Howard Marks, the literally infamous international dope smuggler, died on Sunday aged 70. He led an illustrious life, as an absolute chancer who refused to back down against the law.
While tributes have been pouring in from the hundreds of people who knew him personally, DJ Greg Wilson’s one is truly a cut about the rest…
‘Mr Nice’ was a wonderful yarn, Howard’s autobiographical account of the years he spent playing cat and mouse, avoiding the authorities across continents as he masterminded a major network for the illegal importation of cannabis. The title referred to the name Mr Nice, one of the aliases Howard would use, assuming, in this case, the identity of a real Mr Donald Nice.
The name suited Howard, for apart from being a highly intelligent and clearly cunning man, he was also extremely charming – the warmth of his larger than life personality a key characteristic that magnetised those around him. It was also this that no doubt kept him safe and sane when incarcerated in a maximum security prison in the USA until 1995, following his arrest in 1989 (his death was 21 years to the day since his release from prison).
Howard was one of the true anti-heroes of the age, a fact embraced by all those who went out and bought ‘Mr Nice’, making it a bestseller, particularly popular at the time with students, as well as stoners. His new-found celebrity led to talk tours where he embellished on his book tales with the command of a stage veteran – his wit and intoxicated wisdom resulting in packed venues.
“Howard’s cancer was inoperable, but his lust for life remained large.”
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