Tag Archives: tentacles

Hopeless at the Edge

This is an old photo of the Cup full of Tentacles crew, out in the streets of Stroud. Left to right… Susie Roberts, James Weaselgrease, Nimue Brown, Tom Brown.

This year we’ll be at Festival at the Edge on the Friday night – https://www.festivalattheedge.org/

We’ve got a show with songs – traditional, original and borrowed, Maine folklore and Hopeless Maine oddities… Do come and see us!

On the mist shrouded, grave dark sea, a boat shatters its hull against the malice of rocks. Hungry water sucks the living down, until only one remains, kept afloat by a large tea chest and drifting towards dawn and the shore

James Weaselgrease is a young scientist, who washes up on the island. He doesn’t really believe in vampires, selkies or mermaids. the dustcats are confusing and he fears that he is losing his mind…

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.

Social Distancing, Hopeless Maine Style

On social media of late we’ve been sharing images from the island and adding a social distancing commentary. It turns out that Hopeless rather lends itself to this. It’s rare that our characters touch each other. Some of this is a period issue – it is a sort of Victorian setting and people were less demonstrative. Some of it is that you never know who will turn out to be an eldritch horror, so it is best not to get too close.

Mistrust of each other keeps our islanders at arm’s length. The grim realities of life have made a lot of the citizens emotionally unavailable. They cope by pretending there’s nothing to cope with. It sort-of works, but Hopeless is seldom a happy place, as the name suggests.

Hopeless residents have the fear of catching consumption, vampirism, lycanthropy and extra tentacles. No one really understands the mechanics for any of these things. It is hard to form, or sustain any kind of involved relationship when you are afraid of the people around you. Being afraid saves lives, for sure, but it also blights lives. There are questions of balance.

In the meantime, we are not recommending you carry a hand of glory as an aid to social distancing, even though it would likely work rather well.

Edward L Moore’s death is more troubling than we are used to

By Frampton Jones

When Edward L Moore Jr came to the island, he spoke of service to the Lord. That was about six months ago, and for some of us, myself most assuredly included, this gradually raised questions.

It was rapidly clear that Reverend Davies did not like it when Edward spoke about serving the Lord. It seemed like professional resentment. The post of Reverend to Hopeless Maine has been handed down carefully over the years, with each man who passes picking the man who will follow on from him and handing over whatever secrets are intrinsic to the job. I know that there are secrets, that much has been alluded to, but no more, or it would largely defeat the object.

It became apparent that Edward L Moore Jr had a rather low opinion of our resident Reverend. This first appeared in the traditional way – loud arguments with the Reverend outside his church. Matters of theology, interpretation and tradition that were largely lost on those of us in earshot, but the intensity of the exchange could not be mistaken. In following weeks I became aware of a single, crucial fact – that the two gentlemen profess allegiance to two wholly different entities, both being addressed as ‘The Lord’ and both being deeply troubled by the other as a consequence.

And while survival is often the only measure of winning we have on this island, I am not sure it is fair to say that Reverend Davies has won, even though he has survived.

Last Sunday morning, many of us were gathered in the church as is usually the way of it. Most of us attend from habit rather than any particular belief, and because it is entertaining to discover what Reverend Davies is angry about this time. Some of us go along in the hopes of catching a few tunes from Edrie and the organ – although Reverend Davies tries to discourage this.

Edward entered the church, shouting at Reverend Davies that he serves evil and should choose a different path. Reverend Davies shouted back that it was unacceptable to come shouting thus into the house of the Lord, and that he was the only person entitled to shout angry things in this building, which he then proceeded to do – to the great entertainment of his congregation. It might have been a delightful morning, had things not taken a grisly turn.

A cluster of tentacles descended swiftly from the gloom of the church rafters, wrapped themselves around Edward L Moore’s form, and carried him away. It was a sudden, silent horror, and we sat frozen in the awe and awfulness of it all. He is gone. He may in fact have won his argument at the expense of his own life.

It is not the first time we have had cause to wonder who or what we reverence if we sit in Reverend Davies’ church. The Lord, he tells us, is dead and dreaming.  The material world is cursed and evil. Only the spirit can prevail. Are there always tentacles in the roof, waiting for those who disagree too enthusiastically? Perhaps there is good reason that traditionally we argue with Reverend Davies outside.

When exactly is Steve Tanner?

By Frampton Jones

Like many people who find themselves unexpectedly shipwrecked onto our island, Steve Tanner was sure he could leave.  It invariably leads to trouble, and frequently to death, which is of itself no guarantee of leaving, as our many ghosts can testify.

Steve Tanner is effectively dead. Some weeks ago, he took a boat out with the intention of trying to catch up with a ship just visible on the horizon. I personally do not think those ships are always real. I think many of them are illusions created for the express purpose of adding to our collective misery. Anything that gets close to us but does not break up on the rocks should not be trusted, in my opinion.

