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Generally speaking, as a performer, even more as a classical singer, it is bad form to reply to criticism. The very personal nature of stage performance - the presentation of some version of the self, however well-hidden or transformed - elicits a sort of visceral response from the critic. Trying to excuse one's perceived inadequacies or point out something crucial that has been missed or misunderstood seems rather beside the point and even impertinent. All performers, unless they live in a Xanadu world of Citizen Kane-like reclusiveness, will sometimes (or frequently) read reviews. But on the whole, we pretend that we don't for the sake of our dignity. We also insist that the ultimately unmediated encounter with the audience is paramount.

With the written word it's a different matter, and having had an unusually large response on the Standpoint website to my last column, I thought I might clarify it just a little. I imagine that the interest was partly because the subject, our experience of time, is such a fascinating one, and one about which we all have something to say; but also because it is an area in which debate is intense among professional philosophers, often partisan and bewilderingly inconclusive. I was surprised, maybe even flattered, to have my scattered remarks analysed as philosophy.

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February 4th, 2009
9:02 AM
Try taking oil-based Vitamin D3 supplements to reduce the likelihood and severity of colds. The majority of northern Europeans are deficient in this pro-hormone. (See the Vitamin D council website.)

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