NOT surprisingly, the karaoke machine has been named in a government survey as the most irritating invention.

Karaoke means “empty orchestra” and was invented in Japan in 1971. It was introduced into Britain in 1987.

I was only ever bullied into performing in front of such a machine once in its very early days. It was a New Year party and I was dragged up to sing with David Woodhead and Steve Kindon, who were both bigger than me, so I had no option. We were not Take That. We were more What’s That? We were not asked for an encore.

Karaoke is not entertainment. It’s a torture that could have been embraced by the Spanish Inquisition.

“Now I shall perform My Way with full orchestral backing.”

“No, please. Put me back on the rack.”

It should only be used by small groups of consenting adults who have signed a foolishness pact to get drunk and become embarrassing. Singing like Robbie Williams in your bathroom does not necessarily mean you will sound like him on stage down at the pub. Knowing all the nuances to Beyonce does not mean your vocal attempt will come anywhere near the original but could induce a bout of fatal wincing in that unsuspecting stranger who just called in for a swift half.

“No, please. Put me back on the rack.”

Kane Kramer, a director of the British Inventors Society, said: “Seeing the karaoke machine at the top of that list made me smile. 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.”

But inventor Rob Law said: “If you've created a product that has become so popular that it's become annoying, then you’re going to be put down as pretty great inventor.”