Hear the exploits of a drugs baron – straight from the horse's mouth
Howard Marks may have come from humble beginnings in the small Welsh mining village of Kenfig Hill, but after moving to Oxford to study nuclear physics it seemed as if his future lay in the academic field as a teacher. How differently things turned out.
You can hear from the horse's mouth just how that plan went awry when Howard visits venues in Exeter and Paignton in the next couple of weeks.
In An Audience with Mr Nice he will divulge the inside track on his experiences as the man who was dubbed "the most sophisticated drugs baron of all time".
Howard once sold more than 30 tons of marijuana before being sentenced to a 25-year stretch in prison.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
He was released after seven years and his memoir of his exploits – titled Mr Nice after one of his 43 different aliases – became a bestseller on publication in 1997.
This led to a stage show, sharing his story directly with audiences, as well as a film of the same name starring Howard's friend, actor Rhys Ifans.
"It was very unusual from that point of view, I mean there is no rule book about how to play someone in a film as someone you know very well – obviously he didn't have to study me at all.
"I think if they ever made a film about Rhys then I would be the best person to play him," quips Howard, who is now 67. He may have an air of quiet confidence but he admits that performing in front of hundreds of people actually terrifies him, even after playing hundreds of live shows over the years.
"I still seriously suffer from stage fright every time I go on, even though it doesn't sound as serious, I'm just risking looking like a twit in front of a hall of people instead of a life in prison," he says. "But I still get frightened and that's where I get my adrenaline these days."
He, does, however, take a relaxed, self-deprecating attitude when describing his show.
"It begins with a short introductory video about my life because I am not arrogant enough to think that everyone there knows who the hell I am, and then it is just me talking s*** for a couple of hours," says Howard.
Now also writing crime fiction, some might question whether he is living out his previous life in his trilogy of stories on drugs and police corruption but Howard insists he has tried to keep a distance between his fiction and his real life tale.
"I was trying to avoid that so that's why I wrote it from the point of view of the exact opposite of me – a female undercover cop," he says.
"It's a bit of a chess game between the author and the reader really and if the reader guesses before the end, the author has lost. I quite like that sort of challenge."
The first in the trilogy, Sympathy for the Devil was published in 2011; its follow-up, The Score, is due out in April. So any clues about the third and final book in the trilogy?
"Er no, I don't want anything down on record and end up writing something completely different, but it will have the same characters in it."
An Audience with Mr Nice comes to Exeter Corn Exchange on Friday, January 18 and to the Palace Theatre, Paignton on Friday, February 1. Tickets are available from www.seetickets.com or call the respective box offices on 01392 665938 or 01803 665800.