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Arts Council England has expressed shock and amazement regarding the reported hostile take over bid of the organisation by the cast of Top Cat, the popular 1960's cartoon series.

It appears that Top Cat, the indisputable leader of the gang, or T.C. to his friends (provided it's with dignity), was reported to be outraged at the UK funding behemoths decision to axe almost £30million from its main funding programme, Grants for the Arts, whilst hoping, with increasing levels of desperation, that no one would find out.

Speaking from his home in a trash can in Hoagy's Alley, Manhattan, New York, T.C. told Article19;

"Weeee cannot sit idly by while joo guys suffer at the hands of these wise guy bureaucats (you mean crats? Ed!). Despite the fact you called my show Boss Cat for no apparent reason back in the day I'm willing to forgive and forget to come to the aid of you limey artists and restore a bit of order"

When we pointed out that ACE isn't a public limited company and has no shares for the alley cats to buy, Top Cat (the indisputable leader of the gang) responded;

"thaaaaaat's not the kind of takeover were talking about knuckle head. When I say hostile, I mean HOSTILE!"

T.C. referred all further questions to his Head of Communications; Choo Choo.

Choo Choo told us;

"We've been looking at this in detail and we think we have the best in the business to replace the muddled leadership and lack of passion that have been eroding yoir Arts Council for years now. We've been sneaking into baseball games, getting free phone calls from the cops and stealing food for years. How hard can it be to form a national arts strategy?"

Fax it up Baby!

Mr Choo faxed Article19 several dozen pages of documents detailing both the reasons behind the takeover and a detailed listing of the staff restructuring that would take place.

T.C. would, obviously, supplant 'Sir' Christopher Frayling as chairman of ACE because he apparently spends all of his time watching westerns and writing books that nobody reads (a bit like Jeffrey Archer then? Ed!) and nobody knows who he is anyway. Benny the Ball will act as his right hand man (so to speak).

Choo Choo would replace Peter Wright with immediate effect as Chief Executive because, to quote the alleys cats takeover plans; "Mr Wright is a banana and a knuckle head." Choo Choo also pointed out that he's pink and in ACE terms pink equates to gay so the gay groups will go wild for him.

Mr Choo also hinted that the Pink Panther may come on board at a later stage in an advisory role to show they are serious about the "gay/pink issue".

ACE's current communications staff responded to that claim, seven days and twelve phone calls later, by stating that; "Mr Wright is not a banana, has never been a banana and has no aspirations to ever become a banana". As to the question about him being a "knuckle head" they would simply say "no comment!"

The remaining members of the gang would all assume high ranking positions in the organisation. Because of ACE's sheer size Top Cat (the indisputable leader of the gang) has roped in an entire legion of comrades to fill various positions.

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Grape Ape Grape Ape

The Dance Department, for example, will be overseen by the Great Grape Ape. When ACE's press office was asked how national dance policy would be affected with a 40 foot tall, purple gorilla in charge - wearing matching green bow tie, waistcoat and cap - they replied (after 12 days, 24 phone calls, 14 emails, 3 letters, 2 faxes and a flock of carrier pigeons);

"Look, we're getting a little bit upset answering questions about a hostile takeover by animated cartoon characters, stop it, you're giving us all nightmares, stop it............. stop iiiiiiit!".

Beagle Beagle, The Great Grape Ape's trusty sidekick was more circumspect;

"We feel this is a positive move for us, there are a lot of challenges ahead but we've accomplished great things in the past and now it's time to move on, to bigger and better things and just make sure they pay is in purple grapes!"

The Great Grape Ape simply responded "Grape Ape, Grape Ape!" before sloping off in which ever direction he wants because, to be frank, who's going to stop him?

In a surprise move the newly appointed Director of National Dance Strategy, Janet Archer, would be replaced by a used house brick! Both Ms Archer and the house brick declined numerous opportunities to comment. As yet, it is unclear just what kind of new thinking a rectangular piece of masonry will bring to the table in terms of progressive strategies!

ACE's very own press office will be replaced en masse by the slightly more 3 dimensional Animal Kwackers. The inter galactic pop group from, believe it or not, 'Popland' have been doing a lot of charity work since they left television in the late 1970's.

'Boots', the one eyed tiger, told us;

"We feel this is a positive move for us, there are a lot of challenges ahead but we've accomplished great things in the past and now it's time to move on, to bigger and better things."

When we explained that's what Beagle Beagle said just hours before he/she responded;

"That's because we're all 'on message' (emphasised with air quotes), but I guarantee you that every Friday, at lunch time, Rory Rory will indeed, be telling you a story!"

Reaction among arts professionals and the government has been mixed. Downing Street refused to comment referring us to the DCMS. The DCMS refused to comment referring us to ACE. ACE couldn't comment because the entire communications staff was in rehab!

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Journalistic Meltdown

Brian Sewell, the Evening Standard's Art Critic, commented that;

"To be fair I find the whole thing utterly repugnant, revolting, repulsive, repellent, disgusting, offensive, objectionable, cringeworthy, vile, foul, nasty, loathsome, sickening, nauseating, hateful, detestable, execrable, abominable, monstrous, appalling, insufferable, intolerable, unacceptable, contemptible, unsavory and unpalatable! However, Choo Choo is quite the cute little cat, don't you think?"

When our reporters asked if that was a dictionary in his pocket or was he just pleased to see us? Mr Sewell sloped off toward Tate Modern muttering to himself about Gateshead.

Richard Morrison of The Times (he used to write rather good editorials about the arts you know! Ed!) seemed more up beat;

"Frankly, the way things are I'm surprised they didn't move in sooner and boot this lot out on the street. I've always been a huge fan of T.C. I was in his fan club for chrissake! Where the hell have you been all these years huh?................. Well?..................... Answer me dammit!!"

Stuart Sweeney, Acting Senior Deputy Assistant Executive Administrator in Charge of Courtesy and Self Important Posturing at CriticalDance.com told us;

"I'm not talking to you lot, you're really silly, now leave me alone, I'm buying slippers!"

A professional dance artist, who requested anonymity because he had been drinking heavily and couldn't remember his own name, commented;

"I think a bunch of animated characters could almost certainly run ACE better than that knuckle headed, banana guy and his merry bunch of cloven hooved henchmen........... BIG ISSUE, GET YA BIG ISSUE HERE!!!!"

The takeover is scheduled to be completed within the next few weeks so get ready for a whole slew of crazy announcements, barking mad policy ideas and all round chaos in the arts. If you don't notice any difference then we suggest you're not looking hard enough.

Top Cat (the indisputable leader of the gang) told us in one final comment;

"We feel this is a positive move for us, there are a lot of challenges ahead but we've accomplished great things in the past and now it's time to move on, to bigger and better things."

Oh bugger off!