Doncaster man's night with late drugs baron Howard Marks

Drugs baron Howard Marks.
Drugs baron Howard Marks.

A Doncaster music promoter has spoken of the night he spent with late international drugs baron Howard Marks in Doncaster.

Mr Marks, who died on Sunday at the age of 70 from bowel cancer, was a regular visitor to the town where he had friends and also made an appearance at The Leopard four years ago to recount tales from his drug smuggling career as well as life in prison.

Promoter Stewart Black, who organised the date in November 2012, said: "I was lucky enough to spend an hour in the presence of Howard after the gig.

"He was a big real ale fan and I discovered this after we shared a pint or two.

"There was me, Howard and his tour manager sat on the sofas in the dressing room just chatting - well he was talking and I was just in adulation of the stories he was telling, especially when he got talking about Super Furry Animals and how they came to work together."

"I wish I could remember more but it was one of those once in a lifetime moments and such a great privilege to meet such a person."

Marks, from Kenfig Hill, Wales, announced last year that he had been diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer and news of his death was announced on Sunday.

Jailed in the US in 1990 after being convicted of smuggling cannabis, he recalled his exploits in a best-selling autobiography, Mr Nice, which was later made into a film starring Rhys Ifans.

And he brought his Mr Nice tour to The Leopard in West Street to discuss stories from his past and share anecdotes from his time on the run and in custody in some of the world's toughest jails.

His drug smuggling began in the 1970s after he graduated from Oxford University with a degree in physics.

In 1988, he was arrested in Spain as part of a US Drug Enforcement Agency-led operation and extradited to Florida. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and released on parole in 1995 for good behaviour.

As well as the film version of Mr Nice, Marks had cameo roles in the movie Human Traffic and appeared on TV including on the BBC quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Marks’ critically-acclaimed autobiography Mr Nice sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide and he also worked with Welsh band Super Furry Animals during his lifetime.