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The Dossers at WASH

To fully understand the Dossers and their place in the folklore of WASH will probably prove to be nigh on impossible for anybody who wasn’t there at the time. Indeed for those of us who were involved in it all it’s still nigh on impossible to understand…

I mean what was all this stuff about the annual elections for Dosser Number One ? and just who was ‘The Bovis’ ? and what was the significance of the incumbent Dosser Number One sacrificing the ‘Stacey Egg’ to the ‘Bovis Tree’ ?….

Well hopefully I can make all this a little (but not much clearer) with this (long) page dedicated to the place of the Dossers at WASH.

But first we will have to start by introducing the Dossers, and what better way than by the words of their own Poet Laureate Dosser, Mr ‘Roberto Dosserillo’ himself.

THE DOSSERS POEM

Bottle of Pils in one hand – in the other, beans and Hovis,
undisputed “Dosser” number one, it’s “Ted Bovis”.
Diarrhoea tablets, fisherman’s mac, he likes to have a caper,
listen for the Barnsley voice and the immortal cry of PAPER!
Number two’s from Liverpool, don’t give him any hassle,
drinks a lot of cider and likes to shout out CASTLE!
Number six is from Leicester, lamp post height and more,
doesn’t use a toilet and likes to doss upon the floor.
Civil War fanatic, face shines like a neon,
Sir Britvic has no number, the “Dosser’s” only free ‘un.
ZZ Top enthusiast, would frighten off a cannibal,
walks sideways like a penguin, it’s Wharfedale’s Andy “Animal”.
Could be a modern caveman, jeans are patched and baggy,
the Crewe and Nantwich Saxon, the one and only “Shaggy”.
Big bad Bill from Richmond likes to headbang, drink and feast
666 Pils in a night, the number of the “Beast”.
But there’s always one to spoil things, his excuses are so lame,
this person was on National – Dave Turpin is his name.
But who’s the mystery “Dosser”? you’ve all got vacant looks,
he really takes the biscuit for giving Winalot to Bruno Brooks.

Roberto Dosserillo
The Poet Laureate “Dosser” (No 2, retired)

UNDISPUTED NUMBER ONE – ‘THE BOVIS’

bovis

The Bovis – Only sighted at WASH once, back in 1988 (the year the wooden benches from the carpark ended up inside the Dossers caravan !)
This picture was taken in the spiritual home of the Dossers – The Back Bar at Neptunes Palace, Caister (this is the only picture in the WASH record not taken at Hunstanton)

NUMBER TWO – ROBERTO DOSSERILLO

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Roberto – Seen here at WASH ’87
He always wore that shirt !

NUMBER SIX – TOM

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High Priest Tom – Seen here in the Mariners Bar in ’84
He always wore that hat !
tombox

Except when he took it off to wear a box !
(Un-numbered Dosser ‘Sir Britvic’ is to Tom’s right in the pink hat he always wore, and the man in yellow at the bar is ‘The Stone’, who we’ll find more about later)

NUMBER 666 – BIG BILL

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Bill – Mariners Bar, WASH ’92
He didn’t always wear a box !

NUMBER ? – ANDY ANIMAL

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Andy ‘The Animal’ – getting down to some serious air guitar head banging at WASH ’88

THE DOSSERS ELECTIONS

In the beginning, there was a Number One Dosser, ‘The Bovis’, a man of such inestimable qualities that he was undoubtedly the spiritual leader of us all, and the Dossers were just his priests. Eventually he departed from the fold following some mystical calling (well to be a School Teacher in Halifax) and in the 18 Plus Golden Jubilee year of 1991 it was decided that The Bovis would be elevated to Dosser ‘Number Zero’ and from the masses a new Number One would be elected by the remaining Dossers at WASH. This would be the person who exhibited the most ‘Bovis-like’ qualities. To determine these qualities the prospective candidates had to make a self proposing speech in the Mariners Bar on the Sunday night at WASH. In true Dosser fashion, for ‘self proposing speech’ read ‘rant’.
Over the years the most succesful ranter was Councillor Johnny K who won on three occasions, the other winners being John Stacey, Glenn the Searles Security Chief, and once it was shared between Keith the Mariners barman and ‘Bin Nevis’, the rubbish bin from the car park wearing a tartan Tam O’Shanter !
The Dosser elections finished in 1996 following many complaints from the Ladies in the audience… you see the rules of Dossing state that Females can only be ‘Dossettes’, mere adjuncts to real Dossers, so no Female can have a Dosser Number, and thus no Female could ever be elected Number One !. But so popular did the Dossers elections become on the Sunday night at WASH that they actually got an official mention in the 1996 WASH Programme.

