In a British government survey to find the 'most annoying invention' ever, the karaoke machine (a permanent fixture of all local watering holes) bagged the top slot!
A TNS Omnibus poll for the Department for Communities found that among the list of gadgets that people wished had never been invented, nearly a quarter (22 percent) voted the Japanese invention for "wannabe (read: drunk) singers" to the top spot; 17 percent said 24-hour sports channels, 12 percent chose video games consoles, while 11 percent said mobile phones and seven percent said alarm clocks.
Advertisement"Seeing the karaoke machine at the top of that list made me smile," said Kane Kramer, a director of the British Inventors Society, according to The Independent.
"When people are singing karaoke they are enjoying themselves, but as a member of the audience you are just watching somebody who can't perform - and isn't particularly pleasant to listen to - for as long as you can bear it.
"It is anti-social. You might have 10 people who want to sing some karaoke, which means 150 people have to suffer it.
"But the crazy thing is that people still do go just to be a spectator at other people's inability to sing.
"After a short while - unless they're very drunk - they're going to find that listening to performers failing to perform for two hours is not the best way to spend the evening."
Karaoke has turned into a multibillion-dollar industry since being invented in 1971 by Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese club keyboardist looking to provide music for a customer who wanted to sing on a company trip.
Ivor Arbiter and his daughter Joanne, who are behind music and audio equipment suppliers Arbiter Group, imported the first karaoke machines to Britain after Ivor saw them at a trade show in Japan in 1987.
Joanne Arbiter said she could not understand how they headed the poll; given top television show "The X Factor" and the huge-selling hits spawned by it are essentially based on unknown singers performing to backing music.
"It might be irritating in the pub, but it's also given millions of people who didn't know they could sing the opportunity to discover they can," she said, according to The Daily Telegraph.
"When we started, we saw it as a way of providing a backing band for singers who didn't have one. I went to pubs in Manchester and all over the country and heard the most amazing talent.
"People were packing into the pubs to hear the great people, not the terrible ones, and in some villages the good singers became local celebrities."
According to the Performing Rights Society, Robbie Williams' "Angels" was the most performed karaoke song of 2008, followed by The Zutons' "Valerie", "Dancing Queen" by ABBA, "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond and "Kingston Town" by UB40.
Asked which gadgets people would like to see invented in the future, 18 percent said a robot cleaner, 16 percent said a time machine and 12 percent said a teleporter.
Asked what the most important safety gadgets were, 69 percent said the smoke alarm, 64 percent said seat belts and 29 percent said baby seats.
Pollsters TNS Omnibus surveyed 2,584 adults in England online.
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