Origin of Ruby Murray for Curry

We often discuss how curry came to be slangified into Ruby Murray. Maybe it’s cos we can’t stop eating the stuff. Anyway, here’s a great story from Jeff Ives who claims to have invented the slang.

Jeff writes:

“Shame on me, but I have just seen your website for the first time and noted a message from Dawn dated 2009 asking how ‘Ruby Murray’ came to be the reference to curry.

Perhaps it’s a closed book now but, just in case anyone is still interested out there I think it would be worth noting the following: in the summer of 1967 I went to the Pontinental holiday club in Majorca with our football club from Barking in Essex.
PONTINENTAL-HOLIDAYS

We were typical ‘Jack the lads’ hanging out by the pool and beach all day topping up the tans to knock the birds bandy at night (well, that was the plan).

One of the lads had one of those new battery-operated mini record players, banging out the latest Beatles, Stones, Beachboy LPs all day and when he asked for any requests he was repeatedly asked for any ‘Ruby Murrays’ as a joke. This became a regular request and (believe it or not) got funnier as the week rolled by and the bacardis rolled down.

My pal Tony and I also had this on-going joke between us of making up obscure rhyming slang phrases, which we kept going to everyone else’s annoyance.Then, holiday over, waiting at Palma airport, it was suggested we finish off the holiday by going for a Chinese meal back in Barking. We were all up for that until Big Len suggested that we try one of those ‘new Indian restaurants that do curry’, he’d heard about.

None of us had ever tasted Indian food and there were a few ‘ums and ahhhhs’ but I was already thinking, curry? curry? MURRAY! and said to Tony: “Fancy that Tony? “What ?” “A Ruby Murray”

We went off that night for our first ‘Ruby’. Roll on a few weeks and we are back in the pub after Thursday night football training when some lads we knew from another club came in to join us as usual. “Where’s so-and-so tonight?” one of us asked.  “He’s gone straight into Ilford for a Ruby!” came the reply.  ‘Ruby’ was well and truly out there!

Given that all these sayings have to start somewhere, I have to believe that the ‘Ruby Murray’ curry reference started, down to me, at Palma airport , 48 years ago in the summer of 1967 …  unless of course anyone can pre-date that.

Pointless asking any of the old holiday crew if they remember it, most of them can’t remember their own names these days!

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