Why do we all go crazy for big ass?

Does my bum look big enough in this

Whatever happened to the cliche ‘does my bum look big in this’?

Where did that time go when women wore girdles to flatten their curves, and men began finding huge asses a bigger turn-on than svelte ones? Or have they always done?

And when could a woman become more famous (and rich) for her ass than her face, for her talent, or for any other attribute she possessed?

Today everything is so hyped to the nth degree. We live in an age of largesse. Of excess. Of riches. Of poverty. Of fame and obscurity. Of beauty, and ugliness. Of a media that lives to blow things up out of all proportion.

We are living in a time of the hyper-inflation of all things. The age of the prosthetically-enanced posterior, the titanic tush, the brobdingnagian buttocks.

In one sense you could say it’s an evolutionary development just like any other. We dress, wear perfume, pump our bodies and primp our hair to make ourselves more attractive to the opposite sex.

And medical advances now mean we can take our most attractive features, or the features that the opposite sex fixate on, and accentuate them into objects of excruciating desire. Boobs, lips, asses…

As the body parts swell and expand under the cosmetic surgeon’s wizardry, the garments designed to clothe them shrink to ever scantier, tighter, more revealing proportions.

Some days you wonder where it will all end. Women with tits like beach-balls? An ass as big as a bride’s train that needs a golf-buggy to get it from room to room?

For now, I wrote this simple poem to celebrate living in the age of Bountiful Bums.


Does my bum look big enough in this?

 by Frank Bukowski

Does my butt look too big in this?
Chantille asked
Doing a 360

Tyrone shook his head

You’re just saying that, she said
Turning sideways in the mirror
No really, does it look big?

I said, din’ I

Chantille looked at him
Then back at the mirror
Sticking out her butt

You liar, it’s HUGE!

He shrugged, whatever

Awww c’mon hon
I can’t go no weddin
Lookin like I godda goddam beach ball
Sewed on my butt!

Okay, it’s small!  It’s fuckin invisible!

Fuck YOU!

On the drive back in
Chantille sat in stony silence

When he could bear it no more
Tyrone said listen
You really wanna know
Whad I think?

Chantille didn’t answer

I LIKE it big, he said


No, I mean it
Wochafink I’ma allays hot fyo girl?

My personality?

Cain’t fuck no personality

Oh GREAT, she said, thanks a bunch!

When they entered the ramp onto the freeway
Tyrone floored it
For two miles neither of them spoke

When we get back, he said
Finally breaking the silence
Do me a favour, yeah?

Chantille’s head swivelled in slow motion
She sucked in her cheek

Look up dat Kardashian bitch
Know wh’am sayin?


I mean check out her google shit
Beyonce, Britney, Shakira, J Lo
All dem bitches

Chantille’s eyes came out for a walk
Ya’ll lookin for a smack here muthafucka?

Got five the most googled asses onna planet
Right there
Tells you all you need know
Bout motherfuckers and asses

Wait a minute, she said
You saying you motherfuckers LIKE big asses?

Tyrone grinned his answer
You bet yo ass it looks big in dat dress
Goddam right it do

Yeah right
Chantille huffed, folding her arms
And turning away

When he glanced in the mirror
Tyrone caught her smiling
Out the side window

And stop askin damn fool questions



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Beware Ebook Cowboys

EBB masthead

Beware Ebook Cowboys UK

Hi, Frank Bukowski here. I write fiction and I self-publish my books on Amazon and Smashwords (The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Reality TV, Sex on the Brain, The Football Agent, Sticky Pages), and Smashwords also make them available to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other places.

As any self-pubbing author will tell you, if you’re not already a ‘name’, writing and publishing a great book doesn’t even get you in the game. Unlike traditional publishing, where the publisher markets your book for you, self-published books will never get seen by anyone, unless you devote a lot of time and energy to self-promotion. Blogging, posting on social media sites, and paying for advertising are just a few of the ways you can try.

There are also a shedload of ‘ebook promo’ companies out there who promise, for a small (and often not so small) fee, to market your book in the daily promotional emails they send to their customer database. Depending on the size of the company, that may get your book in front of anywhere from a few thousand customers, to over a hundred thousand.

