WATCH: Conor Maguire and Tom Gillespie in Beauty & Chaos

James Skerritt

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Updated 73d ago

The importance of daydreaming. You can only fixate on an idea for so long before putting it into place. Although I think this is possibly a statement that I heard in relation to a serial killer, it seems appropriate here.

To start in the middle for no particular reason - we put the soundtrack on the film the same day David Bowie passed away. I was loitering in a basement studio in Limerick city as Paddy Mulcahy ran his hands between the footage and his keys. We were watching the fifth cut of the film, which I ended up cutting together over the Christmas holidays.

Six weeks' worth of footage of roaming about the monsoon soaked colours of India and smiling landscapes of Indonesia was now sitting inside a seven minute window on-top of a piano, the rain dripping from the screen and oozing between the heavy keys.

It all started with a Facebook message from Conor Maguire simply saying “let's go to India”. We had discussed trying to make a film like this for years - an honest, or somewhat, portrait of what we were feeling as we roamed from place to place. We wanted the music to do the same. 

Day One. Our minds fresh and drenched in wanderlust, we strolled the monsoon soaked streets with wide eyes full of excitement and intrigue - CM

Day One. Our minds fresh and drenched in wanderlust, we strolled the monsoon soaked streets with wide eyes full of excitement and intrigue - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

I showed a friend of mine an early cut of the film and told him the title. I was greeted with a frown along with the notion that it was the worst title he had ever heard. Nonetheless, Beauty & Chaos, had its first screening at Shore Shots Surf Film Festival in April 16. 

It was the first time meeting both Conor and Tom Gillespie since the trip so it was quite an interesting moment to watch the film together on a big screen. The film spent the following year screening in film festivals around the world, with its last set of screenings throughout May this year.

I was even more pleasantly surprised after a festival in New Jersey, where a filmmaker whom I admire commented on how much she likes the title. 

Like most films, I am always motivated by how much fun it will be to watch in about 40-years time - a remembrance of the random happenings that come about in the unknown and unsure. So whether you like the title or not - it was a damn interesting process to go through.

Two wonderful weeks of snorkelling and diving in pristine, crystal clear seas came to a welcome end as we heard swell was on the way. We would drive on our scooters to a cramped computer Cafe, the only source of internet on the island, and hope there was enough connectivity to open a page. It took 30 minutes to load one page but when we saw the numbers come up, it was more than worth it - CM

Two wonderful weeks of snorkelling and diving in pristine, crystal clear seas came to a welcome end as we heard swell was on the way. We would drive on our scooters to a cramped computer Cafe, the only source of internet on the island, and hope there was enough connectivity to open a page. It took 30 minutes to load one page but when we saw the numbers come up, it was more than worth it - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

This was on our second last day by the ocean. You feel the temperature suddenly drop and instantly know what is to follow suit - JS

This was on our second last day by the ocean. You feel the temperature suddenly drop and instantly know what is to follow suit - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

The markets in India are a sight to behold. All 5 senses are in overdrive as you're met by a sea of colour and intense aromas. Stall owners were busy hustling uncomfortable tourists, but looked relaxed and happy in the process. I don’t think this guy sold too many bananas though - CM

The markets in India are a sight to behold. All 5 senses are in overdrive as you're met by a sea of colour and intense aromas. Stall owners were busy hustling uncomfortable tourists, but looked relaxed and happy in the process. I don’t think this guy sold too many bananas though - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

Whilst standing in the long line for a ferry that brought us down river and into the city centre, we were met by an elderly man hoping to earn his fare home by asking those better off than him for spare change. This was a regular occurrence at every corner in busy places - CM

Whilst standing in the long line for a ferry that brought us down river and into the city centre, we were met by an elderly man hoping to earn his fare home by asking those better off than him for spare change. This was a regular occurrence at every corner in busy places - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

We went to a pharmacy next door to where this photo was taken in order to buy something for any reef cuts endured when we finally got to the ocean. We bought potassium permanganate for about 20p that lasted us the trip. Tiny crystals that would become a horrible purple liquid that you could hear bubble on your flesh as it killed everything it touched. When Conor finally dragged his zombie-esque foot to a doctor in Indonesia we were advised to stop using it - and so we did - JS

We went to a pharmacy next door to where this photo was taken in order to buy something for any reef cuts endured when we finally got to the ocean. We bought potassium permanganate for about 20p that lasted us the trip. Tiny crystals that would become a horrible purple liquid that you could hear bubble on your flesh as it killed everything it touched. When Conor finally dragged his zombie-esque foot to a doctor in Indonesia we were advised to stop using it - and so we did - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

