Howard Marks speaks ahead of Weston show

PUBLISHED: 11:30 19 December 2012

Howard Marks

Howard Marks


HIS career as an international drug smuggler may have taken him to the borderlands of Pakistan, the sunny climes of Majorca and the sprawl of Bangkok, but on Saturday Howard Marks' destination is The Winter Gardens in Weston.

The best-selling author will attempt to cram as much of his extraordinary life into a two-hour slot at the seafront venue as part of a brief run of dates across the country.

His life has seen him segue from being a youngster growing up in Kenfig Hill near Bridgend in South Wales, to a student at Oxford University, to having a spell as a notorious drug baron before hitting gold with his memoirs, Mr Nice, which were released in 1997.

But early on in that journey he and his family did what many people from South Wales have and continue to do – pay a trip or two to the seaside at Weston.

Reminiscing on his childhood visits, Marks said: “I went there quite a bit when I was a child – I grew up in South Wales and a day trip to Weston was always a treat.”

Despite a more recent trip with his daughter where he sampled many of Weston’s delights, the evening later this month will be the first time he has performed in the resort.

There he will face the herculean task of fitting decades worth of adventures, misdemeanours, witticisms and brushes with the law into a single sitting – but it is a challenge he is relishing.

He continued: “I hope the audience will expect to laugh a little, and be a little bit provoked and intellectually titillated – it’s going to be something to entertain rather than a soapbox.

“It’s impossible to fit it all in, so I have about 12 little sketches which I pick from that are representative of different stages of my life.

“I wouldn’t describe my life as having been executed as I would have planned, but it’s certainly been interesting.”

Much of his show will draw from his career as an international cannabis smuggler which saw him caught up with groups such as MI5, the CIA, the IRA and the Mafia.

He was eventually convicted by the US Drug Enforcement Agency and served seven years in prison.

His book Mr Nice, penned after his release from prison in 1995, launched him as an internationally best-selling author and he has published several more books since his autobiography became the best-selling book of 1997.

His moniker Mr Nice – purchased as an alias from the convicted murderer Donald Nice – lends itself to his new show: An Audience With Mr Nice.

The 67-year-old added: “The show will start with an audiovisual presentation, then there will be ad-libs and something which I will try to make outrageous yet tasteful – I’ll see what I can get away with.

“The audiovisual section will feature a lot of conversations that I’ve had and have been had about me – for example by law enforcement officers when I was trying to import £15,000-worth of cannabis into Scotland.

“I’ve never done a show in Weston before, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

The show starts at 7.15pm.

Tickets cost £15 and are on sale from the box office on 01934 645544.

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