I have experimented with a few of these companies, and while nothing has lit the blue touchpaper, most promotions (which can last from a day to a few days, on a rising scale of price), have led to a trickle of sales that more than paid for the listing.

However, there was one particular company I tried to use, who proved to be an absolute nightmare. Ebook Bargains UK. Remember the name. In my opinion (and I’ll back it up with facts below) they are one of the most unprofessional, incompetent cowboy operations I have ever had the misfortune to deal with. That is the only reason I am going to share this story with you, so that anyone else contemplating using them, does so with open eyes.

This is quite a long post, as there’s a lot to tell. So I’d put the kettle on, brew yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea, then settle down for a gripping read.

August 2014 – amateurish beginnings

It was on a balmy day in August 2014 that I first subscribed to Ebook Bargains. 7 August 2014, to be precise. A year ago today, in fact.

Ebook Bargains UK website advertised itself as a promotional service for authors wanting to get their books in front of potential buying customers. That’s me, I thought. I’ll have some of that.

As you can see from the following image, they offer a range of listing options, ranging from the basic £5 ‘One Day Listing’, through a £15 Seven Day Listing as a ‘Featured Title of the Week’, all the way to a £3 a day ‘Author Spotlight’ where the author could run their entire portfolio of books over a number of days, alongside an author image and bio. Niiiiice.

EBB listing page

Further info on the website explains that the ‘One Day Listings’ appear in the top half of the newsletter, then the other categories appear lower down (‘Something for the Weekend’ appears mid-way, ‘Featured Title of the Week’ appears in the lower half, etc.) But you presume any recipient signing up to the emails will be happy to scroll down to see what books are being promoted, so that all sounded hunky dory.

So, on 13 August 2014 I contacted Ebook Bargains to say I was interested in paying for a 5 day ‘Author Spotlight’ promo in their promotional email newsletters, and on their site. What the hell, I thought, might as well go for broke and make a big splash.

However, it wasn’t apparent on the site how I should upload the various images and information they required for the ‘Author Spotlight’ (biographical info, my mugshot, book covers etc.) so I asked how.

The owner, Mick (at least I presumed he was the owner, since his email address was mick.ebookbargainsuk@gmail.com, and they seem to be almost a one-man band, based on my experiences with them) replied the same day saying they were having teething problems with multiple submissions like the ‘Author Spotlight’ package and that I should email him all the data.

Hmm, so basically the site didn’t provide the functionality to apply for the packages they were advertising, without the customer proactively contacting them to ask, and then using the workaround.

It didn’t seem like a great start but hey, we were all start-ups once, so you give a guy the benefit of the doubt. Mick said he’d email me the £15 PayPal invoice for the package.

From amateurish to unprofessional

Later I emailed Mick one or two supplementary questions about biography word counts and image sizes (for which, once again insufficient guidance was given on the site). And asked how he’d like me to send this meta data over.

I emailed the above questions on 15 August 2014. This time, however, Mick didn’t reply, which apart from being rude, I thought was a bit unprofessional for a supposedly legitimate business selling a service to paying customers.  Whatever.

I was keen to get some promotional activity going, so when five days passed with no reply, on 20 August 2014 I decided to make my own guestimate, so I emailed Mick all the information he’d requested (book files, image covers, blurbs, biography and mug shot, links to Amazon and Smashwords pages etc.) in the formats and sizes I GUESSED he wanted.

I requested that my Author spotlight package run for 5 days from 22 – 26 August 2014, and if those dates weren’t available, I asked Mick to let me know and we could arrange an alternative date. I also notified him that I’d paid the invoice.

When Mick didn’t reply to that email either, I assumed everything was set up to go ahead, and he was just a busy guy.

From unprofessional to incompetent

22 August 2014 came and went, without any sign of my book listing appearing in the daily EBook Bargains promo email.

Mystified, I looked around the website for a phone number to call on, but there wasn’t one. Nor was there any postal address. So I checked out the Ebook Bargains UK emails, and there wasn’t even a registered address on the bottom, which I believe is a legal requirement.

Returning to the website, I clicked the link that said ‘Terms & Conditions’. It went to a blank page that said, “for full details on our terms and conditions please contact us”. Really? Was that legal? And for the record, there was no ‘Contact us’ page. Hmmm.

