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Taxi man drives round in dress to win night out with the stars; RAY'S DAY IN DRAG WINS HIM MTV AWARDS INVITE.

A GAME-for-a-laugh cabbie proved he was Ireland's biggest music fan yesterday when he went to work dressed as a woman - just to win tickets to a music event.

Ray Murray, 29, promised to drive his taxi dressed as a woman for a day to win a Today FM competition and get backstage at the MTV Awards in Dublin in November and also film a Carlsberg beer advert in Spain.

Ray brought traffic to a standstill when he picked up passengers while dressed as Ginger Spice.

Wearing thigh-high boots and a micro-mini, the cross-dressing cabbie put up with wolf whistles and catcalls for the wacky bet while passengers in Ray's taxi did a double-take as they climbed in beside the mad-cap driver in drag.

The Dublin father-of-two said his three-year-old daughter Grace didn't even recognise him when he emerged as a red-headed woman after a full make-over in the station's studios yesterday morning.

"My daughter asked where was her Daddy. Then I called her name and she knew who I was then," said Ray, a driver with ABC Cabs in Sallynoggin.

"She was roaring laughing and my eight-year-old son Ray thought it was great fun as well. My wife Cathy thought I was completely mad but she was delighted I won the competition - it's a great prize. As far as I'm concerned I earned it.

"Everybody is taking it in great spirits - but I'm delighted to be a man again," he said.

"I don't know how women can go around with high heels all day. There was no way I was doing a runner from anyone in those.

"And the make-up is so sticky. I was scratching my face all day. By the time I took it off it was completely running," he said.

Ray kept his promise to drive his cab around Dublin's streets dressed in drag - but not without a few strange looks.

He said one Argentinian couple balked as they were about to step into his car.

"They were quite funny really. I had to pick them up at Blooms Hotel, but when they saw me they just wouldn't get into the car.

"Once I explained matters to them they were OK. They hadn't great English but I think they understood," he said.

"The radio station dressed me in thigh-high boots and a Lycra mini-skirt. I got the usual ribbing from my pals in the taxi business - nothing you wouldn't expect.

"While I was being made up they tried to shave my legs but it was like cutting a small lawn. I refused to entertain the idea of waxing."

"My wife is having second thoughts about being my wife," he joked.

Ray said he thought up of the madcap idea when he heard the competition announced on air.

"I had a few drinks in me and they wanted to hear the wackiest thing anyone would do to get the prize. I said I'd dress up in drag for a day and they called my bluff.

"My customers ended up having a good laugh," he said.

"Anyway, I've been told that I'm better looking as a woman than a man."
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Author:Kelleher, Lynne
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 18, 1999
Words:521
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