“The WASH weekend has become the official date of the annual “Dossers” elections.
The conferences, campaigns, speeches and rants will all take place in the Mariners Bar between Bands on Saturday and Sunday nights with the election of Dosser Number One being announced on Sunday evening.
Spare a few minutes to take a look at this organised lunacy”

THE NEW NUMBER ONE – COUNCILLOR ‘K’

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Multiple election winning Johnny K (AKA – The Nook),
shown here victorious in the 1993 Dossers election.
(Yes ! he’s wearing Tom’s hat !)
At the time Johnny was a real local Councillor (Lib Dem Party)… his Mother & Father are both ‘big’ in local politics and his uninformed electorate thought they were voting for one of them… he had a majority of 7 votes and was beaten by the Labour candidate at the next local council elections – however, he was later re-elected and served for a year as his hometown’s “Number One” – The  Town Mayor

THE STACEY STONE… (SOYA CHUNK… EGG… ????)

There was one man above all revered by the Dossers for displaying the true spirit of Dosserdom, this man was John Stacey (latterly of Lincoln 18 Plus). He was known to the Dossers as “The Stone” for reasons coming up later. However, John Stacey shunned the Dossers, wanted nothing to do with them, called them a rabble – this shunning, of course, is a shining example of the Dosser mentality and so endeared him even more. John Stacey was possibly the oldest Plusser ever (rumoured to be older than the Federation itself, though this is probably an exaggeration) and dressed and behaved like an old man, sitting in the corner drinking pints of bitter and complaining about everything, crap beer, loud music etc etc.

As John Stacey would have nothing to do with the Dossers he became a mystical figure in their mythology and as is the fashion with mystical figures his face started being seen in everyday objects… first in the highly venerated ‘Stacey Stone’ a water worn pebble shaped uncannily like John Stacey’s face – it was finding this in the late 80’s that brought the Dossers to call him ‘The Stone’ from then on (did The Stacey Stone look uncannily like John Stacey’s face or did John Stacey’s face look uncannily like The Stone ?). Following that his face was next discovered in the the famous “Stacey Soya Chunk”, a soya chunk shaped uncannily like John Stacey’s face (ROberto Dosserillo being a vegan bought large packets of unflavoured dried soya chunks to make into meals).
Finally, at WASH 1995 the ‘Stacey Egg’ was discovered (yep, you’ve guessed it, an egg that looked uncannily like John Stacey’s face) for two days this was paraded around WASH led by the the mournful sound of the Dossers Didgeridoo (a three foot length of inch and a quarter plastic drain pipe). For details of the Stacey Egg’s eventual sacrifice read on…

thestone

1992 DOSSER NUMBER ONE – JOHN STACEY
Although he took no part in the speechmaking – indeed he never came into the Mariners Bar during the elections on the Sunday evening at all – he was still elected Number One Dosser, here he is in the Sundowner Bar being invested into the Dosser Number One position by the Dossers High Priest Tom Rowe (who’s still wearing that hat !)

THE BOVIS TREE

The car park behind the Sundowner Bar at Searles held a special significance for Dossers (before it was roofed over) as it was there that could be found ‘The Bovis Tree’, where other mystical societies have idols, ikons and shrines WASH and the Dossers have The Bovis Tree. Following the election of the litter bin “Bin Nevis” to the position of (joint) Number One Dosser it was next day discovered high up in the branches of The Bovis Tree.