While in search of turtles we came across a fisherman cleaning his boat. He would stay underwater for about a minute at a time scrubbing the hull. I am pretty sure this was also the day a turtle we named Brian possibly stole Conor’s GoPro - JS

While in search of turtles we came across a fisherman cleaning his boat. He would stay underwater for about a minute at a time scrubbing the hull. I am pretty sure this was also the day a turtle we named Brian possibly stole Conor’s GoPro - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

On one of the small days of swell we decided to go swimming just off the reef. This guy popped up and loitered around the ocean with us for some time before getting bored of the stalking smiling faces that followed his every move - JS

On one of the small days of swell we decided to go swimming just off the reef. This guy popped up and loitered around the ocean with us for some time before getting bored of the stalking smiling faces that followed his every move - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

Just outside Crawford market as we loitered around Mumbai with yawns and smiles - JS

Just outside Crawford market as we loitered around Mumbai with yawns and smiles - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

Possibly the only water shot I managed to get of Conor where my hands or Conor’s board weren't mangled in the process - I have never been so good with positioning in the sea -JS

Possibly the only water shot I managed to get of Conor where my hands or Conor’s board weren't mangled in the process - I have never been so good with positioning in the sea -JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

On our way back down the mountain we decided to jump in a taxi. Our hearts were still racing from the 7 hour bus ride up the steep roads. It was the middle of the monsoon season which made the roads extra slippy. The lack of barriers meant one wrong move would mean falling hundreds of feet to the lush valley below. After a few close calls on the narrow roads, we all concluded that a taxi would be the wiser option back down the mountain. Upon our descent, we were met by a long traffic jam. This is the sight we were greeted by as we came around the corner. Apparently the bus driver had lost control and slid out off the road. The bus fell to the valley below and was retrieved with a crane. A few passengers died and many were injured. Our hearts sank. We were glad we payed a bit more for the taxi home - CM

On our way back down the mountain we decided to jump in a taxi. Our hearts were still racing from the 7 hour bus ride up the steep roads. It was the middle of the monsoon season which made the roads extra slippy. The lack of barriers meant one wrong move would mean falling hundreds of feet to the lush valley below. After a few close calls on the narrow roads, we all concluded that a taxi would be the wiser option back down the mountain. Upon our descent, we were met by a long traffic jam. This is the sight we were greeted by as we came around the corner. Apparently the bus driver had lost control and slid out off the road. The bus fell to the valley below and was retrieved with a crane. A few passengers died and many were injured. Our hearts sank. We were glad we payed a bit more for the taxi home - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

I became quite addicted to free-diving on the flat days in India. I would dive to the bottom and sit on the coral and wait for shoals of fish to gain my trust. Once they felt unthreatened, they would engulf me in all their colour. There was also a large buoy that I would climb down to see how deep I could go. I must’ve gone fairly deep because I came up with blood rushing out my nose. It was worth the view though - CM

I became quite addicted to free-diving on the flat days in India. I would dive to the bottom and sit on the coral and wait for shoals of fish to gain my trust. Once they felt unthreatened, they would engulf me in all their colour. There was also a large buoy that I would climb down to see how deep I could go. I must’ve gone fairly deep because I came up with blood rushing out my nose. It was worth the view though - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

Tom suggested that we drive scooters up to a nearby town in the mountains - thankfully we didn't. Seven hours on a bus going full speed along steep, fenceless roads had us clung to both life and the seats while the temperature dropped and rain started - JS

Tom suggested that we drive scooters up to a nearby town in the mountains - thankfully we didn't. Seven hours on a bus going full speed along steep, fenceless roads had us clung to both life and the seats while the temperature dropped and rain started - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

We would leave the water to find goats, birds and smoke lofting around the burning rubbish on the beach. A daily occurrence that never got too easy to watch - JS

We would leave the water to find goats, birds and smoke lofting around the burning rubbish on the beach. A daily occurrence that never got too easy to watch - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

One of the unsure and curious faces. Once approached with a warm hello, the uncertainty and curiosity turned into a toothy grin and head wobble we became accustomed to - CM

One of the unsure and curious faces. Once approached with a warm hello, the uncertainty and curiosity turned into a toothy grin and head wobble we became accustomed to - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

We stayed in a homestay in a small village on the beach. Each day we were welcomed by the local people who seemed to smile at our excited sunburnt eyes. When we arrived it was the end of Ramadan which lead to nights of being waken up at random times to the sound of music and marching people parading down the narrow streets in celebration - JS

We stayed in a homestay in a small village on the beach. Each day we were welcomed by the local people who seemed to smile at our excited sunburnt eyes. When we arrived it was the end of Ramadan which lead to nights of being waken up at random times to the sound of music and marching people parading down the narrow streets in celebration - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

