Better Than Getting Smacked in the Head with a 2-by-4

Mad shit in RANT!

Part Two

By this point I was receiving an increasing variety of emails. Some were from fans, supporting Natalie's crusade against the evils of Buddyhead (my favourite one complimented my "Bold yet classy" response). One girl thought she and Nat might have the same stylist. Somebody wanted me to critique his poetry.

I exchanged emails with one fellow who, it turned out, was the owner of a certain infamous website, and a friend of Sam Brown (of Explodingdog). Even Web celebrities were not immune to my devious web. He spent some time slagging his web designer friends, but he was simply venting, so I've chosen not to make those comments public.

I sent Buddyhead another missive, this one longer. Their infantile response amused them enough that they posted both the letter and its reply on their Reader Mail page. The joke's on them.

The Natalie Imbruglia story began to be picked up, with several blogs making reference to the angelglee account (including at least one in German). The climax of this was when I logged onto the great Us Against Them one day, only to find one of their writers remarking on the hilarity of Natalie Imbruglia's email to Buddyhead. (See the June 13 entry.) You have no idea how weird it is to visit one of your bookmarked, visit-once-a-day sites, only to read an entry that unknowingly discusses your ongoing impersonation of an Aussie starlet. It ranks right up there with wearing pantyhose.

In any case, all this while my mailbox kept filling up. One of the new minorities were the sensitive guys. Decent, caring fellows who thought that perhaps they could find some quiet companionship in an Australian chick with sky-blue eyes (that "penetrate my soul") and spiky hair. Sometimes I gave them advice for dealing with their girlfriends. One had done a funk-metal of one of Nat's songs, and wanted her to hear it.

While writing to all of these people, I learned certain things. First of all, by signing my emails "nat" and avoiding capital letters, my letters gained a certain authenticity. frequent references to "my gran" had the same effect. What's more, as an Australian, I could get away with absurd craziness. One of my favourite things to do was to quote "gran's" nonsensical proverbs, delivering them with a straight face and a hallowed respect. I could also make absolutely unbelievable assertions (such as the fact that I was working with Marilyn Manson, or had a monkey playing drums), and people would swallow them. "Cool," they'd say, "that's pretty weird, but neat!"

I also got emails from Satan.

And then, it began to culminate. I received an email from Edward. Edward seems to be a really nice man, hard-working and intelligent. As with many of the kinder people I corresponded with, I felt very guilty misleading him. These were good people, tricked by my infernal plot. More than anything, their sincere, well-meaning tones stood in stark contrast with the cruel, snarky stylings of Buddyhead, or even, I suppose, my own manipulation.

Edward wanted to know if I (or rather, "nat") was interested in conducting an interview for his e-zine, Rootnode's a terrific site, and we've linked to it before; it's got music news, reviews, and interesting columns. Good work by good people, and I wish them only the best.

Did that stop me?

Of course not. By this point I was too far in to back out (although I did turn down an interview with a NYC print magazine). Edward wanted to know if I preferred email, instant messenger or telephone. While I did consider faking a high-pitched Australian accent, I decided that I probably couldn't sustain it over more than forty minutes.

Email it was.

[Updated July 12] Natalie Imbruglia was profiled in a front-page interview with Rootnode on July 4. On July 9th, a rootnode admin discovered this page and replaced it with a post gracefully acknowledging that they had been fooled, and expressing regret at not having verified the source of the interview. The Tangmonkey Group responded to the removal of the interview by putting up a locally-hosted mirror of the original article. Later that day, rootnode removed their good-natured "You got us!" page, and contacted us with the demand that we remove the mirror due to a violation of copyright. As journalism, the article likely falls under Fair Use, but out of respect for rootnode's owners we have removed our mirror (pictured at right), replacing it with their suggestion: a transcript of the interview. Read an archived version of rootnode's Natalie Imbruglia Interview here. Do it now.

My life as Natalie came to an end when I sent the completed interview off. I'll admit that I was a little bit surprised that it was posted - the sheer incongruity of my answers made me question whether things would follow-through. Rootnode was quick to pick up the ball - within less than 48 hours they had tracked users back here and discovered the hoax - but still, for a time the project was a complete success. As for now? Well, Natalie's lawyers aren't banging at my door (and for this I thank them), so, all things considered, everything turned out Good. And, as we all know, all good things...

My experience as Natalie Imbruglia was at times infuriating (people liked signing Nat up for spam-mail), and at times heart-warming (marriage proposals by the dozen!). The unexpected never ceased to occur, and I got a kick out of the process. Now, in finished, documented form, I hope you've all enjoyed my account of the journey. At the very least, this will serve as a warning against emailing celebrities, or, perhaps, against trusting any human being whatsoever. I know that I've discovered my true identity as a worthless scumbag who violates kind-hearted folk, and although for years I've been telling myself that I am without value, now I have actual webpages to back it up.

The emails I provide here are but a small sampling of the hundreds I received. During these months I gained remarkable insight into a life that anyone who's not an Australian pop singer has never lived: the life of an Australian pop singer, that is. My experience came complete with snarky idiots (Buddyhead), intelligent writers (Edward), caring fans (Matt M., Brian, Pete, etc.), my very own stalker (some guy who actually took the time to break into my email account and read all my mail. Hee hee.), and the Prince of Darkness. For a time, I was a C-list celebrity superstar, and it was better than Sak's.

Title Banner and Forward/Back buttons by Mike Corr. Square graphic by Gareth Auden-Hole. All persons mentioned in this article, besides the author, Marilyn Manson, and, well, Natalie Imbruglia, have been referred to with fictional names, so as to protect their identities.

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