26 April 2017

Dom, Brisbane

Photograph by Jacob Pedersen

I was born and raised in the north of Italy, and moved to Australia in 1980 when I was eight years old. My family moved to Adelaide for a couple of years, then we came to Brisbane. I can still speak Italian, but don’t get much of a chance to these days, except to my brothers when they call me on the phone.

I come from a big family, I have 10 brothers and eight sisters. I get along really well with them, and keep in contact regularly. My father passed away from cancer in 2004, and my mum sadly passed away a year later, so we all look out for one another now that they’re not with us anymore.

I started selling The Big Issue in 2011. I sold for one year in Melbourne, then three years in Adelaide and after that I came up here to Brisbane. My pitch in Melbourne was across the road from Flinders Street Station. I would stay out there all day and not go home until my last magazine was sold. On my lunch break I’d always read through the magazine.

My approach to life is just to be a nice person, and try to be happy. I get up in the morning, go for a run and then get the bus into the city at 6am to come in and sell the magazine. I like that I get to be out and about on the street, talking to people, helping them and giving them directions.

My father used to play snooker and he encouraged us to start playing, too. I started playing when I was five and have stuck with it. It took a long time to get good at it. Just like anything else, nothing happens overnight: you’ve got to learn, learn, learn, grow, grow, grow.

I know a lot of people who play pool, and have lots of friends there, and it’s a big part of my life. That’s actually how I met my partner, playing pool at an RSL club: she was short one player so I offered to join in. We really hit it off that night, and have been together for six years. She’s definitely the most important person in my life.

My other great love is music. My favourite band is KISS. My other favourites are Lady Gaga, The Doors and Metallica. Whenever I’m playing pool I put some music on the jukebox, but sometimes the others complain when I put Gaga on!

I really enjoy watching AFL, and have been a one-eyed Collingwood supporter my whole life. Win or lose, I stay loyal. One of my best memories is when Collingwood won the grand final in 1990. My partner’s an Essendon supporter though, so when they play each other there’s a bit of tension. If Collingwood win, sometimes she won’t talk to me for a while!

Thanks to everyone for buying The Big Issue and stopping to talk to me throughout the day. I love selling it – so many of the stories touch my heart. I hope it puts a smile on your face if you’re having a bad day.

This article first appeared in Ed#532 of The Big Issue

Interview by Kurt Maroske
Dom sells The Big Issue on the corner of Queen and Edward Streets, Brisbane