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...before I was here...

In the first of our delving series into the murky past of the University, Contact brings you a desktop developer who has experienced the fame and fortune of pop stardom south of the Tay.

Fiction factory was the band and Feels like Heaven was the hit that took Kevin Patterson, a desktop developer in central administration to number six in the British charts back in 1984. You'll remember the song and you'll dig the fashion on the single sleeve. Kevin was quick to point out that the large square digital watch he sports on his album cover was ditched a long time ago and he has since encouraged his barber to cease the electric shock treatment for that magnetic flat top look. It is however with a wry smile for the good old days on the road that Kevin recalls his life as a popstar.

Kevin, from Perth, started studying music therapy when he left school at Anniesland and Perth colleges and the then Dundee Institute of Technology. From there he developed an interest in writing pop and together with another two boys from Perth and one from Kilmarnock he established Fiction Factory becoming the singer and co-songwriter.

The band's first big break was a tour supporting Paul Young then their big hit in 1984 took them into the British and German top ten, to number one in Switzerland and proved a massive hit in Italy. Kevin's most intimate encounter with the stars was at the Italian hits festival in the outdoor amphitheatre in Verona where Fiction Factory found themselves in the adjacent hotel room to Spandau Ballet from where they could hear the boys arguing about who should be wearing what trousers.

Not a mistake likely to be made in the Matthew building, Kevin confesses that in his heyday he was regularly mistaken for Billy Idol. Kevin wonders whether the Italians that would stop him in the street and ask whether he was Billy Idol made the same connection and ask the man himself whether he was that lad Kevin Patterson from Perth.

But there was no fooling Sean Hughes when on Never Mind the Buzzcocks two years ago the teams were challenged to pick out Kevin from the five man line up. Sean recognised our man straight off and admitted to being his biggest fan. Was there any need to turn back after such commendation?

Fiction factory went their own ways in 1987. After five years, the band had run its course and as Kevin said they "could never shake that one song". Kevin still writes songs in his spare time but when asked whether he would still like to be on the road of a roving popstar he refuses. "The work of a song writer is a 24 hour occupation. You never know when the next song will come to you." So now, with wife and cats, 9-5 at the heart of the University's IT services is where Kevin is happy. He's had his shot at fame and is content to file his own album sleeves with a hefty pile of software manuals.

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