We are the music makers

We are the music makers


Watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with my then 5-year-old daughter I realised, for the first time, that our perspective changes as we get older. Things you held close as a child evoke different feelings as an adult. If you are lucky enough to become a parent, your world view and reference point shift irrevocably.

I used to wish I could be Charlie and have all that chocolate. Watching again as a parent I found an astonishing empathy for Charlie, moved almost to tears watching him getting teased for being able to afford just two bars of chocolate, in his pursuit of the golden ticket. And watching his mum struggling to provide, not just for Charlie, but for four other, bed-ridden seniors yet singing “Cheer up Charlie”. That Grandpa Joe was miraculously energised at the prospect of a tour around a chocolate factory is a deeper discussion for another time.

During their factory tour, whilst licking the wallpaper, Veruca Salt incredulously asks Willy Wonka what a Snozzberry is. Willy Wonka replies “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” It stuck with me, as I looked down on my wee, funny person giggling away at all the colourful things on screen, and wondered when I’d stopped dreaming.

It’s one of those things, growing up, understanding that you lose innocence through knowledge of how the world operates. Dreaming is relegated behind achieving, and maintaining, success. To survive is the new dream, even if that means you never enter the dreamworld again. To stop dreaming is to accept that how things are is how they will always be. When did I stop dreaming?

I still remember saying to Oliver that, if we could ever make Marloe a career, how incredible it would be. I dreamed of a life spent designing watches and making an impact on other people’s lives through the instruments of time. That dream became a reality but now, on consideration, I think I stopped dreaming as we approached 2020.

Dreams are not the end of the rainbow, they’re the start. In a way dreams are a door, and you work hard to manifest the key to open it. If you’re fortunate enough to open the door, it reveals the mechanics of keeping that dream alive, and so overwhelming is the machine that drives dreams, that it takes everything you have within you to understand it. It consumes every waking thought, and the dreaming fades.

Designing watches means a lot more than scribbling on paper, and over the Covid years, the energy required to design watches was placed elsewhere - survival was key. Returning to the dreamworld I found that my dream had turned into a nightmare, through self-doubt and lack of confidence. Adrift in the clouds with no rudder to steer me, it was Oliver who dropped the anchor - why have you stopped dreaming?

The Daytimer project was the result of finding my way again, of opening myself up to dreaming, of hope and a future that could be great, if we want it to be. Through the process of bringing the Daytimer to market I’ve realised that dreaming is essential to everything, in both my professional life and my personal world, if I want to enjoy this quite remarkable trip through time. We can make our own music, if we want to. And we can dream wild, beautiful dreams, if we just get out of our own way.




We are the music makers,

    And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

    And sitting by desolate streams; —

World-losers and world-forsakers,

    On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

    Of the world for ever, it seems.


With wonderful deathless ditties

We build up the world’s great cities,

    And out of a fabulous story

    We fashion an empire’s glory:

One man with a dream, at pleasure,

    Shall go forth and conquer a crown;

And three with a new song’s measure

    Can trample a kingdom down.


We, in the ages lying,

    In the buried past of the earth,

Built Nineveh with our sighing,

    And Babel itself in our mirth;

And o’erthrew them with prophesying

    To the old of the new world’s worth;

For each age is a dream that is dying,

    Or one that is coming to birth.


A breath of our inspiration

Is the life of each generation;

    A wondrous thing of our dreaming

    Unearthly, impossible seeming —

The soldier, the king, and the peasant

    Are working together in one,

Till our dream shall become their present,

    And their work in the world be done.


They had no vision amazing

Of the goodly house they are raising;

    They had no divine foreshowing

    Of the land to which they are going:

But on one man’s soul it hath broken,

    A light that doth not depart;

And his look, or a word he hath spoken,

    Wrought flame in another man’s heart.


And therefore to-day is thrilling

With a past day’s late fulfilling;

    And the multitudes are enlisted

    In the faith that their fathers resisted,

And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,

    Are bringing to pass, as they may,

In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,

    The dream that was scorned yesterday.


But we, with our dreaming and singing,

    Ceaseless and sorrowless we!

The glory about us clinging

    Of the glorious futures we see,

Our souls with high music ringing:

    O men! it must ever be

That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,


    A little apart from ye.

For we are afar with the dawning

    And the suns that are not yet high,

And out of the infinite morning

    Intrepid you hear us cry —

How, spite of your human scorning,

    Once more God’s future draws nigh,

And already goes forth the warning

    That ye of the past must die.


Great hail! we cry to the comers

    From the dazzling unknown shore;

Bring us hither your sun and your summers;

    And renew our world as of yore;

You shall teach us your song’s new numbers,

    And things that we dreamed not before:

Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,

    And a singer who sings no more.


"Ode" by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

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