Tag Archives: music

Spooky songs

Here are some more videos of The Ominous Folk of Hopeless, Maine singing.

We sing at events partly because it’s fun and partly as a way to share the island with people and lure them in.

Lowlands is one of the first songs we took out on these terms – death and ghosts…

Here we are singing Anne Lister’s Moth song at Shrewsbury Steampunk Spooktacular. This one is part of this year’s show, which has a Hopeless romance theme. And anyway, moths.

Another one from our recent gig at Woodchester Mansion. Ravens, and death. ‘Nuf said.

A little Hopeless Listening

Recently, Steven C. Davis put together a podcast of music that, for him, evokes the island of Hopeless Maine. We listened in when the show went out live and were delighted by the eclectic mix of material and the number of bands and songs we already knew and liked. Some of whom had written Hopeless Maine songs. There were also some excellent new-to-us moments.

For further delight and delectation, Keith Errington is also in the mix reading some of his highly entertaining Hopeless Maine material.

It gave us a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings.

We’ll be going to Steve’s real-world event in May, which we are decidedly excited about. This is a man who clearly gets the island, and with whom we are clearly going to be able to do some really interesting things.

The podcast is on mixcloud, and embedded below.

The Hopeless Maine family strikes again

There are many truly lovely people who have, one way or another, thrown themselves into the tentacled embrace of Hopeless, Maine.

It would be fair to say that we’ve had a tough few months. As many of you know, Tom had a stroke back in December – he’s recovered well but it was scary at the time. Nimue has been ill a lot – nothing so dramatic, but ongoing adventures in pain and weariness. And so it was that some of the wider Hopeless Maine family gathered together and did a lovely thing to cheer us up.

This was apparently the brainchild of Nils Visser – who you will have seen a lot of here on the blog with his glorious Diswelcome series. He pulled a fabulous team together to make this happen. He’s a fine chap, and responsible for inventing Snugglepunk. Or possibly Smugglepunk.

There’s Professor Elemental doing the music, aided and abetted by Tom Carunana. We love the Prof, and the video features some of the art Tom’s done for him over the years.

Bob Fry is a longstanding supporter and spoon fancier, also an essential part of Nimue’s Wherefore project.

Herr Doktor once went so far as to make a spoonwalker. He’s also widely believed to be a deity of the steampunk pantheon.

John Bassett can be held responsible for Steampunk Stroud, and is also part of the Hopeless Maine film team, wearing many different hats for that one. All in one stack, obviously.

Cair Going is a gorgeous person and we were there when she was crowned as Queen.

Bill Jones can teach you how to grow Victorians in your garden. You may have seen his work in Private Eye.

Lou Pulford has written for this blog and performed with us in public places and has the best tentacles.

Susie Roberts sings with A Cup Full of Tentacles – the performance side of Hopeless – when we’re allowed to go out and do unspeakable things in public places.

Deep gratitude to you all, for being in our lives, for being so relentlessly lovely, and for making us cry over this video. You are all splendid and we wish we could hug you all.

Paul Mitchell’s Indecent End

By Frampton Jones

I’ve made several attempts at drafting this obituary with tact and delicacy, but the results have proved almost incomprehensible. Readers of a delicate disposition are advised not to read on – suffice it to know that Paul Mitchell died as he lived.

For those of you who are made of stronger stuff, here are the details.

One of the young ladies from The Red House came to my office yesterday to report Paul Mitchell’s demise. She was almost inarticulate with grief. I visited the scene and attempted to interview the others, but there was rather a lot of sobbing, so I may not have the details in perfect order, but here is my best understanding of events.

Paul Mitchell departed this life from The Red House in the early hours of this morning. Of the seven young ladies currently resident at that establishment, three were too exhausted to talk to me for long. All seven blamed themselves for overtaxing the deceased gentleman. It is evident that rum was involved.

Perhaps the most telling comment from the whole debacle came from Esmerelda, who told me, “He was never a customer. We just used to invite him round.” The further explanation of why they used to invite him round cannot be printed in a publication such as this. Clearly, he will be much missed in certain quarters.

