Howard Marks is the most famous drug smuggler of his age, and a hero to a generation. On his release from one of America’s toughest prisons, Howard made a promise to himself to go straight. No more drugs, no more smuggling, no more fake passports. He would retire to a quiet life with his family in the Balearic Islands of Spain. It didn’t quite work out that way.
This was the mid-nineties, the height of the ecstasy and clubbing boom, and Ibiza was at the very centre of the vortex for the ‘E generation’. Pills had taken the place of marijuana, Paul Oakenfold had replaced The Rolling Stones as the music of the masses, but some people are just born for life on the other side of the law.
It wasn’t long before Howard found himself trying pure ecstasy and rubbing shoulders with some of the king-pins of the pill trade. These included some of Britain’s most notorious gangsters, who were laundering millions of pounds of gold stolen from the legendary Brink’s-Mat bullion raid. As Britons descended on Ibiza ahead of one of the greatest summers of the nineties, Howard was preparing for his most outrageous operation yet.
Incredibly funny, moving and scabrous, Howard Marks’ Mr Smiley follows a journey to the heartland of the clubbing and British crime scene. It is also a fitting last word from one of Britain’s best loved bad boys.