sex industry

Bad day at the office 14

UK Cash Cowboys Bank Front low res

UK challenger bank launches sleazy high street sex shops to help boost sales


UK Cash Cowboys launch high street sex shops to help flog its balance transfer credit cards

Ainsley Fibber / Bitchfield Evening Standard / 30 April 2015

The well-respected credit card giant Barkercard is locked in a death struggle this morning with the cheap and nasty newcomer to the market, UK Cash Cowboys, who today launched a challenger to Barkercard’s market-leading 36 month balance transfer credit card.

While both company’s cards offer 0% for 36 months, the Cowboys 1999% per cent APR is considerably higher than Barkercard’s 18.9%, whose 2.99% balance transfer fee is also dwarfed by the Cowboys’ 119.99%. So basically, for every £100 of debt you transfer to the Cowboys’ card, they charge you £120. And if you slip a day over the 3 years without clearing the balance, expect to be paying thousands in interest from day one. It’s all there in the small-print if you look, under the section titled ‘Don’t look here, it’s all boring, just buy the card and everything will be fine’.

But before you reject the Cowboys Credit Card out of hand it comes with additional customer benefits that really make it stand out from competitors like Barkercard. In fact, in its latest blatant attempt to bribe customers into buying some of its financial tat, the upstart challenger bank has renamed its high street branches as ‘Garden Sheds’ and launched half a dozen chill-style ‘Steam Rooms’ on the streets of our towns and cities, for customers to hang out, buy stuff, and have sex.

The refurbished high street properties, which were recently purchased from the national dry-cleaning chain Starchleys after they went bankrupt, were given a quick hoover and a lick of paint in an overnight re-branding exercise, before having a new logo slapped on and opening their doors as UK Cash Cowboys.

The bank have opened 75 of these Garden Sheds, or ‘Sheds’ as they’re being radically called by the challenger bank, in towns and cities up and down the country, where customers can pay in and withdraw money, just like in a normal bank branch.

But the Steam Rooms are where the real action is. These are an entirely new concept which are for now only being trialled in a handful of major cities like London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Norwich to measure customer interest. Customers won’t actually be able to do any banking transactions in the Steam Rooms. They’ll be more like drop-in centres where customers can put up their feet after a hard day’s shopping, relax on a sofa and check out UK Cash Cowboys’ new balance transfer card and range of other exorbitantly-priced financial products on a company iPad, while being distracted by a live sex show streaming onto overhead TV screens.

“They were originally going to be named something safe like Lounges or Stores where we’d bribe the punters with free coffee and sticky buns and tacky shit like that, you know, colouring books for the kids, but that just felt really lame,” said Chief Marketing Officer Dick Holder. “We decided if we were going to really stand out from the other banks we’d need next level thinking. So we briefed in our agency, Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman and Shytter, you know, the geniuses behind our new Pigeon Ukulele Blues and Tortoise on a roller skate TV ads. They’ve come up with the whole brilliant Steam Room idea, which is like so totally out there. I mean, they grey-skied the whole concept of what we all crave as human beings. Once you’ve got the boring shit like tea and coffee out the way, basically sex is where it’s at. And Steam Room so captures the whole free sex thing, don’t you think? Completely radical. Have you had a look inside one yet? You can get condoms, Viagra, sex toys, amyl nitrate, morning after pills, abortions. We’ve really pushed the envelope on this one. You can’t get this kind of bare-faced bribery at any other bank.”

When I quizzed the CMO about the thinking behind calling their main high street branches ‘Garden Sheds’, and whether that might confuse customers, Holder was unrepentant. Slapping me across the face, he said, “Watch it, sonny. Any more lip from you and you’ll be feeding fish at the bottom of the Wensum. You are dicking around with the wrong people. We are bankers. You don’t question ANYTHING we do, kapeesh? Not if you want to keep your fingernails on. Listen, the Sheds are like, where you typically keep all your tools and knick-knacks when you want to do shit, yeah? Keep up. So we had the idea that our branches, sorry, our Sheds were like where you could do all your banking shizzle, you with me? You come in, buy some insurance, pay into our pension, gamble a few grand on dodgy shares, so we get to fuck you over and take all your money. All under one roof. Like a shed. Geddit?”