Reverend Davies preached an impromptu sermon outside The Red House on the sins of the flesh and the way in which a debauched life is bound to bring a person to such an end as this. His words only seemed to encourage people into The Red House, which was not, I imagine, his intended purpose. Reverend Davies has been a long standing critic of Paul Mitchell – frequently speaking out about the ways in which his bawdy and irreverent music would corrupt the young. I might comment that many of our younger, and less young people have been entirely open to such ‘corruption’ and readily persuaded that there is no particular virtue in misery.

There will be no official funeral – not that I imagine Paul Mitchell would have wanted Reverend Davies to bury him. The young ladies of The Red House have set their hearts on a burning ship burial, notifications of the date and time to follow. Bring musical instruments, rum, improper poetry and songs that cannot be sung in polite company.


If you would like to be led astray by Paul Mitchell’s music, start here – http://ragingpagan.yolasite.com/

And to get involved with the kickstarter that killed him, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/countrostov/tales-of-hopeless-maine

I say Hopeless, you say Maine…

Druid Life

As I write this, I’m still recovering from a most amazing weekend. Stroud had its first Steampunk Weekend, run by John Bassett – he’s a very creative local chap and also an excellent organiser of things. When he expressed an interest in Steampunk last year, Tom and I were very excited and piled in as best we could to help. Tom was heavily implicated in sorting out the day program and we both did a fair amount of luring people in.

It was a touch surreal seeing people we normally have to travel to spend time with. It was also rather lovely getting people from afar who we really like and being able to share them with local friends. There’s a particular pleasure in watching people I like connecting with each other, and this is one of the things a Steampunk weekend can be counted on to do. Steampunk is…

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Hopeless Sinners and other Oddities

Hello again people (and others)

Hopeless, Maine Sinners has had a proper send off into the world at The Ale House in Stroud.  It was a grand evening, enjoyed by (almost) all. (There was a bloke who was convinced that we were somehow anti-Pope…? Not an audience member I should add.. For the record, no, we’re not. We don’t really think about the Pope that much at all, truth be known)

My personal takeaway from the event is that we are building a truly amazing creative tribe around the Hopeless, Maine stuff. Long may it continue and take on new forms and bring in more people! In times where it sometimes feels as though we are standing on shifting sand, this is a good and solid thing to hang onto.

Nimue enchants

Martin Pearson- The father of the Squid and Teapot (and also- Nimue)

The hero of the night was Madeleine Harwood. Despite personal difficulties, she came, brought and set up the PA and performed an utterly beautiful rendition of Nimue’s Lullabye for a Dustcat. (we all had goosebumps) There is a possibility that there may be more Hopeless, Maine music from her in future! Watch this space. Martin Pearson, the creator of (and writer for) The Squid and teapot performed with panache! Keith Healing (the creator of the Hopeless, Maine RPG) wrote and performed a poem which introduced people to the island (and the game) Keith Errington (The Keith OF MYSTERY) read, to dramatic and amusing effect, his recent addition to Hopeless, Maine lore, and a long-awaited tale from Rebecca Willson was read by the author, introducing doctor Headly Case to the island. (You will get to read the text this coming Friday- or if you are reading this later, it will be on the site already)  Nimue and I were masters of ceremony and Nimue told stories of how things had come to be and generally enchanted people. Robin Collins performed Daphne and the Dead Seagull (including the song contained within it, which will *have* to be recorded for posterity one day!) and Meredith Debbonaire read The Aunties (which is a tale that will make you think differently about the beginning of the Graphic novel series) The Hopeless, Maine sea shanty (written by Nimue) and “Magpies” were performed by a Cup of Tentacles (Which is James, Nimue, and I…currently)

The feeling, in the end, was that there should be more of this sort of thing. So, there will be! (and i’m very much looking forward to it)



Photos- thanks to Meredith Debbonaire


Hopeless Sinners and Other Oddities. 

