Lend him your ears

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Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read isn’t your average criminal.

I mean how many criminals out there have turned their life of crime into a mega empire?

In April of this year Chopper received some of the worst news of his life – his liver was riddled with cancerous tumors.

It was that bad that doctors said he may only have a matter of weeks to live.

After spending more than 23 years in prison, being shot once, stabbed 13 times, hit over the head with iron bars and claw hammers, run over and receiving more than 60 serves of shock treatment… the cancer hit didn’t phase him and in true Chopper style ‘the show must go on’.

“I wasn’t the least bit worried when I heard the news… it didn’t upset me at all,” Chopper said.

“I think that’s why I’ll beat it because I couldn’t give a s**t about it. Worrying about it will kill you quicker. You’ve just got to accept it and say ‘f**k it I’m going to die, at least I know what I’m going to die of’.

“If I’ve survived everything else, I’m obviously meant to be here for some reason, you’ve got to look at it that way.”

That’s why his recent cancer battle was the catalyst for the 57-year-old’s decision to hit the road and open up to Australia with his many horrific and honest tales.

Chopper will be taking his ‘Final Chapters’ tour to Penrith Panthers on October 25 for a night where the former Pentridge inmate will speak candidly in an open forum on his exploits, sordid history and views on the modern world.

Chopper and his long time bodyguard, Mark “The Hammer” Dixon, will deliver vivid accounts of the gangland underworld where the legend of one of Australia’s most notorious icons began. “I’ll be doing what I always do on stage, just f****n’ entertain,” Chopper said.

“It’s not every day people can come along and see a man with no ears talk about his life story and talk about how he lost his ears. It’s a pretty graphic show but there’s a reason to all my adventures.

“I’ve never hurt a woman, child or old person. I’ve never hurt a person that didn’t have a criminal record. I’ve never hurt an innocent member of the community. There’s no one hanging around waiving their fists at me saying you laid my daughter, you stole my telly, you pinched my car, and you kicked my dog or did something obscene to any ordinary member of society.”

Up until his release from jail in 1998, Chopper lived a life of crime. At a young age Chopper was an accomplished street fighter and began his criminal career robbing drug dealers.

He later moved on to kidnapping and torturing members of the criminal underworld. Chopper only spent 13 months outside prison between the ages of 20 and 38, having been convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault and kidnapping.

Since his release from prison in the late 90’s Chopper went on to become a media personality. He’s become a successful entertainer, artist and author of several best-selling books and even had a movie, starring Eric Bana, made about his life.

“I’m not living a posh lifestyle… I’m not a multi-millionaire, I never made a penny out of that movie,” Chopper said.

“I live a very ordinary lifestyle in Collingwood with my wife and little boy Roy. I got out of jail in 1998 and have never been back. I no longer carry a gun and I’ve turned my back on crime.” 

Don’t miss Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read on his ‘Final Chapters’ tour when he hits the EVAN Theatre, Penrith Panthers on Thursday, October 25 at 7.30pm. Tickets are $31.50. To book or for more information call 1800 061 991 or visit www.penrith.panthers.com.au.

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