Howard Marks' Book of Dope Stories

BOOK: Howard Marks' Book of Dope Stories
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About the Author
Born in 1945 in Kenfig Hill, a small Welsh coal-mining village near Bridgend, Howard Marks rose through Oxford University and the British Secret Service to become ‘the most sophisticated drugs baron of all time’
(Daily Mirror)
. In 1996 Howard wrote his autobiography,
Mr Nice
, which remains an international bestseller in several languages.
In 1997, Howard performed his first live shows which received excellent reviews throughout the national press, and his now legendary one-man comedy show, An Audience with Mr Nice, continues to sell-out at venues throughout Britain.
Howard Marks has his own hugely popular website (
), record label (Bothered), and cannabis seed company (Mr Nice Seed Bank). He writes a monthly column for
and has written features for the
Observer, Evening Standard, Time Out, GQ
, and the
, campaigning vigorously for the legalisation of recreational drugs.
Mr Nice
Sénor Nice
Howard Marks
This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
Epub ISBN: 9781409000037
Version 1.0
Published by Vintage 2001
16 18 20 19 17 15
Selection, selected writing and introduction copyright © Howard Marks 2001 For contributors’ copyright see p. 539
The right of the editor and the contributors to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publishers’ prior consent in any form of binding or cover than that in which is it published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
First published in Great Britain in 2001 by Vintage
Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road,
Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be found at:
The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 9780099428558
The Random House Group Limited supports The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the leading international forest certification organisation. All our titles that are printed on Greenpeace approved FSC certified paper carry the FSC logo. Our paper procurement policy can be found at
Typeset by SX Composing DTP, Rayleigh, Essex
Printed in the UK by CPI Bookmarque, Croydon, CR0 4TD
This book is dedicated to the memory of my father,
Dennis Marks.
Information about a subject, especially if not generally known
An additive producing a desired characteristic
A substance added to increase effectiveness and improve properties
A chemical substance taken for the pleasant effects it produces
Dictionary Definitions
Mr Nice
, I did so with fellow elderly hippies in mind as potential readers. I was, therefore, truly astonished to discover that its unexpected best-seller status was primarily due to its popularity among people several decades younger than I was. Through a plethora of media interviews and several public book readings, it became clear that the predominant reason why so many adolescents and university students read and enjoyed
Mr Nice
was their frustration with the law prohibiting cannabis consumption and trade. Until then, I had no idea of the extraordinary extent of cannabis use by young people today.
Despite having made enormous amounts of money through illegally trading cannabis, I have never been able to begin to see this as a justification for condoning any prolonging of its prohibition and have always supported its legalisation. In the past, I had to do this clandestinely or anonymously: it would have been unforgivably unprofessional to do otherwise. After the publication of
Mr Nice
, I found myself swamped by the spotlight of media attention. I determined to use my sky-rocketing notoriety in as responsible a way as possible and to do whatever I could to hasten the day that cannabis would be relegalised.
My first high-profile attempt to move towards cannabis relegalisation was to smoke a joint at a London police station and offer myself as available for immediate arrest and imprisonment. The police declined. It occurred to me then (perhaps for the first time) that the police were not the enemy. Most policemen choose that profession for completely honourable reasons, such as protecting the society they love: they did not join up to imprison people for smoking herbs. Policemen have walked the streets far more than the rest of us and know what the problems are and what causes them. The ones that I’ve talked with, almost without exception, do not see the consumption of cannabis as problematic, but they do see the law prohibiting it to be so. I cannot think of any law that has done more damage in terms of social upheaval, parent-child alienation and police-public hostility.
Although it’s hard for me to imagine anyone deciding to favour the prohibition of drugs after reading this book, its purpose is not an appeal for legalisation. The drug stories and extracts herein are chosen on the basis of their interest, rarity, amusement and provocation.
I suspect that all anthology compilers are plagued by which criteria to adopt for ordering the chosen extracts. I certainly was and longed for the sudden acquisition of an undefinable skill, somewhere between that of a hard-working house DJ and that of a full-time bibliographer. Do I do it by drug, by mood, by content, or by time? Eventually, I decided to let the order reflect my and many others’ journeys through the world of drugs: a period of wonderfully gentle and civilised discovery followed by a smattering of learning, a far more intense and raw discovery phase ending with extreme frustration with the social taboos surrounding drugs, then a long but finite period of living from drugs, and finally an eternal time of living with them.
