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The 18 Plus "Dossers"
By Phil Bettis
18 Plus
The Bovis Skull

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The Bovis Skull
Understanding the Dossers!

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.

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.

Rob Wilson
The Poet Laureate "Dosser" (No 2, retired)



The Bovis
(Edward Armstrong)
Never did make it to WASH, this picture was taken in the spiritual home of the Dossers
- The Back Bar at Neptunes Palace, Caister.



Rob Wilson
Seen here at WASH '87
He always wore that shirt!



Seen here in the Sundowner Bar, WASH '94
He always wore that hat!
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).



Big Bill
Sundowner Bar WASH '92
He didn't always wear the box!



Andy Animal
Getting down to some serious headbanging at WASH '88.



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 he's 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 Sundowner 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 Johnny Kirkland who won on three occasions, the other winners being John Stacey, Glenn the Searles Security Chief, and once it was shared between Keith the Sundowner 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', 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"


Number One
Multiple election winning Johnny Kirkland,
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.



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 (Robbie Wilson 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...

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



The car park behind the Mariners Bar at Searles holds special significance for Dossers as it is here that can 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.

The Bovis Tree
The moment when the incumbent Number One Johnny 'Councillor' Kirkland 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.

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



Of course all mystical societies have their opponents and detractors, and in the case of the Dossers the chief detractor was John A Smith. 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.

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

The Antichrist
John "The Antichrist" Smith displaying the Bovis Skull
at the Dossers Elections, WASH 1995



At the Yorkshire Area November Conference in 1985 the then National Development officer, Mr Keith Galvin, granted Dosser Number Two, Robbie Wilson (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 four possible group meetings since then ?)



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.

Phil Bettis


The Bovis Skull

Return to the 18 Plus "Dossers" Index Page.

The Bovis Skull

The "Dossers" WASH - WASH 1996 - Northwich 18 Plus at WASH 1998 - WASH 1998

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up until 1996, the "Dossers" premier event.

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Created by John A Smith, on the 8th March 2002