Festive pet subject

<p>The editor occasionally offers me advice as to what to write about but I'm not sure about his suggestion for my last column before Christmas. &quot;One potential area would be to look at the impact a recession could have on authors.&quot; Mmm . . . perhaps a little gloomy for the festive season? Instead, I head off to Borders to examine its &quot;Comedy&quot; section. That's what we all need; something to cheer us up before we all disappear over the edge of the cliff.</p>
<p>And this year, amusing photographs of animals seem to be all the rage. In <i>Pets with Tourettes</i>, captions have been added to pictures so that, on the first page, an adorable kitten is seen to be saying: &quot;Slutty f*ck puppets.&quot; Already giggling, I pick up <i>Pimp Your Pet</i>, also published by Summersdale, which seems to rule the roost in this field. Here the captions are less filthy but equally brilliant. A spider, for example, is unexpectedly seen to be exclaiming &quot;Shazaam.&quot;</p>
<p>There are no captions in <i>Fat Pets</i>, published by Fourth Estate. But who needs them when you can feast your eyes on Orazio, a 35lb cat from Italy, being manhandled by its owner. Fat pets are also, of course, sick, maltreated, unhappy pets . . . as I am sure they would tell you, if only they could talk. And there's still room in the stocking for<i> One Track Mind</i>, photographs of objects such as bells, windows and escalators which, apparently, resemble the female breast.</p>
<p>Or <i>I Love My Zimmer </i>by one Bill Fall&shy;over. A nom-de-plume, surely? Quite surprisingly, this book contains photographs of&mdash;yes&mdash;Zimmer frames, each with an amusing title so that the Olympics Zimmer, for example, has a flame balanced on the top. A companion for this might be <i>100 Things To Do When You're Dead</i> which contains lots of photographs of someone pretending to be dead . . . in one of them he's being used as an ironing board. A stiff, I suppose.</p>
<p>What really gets me about these books is their sheer opportunism. Who thinks them up? Who buys them? And what happens to them after Christmas? Are they pulped and recycled into the funny books that we'll see next year? Are they given away to Romanian orphans who need a laugh?</p>
<p>But it does seem to me that if this dross really is worth the valuable front table space it is been given and if &shy;people are buying it even as the high street reports the worst Christmas for decades, then there is no possible way that the recession can touch any author at all. We're safe. The public need us! The editor was right after all.</p>