I toast with Dominic Hoey

Reading Time: 4 minutes


I first heard of Tourettes [aka Dominic Hoey] the poet, author and artist on Twitter. I had followed him just after the release of his debut novel, Iceland.

 I am yet to finish Iceland, I started reading it, but my copy was borrowed – the bits I have read,  I have loved. Dominic’s writing – and his voice is unlike any other writer I have ever read,  I went on to read his poems online and they were just as beautiful.

I’m not the type to use copious amounts of modern-slang, but I’ll make an exception to say that, I suppose you could call me a fangirl. So when Dominic followed me on Instagram I took the opportunity to ask him if he’d like to be interviewed.

He said yes.



What drew you into poetry and music, how did you find yourself in the industry?

I’ve written poetry and rhymes since I was eight or nine. I just always loved hip hop and then I started writing other little things that weren’t raps and that kind of developed into poetry I guess. I feel like it’s a way that I tried to make sense of my life, which was pretty chaotic when I was young.

How was your life influenced by the Punk and Hardcore music scene – by my research, it’s a part of the reason you’re vegan, did it impact anything else in your life?

I think it made it okay to be a weirdo. When I met people that were into punk they were proud of their eccentricities which was refreshing.  It also taught me how to be self-reliant, that it’s better to just do things [yourself rather] than wait around for someone else to do it for you.

Are Dominic and Tourettes the same person. – or are they two separate personas. If the answer is yes they’re the same person, why the need for the name Tourettes what does it mean to you? And if the answer is no they’re two separate personas, what does being Tourettes give you that being Dominic does not?

The name came about when I was rapping and needed a new stage name. that was twenty odd years ago now. I’m pretty sick of it so am trying to phase it out and just use my real name.


As well as being a poet you’ve written a best selling novel, Iceland. How did the experience of novel writing differ from writing poetry? Is there a kind of writing you prefer?

The main difference was just how long it took. Also, I think having a narrative to hang your writing off makes it easier. When I write a poem it’s often not until the third draft that I really know what I’m trying to say. I don’t really prefer any one style, each has its pros and cons. Like poetry is obviously easier to complete but then there are so many little moving parts that have to be perfectly aligned. Where a novel or a screen play is this big pallet of colours you get to play around with.

In Iceland, the main characters are Zlata and Hamish. What aspects of yourself are within each of these characters – how did you use your experiences and beliefs to form them as people in your plot line?

I’m  pretty different from either of the main characters but I guess if I’m like either of them it would be more Zlata. I wanted to put two people together who although are from similar world’s geographically, because of [societale] class are actually really different. And then [I wanted to let] that conflict inherent in the clash of [their] worlds play out. With the plot, I really wanted to tell the story [that was like the lives of] people I knew and loved who seldom get heard. I think poor people in this country need their stories told as much as anyone else.

Your poem Toast, I think that’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read, what inspired that work, was it a specific event or time? Have people treated you as inferior to them because of your creative career choice as the poem implies?

Aww thank you. That’s very kind. It was inspired from touring and meeting so many different people, like when [I] look into the crowd and see all these people that have made sacrifices to be there. And then I also see the idiots that can’t handle not being the most important person in the room and try and sabotage [my] shows. Again I guess I wanted to celebrate the people in my life, whether it’s the solo parents or chronically ill or those with criminal convictions. Basically, I’m just so sick of [the prevalence of] stories of rich people worrying about things I don’t care about, so I decided to offer an alternative.

What drew you into theatre?

My pal Taylor who produced the show just asked me if I wanted to do it. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. It’s great being able to have something that I can tour and take overseas.

How have your struggles and difficulties in life made you into a better poet, writer, and musician?

I think growing up how I did make me realise you don’t need things to be happy. So now that I have enough money to eat and pay rent it feels like a real luxury. Also living through lots of madness gives you something to write about.


Here’s to the people who are dedicating their lives to the arts, I’ll buy you a coffee, or dedicate a toast to you any time.


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