Brighton Magazine

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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

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Whats on in Brighton today


The final countdown has begun. With a few weeks to go until Together The People returns to Preston Park, let's take a look at the wide range of entertainment the festival has to offer.

Youth has been there, seen it and done it. He can go from the giddy heights of producing albums by the biggest superstars on the planet –from Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd ,with records he's worked on having sold 20 million worldwide – to the deepest and weirdest underground dance scenes in dark basements and far flung corners of the planet. 
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Six years used to be a lifetime in rock 'n' roll. Kids driven by the urgency of youth form bonds, plug in, play gigs, find a label. acclaim, exhaustion, over and out. 

Fresh from a headline set on Glastonbury's Acoustic Stage, UK country duo The Shires will be playing tracks from their new album alongside fan favourites from their gold selling debut,Brave, when they visit Brighton later this year.

Who knew a trip to Pizza Express could inform a young teenager's life so greatly? 

Billy Connolly continues to defy his recent double-diagnosis of Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer by announcing an autumn arena tour, which brings him to Brighton in November.

Alzheimer's Society is urging families to spend time together tackling the biggest health issue of our time, by joining the Brighton Memory Walk to raise money for a world without dementia.

Green councillors have spoken of their fears for the future of HIV prevention services in Brighton & Hove, after the city's Health & Wellbeing board approved a 20% cut in prevention and support services.

Chisenhale Dance Space and The Marlborough Theatre are small organisations: small staff, small budgets, but with big communities, and big opportunities. 

Rail union RMT revealed today that every manager on Southern Rail with the correct safety certification has been press-ganged into working as an ad-hoc guard to try and make the emergency timetable work.

Flit is a multimedia show inspired by first-hand stories of human migration, some heart-warming, others heartbreaking and features songs and original music by award-winning composer and Lau's visionary accordionist Martin Green,

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