EBB T&Cs page

With no alternative, I once again emailed Mick to ask if there had been some kind of technical hitch which meant my book hadn’t been listed. I’d also found a separate email admin address for the company on the PayPal invoice, so I cc’d that in, at info@publishingmediaservices.com.

Mick didn’t reply, again. But someone called Jay did from the admin address, which was based in the USA. He said he only dealt with payments but he’d make sure my message got through to Mick. I thanked him and said I’d appreciate it.

August 23rd came and went, so did the 24th, 25th and 26th, with no reply from Mick, and no sign of my book listings.

From incompetent to shambolic

On August 26th 2014 I emailed Jay to ask what was going on. Staying polite, I said I was being as patient as I could but finding the complete lack of communication and failure to provide the service I’d paid for, incredibly frustrating.

Jay replied to say he’d just been in contact with Mick, and apparently the main cables had been down in the village where Mick lives. And if I wanted a refund, Jay would do it for me directly.

This all felt a bit fishy. The phone lines would have needed to be down for 11 days from 15 August when Mick stopped replying. It sounded like a lame excuse to cover up for him.

However, once again I gave them the benefit of the doubt and thanked Jay for letting me know. I told him I’d rather wait until Mick’s internet was back up and running again, and go ahead with the listing, rather than have a refund. That was my original objective after all, to showcase my books in their promotional emails.

Jay said he would badger Mick to reply to me, and agreed that it made their company look poor to treat customers in such a cavalier way.

I waited three more days, and still got no reply.

On 29 August 2014 I emailed Mick asking him, politely, why my book listing (which I had paid for) had still not happened, and when he thought he might be able to fit it in. I even suggested a new date of 5 September, or if not, suggested HE name a date when they could fit it in. I copied Jay in.

No surprises, Mick didn’t reply. It felt like I’d have had more luck getting through to Elvis.

A day or so later Jay replied from the USA asking if Mick had got back to me. I told him not, and suggested this was a pretty shoddy way to be treating people, and that their company were in danger of looking like a cowboy organisation, if that’s the way they treated paying customers.

Jay took umbrage at the ‘cowboys’ word, and said I had better have a refund, which he pushed through straightaway. I got the feeling they just wanted me to go away. Why? God only knows? Was my money worse than anyone else’s?

From shambolic to downright rude

On receiving the refund, I thought, hang on. Am I just going to let them treat me like some kind of leper, effectively banning me from using their services with no justification whatsoever? Like hell.

So, on 30 August 2014 I emailed Jay again to tell him (always politely) that I really wanted to use their promotional service and was prepared to give it a second go, perhaps with just a simple one-day listing, or ‘short run special’ which should be fairly easy to set up.

Before I paid online, however, I asked Jay to ask Mick if there was some problem with the way I was submitting the book metadata, or the books themselves, as I didn’t want to go through the same frustrating experience again.

I told him that if I didn’t get any answer informing me I should submit things differently, I’d just go ahead and apply for the shorter listing on their website, and upload all the data from there as instructed by their site.

On 1 September 2014 I paid for a ‘Short run special’, to list my ebook “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” from 2 September to 6 September. I got an automatic email back from Ebook Bargains the same day saying my order had been received and would be processed as soon as possible. It even had an order number. Things were looking up. Or so I thought.

2 September came, the Ebook Bargains promo email came, but “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” wasn’t in it. Anywhere. Again. Sigh.

I emailed Mick. Again. Politely asking why, and what was wrong, and when might my 5 day listing go live?

Mick ignored me. Again. Absolutely incredible.

Throughout this whole sorry saga, Ebook Bargains were sending out their book promo emails every day. And every few days Mick was posting a mammoth post on his blog, then tweeting it, about some aspect of the self-publishing industry. Yet he couldn’t even find the time, courtesy or professionalism to respond to a single customer communication.

Frankly I was amazed, and by now getting a bit irritated. I’d done nothing wrong and didn’t see why I had to put up with this crap as a paying customer. Was he running an ebook promo business or not?

4 September 2014 I emailed Mick and cc’d Jay with a short message, “Could someone reply to my email please?”

No reply, again.

I waited a whole week. Just silence.

On 13 September I gave up and tweeted the Ebook Bargains UK Twitter page, asking WTF was going on, why had they taken my money and not delivered a service, and why did they never respond to my communications?

