Mr Nice, by Howard Marks

I had been declared the most wanted man in Britain, a hashish smuggler with documented links to the Italian Mafia, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the IRA and the British Secret Service.  A new identity was vital.

 

And so 'Mr Nice' the most famous of over forty aliases, was adopted by Marks, and after reading his book it is hard to think of a more fitting name for a man that shatters anyone's preconceived notions of what a drug smuggler is like.

 

 

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Marks begins the tale with his early memories of growing up in rural Wales, with accounts of his school life and hobbies giving no hint of the bizarre, fast-paced life that lay ahead of him.  Marks discovery of Hashish while studying physics at Oxford soon let to him entering into small time dealing to his friends and fellow students, and when he is offered the chance to shift large amounts of Hashish from the Middle East, he takes the opportunity, leading him the the career that would serve him his whole life.

 

What follows is a whirlwind of smuggling, scams, money, travel and of course, lots of dope, all of which ultimately leads to his seven year incarceration in a maximum security prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

 

Mark's life seems so surreal  and James Bond-esque that one might forget that what we are reading is non-fiction, he appears to serendipitously land in the right place at the right time on so many occasions, leading to him accumulating vast amounts of money, dope and a plethora of contacts across the world.  He manages somehow to remain humble and honest throughout and effortlessly draws the reader in, with a depth of description, particularly of the people involved, that is thorough, entertaining and witty.  His descriptions of his various scams and illegal business deals are also very in depth and it's surprising that the release of this book didn't land him in prison again.

 

Autobiographies can quite often be tedious and self-serving, but Marks seems to have a natural flair as a writer, telling his story with candour and humility, allowing his easily likable personality to come through.  If you are not already a Howard Marks fan, it is very likely that you will be after reading this book.

 

Overall the book is entertaining, gripping and at times very funny, and it is unlikely that you'll find it anything but an enjoyable read...unless you are a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration...in which case you'll hate it.

 

 

Review  by Strangesmoke  

Kingdom of Fear

Shit Disco are a group of Glaswegian art students who play a brand of electro-punk "New Rave" that combines elements of dance and electronica, with modern indie music.

Their music seems to follow today's worrying trend for songs with a 1980's style flavour (a musical decade best forgotton) with primitive guitar and keyboard rhythms over trance-esque drums, overdubbed with vocals that are trying very hard to sound like they are coming from a crazy person;  it ends up sounding like a coked-up Adam Ant with a larynx infection!

The music seems to rely upon the now popular of dance music played by a live band, mixing pounding "hands in the air" drums and bass, with dissonant guitars and keyboard that I can only hope were played out of tune on purpose.

The band cut their teeth playing free parties and raves in Glasgow, this, along with their sound, suggests an ecstatic creative process.

This style of retro dance/rock crossover is something we are going to hear a lot of in the near future, with the already overpopulated genre assaulting us with a torrent of shit that has to be sifted through to uncover the few gems.

If you take enough MDMA to find anything vaguely musical awe inspiring, then by all means buy this album, otherwise it is likely that you'll think Shitdisco live up to their name which, incidentally, was probably intended to be ironic...

 

Review by Strangesmoke  

 

80g Brown Sugar     60g 'Cannabutter'*

40g Margarine         250g Oats

Pinch of salt

100g Bar Milk Chocolate

2 Tbsp Golden syrup

 

1.  Melt the 'Cannabutter' and margarine in a deep pot over a low heat.

2.  Add the sugar and the 2tbsp of syrup and stir over the low heat until you have a dark paste.

3.  Add the oats and slowly blend into the paste.

4.  Add the pinch of salt and continue to stir until all ingredients are well blended.

5.  Spread the mixture evenly into a pre-greased baking tray.

6.  Place in the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven (220C or gas mark 5) for 18 minutes of until golden brown.

7.  When done, stand for 5 minutes before scoring with a knife into portions.

8.  Cover with a clean, dry dishcloth and leave to stand for one hour.

9.  Place chocolate in a heat resistant bowl and place into a large saucepan of water on the stove and allow to melt over a moderate heat.

10. Spread the chocolate over the flapjack and allow to cool in the fridge for an hour.

 

*See Issue 1 of your fav Stoner mag for an excellent 'Cannabutter' recipe.

 

 

Sweet Bluephoria

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Shit Disco

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