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    


Feist's first album in six years reflects on secrets and shame, loneliness and tenderness, care and fatigue and is at its core a study on self-awareness. 


I was a Dodson and Fogg virgin until the Down At The Beach EP landed in my inbox. I am, in contrast, a long-time fan of the EP's creator, Chris Wade. He's written a wealth of book and magazine titles; the contents of which both inform and entertain. 

Alzheimer's Society has launched a new campaign calling on people in Brighton and Hove to set aside their differences - from age to tastes and social standing to political allegiances - and unite in the fight against dementia, as it’s set to become the 21st century's biggest killer.
Image © Alessia-Chinazzo

Arthur Miller's 1953 play seems to gain in resonance as time marches on - originally a response to the McCarthy-era Communist Witch-hunts, Miller was compelled to write about the actual 1692 witch-hunts in Salem, New England where neighbours and friends turned on each other in a frenzy of lies, peer pressure and a campaign of fear by the authorities. 
Copyright Francesca Grace McLeod

The Artists Open Houses festival 2017, the largest event of its kind in the UK, will take place in Brighton, Hove and beyond over four weekends of May, starting Saturday 6th May.

This spring, Brighton is set for a surprise as an entertainment paradise pops up in the leafy greenery of the Royal Pavilion Garden. 

Byline Festival launches at Pippingford Park, East Sussex, this summer, offering festivalgoers a unique opportunity to recapture the spirit of festivals when they had a sense of purpose. It is for everyone who doesn't want to take Trump, fake news or alternative truth lying down.

Next month, May 2017, marks Chris T-T's 20th anniversary making music. The same week in 1997 that Tony Blair came to power, Chris moved to London and before the end of May he’d played his first solo gigs (Chris that is, not Tony) and self-released his debut 7” single.  

Three friends with a passion for philanthropy and adventure have decided to take on the Mongol Rally to raise funds and awareness for St. John's School and College, a special educational needs school, college and charity based in Kemptown, Brighton and Firle Road, Seaford.

You hear it all the time: 'Bands these days have got nothing to say' .. 'It's not like it was in my day' .. 'Where are the voices of today's generation?'

Woody Allen is seemingly fixated on the end. He has little truck for the long haul that leads up to his inevitable demise. Life to him, like film making, is ‘'a different kind of pain.’

Edgar William Jones, also known as Edgar Summertyme, is an English singer-songwriter and musician who was originally the bass player and singer-songwriter for the Stairs and has since formed and fronted the Isrites, The Big Kids, Edgar Jones & the Joneses and Free Peace. 
Kate Tempest by Eddie Otchere

At a political and social moment that feels particularly precarious, Kate Tempest's Brighton Festival programme (6-28 May 2017) celebrates what she calls the Everyday Epic. 

Experts in HIV will gather at a special Brighton Festival event to discuss the city's United Nations ''Fast Track City' status.

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...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd