Why oh why did Air Supply cry?

Ok, it has been on my mind ever since my last post. Why on earth did Air Supply cry? Excessively? On board planes???  To such an extent that airlines refused to fly them????

If you’ve only just tuned in, I’m referring to my previous post, and the random sentence I came across on the Wikipedia* entry on Air Supply while doing some comprehensive research on the topic:

In the end of 1981 Air Supply were not allowed to to travel by plane to most locations in U.S. due to excessive crying by both memebers. (Sic)

Putting on a brave smile for the camera

The sentence is not given any context, but is just sitting innocently in a paragraph describing the albums they were releasing at that time, etc. So I don’t know if they cried excessively all day long from the moment they got up in the morning, or only cried excessively when they were travelling by plane. Or indeed, whether this sentence was sneaked into the Wikipedia page by someone who thought it was funny, which seems fairly plausible.

Regardless of its veracity, I enjoyed wondering about it. I tried googling “air supply crying excessively” and all I found as references were Wikipedia, and to this very blog, which I would not necessarily trust or recommend as a source of credible information, so I am none the wiser on how true it is.

(I have heard there are more, even possibly better ways to research, than just typing a sentence into Google, but luckily, I’m not writing a PHD thesis on Air Supply so I don’t really care. If I decide to write a PHD thesis on Air Supply, then maybe I will do a search on Yahoo as well.)

Left to make up my own theory, I surmise that all the crying done by the guys was a song writing strategy, akin to method acting, whereby in order to write all those syrupy love songs about being All out of love, etc, they had to continually keep themselves in a weepy state of mind. Just as Winona Ryder needed to shoplift in order to have the experience of being treated like a criminal, Natalie Portman had to learn to do ballet in order to have the experience of going mad, etc.

Perhaps, being from Australia, the boys felt homesick when touring all over the United States. Then they realised they could get mileage (pun intended) out of feeling that way, and so, like the true artists that they were, punished themselves for their art, devising extra long tours that involved flying criss-cross all over the States, just so that they could sit on the plane staring mournfully out the window and tear up about their loved ones back home. All in order to get into the right headspace to write a heartwrenching song that would soar to number 1 on the charts and have their fans weeping into their hankies.

And how hard does someone need to cry, in order to be banned from flying? At first I amused myself with the image of their excessive tears weighing down the plane, or perhaps everything on the plane becoming damp and mouldy. But then I spoiled the silly, and/or teary, and/or romantic mood we were all in at this point, and took a serious moment to ponder the notion of 2 grown men sitting on a plane crying excessively.

It is impossible to picture – because in civilised society, adults don’t cry excessively in public, do they? Particularly men.

When we see an adult crying in public, our cultural conditioning causes us to feel caution. We perceive an adult crying in public as someone to be wary of. It’s clear their distress has caused them to abandon the usual “rules” of polite behaviour by exposing their raw emotions to the world. We feel uncomfortable, because we fear that someone who has lost that sense of polite boundaries might implicate us in their messy display – for example by turning suddenly to us and asking us to help them. There is a risk of becoming entangled in something emotional and complex.

And perhaps our discomfort also stems from the awareness that we are all vulnerable to such distress. It’s a condition of being human, we can’t avoid suffering and emotional pain. All it takes is a spiralling of circumstances that wears us down until we have no emotional resilience left and are unable to stop ourselves from breaking down in public. All it could take is the sudden unravelling of our world through the death of a loved one, a massive emotional betrayal, a crippling financial loss. As the saying goes, There but for the grace of god go I….

And that is an uncomfortable thing to be confronted with in the middle of a shopping centre, or on a plane.

So if I imagine for a moment that this story happened to be true, then I’d have to guess that airline staff couldn’t cope with being made to feel so uncomfortable around two emotional, crying men, and refused to fly with them.

Who knows what the reason was and whether this story is even true? Only Air Supply.

***

*Note – an update in February 2012: we DO know that it was NOT true. I just checked Wikipedia again – & unsurprisingly, the sentence on Wikipedia has now been deleted. (I wonder if my post had anything to do with it disappearing.) Anyway,  the lesson I’ve learned for the future is to take a screen shot, but this time you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was there in the first place! 

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4 Comments

  1. goldfish

     /  January 16, 2011

    Damn, now I want to know, too. I think a Wiki troll is the most likely explanation, but if you ever decide to do a PhD on Air Supply and find out the real story, do tell.

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  2. Hmm….it does seem as though the world of PHD research is sadly remiss when it comes to Air Supply, and why they cried on planes. Perhaps it is my calling in life to fix this. If so, I will be sure to post my PHD research in approx. 150 riveting 1000 word installments for anyone who cares to read it. (There will be pictures.)

    In the meantime, I like your idea about a Wiki troll. With my lack of IT knowledge, I picture a Wiki Troll looking a bit like one of those monsters from “Where the Wild Things Are”. Definitely more friendly than a Google Bot, which looks more like the Death Star.

    Thanks for reading, and commenting!

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  3. I agree that their preoccupation w/ love is to blame: All Out of Love, The One That You Love, Making Love Out of Nothing At All, Lost in Love…everything is love. Though I would have to admit that if a man told me I was “every woman in the world to him,” I might cry a small tear of joy. More tears if he told me I was three times a lady.

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    • Yeah, what was it with love and those guys? They should have mixed it up a bit more. For example, I’m sure they could write a brilliant song about any of the following topics: moustaches, boiled eggs, rhinos, avocados cockroaches, socks, how much they hate milk, or the history of the entire universe (just using some of my post topics as examples.) Come on Air Supply, it’s not too late!

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