Countdown No 5: “Just two up two down” Herman’s Hermits – No Milk Today

ktel hh 20 greatest

My love affair with the music of Herman’s Hermits lasted all the way through my teens. It started with two singles discovered in a box in some cupboard in some corridor – Sunshine Girl and Lady Barbara and then extended to all 20 songs on a K-Tel collection.

Why? Three reasons really. One, they are totally brilliant tunes – for the most part simple, but with the catchiest of lyrics. Two, we were too young to realise that actually liking Herman’s Hermits wasn’t really that cool. And three, they made an excellent backdrop to playing table tennis.

Table tennis was one of our favourite things – we had a unique setup constructed by my grandad who had fixed in his mind that the table should be painted in high gloss creating several blindspot zones on the table from the overhead lights. Once you’d worked that out, navigating the table became a matter of dipping your head to avoid the glare as you played the shot. It took visitors a while to work that out, always gaining us an advantage for the first half hour or so.

And so the K Tel album was spun up for years and years, a backdrop to the clack clack of table tennis balls. This Door Swings Both Ways. A Kind of Hush. No Milk Today. Bet Yer Life I Do. I know every word. Off by heart.

“Everyone’s life is bittersweet
It’s a door that opens wide”

Sadly, the K Tel album doesn’t work any more – it is so badly scratched and worn that you’ll struggle to get through any track now without a rude interruption. But I’ve let it retire gracefully in the garage. It’s work is done. It can now rest.

“But all that’s left is a place dark and lonely
A terraced house in a mean street back of town
Becomes a shrine when I think of you only
Just two up two down”