101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No 12. Karaoke

“Sing, Lofty.” said Sgt Major Tudor ‘Shut Up’ Williams, and Lofty did—tubby little everyman tho he was. And tubby little everymen and everywomen around the World have sung. Along to backing tracks, badly, when they’ve had just over the recommended amount of booze.

The recommended amount of booze being just a sip below the amount that assures you that other people need your version of Paradise By The Dashboard Light in their ears.

But, hang on? Isn’t Karaoke a Japanese invention, like the digital watch and cartoon porn?

Well…back in the mists of computer and video time, Aston Micro-Electronics Ltd invented an easy way of putting captions on video. Electronically. Before that Karaoke would just be some sod reading the words to songs off a bit of paper. Aston dominated TV captions from their introduction in the 1980s. 

And why were Astons called Astons?  After Mr Aston? Hell no. Aston in Birmingham of course.

Author: Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.