It was the sort of day when taking a small boat out did not seem wholly reckless. Again, this is something to treat with suspicion. If the waters are gentle, it is only ever to lure us into a false sense of security. As is usually the way of it, a small party of onlookers gathered to spectate and place bets. Steve rowed manfully towards the distant ship. Not a single tentacle came up to try and dissuade him – it was as if they knew. I expect they knew.

He was still in plain sight when the boat stopped dead in the waters. He did not sink. He did not progress, nor yet was he flung back towards the land. There he remains. Stuck. A few intrepid fishermen have been out for a look and tell me that the boat cannot be touched. However close you get, it remains forever out of arm’s reach and things thrown at it simply miss. Time seems to be operating differently in the boat – it may be day or night there, and Steve has apparently grown a beard. How he continues to live, what he eats, how he sources fresh water – none can say. Whether he truly lives at all, or has become some strange unliving thing I do not know.

Certainly, he serves as a warning to us all.

Although Steve is now amongst the ranks of the uncertain, it doesn’t feel quite right to shout his name at the sea.

Show me your tentacles

This song emerged as a consequence of a conversation with Meredith Debonnaire. We were talking about what kinds of things people might sing in the pub in Hopeless Maine. The pub in question being The Squid and Teapot.

I firmly believe that no matter how grim and depressing the circumstances, there will always be people who can find something to laugh at. Or be rude about. Humour is how we cope with things, so in a grim environment, it makes sense that some people would be all about the giggles whenever possible.

And so, when we were at Blist’s Hill for The Town That Never Was  (a good place for song writing, I am finding) I put this together…

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the tentacles we have at home!

In which we receive tentacles

The lovely Mark Hayes has generously given us many tentacles! (and reviewed the latest volume of Hopeless, Maine while he was at it!)

Better still (if such a thing can be imagined) he has put us in company with two of our favourite authors- Meredith Debonnaire  and Craig Hallam!

You will want to read it now, I expect. Well, you have only to click on the lovely tentacles in order to do so.

 

New England Gothic

Hello people! (and others)

Many years ago, when Nimue and I started this whole Hopeless, Maine thing, Nimue wrote two books that went along with the timeline of The Gathering.  The first of these two books was New England Gothic, which takes place before book one and gives a lot of background on Annamarie and her earlier life (Yes. Those of you who have read Sinners will be having feels at this point) NEG is a bloody wonderful strange tale and we thought we’d bring it and the other prose book out along with the graphic novels, lavishly illustrated, of course. Well, this was before we learned a lot of things about the publishing industry (some of which we would rather not know, but that’s a long story for another time) We do plan to release both of these books in PDF form in the near future on the same Etsy site that the game is on. Then, hopefully, later there will be the fully illustrated print version. In the meantime, you can get New England Gothic in installments by pledging to Nimue’s Patreon!

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

Ms Lovelace and Ctholin.

Poor Ms Lovelace used to be a  travel writer until the shipwreck. Now she finds  herself in a strange world  known as Hopeless, Maine,  with strange powers bestowed  upon her by her new “patron”,  Ctholin…

Ctholin would very much like Ms Lovelace to write stories about him so he can be as famous as his cousin. Problem is, Ctholin is three inches high, has a lisp, and puts about as much unspeakable horror into the hearts of men as a soggy biscuit. Ms Lovelace is not quite sure if Ctholin is really as powerful as he claims. She wonders if perhaps she hit her head during the wreck and is now just talking to a clam. The new powers are nice, but she hasn’t really found a use for them beyond heating her tea.
Ms Lovelace wishes she had taken that cruise to Crescent Isle instead.

Words and art here by Francesca Dare! All of this happened at Asylum 2018. Francesca was with us in the author’s area and we got to spend time with her at long last! Ctholin is a small creature from our table who found a new home  (and a name and a personality) with Francesca. Many of us are now desperate for the further adventures of Cthollin.  For those of you who are not yet aware. Francesca is the artist/author of Penny Blackfeather which (Like Hopeless, Maine and other cool things) is published by Sloth Comics (which is sort of how we all met, except I’m pretty sure we were already fans of hers before that)

The Perilous Life of a Reviewer

A warning here (lavishly illustrated with photos) from the frighteningly brilliant Nils Visser. It may be wise to prepare to defend yourself (and your book) before sitting down to read Hopeless, Maine. Nils is the author of Amster Damned, (which I loved!) among other things, also,  he is apparently handy with a cutlass.

 

“Upon my first attempt to mind me own business and settle down for a good read of Hopeless, Maine SINNERS, I was blissfully unaware of the dangers posed…ere I knew it a slithering serpent with many rows of razor-sharp teeth materialised and attempted to snatch the graphic novel away from me. Fortunately, I’m skilled with a cutlass, and sliced the dastardly creature into sushi. I was given no chance to recover, however, as a first tentacle wrapped itself around the book, announcing the appearance of a far more dangerous creature. All I can say, never try to wrestle with an angry octopus. I have retreated, but have vowed: I’ll be back!”