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Part One

by Sean Michaels

Few would think of me as a master impersonator. I don't own any fake moustaches, no Spock ears or glue-on goatees. I do own some pantyhose, but I haven't worn them in a while, and those who know me can attest that if I were to dress up like a woman, I would never be mistaken for a waifish, pixie-haired one.

What makes the Internet wonderful is that regardless of your actual physical resemblance to an Australian pop star, you can pass yourself off as one. You can mislead dozens of people, breaking their hearts, making their day, or giving them healthy advice on dealing with their girlfriends. In short, on the Internet, a dog can be king, and I can be Natalie Imbruglia.

It all started several months ago. While browsing the Buddyhead gossip page, I had seen links to Fred Durst's email address, Courtney Love's, and others. Buddyhead seemed to relish the opportunity to bad-mouth everyone, and celebrities were their favourite victims. Someone sends them River Cuomo's telephone number, and they encourage others to make bomb threats. Relentless in their mean-spiritedness, cocky and full of shit, I was at the same time drawn and repulsed. The Buddyhead guys are anything but cool, still, they posted Kevin Smith's email address. That's got to be worth something.

Buddyhead's an extremely popular site. Strictly speaking it's an indie record label, but the gossip page is the principal draw. With regular music news, artist bashing, and, yeah, celebrity contact info, I know lots of people who have visited, or do visit, the site. What's more, they have a page of "scams": tricks they suggest in order to succeed in shoplifting or general commercial theft. Hilarious, huh? Robbing small business owners?

Aaaanyway, it occurred to me that there was no real way to know whether any of the data on the gossip page was actually true. Any punk could send them an email saying "Uh, hey. This is Chelsea Clinton. My dad's email address is:" Any punk could make something good up, send it whirling into cyberspace, and watch it be treated as gospel.

So I did.

The first question I asked myself was who to masquerade as. If I picked anyone too famous (eg: Eminem,) theyıd likely doubt the source. If I picked someone too insignificant (eg: Crankenstein,) nobody would care. I had to walk the line between celebrity and memory, making use of a name that would be familiar but slightly dusty. There were also bonus points to be had, I figured, if my victim was a babe.

yo buddyhead

natalie imbruglia's brother goes to mcgill. yeah, -that- natalie imbruglia. i realize she's not exactly the hottest shit right now, but her email address is i thought that was pretty cool. do what you will with it. he rbrother's a fucker.


Yeah. McGill University. As for "Radasat", it simply sounded like a suitably dumb-ass sort of name. Still, rereading the email, I wonder what kind of morons would believe it.

A day went by, and no response from Buddyhead. "Sad day," thought I. "Buddyheadıs actually got some brains. Either they saw through my dimwitted submission, or they actually screen their emails or something." I had made an account at TMmail in case they sent me anything, and there was nothing waiting in the mail-box. "Oh well."

And then, this:

Ever wanted to ask Natalie imbruglia a question? We haven't either... but if you have... email it to her at
Thus the deluge began.

Over the next several weeks, I received literally hundreds of emails from Buddyhead readers. The majority of these letters were from undersexed adolescent boys, who, more than anything, revealed an unnervingly consistent stupidity. I replied to many of them.

Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 09:17:21
Subject: Hey Natalie
Your super hott!!!

Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 14:58:59
From: Natalie Imbruglia
Subject: Re: Hey Natalie
so much so that "hot" is spelled with two t's? that's pretty warm. it is indeed quite toasty here in oz right now.

ta, nat

Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 18:15:22 EDT
Subject: hey
Whats goin not a fan or anything i just think your pretty hot and i was wondering if you could email me some pics of you.... preferrably nude but still pics thanks

Alex Pendragon

And so on, and so forth, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. It was pretty funny. Initially I got quite a kick out of reading these missives by love-starved, doltish teenagers. I pictured them sitting at home, Beavis-and-Butthead-style, chortling with glee at the fantastically witty email they just zapped out. Gradually, however, the sheer number of asinine comments began to wear on my nerves, slowly leeching any faith I had in the future of the human race. Nevertheless, occasionally some emails would lend me hope that perhaps the people sending Natalie inane letters were actually well-intentioned young boys, simply looking for some chaste love from an Australian beauty.

Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 15:25:11
To: Natalie Imbruglia []

Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 23:45:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Natalie Imbruglia []
a brilliant commentary on the human condition. you even made a funny pun!

what a big man you are.

Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 13:11:02
To: Natalie Imbruglia []
Subject: hey, im sorry for saying that.
I got your e-mail address from a "source".  I really shouldn't have dissed you right away, because I don't talk to anyone else like that. (and this isn't sucking up because you're a celebrity, I'm genuinely sorry), and I don't even know much about you. I sincerely hope that you can forgive me.

PS If you want to know where I got your e-mail address, I can tell you if you don't already know.

Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 13:30:10
From: Natalie Imbruglia []
Subject: Re: hey, im sorry for saying that.
buddyhead, right? yes, i'm talking to one of my lawyers.

thank you for the apology. in future, i suggest you be nice to people, in general. it's rather a better attitude. karma n'allthat.


Yeah. "Talking to my lawyers." Riight. I did send another email to Buddyhead, though.

Original Message ----- From: "Natalie Imbruglia" []
To: []
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2001 6:37 PM
Subject: me
could you please take my email address down from your site, you big hardcore scary mean punk hardcore guys who think you're hot shit?

thank you kindly
Natalie imbruglia
Of course, the point of that email was simply to antagonize the boys into posting another reference to me, to ensure that I continued receiving email. It worked a charm.

Title Banner and Forward/Back buttons by Mike Corr. Square graphic by Gareth Auden-Hole.

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