Howard Marks exclusive – I taught Notorious BIG English and Rhys Ifans benders

Posted on 8 October 2010
By Pierce King
  • Share:

We caught up with the man, the myth and the never ending spliff at his secret Welsh hangout to find out The Hash King’s thoughts on the new flick of his book Mr Nice starring Rhys Ifans.

Young Howard became Britiain’s most infamous dope dealer before turning 30.

At the height of his smuggling empire Howard had 43 aliases each with their own passport, 89 phone lines, and 25 companies trading throughout the world.

The author, now 64, was dubbed ‘Mr Nice’ for his charming nature by the CIA at a time when he controlled about 10 per cent of the world’s hash supply.

He was caged in the infamously tough American jail Terre Haute in Indiana.

And Howard revealed to Purple Revolver that he befriended young weed smokers in prison and amongst them – he ended up teaching Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls English lessons.

He remembered: “I was in that place for a long time.

“There wasn’t many friendly faces, but I met this chap called Chris who went on to become the rapper Notorious BIG.

“When he found out I was British, Chris asked me to teach him English, he was interested in the ebb and flow of Welsh. Can you imagine that?

“He had all these poems and was already good – but he wanted a few tips on the language, spelling and grammar.

“It was quite fun and kept me focussed at the time – I never throught he’d go on to become a big star, although he had a great presence.”

Dope legend Howard also told how he and Harry Pothead star Rhys embarked on huge smoke benders to get in character for the new film.

Chief cainer Rhys struck up an lasting friendship with Hash King Howard after they met at a Super Furry Animals gig and begged to be allowed to play him in the story of his life.

He said: “I met Rhys before he acted in anything and before I wrote the book.

“We met at a Super Furry Animals gig and he said ‘If you ever do your life story please let me play you when I grow up?’

“I didn’t think he would ever become an actor – he was just a chancer sleeping on the Super Furrys drummer’s floor at the time.

“It’s amazing that his cousin taped our first meeting back stage and there’s a dubious scene where you see us agreeing to do the film.

“Rhys is great – he’s one of those method actors you know, who really lives the part.

“So, he wanted to go on some real big benders to see how I am when I’m really off my head.

“I tried to tell him he doesn’t need to study me much, we’ve know each other ages and go out at least once a year together.

“But he loves a bender see and told me he really wanted to get inside my mind and my speech patterns – who am I to refuse?

“We went on a really massive session on one of his days off and I think it took his toll – but it’ll looks great in the film.”

Mr Nice is showing at cinemas everywhere now.

Read our interview with dope legend Howard Marks in upcoming Über – out next week.