'I think that taking up art would be great for anybody at any age," encourages Anneke Raber, 59, a chiropodist, reflexologist and artist. A growing number of people are taking up arts and crafts in middle age and even later - but how easy is it to start at something from scratch when you're not in the first flush? And how good can you become?
Oriental despots boasted of their harems, an d the Roman Empire of their bathhouses — the Jews got by with the modest mikveh. Initially a purifying bath used to prepare men and women for Temple ritual, it is used now to prepare women for sexual encounters with their husbands after two weeks of abstinence caused by their monthly period.
When Eva Hesse died at the age of 34, she was a well-known and successful artist. In the 40 years since her death, she has become even more famous, recognised as a key figure in the history of post-war art.
Hesse wrote about her life that, “there isn’t a thing that hasn’t been extreme — personal health, family, economic situations”, and she was not exaggerating. Tragedy seemed to follow her about.
At any murder, car crash or arrest in New York during the 1930s and 1940s, Weegee was invariably the first photographer on the scene. Often, he arrived before the authorities — getting early information about crimes from monitoring the police radios he had installed in his car and home, or from tip-offs from his network of bookies, pimps, call girls, and con men.
This seeming foresight gave him his nickname, Weegee — adapted from ouija boards used at seances. His real name was Usher (he changed it later to Arthur) Fellig, from Austrian Galicia, now part of the Ukraine.
One day earlier this month Charles Saatchi and Anita Zabludowicz found themselves together in a room in East London, searching for the new Damien Hirst. The two hugely influential art collectors were attending the opening day of Bloomberg New Contemporaries, an annual exhibition which, for the past 60 years, has been showcasing the kind of young talent that goes on to make it big in the art world.
Mitch Albom might just be the biggest author you have never heard of. His novels have shifted 30 million copies worldwide, with his latest book, Have A Little Faith, having been a fixture in the top 20 best-seller list in the United States since it was published in September. Previous novels The Five People You Meet In Heaven and For One More Day were instant number ones on the New York Times’s bestsellers list. He is perhaps best known for Tuesdays With Morrie, a memoir about the time the author spent with his old college professor before he died.
The man on the corner of Bilu and Marmorek breaks off his conversation as I pass and says: “Do you know why this street is called Bilu?” He is wearing a khaki shirt and shorts, has a grey beard, and looks like an anachronism in Tel Aviv.
I shake my head.
“It’s an acronym made from the initial letters of Beit Ya’akov Lekhu Ve-nelkha — Let the house of Jacob go — the war-cry, if I can call it that, of a dozen or so idealists who came to Palestine from Russia in 1882.”