In a first for a UK high street bank, the Steam Rooms will be staffed by teams of highly photogenic ‘Trolley Dollies’ and oiled-up ‘Gladiators’. The dress code will be chic see-through lingerie, dicky-bows and thongs. The staff will offer a range of casual sexual services for free, to the drop in customers. “It’s a hooooge win-win,” said Xerxes, one of the Gladiators from the Norwich Steam Room, “I get to boff loads of massively frustrated housewives with serious nymphomaniac issues, who just pop in for a five minute top-up on their way to Tesco. For them they get to be famous by appearing in the videos, as well as getting a right proper seeing-to. I’ve not had any complaints, put it like that. I think this kind of commitment to customer service is a real first for UK banking, which definitely sets UK Cash Cowboys apart from the other boring banks. To be honest me and Emma thought it would have been brill to call it like, you know, a Speakeasy, Den or Massive, some bad shit like that. But I guess with all the boy girl action going on in the Customer Satisfaction Cubicles upstairs management wanted to keep it real. See that chandelier swinging? That’s proper gland to gland combat, that is. You could write your name on the mirrors in the bogs up there.”

Xerxes’ sentiment was echoed by CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, who was awarded a CBE for services to bullying in the recent New Years’ Honours list. “We think it’ll be a real game changer. I mean, name me another bank where a poor person can just drop in and get a quick BJ from a smoking hot bimbo, or you can drop off your wife for a cheeky bit of double DP by two totally ripped hunks hung like trident missiles? We’re hoping this blatant appeal to the basest desires of our punters will encourage them to buy loads of our over-priced crap and increase my already considerable personal fortune massively, so like my bonuses are off the map. Why are you looking at me like that? Have you ever broken a bone? Do you how painful it is? In fact, do you know what it’s like to have your fingers pulled back til they snap, sweetheart? Well take that stupid look off your face then. I’m running a bank, lovey, not a nursery.”

The bank’s Culture Director, Steve ‘WD40’ Lovett, was excited about the Cowboys new move into bricks and mortar. “When Starchleys went bankrupt, we thought, get in. I mean you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, do you. We’d been hanging around for years hoping to pick up a bank on the cheap, to give us some kind of ersatz credibility on the high street. So naturally when Starchleys went tits up we were in there like a rat up a drainpipe. Bosh. Take that you muppet. Got them for an absolute steal. For now we’ve just opened Steam Rooms in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Norwich. We’re still in ‘proof of concept’ stage, yeah. Once we’ve demonstrated we can really hook the mugs in with promises of free casual sex on tap, then get them to buy shed loads… ha ha… of our high-charging, middle-of-the-road financial tat, we can turn them into long-term cash cows. We’ll be fucking minting it bro,” he said.

I was about ask Lovett what the high street challenger bank would do if the Steam Rooms proved an unprofitable venture, when LeGrande brushed him to one side and got right in my face. “Don’t talk to me about profits,” she hissed, “we’ve just blagged a 3.6% share of the mortgage market, you dickhead. Our retail deposits have increased to £22.2bn, and our credit card balances totalled more than a BILLION quid! Fuck you, loser. My end of year bonus is going to be COCKING HUGE this year! Ten mill at least. What are you on, thirty K a year, you sad journo muppet. As for the Steam Rooms, don’t you worry about them sweetheart. If they don’t wash their face we’ll sink them quicker than the fucking Titanic. Screw the customers. They can go down the sodding brothel and pay for it like everyone else. Now jog on back to your newspaper, you nosey cunt. And you can quote me on that.”

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MP’s porn habit gives Cameron a blow

Will British MP’s online sex habit block David Cameron’s porn filter?

In July 2013 Britain’s much beloved Prime Minister David Cameron, possessed like Tony Bliar before him of his own saint-like infallibility, announced to the country that up to 95% of households in the UK would have pornography blocked by their internet provider, unless they actively chose to receive it.  Online porn was “corroding childhood” and “distorting” children’s understanding of sex and relationships, he argued.

Personally I beg to differ. Porn is no more provably corrosive than war movies or computer games, in my humble o. Your average guy is about as likely to go and whack off over his girlfriend’s nose after watching a pop-shot as he is to mow-down the school lollypop lady after playing Grand Theft Auto. Of course the nutters and freaks in society will always be with us. The evil, mad minority. They will do their crazy shit regardless of how careful we are. Bad is bad. But most normal people know where the boundaries lie between the harmless fun that can be had blowing zombies’ heads off on a computer screen and what is acceptable in real life. Same with porn. Lay off, Dave.

Cameron’s Big Brother proposal was described at the time by one of his own advisers, in less than charitable terms, as ‘absolutely ridiculous’. Quite how ridiculous became apparent this week when official figures were released revealing that over 300,000 attempts were made during the past year to access pornographic websites from the Houses of Parliament. That’s a lot of masturbation we’re paying for. No wonder they’re fiddling their expenses.

Following the shameful outing of thieving MPs during the great Expenses Scandal of 2009, is this but the latest example of our politicians (those paragons of moral rectitude) shooting themselves in the face, in terms of their standing with the public? If it does nothing else it illustrates perfectly the double standards often talked about sex, particularly the sex industry.

