Dave Courtney and Howard Marks speak at Hyena Cafe
TALES from the criminal underworld will be recounted by two notorious villains visiting the North.
Former drug smuggler Howard “Mr Nice” Marks and London gangster figure Dave Courtney have teamed up for a night of stories in Newcastle.
The city’s Hyena Comedy Cafe will host the now law-abiding pair for a night of fascinating revelations from their past.
Before his arrest and imprisonment in the USA, Howard Marks was the UK’s most prolific drugs smuggler, shipping tons of cannabis onto our shores from Thailand and Afghanistan.
At the height of his drug career he was said to have controlled 10% of the world’s hashish trade, and was said to have murky links to the Mafia and the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.
But his crime empire came crashing down when detectives from the American Drugs Enforcement Agency tracked and arrested him, and he was jailed for seven years.
However, his life on the straight and narrow since his release has seen him campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis, writing his autobiography, Mr Nice, and even collaborating with bands.
The Oxford-educated former teacher told the Sunday Sun: “These things normally turn into a sort of question and answer session. People ask all sorts of questions, from how much money I made to what is my favourite kind music.
“I don’t have any regrets and I’d do it all again because I’m all right now I suppose. I have a lot of fond memories. Some bad memories, too. Prison, for example, wasn’t very nice.
“I think it would be harder to do the things I did today, the way the world is and the very different problems you would have to deal with. But I think you’d still have to be the same sort of character.”
And Howard, 64, added that the North East is his favourite place to bring his popular talk.
He said: “I have lots of friends here. People are great and it’s probably the place I come to more than anywhere.”
Joining Howard for the April 1 show will be Dave Courtney, who was the inspiration for Vinnie Jones’ hardman character “Big Chris” in the film Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels.
Born in Bermondsey, London, in 1959, Dave often focuses on his links with mobsters such as the infamous crime twins, Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
His shadowy past saw him involved in gang warfare, minding clubs, contraband and loan sharking, and during his life he claims to have been shot, stabbed and even had his nose bitten off.
However, turning his back on crime, he has since penned six novels, directed a film, and become involved in a number of charity projects.
The night will be hosted by North East comedian Simon Buglass, and there will be live performances from bands The Longsands and From The Jam, among others.
Tickets for the event are £20 (VIP meet and greet) or £15 standard, and are available by calling GM2 Projects on 0191 229 963.