At WASH 1995 The Bovis Tree also became the resting place of the Stacey Egg. After parading it around WASH for 2 days the incumbent Number One, Councillor ‘K’, decided that the proper thing to do would be to sacrifice the Stacey Egg by dashing it against The Bovis Tree in demontration of the fact that although The Stacey may be revered by the Dossers he is not above Bovis.
In a sacred ceremony in the Sunday afternoon sunshine, accompanied by the mournful tones of the didgeridoo the Stacey Egg met its glorious and deserved end.

bovistree1
The moment when the incumbent Number One Johnny ‘Councillor’ K sacrifices the Stacey Egg (just visible in his right hand) to the Bovis Tree. The sacrifice is witnessed by Tom the High Priest Dosser (in the hat), Robbie the Poet Laureate Dosser playing the didgeridoo and Andy ‘Animal’ Keighley.

bovistree2
Following the sacrifice the Dossers High Priest and the Animal fall to their knees to worship the Bovis Tree

Alas, now The Bovis Tree has gone, sacrificed itself to make room for the expansion of Searles.

THE ANTICHRIST

Of course all mystical societies have their opponents and detractors, and in the case of the Dossers the chief detractor was John The Antichrist. Although apparently friendly towards the Dossers, when he was asked to step up and rant at the 1991 elections instead of making a speech extolling the qualities and virtues of Bovis and the Dossers he stabbed the Dossers in the back by using his rant to exhort the masses to abandon Dosserdom and “Renounce the Bovis”. He was loudly decried as being a heretic and an infidel, but as he seemed to appreciate being called these names they were dropped and he became known to one and all as ‘The Antichrist’. True Dossers will never rest until the Antichrist has renounced his renunciation of the Bovis and accepted him as his spiritual leader.

THE BOVIS SKULL

Ever mindful of the need to maintain a balance the Dossers continued to allow the Antichrist to speak at the annual elections for the next few years until in 1995 he committed the ultimate blasphemy by standing on stage displaying a skull and this time he didn’t renounce The Bovis but he spoke saying “Bovis is dead and this skull is all that’s left of him ” Needless to say from then on the skull became known as The Bovis Skull

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John “The Antichrist” displaying the Bovis Skull
at the Dossers Elections, WASH 1995

WHERE IS “THE BOVIS SKULL”

In the not too distant past the WASH weekend was the annual get-together of “The Dossers”. Huddersfield member John, (known to “The Dossers” as “The Antichrist”) still brings “The Bovis Skull” to the November holiday.

During Friday evening’s entertainment “The Bovis Skull” was displayed on a table where Bradford were sitting behind the D.J. it went missing at the end of the night’s festivities, and was not seen again.

“I hoped that whoever ‘borrowed’ the skull would return it the following evening”. but this was not to be, on Sunday evening the D.J. made an appeal for the return of the skull, but still no-one came forward to return it, or demand a ransom even.

If the Skull is not returned, we will have to assume that it has been stolen, this will mean that 18 Plus no longer has the trusting and friendly atmosphere that it’s members know and love today, and in future women will be seen dancing around their handbags on the edance floor, people will be wary of leaving their coats draped over chairs and their cameras left on tables.

I hope that a genuine mistake has been made, and that 18 Plus can keep it’s friendly and trusting character and that the Skull will be returned soon.

John ‘The Antichrist’ Huddersfield 18 Plus (letter in Plus News, Spring 2000)


ARE THE DOSSERS A REAL 18 PLUS GROUP ?

At the Yorkshire Area November Conference in 1985 the then National Development officer, ‘The Galvin’, granted Dosser Number Two, Roberto Dosserillo (then Yorkshire Area Development Officer), the right to set up a “Dossers 18 Plus Group” with just two proviso’s :
Firstly – That they met in the Outer Hebrides
and Secondly – That they only held meetings on February 29th (I wonder how many have attended the six possible group meetings since then ?)

I KNOW, ‘COS I WAS THERE…

If after reading the above you still have no idea what Dossers are all about and think it all seems like a load of profoundly absurd silliness then you have come a long way down the road to understanding the philosophy of the Dossers.
Although there are those who say that some of the Dosser stories are made up, they are all 100% true, as you will see from above, this I know, cos’ I was there…