Interview with Cleo Odzer
January 2000, Goa, India
By Marcus Robbin
Copyright: Marcus Robbin (©2000-2008)
This material is for private use only. Any commercial use strictly prohibited.
All rights of Marcus Robbin are reserved. Used by permission of the author.
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RETURN TO GOA
Interviewer: (Asks question.)
Cleo: I came back to Goa because I didn't like the lifestyle, the dog-eat-dog lifestyle. And
I was working in a nonprofit organization. This was not Wall Street. This was not Merrill
Lynch. This was nonprofit, and yet it was dog-eat-dog. Who could steal somebody else's
job. And I couldn't believe it. I was so hurt that somebody would try to pretend that they
knew what I had written a book about! Five years ago! They pretended to know that! They
didn't know anything. He was going to be my boss and take credit for my work. And I said
no, so I left.
(Interlude during which Cleo alternately, weeps, jokes with interviewer, and plays with her
Cleo: Pumpkin! Oh, I'm crying again! But it's cries of joy
Pumpkin, you're biting me
why are you biting me? Oh, let me wipe my tears
OK, I'm back, I'm back
I'm back in
Goa. (Speaking of dog, laughs) He's biting me! But look, he's blue, he's blue, just like me.
And I love this dog, and I love Goa. And I was right; I was right the first time.
Interviewer: What is your impression of Goa now?
Cleo: (Continues to play with dog.) Aw shit! I can't do it! I can't deal with all this! I'm
getting all stuffy. OK (laughing), Goa now is still a magic place. (Dog nips Cleo.) Ow! My
dog's name now is Pumpkin, whose name... my Internet boyfriend's name was Pumpkin,
the last boyfriend I had on the Internet was Pumpkin, so
I named my monster here
Pumpkin! No relation at all. (Sounds of Cleo struggling with dog.) Goa's very different now,
but I'm very different now. So I don't need the drugs, I don't need the parties... (laughing)
Ow! You're giving me a very bad reputation here. (laughing, to dog) Pumpkin! You're
supposed to be showing how happy I am in Goa! Pumpkin! You're going to send me to the
hospital here! This is my sweet dog, Pumpkin, and I'm back in Goa. I'm very happy to be
back. (laughing) I'm being mauled by my new dog, but that's OK, he's learning, he's
learning. He's just learned not to pee inside the house. He's beautiful, look at him, he's
Interviewer: Where are you staying in Goa? At your old house?
Cleo: You're going to send me to the hospital here. (to dog, laughing) Wait, wait
have an idea, here... OK, OK Pumpkin, come here, all right. OK, we got it, OK. Let's start
this all over again.
Interviewer: Are you staying at your old house? Or not?
Cleo: When I left Goa, I owed money to everybody. I owed my old landlord Leno money, so
I had a perfect place to come back to, because I owed Leno money, and I had the money,
and I wanted to repay him, and I repaid him. I bought his son a computer. Yeah, a $2,000
computer. He's going to be the Bill Gates of Mapusa. And I now have a new dog, Pumpkin,
who I'm training, (laughs) not to bite me to death and send me to the hospital. But I love
this dog and I love Goa. And I don't know what I'm going to do, and sometimes it's very
scary, because I don't know what I'm going to do. But I know that what I was doing was
finished, it was not right. I've come full circle. It took me twenty years to get back to Goa;
I was away twenty years. And I've come back and the palm trees are the same. And the
beach is the same. And some of my old Goa Freaks are the same. (Answering inquiry from
interviewer) Yeah, Eight Finger Eddie is here, Amsterdam Dean is still here, a lot of my old
friends are still here. And the Goans, a lot of them are still here, Leslie (from Rudy's Roof
Garden). Joe Banana died, but his sons remember me. They are so happy that I have video
of his father, of their father. So they really are very grateful for my book. So I don't know
what's gonna happen, I have no idea.
Interviewer: Do you have plans?
Cleo: I have no plans. I have talents. (Laughing, to dog) I'll probably end up in the hospital
in the next few days, from dog bite. But I have love in my life. I love this place, I love this
monster, Kujo!, who's set on biting me to death. I don't know. I don't know what the
future brings, but I know what I don't want. New York
is what I don't want, that culture
is what I don't want. It's... it's not right. I don't know what is right. I don't think our old
life was right, I don't see a new culture that is right, but we have to continue trying, that's
the best we can do. That's the best that any of us can do, to keep trying. To make
something that is peaceful for everybody, that makes people happy. That is fair... to
everybody. And that's all I want.
Interviewer: OK, that's great, great... let's move to the beach... it's not finished yet.
Cleo: (laughing) Let's finish it when I go to hospital!