Whaddayaknow, it got an almost instantaneous response. How freaking sad is that, and so symptomatic of our times, that the only time a company takes any real interest in customers is when their bottom line is threatened by bad PR.

Mick’s tweeted reply said there had definitely been a ‘communication problem’, which was the understatement of the millennium. He suggested I email him at a new address, which was info.ebookbargainsuk@gmail.com

Once again I kept it polite. In my email I pointed out the problems I’d had and said all I wanted was a simple book listing.

To my amazement, he didn’t even reply to the bloody email.

Another week went by and I was forced to tweet again on their twitter page, to get some kind of reply.

Once again, only by going public about their totally crap service on social media seemed to get any kind of response. Mick emailed me fairly promptly, with a second profuse apology, ‘explaining’ that they weren’t a huge player and when glitches happened they didn’t have the resources to sort things easily, but they were trying to get back on track. Yeah right.

From downright rude to farcical

Somehow this ‘lack of resources’ didn’t quite square with the fact that he was managing to blog and tweet almost daily with long and detailed publishing articles like this one:


EBB find time to blog and tweet at length

In fact everyone else’s books seemed to appear without a problem in their daily promo email, which seemed to go out every day without any technical hitches. So any technical hitches, whatever they were, only seemed to apply to me. Make of that what you will.

Mick said he would categorically make sure the 5 day listing that I’d paid for would definitely start from any Monday commencing 29 September 2014. And he promised me a credit listing for each of the following three months, as compensation for all the hassle I’d suffered.

Great, I said.

Like a fool I asked one additional question. Would it be possible for my 5 day book listing to begin on Tuesday 30th instead of Monday 29th? I kind of wanted my book to appear at least part of a weekend, if possible. But I qualified my question by saying, if it absolutely had to be a Monday, then Monday 29 September was fine.

I guess I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record here. But guess what? He didn’t bother replying to my question about Mondays or Tuesdays. And when Monday 29th came and went, along with the Ebook Bargains UK promo email, my book listing was nowhere in sight. Nor on the 30th, and so on.

From farcical to comical

By the end of September I was pretty incredulous at this ludicrous excuse for a company, so I cut my losses and didn’t have anything to do with them for a couple of months. I continued to see their daily book promo emails come around every day, promoting author’s books.

Then, two months later, with the Christmas season approaching I thought it would be a good time to try and sell a few extra books, so I thought I’d try again from scratch with Ebook Bargains.

0n 28 November I paid them £15 for a ‘Book of the Week’ 7 day promotion, scheduled to begin on 1 December 2014.

Once again I got the automated confirmation email, saying they’d got my order and taken my money. But when the promo email arrived on 1 December, of the 7 books listed, guess what? Right, I couldn’t see mine anywhere, again. No shit Sherlock.

By chance I saw a message in red near top of the email which said, “This newsletter may be clipped short by your email service. To ensure you are seeing all the daily bargains, click on the web version link above the banner.”


Above it, hardly standing out in a grey font on a grey background, was the link to the ‘Web version’, whatever that meant. I mean, I was reading an email for chrissakes, on the WEB.


When I clicked on the “web version” link, I went to an extended web page, and after scrolling down, there finally was my book, three up from the bottom.

Henry VIII three up from bottom

But you would only ever see it if 1. You noticed the red warning message on the original promo email, and 2. You acted on it, went to the top of the email and were able to find the tiny grey ‘Web version’ link on the grey background. 3. Could be bothered to click on the web version link then scroll all the way down the extended web-page, if by that point you hadn’t already lost the will to live.

I figured the chances of a customer doing that were about 1 in 1000. As a way of promoting your book it was, to coin a phrase, TOTALLY USELESS. Unfit for purpose. A waste of money. A rip off.

When I googled why the emails might have been ‘clipped’ by Gmail in the first place, I found some information that pointed to the SIZE of the email, which suggested Gmails may be clipped if over 100k.

And when I checked out the size of all the book cover images in the Ebook Bargains promo email, sure enough they totalled around 150k.

However, I then checked out a similar email by a rival book promoter SweetFreeBooks who I had used before with no problems, and I discovered that their images were TEN TIMES as large as those used in the Ebook Bargains emails, but the SweetFreeBooks emails were never clipped in Gmail, so every book appeared listed in the email.

