Ryan O'Connor

THERE are only a few things more irritating than having an earworm stuck in your head for an entire weekend.

No, an earworm is not that little legendary Mexican in the bottom of a tequila bottle, neither does it require a dose of Vermox to get rid of it, although that would be easier sometimes.

An earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head, which plays over and over again driving you to certain insanity. Working mainly with music every day of my life, this means I get this mental torture a lot. It doesn’t matter how clean your ears are, earworms will always find a way in there.

My latest tormentor comes from the wonderful English mega-group Coldplay with one of their newest songs, Paradise. Great song. Catchy tune it would seem, very catchy.

The damn thing has been on repeat in my head since Friday. Not the whole song of course, just enough of it to irritate you and in this case it’s just one word – “Paradise”. Or as they sing it: “Para para paradise.” It’s literally driving me to tears and frustration.

Why does this only happens with music? Why can’t other sounds be played over in my head for a weekend? I wouldn’t mind that wonderful clip I was sent of the sound of Bentley’s new twin turbo V8 engine, soon to be released in their Continental GT.

Now that’s a sound I can live with in my head on high rotation. In fact, any V8 engine noise can replace my Coldplay earworm or any other musical earworm for that matter.

As research will show, unfortunately an earworm can only be a musical item like a song or a catchy rhyme. Apparently the worst earworms in the world comes from songs from kids TV shows like Barney the Dinosaur and Tellytubbies.

I can see that most parents with young kids are now nodding with a smirk of agreement mixed with a little frustration.

One option to get rid of an annoying earworm is listening to other great songs to “distract” your mind and hopefully lure your worm out, while hopefully not getting a new earworm from this song of course.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, shopping malls are already filled with songs of joy and no one spreads more joy around than Boney M apparently. Be warned, as their songs are the latest strain of earworms making their rounds at the moment.

If you’re planning on taking the family away for a little break over the festive season, you should compile some CDs with great music to take along for the trip.

Or, when you don’t know the actual words of the song to your pesky earworm, why not entertain the kids with a little game of karaoke and sing or hum the tune and get the family to guess the words or even make up your own words. This can be a great way to pass away time of your journey.

I recently read that legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher once had an earworm stuck in his head for an entire Grand Prix weekend including the actual race itself and ended up winning the race. Mmm… maybe I’m heading for paradise these holidays?