… the time has come around again for me to send you the annual gift which you have all, doubtless, been keenly awaiting.   Previous offerings have concentrated of late on marks of punctuation: ideal, in that they are easy to send and deliver, useful and interesting to receive and, above all, to the point.

This year’s gift will, in this regard, prove no exception.  However, this year I can promise that the specified item has been scrupulously washed down in alcohol, which itself has been carefully checked by me for taste and efficacy both before and after use.  To guarantee freshness and lack of contamination in transit, I have wrapped the item in gift brackets.  Please recycle these wrappings in the appropriate manner.

This year, my friends, I offer you the undeservedly humble Apostrophe [ ‘ ].  Not, please note, a second-hand version already abused by butchers or butchered by greengrocers.  No, this is a brand-new apostrophe, freshly picked from the source.  Nor is it a cheap diacritical version, but the top-of-the-range item, grammatical to its core.  The very one which takes its place proudly standing in sentences up and down the land.

(I shall make no mention at all here of scurrilous usage of the sign in the so-called emoji.  Any system which regards an object simply for its shape rather than its meaning is, in my view, not only ethically suspect but also logically unsound.)

As ever, please feel free to use your gift in any way legitimate to its purposes.  It is common knowledge that three basic types of opportunity will benefit from such practice; this year’s present doesn’t need as much explanation as the different types of .’s gifted in previous years.

Rest assured that the offering comes with my love and with very best wishes for the festive weeks and ensuing months of the year to come.  A contribution to a charity has again replaced the sending of cards this year, and this greeting note will be added to the ever-lengthening list available on my website (see in the blog).  This link will take you to where some previous gifts are still available – such is the generosity of the universe.


… and now what? Having woefully neglected this blog for so long, I’d like to give you a quick update before, in a few days, sending you my annual New Year message and gift.

Over this past year of Lockdowns, vaccinations and less social interaction than usual, I have delivered a library album to my publisher, and worked on the orchestrations for a new musical by Joe O’Donnell – fabulous music which owes to folk, jazz, rock and his own individual genius. (Visit the link for the latest information.)

I have also written a novel. This is something I have always wanted to do and I’ll tell you more about it sometime soon.

I have now arranged for my next library album to be written and produced in the new year. I shall be working in collaboration with John Mercer – we are delighted to be working together again and looking forward to exploring a new genre of music. John, as well as the skills mentioned on the Chronometer page, is a writer, an artist (and I thank him for many of my album cover designs) and a composer of very interesting and beautiful electronic music. This album will be a joint venture.

So there you are. Your annual gift will be coming very soon.


… I even suspect that this statement merits an exclamation mark, but – as I have intimated before in these messages – so many !’s are used without need, that one eschewed here can only redress the balance.

From the many kind responses I receive, it seems that you enjoy my annual gifts; of course, I confirm that this year’s offering is being supplied from a very social distance.

As in previous years, charitable donations have replaced paper cards.  But, of course, you will also receive through this blog entry, as always, a guaranteed virus-free offering.  Given that we may well need to return to a mindset which requires a far less wasteful use of resources, this year’s gift recycles earlier themes (specifically 2014, 2016 and 2017).  In fact,  I offer those three particular gifts again, refreshed and combined anew for 2021.  Given the state of the Union, its Health, its Governance and Its so much else, I give you

. . .

As you well know, the ellipsis implies ‘continuing in uncertainty’.  You may well say, ‘Thank you very much, there is sufficient uncertainty around right now for us not to need you to send us any more.  Thanks, but no thanks.’

But this would be to miss the point, indeed all of the points of my present present.  It is the ‘continuing’ which is the element that I wish for you.  May you continue, through 2021 and beyond.  This is the deeper message of my 2020 vision for all my friends.

With the best wishes you can possibly imagine,  David


… during lockdown? Not much news, but wishing everyone all the very best.


… that TUTTI, the online shop which sells some of my products (recordings and sheet music) is holding a sale in March with reductions on all these products.


… for Christmas and the New Year.

These messages of good will and their accompanying special gifts are now in their eighth year – the requested entire collection may be found here; new readers should repair thither to pick up on any missed references in what follows.  