Call me crazy, but I decided to email Ebook Bargains to point this out to them. While doing so I noticed that the sender address had now changed from ‘Mick at ebook bargains uk’, to ‘Mark at ebook bargains UK’. And the email address of the sender now described him as Mark W international (I think the W stands for Williams), and the email address was theinternationalauthor@gmail.com

I wondered if the change of the sender’s name might offer a ray of hope in terms of improved customer service.

So on 3 December 2014 I emailed Mark W International to point out that my book was going to be invisible to 999 out of 1000 customers, for the remaining days of my ‘Book of the Week’ listing.

I asked if there was some issue with the way the book cover images were being coded in the emails. I even attached html files showing the Ebook Bargains email as a web page, and the SweetFreeBooks one as a web page, for comparison. It demonstrated how the Ebook emails were being clipped even though they were 100-150kb, but the SweetFreeBooks ones weren’t being clipped, even though they were several Megabytes.

I concluded by asking if it WASN’T possible for them to recode their images so that ALL books appeared in their promo email, then could they swap the remaining days of my ‘Book of the Week 7 day promo’, to single listings of ‘Today’s Bargains’, which always appeared at the top of the email.



I didn’t get a reply.


From comical to outrageous

What I want to know is, how do Ebook Bargains UK imagine for a moment that it is acceptable to advertise their services as a book promoter, take a customer’s money, promise to promote their books, then for the books not to appear in the promo email, and for them only to become visible if a recipient goes through a laborious process of finding and clicking on a tiny link, which 99.9% of people are never going to do?

This outrageous ‘scam’ is compounded by the fact that when Ebook Bargains advertise their services on their site, NOWHERE does it alert customers to this potential issue. You just assume if you pay for a listing, your book will appear in their promo email, in a way PEOPLE CAN SEE IT.

Does the customer have any redress? Well, to reiterate, if you try to view the Ebook Bargains Terms & Conditions on their website, laughably you get a page with one line on it saying, “for full details on our terms and conditions please contact us”. (See image above.)

I find this pretty unbelievable. I mean, is it even legal? So apparently, the only way you can get to see their Terms & Conditions, is to contact them. But you can’t contact them, because they don’t have any contact details, or a ‘Contact us’ page.

And if you try replying to the email address of the sender, they never reply. So you can NEVER in fact find out if they actually HAVE any Terms & Conditions, let alone read them.

In fact I would say the chances of them having a set of Terms & Conditions are about the same as my books ever being seen in one of their promo emails – pretty close to zero.

Furthermore, I noticed that, if by a one in a million chance some email subscriber had actually found their way to the hidden page where my book was listed, the only link to buy it was to Amazon.

Whereas when I submitted the book to Ebook Bargains I had supplied the links to both the Amazon and Smashwords pages where my book was for sale (a requirement when you submit books to Ebook Bargains, to be listed).

For some reason Ebook Bargains had only displayed the Amazon link to my book. Yet on all the other authors’ books promoted in their email, they displayed both Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble links, etc. WTF?

I followed up my unanswered 3 December email by emailing Mark again on 5 December 2014 suggesting what I thought the problem was with the images, and how he might fix it.

Didn’t even get the courtesy of a reply. Yet again.

Not even an echo came back.

Truly, you have to experience this cowboy outfit to believe it.

Given the way I appeared to have been singled out for such contemptuous treatment (though god knows why), I began to wonder if my books were even being included in the Ebook Bargains newsletter email to other countries (a key part of the service the company advertises).

Since it took several attempts to even get my book to (almost) appear in their UK newsletter, I had no way of knowing if it was included in the sister promo emails in their other regions (as promised): Australia, Canada, Germany, India, UK, USA.

Judging from the fact that I never got a single click through and sale ANYWHERE, despite supposedly being in all six newsletters in all six countries, for a whole WEEK, I would guess that my book was never listed in them after all.

From outrageous to sad

Fast forward 9 months. To give them one final opportunity to redeem themselves, or prove beyond all reasonable doubt their utter incompetence, I submitted my most recent book, “The Football Agent”, to appear as a basic one-day listing in their simplest category, ‘Today’s Bargains’, for £5.

