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    


A play about the life of Manchester Arena bomb victim Martyn Hett is set to come to the Brighton Fringe almost one year since the tragic event.
Pic by Andy Sturmey

Riding the wave of success and universal critical acclaim for their most recent album, F.E.A.R, Marillion graced the stage at Brighton Dome last night (16/4/18) and served up an epic and confident display of prog.

Superorganism is a London-based, eight person collective of international musicians and pop culture junkies from Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, who have, in just eighteen months, amassed a global fan base and acclaimed début album. 

Spymonkey's Stephan Kreiss will join Scottish actor Pauline Knowles in the world première of Problem in Brighton, a brand new alt-rock/pop pantomime written and directed by Brighton Festival 2018 Guest Director David Shrigley.

He's still the undisputed champion of Superbike; the most successful rider ever in the sport's history. Now Carl Fogarty is fifteen years into a retirement that has seen him be crowned King of the Jungle and trek across Patagonia, but, as for any former champion, giving up the sport that made him a household name has been no easy task.
(c) Delaram Pourabi

TT, also known as Theresa Wayman, vocalist and guitarist of Warpaint, has unveiled lead single I've Been Fine, in the run up to début album, LoveLaws

Brighton's Sallis Benney Theatre is set to showcase Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution, the thought provoking film that aims to encourage local students and residents to consider their current attitudes and behaviour towards sex, consent and gender.

The first glimpse of Brighton Festival 2018 is to be unveiled at Fabrica this weekend, in the form of David Shrigley's interactive installation, Life Model II.

Isaac Gracie's eponymous début album is the sound of an artist bit-by-bit breaking through the hype and the seeds of doubt that stem from the heavy expectation that greeted breakthrough song Last Words.
Photo by Bryan Kremkau

It was always a pleasure for The Brighton Magazine to host The Beat's Dave Wakeling, when he performed in the city as part of the 3 Men & Black collective (alongside Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers and Pauline Black and Nick Welsh from The Selecter).

Singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid, who recently played The Greys, in Brighton, has teamed up with award-winning filmmaker Brett Harvey for a music video/short film based on the poignant true story of Bill Conner, a father who lost his daughter and cycled 1,400 miles to hear her heart beating again in the body of its recipient. 

At the height of the Industrial Revolution, Falkirk's iron and steel industry bore the town three primary exports: carronades, pillar boxes, and buses. 

When people who have 'made it' are asked what they can thank for their transformation, few people would cite cancer, near poverty or isolation.

After setting up her label Seahorse Music to publish records by like-minded women and help make them more visible in a male-dominated industry, Bryde finished up her debut LP, Like An Island, flitting, between London and LA. 

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