Thom McGinty, "The Diceman", Dublin Street Performer

Dublin's most famous and best-loved street entertainer Thom McGinty was born in Glasgow, but came to Dublin in 1976 to work as a nude model in the National College of Art and Design. He spent most of his performing time on Grafton Street, where he would stand completely still, exuding a strange, enigmatic presence that seemed to fascinate people almost as much as his weird, colourful costumes. At one point in his career the Irish police started to make trouble for him for causing an obstruction due to the crowds that surrounded him, and his solution was to develop an incredibly slow, stylized walk that became his trademark, moving one foot in front of the other at a snail's pace, taking up to an hour to traverse the length of the street. To vary his routine, he would sometimes move with great swiftness - dressed as Dracula, he would stand immobile for ten minutes, and then suddenly wink and blow a kiss, or jump off his pedestal to chase a screaming group of girls.

It became a game to try and distract his concentration. Children would throw coins and make faces at him, and occasionally he was known to leap out of stillness and chase them suddenly with a grotesque and playful leer, which of course was what they had been hoping for. It was also not unknown for people to try and distract him in more unpleasant ways - he had many lit cigarettes thrown at his feet, and one person actually tried to set his costume on fire. Once, when he was dressed up as a giant lightbulb, a group of children tried to burst his costume with pins. These incidents, and the dignity with which he suffered them, only added to his mystique, and he became one of the most widely-known people in Dublin.

Thom also performed in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, the US and Russia, and fulfilled an ambition to perform on both sides of the Berlin Wall and in Red Square.

In 1990 he was diagnosed as having AIDS, and he died in 1994 after a sudden deterioration. After his funeral, his coffin was carried in a slow procession down Grafton Street, and Irish poet Paula Meehan wrote a poem for him, entitled "Dharmakaya", which due to copyright restrictions I cannot post here, but which can be viewed at

The Diceman is also a T.V Show based on the book "The Dice Man" by Luke Rhinehart, which may or may not be a pseudonym. Filmed as a documentary, it follows Russel Harris and Shaun Fenton as they travel the globe in a completely random manner, obeying the dictates of a clear green casino die. To make a decision on where to travel, they would simply approach random people on the street until they had six distinct destinations, and then... well, "Not my will, oh Die, but Thy will be done!"

The journeys of the Diceman were, in the first series, limited to the British Isles, travelling from Manchester to Edinburgh in the first episode alone. Series two was similiarly confined to Britain, whilst taking in events such as the "World Coal-Carrying Championships" and "World Worm Charming Championship". In Series three they finally ventured into Europe, ranging as far afield as Warsaw before returning to roam around a series of bafflingly incomprehensible places in Wales (Sample names:Abydyfi and Betsw-Y-Coed) and Scotland. Series four is regarded as where the show hit its stride, however, venturing into the United States just in time for the '99 Superbowl, then (Whilst en route to Georgetown) accidentally becoming stranded in New York.

Last shown in 1999 on the Discovery Channel, the two stars have been asking the die whether or not the time is ripe for a revival, but have thus far been disappointed.

For further information, see

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