James Smith: Fez #10

My heart is full. Swollen, if you will. With the honor if introducing James Smith, Order of the Fez #10. James’ letter of application speaks for itself but how could we deny membership to someone who can use the word louche in a sentence, plays in a uke orchestra and pushes our membership into double digits? (And he’s British!)

Dear Order Of The Fez:

I would like to submit my modest application to The Order Of The Fez for your consideration.  There are a number of reasons why you might want to include me:

1. I really really like fezzes.  They are silly, decadent, individual, playful, and louche. I understand that this slightly conflicts with the image of the fez in the States where there is a strong link with Shriners and good civic deeds.  We European fez-heads are burdened with no more high-minded associations than magic, laziness, smoking and mixing fine cocktails. I personally like to wear a fez for drinking martinis and eating pistachio nuts. Not owning a smoking jacket, I’m forced to wear it with a dressing gown. It’s not a good look.


This is a photo of me in what I call my dress fez, tailored by Lock & Co of St James’s St, London (founded 1676). It’s me that’s blurred, not the picture:

2. I currently own eleven fezzes from around the world of varying descriptions.  Notable among these, are the Harrow School Fez, which has an extendable tassel that may be worn as long or as short as you like, depending upon the loucheness of your mood (please note, even at its longest, it doesn’t threaten the magnificence of Dr. T. Everett Mobley’s tassel).  I also have a pinstripe fez as worn by the Cape Minstrels of Cape Town, South Africa, and fezzes from Tunis, Casablanca, Istanbul and, yes, Fez itself.

3. I’m chief fez supplier to the SOUP ukulele club of which Phil (order member #9) is a leading light.  Please note that both Phil and I came to the Fez through entirely independent routes (in fact, the fez first came to my attention about ten years ago at a party where a rather attractive girl was wearing one.  I left with neither girl nor fez)(the fez was neglected and eventually discarded, despite my attempts to save it) (the girl now runs an “escort agency” – I made no attempt to save her).  Here is some recent footage of SOUP playing last Thursday (I’m on the far left, standing).  All the fezzes are from my own collection except Phil’s (third from the left, standing) he’s wearing his excellent Sons Of The Desert fez.

So that you are under no Illusion, being a somewhat disreputable character, I’m unlikely to further the causes of the dignity of the fez (because I believe neither it nor I have any) or bringing civic involvement back into the American mainstream (because it ain’t my problem and it’ll take more than the judicious wearing of select headgear to accomplish).  I should point out, though, that Howlin’ Hobbit was allowed in and he used to be in a burlesque troupe called the Lucky Devil Girly Show.

Gentlemen, I await your response with excited anticipation,
James Smith

If you look closely, you’ll note that James has cleverly blurred the photo to give the illusion that the viewer has also been drinking martini’s. Please use the Comments to make James feel welcome.

PS: Now that membership has reached the double-digit milestone, I’ll see about putting the new domain (www.OrderoftheFez.com) in place. Watch this space.


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