We extended our flights a few weeks and made tracks for Indonesia. Nearly two days of travelling later we were once again driving through unknown winding roads getting greeted with rice fields and smiles - eventually leaving us in a picturesque bay buried within the jungle - JS

We extended our flights a few weeks and made tracks for Indonesia. Nearly two days of travelling later we were once again driving through unknown winding roads getting greeted with rice fields and smiles - eventually leaving us in a picturesque bay buried within the jungle - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

We went from Indo back to India where we had a few days to spend in Mumbai before our return home. The safest way to get off the train was to jump just before it would come to a complete stop to avoid the rush of a crowd. The only problem was that there was people also trying to jump on at the same time. Watching the speed at which some people had it down was both terrifying and impressive - JS

We went from Indo back to India where we had a few days to spend in Mumbai before our return home. The safest way to get off the train was to jump just before it would come to a complete stop to avoid the rush of a crowd. The only problem was that there was people also trying to jump on at the same time. Watching the speed at which some people had it down was both terrifying and impressive - JS

© 2017 - James Skerritt

Tuk Tuks were our transport of choice in the busy city streets. It was a fantastic way to get around and see as much as possible. We were met by a few unsure and curious faces and many, many smiles as we zoomed by, weaving through the traffic. These two lads had a mischievous but friendly look to them. We are still unsure if they were smiling or just laughing at our pasty Irish skin. One might assume the latter. We smiled back either way - CM

Tuk Tuks were our transport of choice in the busy city streets. It was a fantastic way to get around and see as much as possible. We were met by a few unsure and curious faces and many, many smiles as we zoomed by, weaving through the traffic. These two lads had a mischievous but friendly look to them. We are still unsure if they were smiling or just laughing at our pasty Irish skin. One might assume the latter. We smiled back either way - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

This man embraced the simple life whilst the hustle-bustle of the city noisily passed him by. He called us over and showed us his shoes which he had repaired and would sell. Behind him is where he lived. He brought us into his home and showed us where he slept. When he saw that James was carrying a camera he got quite excited. He pointed at the camera and posed proudly waiting for the shutter to close. We offered him some rupee to get lunch but all he would take was a smile - CM

This man embraced the simple life whilst the hustle-bustle of the city noisily passed him by. He called us over and showed us his shoes which he had repaired and would sell. Behind him is where he lived. He brought us into his home and showed us where he slept. When he saw that James was carrying a camera he got quite excited. He pointed at the camera and posed proudly waiting for the shutter to close. We offered him some rupee to get lunch but all he would take was a smile - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

Storms moved quickly and erratically over our remote slice of heaven somewhere in the Indian Ocean. We waited weeks for swell to push in but never got bored taking in the view. Here, a little blackbird finds light in the dark - CM

Storms moved quickly and erratically over our remote slice of heaven somewhere in the Indian Ocean. We waited weeks for swell to push in but never got bored taking in the view. Here, a little blackbird finds light in the dark - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

On one of the flat days in Java, we sat outside reading our books when we noticed some lads taking the tiles off the roof of an old lady’s house across the road. We went over to see what the story was. They were the friendliest people and offered us a tile. This was the beginning of a days work retiling the old lady’s roof. We were paid in peanuts (literally), tea and laughter. It is up there with one of the best days I’ve had travelling - CM

On one of the flat days in Java, we sat outside reading our books when we noticed some lads taking the tiles off the roof of an old lady’s house across the road. We went over to see what the story was. They were the friendliest people and offered us a tile. This was the beginning of a days work retiling the old lady’s roof. We were paid in peanuts (literally), tea and laughter. It is up there with one of the best days I’ve had travelling - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt

Tom Gillespie is the reason we decided to jump on a plane to India in the hope of getting perfect barrels to ourselves. He called me up and painted the prettiest of pictures. I had been fascinated with India since watching nature documentaries about the place since my childhood so it took minimal persuasion to get me to book a ticket. He is the perfect travel companion. Even when the prospect of waves looked pretty bleak, he was still more than happy to explore the countryside and soak up the culture. Without Tom, none of this would have been possible - CM

Tom Gillespie is the reason we decided to jump on a plane to India in the hope of getting perfect barrels to ourselves. He called me up and painted the prettiest of pictures. I had been fascinated with India since watching nature documentaries about the place since my childhood so it took minimal persuasion to get me to book a ticket. He is the perfect travel companion. Even when the prospect of waves looked pretty bleak, he was still more than happy to explore the countryside and soak up the culture. Without Tom, none of this would have been possible - CM

© 2017 - James Skerritt