The book was due to be listed in their promo email of 6 August 2015. i.e. yesterday. I received the confirmation email on 2 August telling me they’d received my order and were processing it, and they’d took my money. Again.

But like all the other ‘confirmation of booking’ emails I’d received over the last year, it proved to be a red herring. When the promo email arrived, as you’ve no doubt by now guessed, there was no mention of “The Football Agent” in it, anywhere.

Here’s a link to the full extended web page of the promo email, which you can only get to by clicking on the ‘web version’ link at the top of the email. Ebook Bargains promo email 6 August 2015

As you can see, “The Football Agent” is conspicuously absent.

I emailed them and tweeted them about it yesterday, and surprise surprise, there was no reply. You cannot be serious, I thought.

So, I finally decided to do this blog post about Ebook Cowboys, as I now call them.

As you can imagine, I’ve had this post written in draft form for several months now. But it’s kind of poetic, in a way, that today’s date is exactly one year to the day I first enrolled on their website, in the naive delusion that they would actually provide the service they took money off customers for.

I mean, a year’s long enough isn’t it? I’m not being unreasonable here, am I? thought I’d give them a good run at it, to get things right. I didn’t want to trash them in public without giving them every chance to redeem themselves and prove me wrong.

But a year later, after countless failed attempts to get my book listed – I mean, actually visible, in the promo email that landed in people’s inboxes – or get any kind of explanation or even communication from the ‘company’, I figure it’s finally time to let the world know (and specifically anyone contemplating using Ebook Bargains) what kind of cowboy outfit they really are.

Frankly I wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole.

Below is an image of the tagline that ends all of Mark W International’s blog posts:

EBB tag line

So, Ebook Bargains think they’re “far more than just an ebook promo newsletter”, do they?

Well, in a sense I suppose they’re certainly the only ebook promo co I’ve come across where they take your money and don’t promote your book in their newsletter. So I guess that’s SOME kind of niche, if that’s the word I’m looking for. Or maybe ‘scam’ is a more accurate description.

I should finally say that during the 12 months this fiasco has played out, I have used several other book promo companies like selfpublishersshowcase, sweetfreebooks, awesomegang, listmybook… and not one of them did I have a problem with, in placing an order, uploading my info, and the book promos appearing on the dates they were promised. Any questions I had were always answered promptly and politely, they couldn’t do enough to help.

Compare this to the completely dysfunctional way Ebook Bargains have behaved, and the frankly disgusting way they’ve treated me as a paying customer.

Judging from the fact that their promo emails still go out every day listing other authors’ books, I assume that other people may have had a better experience.

So I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s the kind of company you’d like to entrust your money and marketing to, and your livelihood as an author.

I for one will have nothing more to do with them ever again.


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Bad day at the office 15

Never mind the buttocks low res

New card design triggers Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Vicious internecine warfare has broken out again in the offices of UK Cash Cowboys where I work, about the new designs on the front of our credit cards. If you haven’t seen them yet, I guess you’ve not been on social media today. The artwork, which sends up the iconic album cover of Never Mind The Buttocks by 1970’s punk legends The Jizz Rifles, was created by our London agency PRICKS (Pratt Rypov Igo Charlatan Konman & Shytter), who were responsible for our recent TV ads of a ukulele-playing pigeon and a tortoise on a roller-skate. For anyone unfamiliar with the famous Never Mind The Buttocks cover, it features a picture of a guy with a rather prominent erection in a pair of tight swim trunks. Our CMO Dick Holder described the radical credit card design as “one in the eye for the other banks”.

Dick announced the strapline – Bring a bit of hypocrisy to your wallet!  that would support the ad campaign to me and the rest of the in-house marketing team yesterday, before it all went live today.

Stig Chuchwarden, the designer who sits opposite me in the creative studio, summed it up nicely when he threw me a baffled look over Dick’s shoulder, silently mouthing the words, “what the fuck?”

Apparently a veritable shitstorm has broken in the press today after several newspapers took offence at the use of the word ‘buttocks’ on a credit card. Marketing Week called it “utter cock”. While even PRICKS own Managing Director Uge Pratt went slightly defensive, describing his agency’s campaign as “a breathtakingly audacious piece of advertising bullshit”.  It caused our CEO Cleopatra LeGrande to rush out a hasty press release this morning defending the crass artwork that will be shoved into the faces of unsuspecting shop assistants across the world from today.

