Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Thursday 21 July 2011

4 a.m.: Local Author Conjures Up A Genre Defining Tale Of The Early '90s Rave Scene

Brighton-based author Nina de la Mer has, for me, taken a step back into the unknown and written a Class A novel about a friendship under pressure during the early 1990s rave scene.

4 a.m. captures not only the time and place (a British army base) but also the perennial pressures of growing from carefree youth into responsible and rounded adulthood.

The process of putting together 4 a.m. saw Nina write a series of letters between two fictional characters, Cal and Manny. Having found the process too limiting, the two central voices grew into side-by-side narratives.

Early chapters have the reader drawn into the seedy world of out of hours Hamburg, where the bored Cal and Manny become embroiled in a small circle of fellow ravers; each with different personalities and problems.



The most devious and dangerous character, yet strangely one of Nina's most fun to construct, is Iain. His wife is seemingly oblivious to his cheating ways, yet it's the control and fear he wields over the others that leads to the eventual incarceration of the easily lead Manny.

It's noted that the army is also in some way responsible for the moral downfall of Cal, Manny et al.

Through double-standards alcohol use is seemingly an accepted and expected given, yet recreational drugs (which may well produce a more rounded and less socially threatening soldier) are not merely frowned upon, but aggressively stamped-out.

Though Manny's description of his inner circle as: 'A mouldy fruit cocktail of drink-spikers, pill-munchers and girl-friend-stealers, coke-heads, fuck-up and prick-teases,' means that the institutionalised nature of a soldier's career is probably a more dangerous cocktail than alcohol and recreational drugs served together.



What Nina has Cal and Manny truly represent are two very different universal character traits; the optimist and the pessimist. Which is able to negotiate a better path through life is for the reader to discover!

That I delved into 4 a.m. a rave virgin didn't in anyway hinder my enjoyment of this novel.

It had me gripped from the off, and by its close I felt I'd actually been willingly dragged kicking and screaming though Nina's fictional world, and emerged a more rounded and less judgemental human being for my efforts.

Novel of the year? I've yet to read a better one.


Nina De La Mer's 4.a.m. is published by Myriad Editions on 26th August. For more info CLICK HERE



by: Mike Cobley

Related links

4 a.m Nina de la Mer

Share    

Photographer: Jen O'Neill
Representing Brighton at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival was Royal Blood, who stormed the main stages with the likes of Little Monsters and Out of the Black drawing in a huge crowd. 
Remember that film about the lonely, small-time boxer who got by doing muscle work for a neighbourhood loan shark? Everything about his life resonated 'underdog' – he was even left-handed. 
Public Image Limited (PiL) is now the vehicle of just one remaining member from its original 1979 incarnation. Long gone are the innovative and pulsating bass lines courtesy of Jah Wobble, and also missing are the spindly psychedelic guitar weaves of the much maligned Keith Levene.
The Bell Jar is the only novel written by the American writer and poet Sylvia Plath, and catalogues the protagonist's descent into mental illness.
On Guy Garvey's (Elbow) recent episode of Music Box (debuted on BBC iPlayer) he gave the spotlight over to This Is the Kit, the alias of British musician Kate Stables.
Internationally renowned artist Romero Britto has released a new collection of works in his signature Pop Art style, the collection – self-titled Romero Britto – features vibrant colour, playful themes and hard-edged compositions. 
He may have brought charisma and controversy to Formula One but world-class racing driverMark Webber has no regrets about leaving the premier circuit.
The Vaccines are on their third album (English Graffiti) and the band have toured extensively, playing with and opening up for acts such as The Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, The Stone Roses, Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse.
The Stereophonics may have seemingly settled into their given persona of dependable and predictable rockers who, every few years, produce another solid collection of material that troubles the charts briefly before they head off around the world playing the hits.
“I always wanted to be a writer when I was a child,” says Julian Clary. “I think writing for children never occurred to me until my agent suggested it. It was a rather inspired idea because it’s very much more fun than writing for adults.” 
This September a team of seven keen walkers from Brighton & Hove will be taking on the Thames Path Challenge in aid of the Martlets Hospice, Hove.
More than four decades since CSN first harmonized in Laurel Canyon, and played its first-ever concert as a trio at the legendary Woodstock festival, its members continue a creative partnership that is one of the most influential and enduring in music. 
When Mancunian music legends the Happy Mondays were challenged to spend a week with an indigenous tribe in Panama for a TV show, their biggest concern wasn't the basic living conditions, the insects or the language barrier. It was whether they could manage to get along with one another for a whole week. 
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse have spent their long working partnership creating unique comedy characters for life on the small screen.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...






Latest Brighton Jobs

General Assistant

This could involve everything from assisting customers with their enquiries and maintaining an uncluttered environment to replenishing stock and supporting...
Sainsburys - Brighton
More details

Permanent Sales Associate (Part-time)

People who work hard to develop outstanding product knowledge and real jewellery expertise that they can share with our customers....
Ernest Jones - Brighton
More details

HR Administrative Support

Hamilton Lodge School and College for deaf students based in Brighton is seeking an HR administrative support worker to support the smooth running of the human...
HAMILTON LODGE SCHOOL - Brighton
More details

Rehabilitation Officer for people with a Vision Impairment

This position will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure and. You'll also carry out regular home. (Reablement, Occupational Therapy, Health or Social Care....
Blind Veterans UK - Brighton
More details
Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd