I went to see Howard Marks the other night in Dolans Warehouse.
He was hammered.
Standing on the stage, Mr Nicely swayed gently as he delivered a monologue in his gentle Welsh slur, and for a while I thought he was building up to something. But in reality, he was just a drunk guy on a stage talking shite for money.
Pity. I was interested to hear what he had to say, but Howard wasn’t keeping it together enough to hold my attention.
He was slightly funny, and slightly interesting, in the way that anyone can be funny if people have paid to hear them and don’t want to feel cheated. Funny in the same way that you or I or anyone else can make a crowd laugh when we stand up wearing a hired suit and a carnation. Interesting in the fact that he has been a large-scale dope smuggler and did time in an American prison.
He’s a bit pretentious in a slightly pathetic way. How many people would describe the vicissitudes of their life as being like a Sine wave? A wave, maybe. Ups and downs even. But a Sine wave?
Come on, Howard. It’s a long time since you did that old science thing at college. Is that the best you can remember?
Still though, I have to give him this: Howard has a great face for pictures. Craggy, lived-in, dissipated and decadent. I’d say he’s great company when he isn’t trying to remember his lines.
Listening to Howard Marks was like watching a dog walking a tightrope. You’re amazed he manages it at all, but you’re not going to stay there all night.