The card cock up comes at a sticky time for UK Cash Cowboys and our Rottweiler of a CEO, who have come in for a barrage of criticism this week. First when it was revealed that our crap pension actually blocks customers from being able to get at the money they’ve saved up, when they come to retire, a story which The Telegraph first ran last Friday. And secondly when a rumour began going round the office that LeGrande was being investigated for insider dealing. Woo fucking hoo. Fist pumps all round the studio were the order of the day when that little baby first popped up.

In an article last week in the Daily Rail’s, ‘Mafia Bank Bosses’ supplement, it was revealed that:

“LeGrande had worked for the disgraced Fred Goering, who she helped steer the Royal Bank of Snodland to the brink of collapse during the financial crisis. For five years she ran its calamitous £65bn mortgage business, lending money to destitute nutters like it was going out of fashion. Finally, when she got wind that the bank was about to go tits up, she phoned Sir Rich Pickle, who had always told her she would be welcomed back at the Cowboys. The timing of her departure in 2007 was immaculate, coming little less than a year before the bank went over a cliff.”

There was a little graphic in the article showing how Cleopatra had sold her RBS shares for £21.98 each in 2007. They subsequently fell to 50p in the bailout, and are still only worth £3.50 today. The headline in the graphic called it ‘Good timing’.  However, there’s a rumour going round that someone has drawn LeGrande’s ‘immaculate timing’ to the attention of the Financial Conduct Authority, pointing out that it appears to tick every box in the definition of ‘insider information’.

“A non-public fact regarding the plans or condition of a publicly traded company that could provide a financial advantage when used to buy or sell shares of the company’s stock. Insider information is typically gained by someone who is working within or close to a listed company. If a person uses insider information to place trades, he or she can be found guilty of insider trading. Insider trading is illegal when the material information has not been made public and has been traded on. This is because the information gives those having this knowledge an unfair advantage.”

Watch this space, as they say. But if anyone’s expecting to see our haughty CEO in chains any time soon, don’t get your hopes up. Cleopatra LeGrande’s CV lists a diploma she received from the Sepp Blatter school of bribery and corruption among her professional qualifcations. Not for nothing is she known in the banking world as the Teflon Tracy. Brushing off all the criticism her press release began in typically bullish mood this morning:

“No, the credit card designs aren’t a pathetic marketing gimmick, you fuckwits. They’re just the latest step in our quest to cheapen and debase UK banking. For a long time now UK banks have been professional and business-like, with the same attitude towards their financial products and customers. At UK Cash Cowboys we’re aiming to change that, by completely mugging everyone off. In launching these cards we wanted to celebrate the Cowboys heritage and difference, by commemorating the iconic punk band 38 years after they first signed to Cowboys Records. The Jizz Rifles challenged the establishment. They swore and spat in people’s faces. Just as we are doing today in our quest to drag UK banking into the gutter. Did people really think we’d let them have their pension savings back when they reached retirement? How the fuck do they expect me to cream off a fat profit to pay my bonus if they take all their money out, FFS! If you’re all too thick to see that it’s not my problem love. Now get out of my way, I have a lunch appointment with the Chancellor at twelve.”

For those who don’t know, The Jizz Rifles were first signed up to Cowboys Records in May 1977 after being dropped by both EMI and A&M Records. Their loud trashy music, foul-mouthed lyrics, obscene gestures and torn clothes held together with safety pins were at the forefront of the iconic punk rebellion in the late 70s.

When the band’s lead singer Jimmy Gangrene sang the words “I am a paedo-phile, I am a paedo-phile!” all those years ago, I bet he never imagined The Jizz Rifles’ name would one day be used to endorse our credit card at the Cowboys. Then again, I bet he never thought he’d appear in the reality TV series I’m A Failed Celebrity Who Nobody Remembers Anymore Get Me Out Of Here, or on a TV ad for Downton Margarine. Strange times we live in.

