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    


Brighton's first-ever 38 Degrees Live event is set to include lively, upbeat discussions about local politics and will be a chance to hear about inspiring goings on, people, issues and opportunities in the area. 

A wistful mother in the 1950s makes some simple home recordings in her family sitting room. Little could she have known that decades later, her son would become one of the most poetic and influential songwriters ever, or that more than sixty years later, the dust would be blown off her own songs. 

Official creators of the genre 'Rockgrass', former ACDC tribute band, Hayseed Dixie are back in Brighton next month ahead of the realease of their new album, Free Your Mind And Your Grass Will Follow. 

The Crumpetty Tree Café and Deli in Hove has organised a Mother's Day special lunch donation menu on Sunday 26th March in support of Brighton & Hove Impetus, the award-winning local charity which helps vulnerable people who are lonely or isolated because of disability, poor mental or physical health or age.

“1895: London Society takes its problems to Sherlock Holmes.  Everyone else goes to Arrowood.”  That's the intriguing concept of the debut novel Arrowood, written by Brighton-based Anglia Ruskin University academic Dr Mick Finlay.

He's well-known for playing characters on TV that are bang up-to-date – Jonatton Yeah? (yes, that is the right spelling!) in the cult Channel 4 sitcom, Nathan Barley; the ‘is he gay? Is he straight?’  Marcus Dent in ITV's Coronation Street and, most recently, one half of a same sex parenting partnership in the brilliant ITV crime drama, Unforgotten. 

She's the girl with the big smile, the fresh-faced Nonnatus House nun who couldn'tconceal her true feelings if she tried. 

“Years ago I read a book called Brighton Rock, for days the atmosphere of that story stayed with me and I've always wanted to create an album that would have that same effect on people” so says Steve Ignorant.

Brighton & Hove Pride are to welcome special guests Years & Years as a UK Pride Exclusive at the Pride Summer Of Love Festival in Preston Park on Saturday 5th August 2017.

In May 2017, musician, best-selling author and storyteller Mishka Shubaly will visit Brighton  to mark the twin release of his brand new live album Never Touring Again and the tenth anniversarry edition of the album How To Make A Bad Situation Worse.

Following a successful launch in 2016 that saw over 1,000 people attend 29 shows,(Brighton &) Hove Grown is back for 2017, and has “grown” even more!

Broken Air, a dynamic, imaginative solo physical theatre performance inspired by the tragic death of Cornish landscape painter Peter Lanyon, is coming to Brighton Fringe for the first time. 

Cease Fire, the new standalone single by Thurston Moore, is an anti-gun song, that acts as a response to the current unchecked climate of violence that besets many parts of the world, whether large scale in war, genocide and mass killings or individual senseless acts of bloodshed.
Photo: Sam Marks and Laura Pitt-Pulford

Jessica Swale's exhilarating take on the world of Restoration theatre arrives in Brighton with a twinkle in its eye and a big saucy wink at the audience.

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