Mordecai Cooke
The Seven Sisters of Sleep
Author’s Dedication
To all lovers of tobacco, in all parts of the world,
juvenile and senile, masculine and feminine;
and to all abstainers, voluntary and involuntary.
To all opiophagi, at home and abroad,
whether experiencing the pleasures, or pains
of the seductive drug.
To all haschischans, east and west, in whatever form they
choose to woo the spirit of dreams.
To all buyeros, Malayan or Chinese,
whether their siri-boxes are full, or empty.
To all coqueros, white or swarthy,
from the base to the summit of the mighty cordilleras.
To all votaries of stramonium and henbane,
highlander, or lowlander.
And to all swallowers of amanita, either in Siberia or elsewhere
these pages come greeting with the best wishes
of their obedient servant.
Published in 1860 by James Blackwood, London
James Grey Jackson
An Account of the Empire of Marocco
hashisha is the African hemp plant; it grows in all the gardens; and is reared in the plains at Marocco, for the manufacture of twine; but in most parts of the country it is cultivated for the extraordinary and pleasing voluptuous vacuity of mind which it produces in those who smoke it: unlike the intoxication from wine, a fascinating stupor pervades the mind, and the dreams are agreeable. The kief, which is the flower and seeds of the plant, is the strongest, and a pipe of it half the size of a common English tobacco pipe, is sufficient to intoxicate. The infatuation of those who use it is such that they cannot exist without it. The kief is pounded, and mixed with
el majune
, an invigorating confection, which is sold at an enormous price; a piece of this as big as a walnut will for a time entirely deprive a man of all reason and intellect; they prefer it to opium, from the voluptuous sensations which it never fails to produce. Wine or brandy, they say, does not stand in competition with it. The hashisha, or leaves of the plant, are dried and cut like tobacco, with which they are smoked, in very small pipes; but when the person wishes to indulge in the sensual stupor it occasions, he smokes the hashisha pure, and in less than half an hour it operates; the person under its influence is said to experience pleasing images: he fancies himself in company with beautiful women; he dreams that he is an emperor, or a bashaw, and that the world is at his nod.
An Account of the Empire Marocco
, 1968
Howard Marks
, a blanket of mist that had covered both of the old cities of Fes el Jedid (New Fes) and Fes el Bali (Old Fes) gradually lifted and revealed an underblanket of several hundred thousand satellite dishes covering an enormous basin of ten thousand tiny streets of medieval mayhem, the
. I entered through one of the
many imposing gates through which no cars were allowed to pass. The passages quickly become narrow and steep, with right of way given to weighted donkeys. Craftsmen were beginning to ply their trades in leather, carpets, wood, jewellery and spices. Aromatic whiffs of herbs, spices, succulent kebabs, fresh honey cakes and bread made everyone’s mouth water. Dazzling coloured hanks of yarn, kettles, cassette players and shoes were suspended wherever there was space. Losing myself hopelessly in this labyrinth, I headed down bustling, twisting alleys lined with tiny shops selling multicoloured garments, sequinned slippers, brassware, tooth-cleaning twigs, spices and baked goods. All purchases, expensive and cheap, were tied up in black plastic bags. Deeper down still, pharmacies and herbalists displayed dried skins of lizards and snakes, leeches, scorpions, live hedgehogs and terrapins. These alleyways, I knew, hid magnificent homes and gardens behind their blank uncompromising walls. Unlike that of Europe, Islamic architecture aims to enclose space, to create a sheltered garden from a wilderness, relating to the deep-felt need to turn away from the outside world and look in upon a personal oasis. The Muslim concept of paradise is a place of abundant cool water and shade.
But at 3 p.m., the whole of the
seemed dry, hot and sunny. Wandering around in an obviously futile attempt to find my bearings, encountering one dead end after another, I was quickly approached by a succession of people offering to be my guide, to lead me to my hotel, to show me the mosques and museums, to take me to the merchants who sell goods at the cheapest possible prices. I am always glad to have some sort of guide in foreign parts and am often amused by needlessly aggressive tourists cold-shouldering potential helpers and then consulting, with confusion and puzzlement, their imported obsolete maps and anecdotal guidebooks. It is a ridiculous but revealing insight into Western attitudes. Obviously some guides are rogues, but just look into their eyes and hire the nicest. (Forget anyone wearing dark glasses.) I settled on one named Rachid.
BOOK: Howard Marks' Book of Dope Stories
8.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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