Hello, again people (and others).

If you have ever had a book launch or attended one and are not Neil Gaiman or JK Rowling you will know that they tend to be sad affairs rife with disappointment and stale snacks.

For this reason (among others) we have decided that we will not ever, ever, do that to ourselves or our friends ever again-ever (at all-ever) Besides which, despite our gloom tinted work, we are generally in favor of fun. (I hope you were sitting down for that) So, we thought, what’s fun then? Pubs. Pubs are fun. Music is fun. Having our friends in a pub with music and stories and poetry would almost certainly be fun. So, basically a party. (well, our sort of party, at any rate) Some of our favorite people have agreed to perform including Martin Pearson (of the Squid and Teapot), Meredith Debonnaire who has written some of our favorite pieces for the Vendetta (and introduced singing snails to the island) and Madeline Harwood, who is one of the best singers in the world. (she *may* be singing about….Dustcats) also Robin Collins! (Who brought us hairy coffee and other wonders) and two Keiths! One who created the Hopeless, Maine RPG, and another you have not met yet who is quite simply one hell of a writer. A Cup of Tentacles will sing songs of the island and songs evoking it. Massively Chuffed to say that local poet- Gary Death will be performing his Vendetta poem cycle also. This…is going to be a great deal of our sort of fun.

If you are in the area, please do come and join us. If you are not, there will be photos!

Hoping, as always, this finds you well, inspired and thriving

Our Toys need us!

Hello people! (and others)

This week the Vendetta will be departing from the norm because of special circumstances, and for the best possible of reasons.

Edrie Edrie and Walter Alice Sickert are some of our favorite people in the world, at all ever! They are our art heroes and have been part of our journey as creators since the beginning of the Hopeless, Maine project. Walter and Edrie are the hub of Walter Sickert and The Army of Broken Toys (Which is one of our favorite bands in the world at all ever. You may be seeing a pattern developing here) Walter is also a visual artist (And all around creative force of nature)  We commissioned him to do this Salamandra piece for the first graphic novel volume of Hopeless, Maine.

Bloody. Gorgeous.

He also wrote a hopeless, Maine song that had me in actual tears the first time I heard it. Here is a video Nimue made with the song as the soundtrack.

If/when the thing that we can not talk about happens, you know that the Toys will be a part of it, because they get it on a very deep level and are just plain bloody amazing.

Now, let’s get to the crux of the matter. Edrie is (for a brief time, and obviously through no fault of her own) sans job. In order for the band to be able to continue making music and art and love and tentacles and amazingness, they need the funds for studio time and all of the other necessary things. Here is how that is going to happen. They have a Patreon Page where you can go and pledge and as a side effect, be exposed to more brilliant, wildly creative art and music. In these times especially, WE NEED THESE PEOPLE MAKING ART. (Pardon the volume, I feel strongly about this) So please, please, pretty please with tentacles, get in there and be a part of this!

(Tell them Tom and Nimue sent you)

Enter a world of Steamcrunk Imagination!


Love and tentacles (As Walter would say)


We All Live On Hopeless Maine

For over a century the Lypiatt family have been custodians of the ‘Squid and Teapot’.  The current landlord, Rufus Lypiatt, often relates how, as a youth, his father, Spencer, was invited to join the Passamaquoddy trader, Joseph Dreaming-By-The-River-Where-The-Shining-Salmon-Springs on one of his excursions to the mainland.

At the time of this tale Joseph would have been in his late sixties. Although still fit and strong, he had been making fewer and fewer trips across the treacherous channel in recent years. The pressing reason for this latest voyage, however,was to procure a new lidded-bucket for the Night-Soil Man, Randall Middlestreet, who had recently taken on an apprentice.


While the pair were away the weather deteriorated badly, forcing them to spend a night in Portland. Joseph decided that this was the perfect opportunity for Spencer to be introduced to the marvel that was the Movie Theatre, which that night was screening the recently released musical film, “South Pacific”.

