I can't get through an ordinary day without music, let alone a day like this. I had spent the previous weekend transforming my iPod into a conveyor of extremely aggressive audio. My playlist was an eclectic mix of protest performers: anti-war campaigners, jilted lovers, people who include 'shouting loudly' among the upper echelons of a list of their pastimes - that sort of thing. It was so full of angst, any self-respecting death metaller would have high-fived me and become momentarily happy upon hearing my songs shuffle.
After a slight nervous breakdown, the beard of Zeus came through and my driver discovered a spare pair of emergency ear phones in the car. In actual fact it was my sister's boyfriend but, for argument's sake, let's imagine I have a chauffeur - it makes me feel important, like I'm Dana or something. So, thankfully, the organisers didn't have to cancel the race and tell some 14,000 people to kindly feck off home as "Órla needs music to function". Twenty six miles later and my ears were still scared and feet still moving - due, in no small part, to Korn's back catalogue.
There are few things in life that the majority of human beings have in common. One exception to this rule is the age-old and omnipresent art form of music: it breaks down boundaries, frees the mind and moves body and soul like nothing else. Musical snobbery is commonplace but, screw it, listen loudly and proudly to whatever the hell you like. I have no time for this 'guilty pleasure' bullshit. Unless your favourite sound is that of a puppy whimpering while you kick it - or, you know, something equally awful like Coldplay - you shouldn't feel remotely remorseful about your aural choices.
Music transports a person like nothing else. When I hear Boston's More Than a Feeling, I instantaneously become a member of the Scrubs air band. For the five minutes that This Must be the Place plays, there is nothing in this world but love and dancing around lampshades. While James Brown hollers through my speakers, I am a sex machine, damn it. And when I'm running and Eye of the Tiger kicks in, Sylvester Stallone ain't got nothin' on me. Music can be informative, too: The Bad Touch imparted by the Bloodhound Gang almost single-handedly provided the sexual education of countless pupils at the turn of the millennium.
Music invokes emotions and triggers memories. A recent study at London's Imperial College highlighted the potential it has in aiding the rebuilding of neurological functions of stroke patients. When Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a lone gunman in Arizona in 2011, she was left without the ability to talk. The politician utilised music-based therapy to regain her speech. Michael De Georgia, an expert in the pioneering field of music-centred medicine, admitted that in the past many people viewed music as superfluous: "No one understood why it developed from an evolutionary standpoint." "We are just starting to understand how powerful music can be. We don't know what the limits are," he added.
Music freedom is one of the many subconscious liberties we are blessed with in the western world. Islamist militants recently banned music in northern Mali, a country famed for its diverse musical heritage. A world without music simply does not bear thinking about. A tuneless society would fail. We're married to music - it sticks in out heads, lodges itself under our skin and becomes a significant presence in our lives, either overtly or subtly.
Music does not discriminate. A case in point is the relatively modern phenomenon of the silent disco. There are few sights more beautiful than that of a supposedly silent room full of people of every shape, size and style moving independently, yet in unison. Here we are different, here we are equal. As Nietzsche once put it: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
As for those of us who love it but can't make it, Kurt Cobain once said: "The choice to become a music journalist is usually after one's realisation that they are musically retarded but they've worked at Tower Records and own a lot of CD's and rock biographies." I refute this claim outright: I don't like to brag but I was hailed as 2012's 'Rising Star' at last month's inaugural Irish Musical Spoons Awards; I got fired from HMV after a two-hour shift for trying to eat a box set of Man Vs Food and, as is clearly evident from this column, I am largely illiterate. Luckily, my hearing is fine.