwellers.

Various recommendations and proposals for developing a Dundee Urban Wildlife Project were outlined in the report.

These included planting wild flowers in the city and encouraging native woodland.

It was also proposed to define and seek adoption by Dundee District Council for a Dundee Urban Wildlife Strategy, which would encourage community involvement in rehabilitating derelict sites as nature parks and eventually instigate ‘urban wildlife safaris’ in the city.

Speakers include deputy director of the Nature Conservancy in Scotland Mr Jim McCarthy and Councillor Charles Bowman, convener of the district planning committee.

Rock Talk

The soon to be famous Glaswegians, Texas, return to Dundee this weekend, for an appearance at Fat Sam’s on Sunday night.

Texas follow the West Coast habit of sticking together spare parts from various groups – in this case Hipsway and Love and Money to form yet another band that has record companies slavering and waving contracts.

The ex-Hipswayers are bass player Johnny McElhone and keyboardist Craig Armstong, whist Stuart Kerr has forsaken Love and Money to be Texan’ man behind the drum kit.

The line-up is completed by singer Charlene Spitterri who also plays the guitar, as does Alistair McErlain.

Texas are in a more rock ‘n’ roll mould than the usual Glasgow soul boy style and deserve your attention. See them now before you see them on Top of the Pops.


Arbroath Band Pulse Beat Plus appear at Bar Chevrolet, South Ward Road, Dundee next Wednesday night.


So Danny Wilson have finally cracked it.

At the end of the day, who cares if it was on the third attempt with the same song – everyone has been moaning about the trio’s lack of success in the British Top 40.

And does it really matter that it took the likes of Jonathan King, Peter Powell and a frantic promotional push by Virgin to get them to reach number 35 this week? No.

The reason is that “Mary’s Prayer” will attract masses of attention to Dundee, which is currently bursting at the seams with excellent bands.

And, last but not least, it’s a great song. Well done, boys!

Bowman Out but United Will Cope

Steve Bruce previews this evening’s Scottish Cup semi-final replay between Dundee United and Aberdeen at Dens Park.

Dundee United can tonight book a place in the Scottish Cup final and next season’s Cup final and next season’s Cup Winners Cup competition – but only if they get their striking blend right, improve the service from midfield and cope with the loss through suspension of Dave Bowman.

On paper the front three fielded against Aberdeen in Saturday’s semi-final tie looked long on pace and short on scoring prowess and so it proved.

Hamish French is a skilful player and Kevin Gallacher pacey, but both have yet to prove themselves in regular goal-scorers while Joe McLead is inexperienced.

With that in mind it would be now surprise to see Miksu Paatelainen and/or Iain Ferguson restored to United’s starting line-up. Both know how to find the net.

United will also look for more from Eamonn Bannon, Ian Redford and Jim McInally.

The absence of Bowman is a bad blow. Over the past few months he has made the right-back spot his own and was outstanding on Saturday, hardly giving the Dons’ winger John Hewitt a kick of the ball.

The former Hearts midfielder misses tonight’s game and this weekend’s Premier League clash with Motherwell as a result of being booked in the quarter-final replay against Dundee.

Provided the Tangerines give an improved display in attach and midfield and the back division isn’t too disturbed by Bowman’s absence, they should defeat the Dons thus securing a return to Hampden and the continuation of an 11-season run in Europe.

Victory would mean so much to the United players for it would give them another chance to win the one trophy they have never lifted in the national stadium – scene of so many poor results for them.

Magical Sounds

Wednesday, April 6
Over 35s
The Way It Was
The Magical Sounds of Ron Stewart and the
Big Band Sound
On Stage from 8 p.m.
Then from 11.30…
Spinning Sounds of
50s, 60s and 70s.
Spirits 50p all nite.
Dress with style.