The Jizz Rifles are an important part of Cowboys’ history,” said our Global Group Chairman, Sir Rich Pickle, fighting a stiff rear-guard action from his Caribbean retreat Slapper Island this morning. “Okay, UK Cash Cowboys might be a total joke as a bank, run by a psychotic CEO who’ll kill anyone who stands in the way of her obscene end of year bonus, but the Cowboys’ brand has a long and distinguished track record of pretending to be on the consumer’s side while completely mugging everyone off, so I love the fact that the team have chosen to fuck the public over again in this way. Even after nearly 40 years the Rifles’ power to jizz all over your face is undimmed.”

Apparently Cleopatra, who received a CBE for services to bullying in this year’s New Year’s Honours list, was locked in a two-hour conf call with Sir Rich this morning, cooking up some bullshit story to try and deflect the storm of criticism that the lame marketing gimmick has attracted. Afterwards it was agreed Sir Rich would post a statement on the Cowboys’ blog, under the headline: ‘Never mind the buttocks, we’re still being censored!’  Here’s what he posted, word for word.

“When Cleopatra LeGrande, the CEO of our Cowboys banking franchise in the UK, suggested celebrating Cowboys’ unique music heritage by launching Jizz Rifles credit cards, I thought it was a blinding idea. I was looking forward to seeing the classic Never Mind The Buttocks slogan loud and proud across our advertising again. It’s fun, iconic and the guy in the Speedos with the huge erection will certainly catch the eye. However, as we began to book in advertising slots we discovered some newspapers still took offence at the word buttocks and asked for censored versions of our ads. The Jizz Rifles clearly still have the power to provoke nearly 40 years on. As Jimmy Gangrene would say, ‘It’s deja vu all over again!’

“Did you know that apparently buttocks is the eighth most offensive word in the English language? I really don’t see what everyone’s problem is. Only last year I emailed Cowboys Atlantic’s CEO Ben Dover using the word buttocks and his IT system blocked my message for being ‘profane, vulgar or offensive’. WTF? Fucking sort it Ben, you muppet, I told him. Or you’re out. When Ben protested I smugly reminded him about the time we won a court case proving the word ‘buttocks’ was not rude or profane. If you remember, the Bitchfield police in Norfolk once took us to court for advertising Never Mind The Buttocks in our Cowboys Records store windows back in the 70s. They argued ‘buttocks’ was a derivative of ‘arse’, FFS. How ridiculous can you get. I contacted the linguistics professor at the world-famous Bitchfield University, who soon put them straight. ‘What a load of shite,’ he said. ‘Buttocks has clearly nothing to do with arse. What are they thinking of? Fucking amateurs.’ On the contrary, as he went on to prove through scholarly argument, ‘buttocks’ was a popular nickname given to 17th Century nuns. As it turned out, the professor actually turned out to be a transgender nun himself, and appeared as our expert witness in court – complete with his dog collar and bra. The case was thrown out. ‘Thanks for clearing that up,’ said Ben.

“That was back in 1977. Who would have thought the word ‘buttocks’ would still be censored in 2015? Then again, who would have thought the guy who brought you The Jizz Rifles would own a bank? Radical huh? I’m such trendy guy even though I’m a hundred and thirty four years old. That’s what money can do, pal. Hey, thankfully, my bank is a bank unlike any other. That’s what this campaign is saying. We’re a bank committed to mugging everyone off, taking the piss out of the public by pretending to be young and trendy, a consumer champion on your side, while selling you rank financial tat that frankly I wouldn’t recommend to my nineteen year old Swedish au pair’s dog, Randy. We laugh in your faces, losers. As we like to say: There’s Cowboys, and there’s UK Cash Cowboys, so buttocks to that! Fuck you!”

I’ll perhaps give the final word to the Daily Rail’s financial columnist Oprah Purse. Referring to our new gaudily-designed credit card’s hefty 2,348,099% interest rate, Oprah asked the question, “Never mind the artwork, what about the APR?”

It’s a good question. And to be fair, one I had flagged to my boss Norman Shylock in a meeting a few weeks ago, but he slapped me down, saying nobody would notice if we put a nice picture of the front.


We’re apparently also under investigation by the FCA on suspicion of producing financial advertisements while under the influence of illegal substances. The news just broke on Reuters after images of our Jizz Rifles credit cards started going viral on Twatter.

Yawn, I’m off to lunch.

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