They'll buy you a pint when you've forgotten your wallet, lend a hand moving house and take your calls when shit hits the fan.
Yep, the relationship between a pair of best mates can be pretty profound.
Stephen Creswell and Tim Kliendienst,
SC: When I first came across Tim he was a crazy 16-year-old record collector from Armidale. I responded to an ad he put in a music zine looking for rare U2 7 inch singles; all of which I didn’t have, but for some reason I wrote to him anyway. Our first years of friendship were centred around swapping mix-tapes across the state, scrounging around for anything cool that we thought the other person might not have heard, complete with meticulously hand-drawn cover art. We were both at a time in our lives when we were delving more and more into unusual music, which thankfully all turned out to be more weird and wonderful than U2. We wrote lots of funny letters to accompany the mix-tapes — the new track you should listen to, and two or three lines about why you should care.
That tradition of swapping music continued on when we lived together in our 20s; we just had to find more creative ways of delving into each others’ collections. We would often sit down for planned ‘music meetings’ in which we each had to curate a collection of songs based around a word or a theme and make a formal presentation to justify the selections. Now I’m selling vinyl at Egg Records and Tim has pursued art and design — both paths which relate back to those artistically packaged teenage mix-tapes.
TK: After three years of corresponding through letters and cassettes, I remember getting the train from Armidale to Sydney to finally meet Steve face to face at a Cruel Sea concert. Yeah sure, it was a little awkward at first, but I bought him a Toohey’s Old and we soon got on a roll talking music, as seamlessly as we had throughout those years of letters. Steve was my first housemate when I relocated to Sydney in my 20s and we continued what we were doing with the mixtape swapping, but in a more real time format. I still head around to Steve’s place regularly to delve into each other’s collections, only now I’m plugging my iPhone into the stereo system to stream a Spotify playlist, which does feel a bit sacrilegious. Steve’s more into purist music consumption: original pressing 180 gram vinyl; he’s never delved into the world of MP3s or online streaming. I don’t even think he has an email address.
Living with Steve I had to learn ‘talking’ wasn’t always the cure for a tense or tough moment. Sometimes he just needed me to put the right piece of music. Steve repaid the favour at my wedding last year when put the needle on the first tune of the evening, Mavis Staples ‘It Should Have Been Me’, as my partner Nina walked down the aisle.