Brits bored by this year's annual Queen's Christmas speech have a new alternative: the Gorillaz.
The hugely popular band will deliver its own version of the British monarchy's traditional holiday address to UK users of the 3 mobile phone network and on its Web site.
The band, fronted by Blur leader Damon Albarn, uses cartoon characters from animator Jamie Hewlett as its public image. Its cartoon bass player, Murdoc--voiced by Albarn--will deliver the speech.
Donning a crown and perched on a throne, Murdoc will talk about political, social, and artistic highs and lows of 2005, according to 3, calling the future "a wonderful place full of exciting possibilities."
"We've all had so many ups and down over the last year with toxic vapour clouds, earthquakes, face transplants, floods in Glastonbury, and the end of the old Routemaster buses," Murdoc will say. "But it's not all good news. On the bad side, we've had new music from James Blunt--who needs valium?--Westlife, and more films from Harry Potter. So it really does look like we're just one step closer to the apocalypse, eh?"
The speech will be available for free to users of 3's mobile phone network. It will also be on the Gorillaz Web site started January 1.
"During 2005 we have offered our customers exclusive must-see music moments from artists like Pussy Cat Dolls and Madonna, and the Gorillaz Christmas speech will be the icing on the cake for music fans," said 3's Graeme Oxby. "The band is hugely popular on 3, with the singles from Demon Days all topping our mobile download chart this year. We hope Murdoc's inimitable words of wisdom will amuse, entertain and inspire!"
The Gorillaz's second album, Demon Days, has sold more than four million copies since its release earlier in the year, spawning hit singles "Dirty Harry," "Feel Good Inc.," and "Dare," its most recent hit.mp3.com