Australian writer Richard Cooke was a close friend of Roozi Araghi, who died on Tuesday when a ride malfunctioned at Dreamworld on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Richard's tribute was first published on Facebook and is republished here with permission.
I guess I could have seen Prince at the Opera House with just about anybody. But only Roozi could have turned up wearing a pair of silver, winged Adidas shoes. ("They're for special occasions"). Only with Roozi would the concert be half-ruined by a neighbouring woman (seemingly immune to glares, shushing and eventually heated exchanges) crinkling a cellophane envelope over the top of musical genius for ninety minutes. And afterwards, only Roozi could have asked if I wanted to go and see a 1980s musical showcase too, featuring Bananarama, or someone like them. The rest of the bill was obscure, although not to my friend.
Flowers have been placed outside Dreamworld (Sophie Lowery / Newshub.)
It's a tribute to Roozi's generosity and poise that we ever became friends at all. I was a teenage glibertarian; he was an undergrad queer activist, and at Honi Soit [Sydney University's student magazine] we made such an unlikely odd couple that people were betting on failure before we'd even started. "Oh, you're going to *love* working with Roozi!" someone said ironically. But I did love working with Roozi. He was hilarious, and unfailingly kind, and had a way of dealing with idiotic opinions that I grew to respect enormously, patient and a bit ironic at the same time.
It wouldn't be quite right to say that he mellowed with age (he was always too much fun for that), but that generosity expanded, and the encyclopaedic knowledge of pop culture never shrank. What a combination. Sometimes he seemed to have an almost personal relationship with Madonna or Tori Amos. You would find yourself looking forward to hearing about them, like a catch up, in between his theories about the gay office dyad ("in every office there is a fat gay and a thin gay – I had to move the thinner gay on") or his latest objet purchases. I only hope his eBay search history has been preserved.
For someone who didn't always have the easiest life, there was no legacy of bitterness in Roozi. You could tell, just by the way he talked about it, how much he enjoyed being an uncle, how perfect he was at that. (There was even the possibility of fatherhood – he once confessed to Alecia that his ideal would be raising a "well-dressed child"). He was relishing his entry into middle-aged, Canberra public servant-hood, and his domesticity with Luke, right down to the stamp duty disputes (won, of course, in a landmark decision).
Flowers outside Dreamworld (Sophie Lowery / Newshub.)
Not long after I heard the news, I scrolled back through our messages. We'd been talking about the sex scandal involving the dad from 'ALF' (Roozi felt the show was ripe for a reboot, although admitted he was partial because he had the titular plush toy). He had bought me a Hordak glitter pin – so characteristically thoughtful. And we were both looking forward to one of our all too infrequent meetings.
Now that meeting will never occur. No part of me seems to be able to accept that.