In researching Irish memorabilia last week, I had a wonderful trip down memory lane. Sidebar, I wonder if Harley Street in London was called ‘Mammary Lane’ for its numerous breast reconstruction clinics?
Anyhoo, I digress. Thomas McGinty, aka ‘The Diceman’ was a famous street performer that I recall from my many trips into Dublin City center as a teenager. He took his name ‘The Diceman’ from one of his first jobs where he was promoting a games shop with the same name. His other costumes included the ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘a clown, ’Dracula’, a light bulb and a teapot.
He was tall, handsome and of fine stature which were the perfect characteristics for his most famous ‘living statue’ street performance. In Ireland there was nobody performing this type of street art at the time. Perhaps there were in other parts of Europe but he was a first for Ireland.
His ethereal yet imposing presence always gathered a crowd. If you were lucky when throwing some money into his hat on the ground, he would give you one of his exaggerated trademark winks. I remember being both terrified and in awe of him.
He became iconic as a character and also as a gay icon. The Late Late Show interviewed him on a few occasions. He was born in Scotland of Irish parentage and lived most of his life in Ireland. Acting and theatre became his passions in later life as he became better known.
Sadly, he died in 1995 at age 42 from complications due to AIDS. He has a very special place in the hearts and memories of people growing up in Dublin in the 80’s. He was a trailblazer, one of kind. Somebody who dared to be different and as such will forever live on in our minds.
All the best