To say that Spencer was entranced would be an understatement. It was a once in a lifetime experience for him that he cherished until his dying day.


Whether or no they have seen the film, most people are familiar with the show-stopper “There is nothin’ like a dame”. It is one of those tunes that, once heard, is almost impossible to shake out of your head (except for the slightly recitative and unwhistleable bits which include a complaInt about not having a reason for putting on a clean white suit, which everyone tends to forget). So it was with Spencer. He hummed it incessantly. By the time they were back to Hopeless, Joseph was thoroughly sick of hearing it. Spencer, however, was completely hooked and decided that the islanders should all share the benefit of that catchy, but somewhat irritating, tune. Blissfully oblivious to the concepts of plagiarism and copyright, he put his own words to the main melody and sang it to anyone who would listen, or indeed, to anyone who gave every indication that they had absolutely no intention of listening. To prolong the agony, Spencer insisted on inserting the chorus after each stanza, a device that Messrs Rogers and Hammerstein wisely decided not to employ.

So – Ladies and Gentlemen, this will possibly annoy you for hours to come – or weeks, if you are unwise enough to learn the words (believe me, I know!)

I give you Spencer’s song,

‘We All Live On Hopeless, Maine’…


We’ve got vampires in the caverns,

We’ve got werewolves, wights and ghouls.

There are nasty things with tentacles

That drag you into pools.

We get frights from night potatoes

D’you need me to explain

Why we’ve orphans galore

On Hopeless Maine?


We all live on Hopeless, Maine,

(Hopeless by the sea)

There’s no reason to complain

If you’re living on Hopeless, Maine.


Though our ghosts are fairly harmless

Well, you just might flip your lid

If you meet the Headless Lady

In the privy of ‘The Squid’,

Or the mad and ghastly parson

And the Eggless Woeful Dane.

Spooks feel at home

On Hopeless, Maine.

We all live on Hopeless, Maine,

(Hopeless by the sea)

There’s no reason to complain

If you’re living on Hopeless, Maine.


There are puddle rats and dustcats,

And cephalopods to spare.

There are ravens up on Chapel Rock

And coffee that grows hair.

We have spoonwalkers with glowing eyes

That might drive you insane.

Things can get strange

On Hopeless, Maine.


We all live on Hopeless, Maine,

(Hopeless by the sea)

There’s no reason to complain

If you’re living on Hopeless, Maine.


We’ve a reverend and distiller

And a Night-Soil Man as well.

He’s the nicest guy on Hopeless

(It’s a shame about the smell).

There’re poets, whores and vagabonds

And one thing seems quite plain –

All life is here

On Hopeless, Maine.


We all live on Hopeless, Maine,

(Hopeless by the sea)

There’s no reason to complain

If you’re living on Hopeless, Maine.


So why not come and join us

We’re a really friendly bunch.

Just avoid the many dangers

Of becoming something’s lunch.

You might really love the climate

If you’re fond of fog and rain.

There ain’t that much sun

On Hopeless Maine.


We all live on Hopeless, Maine,

(Hopeless by the sea)

There’s no reason to complain

If you’re living on Hopeless, Maine.

We all live on Hopeless, Maine,

(Hopeless by the sea)

There’s no reason to complain

If you’re living and breathing

And not dying or leaving

Dear…old….Hoooopeless, Maaainne.


Thank you very much.

Utterly Hopeless Music

Quite some years ago, musician and composer Johnny Benson approached Tom at The Steampunk’s World Fair in New Jersey and they talked about the possibility of a soundtrack for Hopeless Maine.

We of course said yes. The result is a lovely, haunting and atmospheric body of music. The titles are…

Hopeless Maine,  Salamandra, Pallad rock (the orphanage), Ribbons in her Hair, Of Woods and Witches and Just Off Shore.

It’s a soundtrack for Personal Demons – book one, or the second bit of The Gathering, after The Blind Fisherman, depending on which version you have.

You can find Utterly Hopeless on itunes, and if you poke about the internet, its on other music sites as well.