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    


The Write Songs is a new series on RadioReverb which looks at the songs behind the books by some of Brighton's most successful authors.

A band of learners from an autism school near Brighton has been rewarded for their musical exploits with a nomination for a prestigious Sussex award.

Brian Wilson will be joined by former Beach Boys band mate Al Jardine and their band at this summer's Together The People Festival in Brighton to perform a UK Festival Exclusive of the classic album Pet Sounds in full. 

The Stairs are back from twenty-years of hibernation, refreshed and once again armed with their hybrid of cosmic psychedelia, raucous rhythm and blues and 60’s west coast garage sounds.

Last year endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont travelled the entire world on two wheels and documented it all in his new book. 2015 saw him ride Africa solo, from Cairo to Cape Town in just 42 days – a trip which involved crossing some of the most dangerous and inhospitable places on the globe in his life-long pursuit of routes to ride and records to break…

Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall's adaptation of Alan Warner's The Sopranos follows a troupe of convent choirgirls on a rampage across Edinburgh.

At The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, Public Service Broadcasting (PSB), the brainchild of J. Willgoose, Esq. along with drummer Wrigglesworth, gave artists, songwriters and performers the inside track on how they have developed their offbeat ideas into Top 40 records and powerful live propositions. 

I'm a Brighton author who's been writing in the paranormal genre for three years with books published by Crooked Cat Publishing

Following on from the success of her one woman show Sane New World, comedian, author and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax is back with Frazzled: A forum for discussion. 

Laura Mvula's forthcoming date at Brighton Festival 2016 will see her debut songs from her forthcoming second album, The Dreaming Room. 

Children from a local primary school will take inspiration from a University of Brighton art collection when they create their own works for this year's Open Houses Festival.

The Brighton Festival offers up a genuine treat when the godfather of alternative comedy, Alexei Sayle, pays the city a visit to discuss his career, from Marxist art-school student to star of The Comic Strip and The Young Ones. 

Professional graphic novelist and illustrator Paul Collicutt will be on hand to offer expert guidance on how to create a graphic novel in a day.

Brighton based writers Paul McVeigh and Jo Bloom pitched in and helped raise over £800 for Brighton & Hove's big read' for children - Young City Reads - to help children on the outskirts of the city attend the big finale Brighton Festival event.

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