On Wednesday, October 20th one of the biggest drug smugglers in the world came to Lincoln. Now retired from his former life as a drugs baron, Howard Marks brought his stand-up show to the LPAC.

Having previously worked with the IRA and the Mafia, Marks is definitely one for stories. He once reportedly controlled 10% of the entire world’s hashish distribution, which he seemed most proud of.

The audience was made up of primarily students which isn’t too surprising given the subject of Marks’ life. He too was once a student, at Oxford University, achieving a degree in nuclear physics and post-graduate qualifications in philosophy.

Before Marks took to the stage a series of videos were shown on the big screen depicting the TV coverage he received from both the UK and USA in the lead up to his arrest and eventual imprisonment.

Marks was sentenced to 25 years in one of America’s toughest prisons, but only served seven.

He spoke openly about his career, not so much as a drug smuggler, but as an author. Marks has written three books and his first, entitled “Mr. Nice”, has recently been turned into a film with Rhys Ifans starring as Marks.

He told the audience stories of his beginnings as an author in the late 90s, doing readings in pubs and clubs instead of book shops. This was done on the pretense that his audience would be hanging out in pubs and not standing around in a book shop at 10am.

He continued to poke fun at other authors who copied the idea but were “up their own arse”.

Marks also read a piece he had recently written about tobacco. Not your usual anti-smoking ban or anti-tobacco price rant, but instead a very eloquent, intelligent and interesting piece on the history of tobacco and how we’re smoking ‘the wrong stuff’.

He argues we should have been smoking Nicotiana rustica as it contains 20 time more nicotine that standard tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and doesn’t contain nearly as many pollutants.

The audience were also treated to some clips from the “Mr. Nice” film, including some of the common mishaps with IRA member Jim McCann played by David Thewlis.

After a lengthy Q&A session with Marks in which the audience learned that the best marijuana he’d ever smoked was actually grown in Coventry, it was time to go. As the audience left an Marks signed a large number of books, it was obvious that people didn’t go to see a drug smuggler – they went to see a hero.