The past few years have proved challenging in finding valuable gifts which may be sent in an e-mail; it is not an easy selection.  Offerings must be found which are light in weight, small in size and capable of digital transmission.  They should also, of course, be most welcome to receive as a present.

And there, just there, is the clue to this year’s offering, in black and white (depending on your monitor and optional choices).  This year’s gift is no less than:

The Present.

You may not have noticed it, but you have it, right now as you read this.   The present stretches endlessly around you, for local habitation.  It will, of course, not be available for one moment longer, so please enjoy it immediately.  Having said that, this is nonetheless a present which is not just for Christmas; it surely is the gift which keeps on giving.

For those of you who might complain that I am only giving you something which you already have, my response is that this particular present is so easily misplaced that a reminder must surely be a welcome gift from a friend.

And for those who were hoping for a further sally into punctuation philosophy, having enjoyed the hermeneutics of 2014, 2016 and 2017 (qv), may I regretfully inform you that [.] being used as a point in time, misses the point.  That is the elusive nature of the here and now.

Does this mean that we are back to 2013’s rather singular gift?  Well, not quite; that particular particle helps provide mass, but the present is substantially other.  Indeed, it is easily missed.  But here it is >

Dear Friends, enjoy.  With my respects, best wishes and love,  D


… and we are back from a short break in France (where this portrait was taken). The life of a composer is not always amenable to regular blogging as many projects are either very long term, or the parameters change so swiftly that to present things as news is rather difficult. However, it has been a while since I last wrote here, I am now working on a new piece, and I’ll be posting again soon. Happy Summer, everyone.


… in the form of the release of the album MOLASSES in which an informal session of a band I played and sang in was recorded live and is now available, over forty years later. ‘The Dude from the East’ is just visible on the right of the cover photo.

Oh, and, Happy New Year, one and all.


… 2018
“What, not again!” you cry.  (At last, an exclamation mark used correctly.)  “Here comes Stoll’s annual New Year dotty message.”
To remind those who would detract, the gift in 2014 was a micro-zoo; in 2016 it was a point of view; and last year it was a Full Stop – a period (if you like) for Reflection.  To make sure that the differences are apparent, here again are the three representations set side by side (by side):
.   .   .   
It was in mind to send something similar this year, but novelty also has its attractions.  I considered an exclamation mark, but as I have already intimated, I believe these should be reserved for those rare occasions when they are proper.
(Please remember, I am constrained, by both cost and practicality, as to what may be sent to a large and – excuse me – disparate number of people in an environmentally friendly manner.  And I like to send gifts which are meaningful and welcome, and which may be appreciated as thoughtful.)
While I have had many requests for another dose of the Space sent you in 2015 – though some wrote back to complain that they didn’t have the Time to enjoy it – space is currently at a premium and, despite extensive searching, I couldn’t find any anywhere.  Rather like losing the trees in the wood.
So this year my gift to you all is Silence.  You may need to listen carefully behind the everyday sounds in the world around you to hear it.  Indeed, I would recommend, for full appreciation, that you bear in mind that it is better not to bear anything in mind while you listen.
(An idea for next year: a bear in mind.  Don’t think of it now or it will spoil the surprise.)
Furthermore, by the way, as a bonus for these troubled times, this message also includes five pairs of brackets.  Feel free to extract them and use them a piacere.
With love and best wishes for everything that this time of year means to you, and in the profound hope that, in some ways at least, 2019 might prove less interesting.


… I can bring you up to date with some news.

I have been very busy orchestrating for the concert premiere of LITTLE FIR TREE.  The performances will be next month, on 18 December, and we have a fantastic cast in place: our Narrator is Sylvester McCoy.  Have a look at the flyer above, and visit the Kings Place website for more information.

It seems a pity to jumble mention of the two things together, but – while I was working on the show – the new Chronometer album, SPELEOLOGY, was launched.  This inhabits a very different world from the Forest where Little Tree lives.  I don’t want to present two different images in this blog, but you may see the new cover on the CHRONOMETER page.

And my intention is to get back to being a bit more regular with these Blogs in the new year.