I had the opportunity to interview Joni Mitchell four years ago, prior to the debut of The Fiddle and the Drum - the Alberta Ballet's dance interpretation of her most iconic songs.
During that interview she had positive things to say about Saskatoon. At that time, she made regular trips back to Saskatoon to visit her father, Bill Anderson, and family friend, Bob Hinitt. Both were residents of the same seniors' home.
"Mainly what I come back to town for now is to see my Dad. I'm mostly at the old age home, having dinner with the geriatrics," she said.
I asked about her favourite haunts in Saskatoon. She responded, "I love the Bessborough. I've got a lot of memories there from my teens. I modelled there, our proms were there - I love that hotel!" Four years ago, she said that touching base with her prairie roots was important: "I enjoy taking drives and taking pictures and coming home to paint them. I paint a lot of B.C. and Saskatchewan when I paint, as well as people I know."
Now, bitterness seems to have consumed her.
In a June 11 interview with the Toronto Star's Richard Ouzounian, she also complained about her mother. "My mother never 'got' me. She wanted me to be something that I wasn't and I always seemed to be pleading with her for understanding. I couldn't be the sweet, obedient child she wanted. That wasn't inside me anywhere."
Mitchell has been back to Saskatoon frequently enough in recent years to know that her portrayal of a city full of bigots, akin to the deep south, is false.
Four years ago, she was happy to be lauded by an adoring Saskatoon audience eager to see her ballet. What's changed, Joni?
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