In public no one has a good word to say about porn. Yet in private every man and his dog seem to be logging on to get their daily fix. This can be quite literally, as in the Houses of Parliament, or via the numerous pornographic fantasies we indulge during the course of an average day. I’m talking those innocent reveries involving seduction of the boss’s smoking hot p.a. in the disabled toilet after a drunken office party, the shameful quickie with your best friends’ girlfriend in the back of the car, the leisurely 69 enjoyed in your neighbour’s bed while he’s away on business. Not forgetting the random strangers we pass every day on the street and take home to deflower in our head-beds. God forbid our families and friends ever find a way to download these thoughts, discovering the guilty secrets we harbour inside. The filthy fantasies we all entertain, morning, noon and night.

I’ve written about this at length in Sex on the Brain, in which I explore the moral confusion surrounding our public and private sex lives. Who hasn’t, at some time in their past, indulged in a bit of light rape fantasy, either as victim or perpetrator? Okay, that’s a loaded word. Let’s say an S&M fantasy, a bit of the old tying up and gagging. A playful slap. Restraint. Yeah that one. Bondage, domination, mild coercion. Now hands up who would actually go out and do any of that stuff for real. Not many, right? But the fact is that most of us carry a whole bunch of this kinky stuff around in our heads that we’d never admit to, or do in real life. And if truth be known, none of us thinks we’re doing anything wrong. It doesn’t feel weird or sordid when we have these sexy thoughts. We don’t feel like depraved monsters. Because we aren’t. We’re just normal, doing what comes natural. Fantasising with our imaginations, filling in the gaps life can’t fill. Dreaming we’re rich and powerful like the movie stars we can never become. Getting the girl we know we’ll never have. Life puts all that beauty in the shop window and says no, you can’t have any.

Sexual desire is something we all experience, almost every day of our lives. It’s as ubiquitous as our appetites for food and drink, as necessary for our survival. That’s why the porn industry exists. Like the food industry. It’s there to market its product to us as desirably as possible, and make money out of doing so. It sells because it fulfils a deeply basic need. If nobody wanted it, it wouldn’t exist. Yet it’s become one of the most lucrative industries on the planet. So why does porn get such a bad press?

No one seems to have a problem with movies that portray graphic slaughter, murder and mutilation. Yet the minute a penis sticks its head into shot the world is outraged. One glimpse of pussy and squeamish politicians swarm from the woodwork howling in protest. I have a theory why this is, and it’s this. Religion. Our prudishness about sex is purely and simply down to our puritanical past. Surprising as it may be in our thoroughly secular modern world with all the knowledge science has placed at our fingertips about the universe and the evolution of humans in it, we are still largely ruled by bible-thumping leaders who have no problems firing cruises missile into cities full of millions, yet who, burning up with righteous indignation, would happily send a hooker to prison for the sin of having sex with another human being. I mean, it’s one thing to go off and do something manly like slay a nation of non-believers in battle, but doing a bit of furtive begetting on the side with your neighbour’s wife is completely beyond the pale. Stoning is too good a punishment for such sinners. Fire and brimstone awaits. If you’re watching porn, better prepare yourself for hell and damnation.

To such believers I would say this. Are you sure? Really sure? About what you do? What you believe? Your certainty about what’s right and wrong? For everyone? Who says? Prove it. Do you even know if your own spouse is faithful, for instance? I mean in body and soul? Remember Billy the BJ Clinton? JFK? Jeffery Archer? Edwina Currie? It’s a long list, and it’s a lonely existence being the spouse of a world leader. All those weeks you’re away from them on foreign visits, conferences, summits, not knowing what you’re up to. Those young, tall, fit bodyguards who have to stay behind and look after them. The gym-hardened bodies under the wide-shouldered suits. The testosterone-fuelled hardware packed inside. The holstered pistols with their capacity to sprout lead. The slabbed pecs. The karate knowledge. That’s a lot for a woman’s imagination to go to work on, during those long lonely evenings at home alone, when she feels horny and the kids are in bed. You think she only gets the urge when you’re around? What spaceship did you fly in on buddy? She may not be to everyone’s taste but personally I find Samantha Cameron’s innocent doe-eyed look a bit of a turn on. Especially with those figure-hugging business suits she wears. The pretend-demure flat shoes. The coy glances. For what it’s worth, yeah, I would. Is that a crime? If so I plead guilty. As for Michelle Obama, well, frankly most guys I speak to think she’s got enough body to take on three men at a time. You know something? I might just put me a little porn movie on tonight after dinner. Maybe download a few news bulletins online, about the Obamas and the Camerons. Run them together in my head, then go to work.

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