My favourite winter coat was a gift from my nana, a hand-me-down navy wool pea coat that had been hers and was meant to tide me over on an unplanned trip to Europe until I could buy something more suitable. My nana told me to throw it out over there, that it wasn’t worth the luggage space to bring it home. I did buy a coat when I got to London, but I never liked it as much as the navy wool one.

That pea coat became my favourite coat, worn until it was actually threadbare. And even then, when the lining was visible through the elbow, I only stopped wearing it because I put it through the wash on the wrong cycle and it got covered in a skin of horrible grey lint. It still hangs in my closet as a reminder of how perfect a garment can be. I’ve been trying to replace it for two years now. I won’t accept anything less than it.

Such a stylish and simple coat, its best feature was the set of two deep, deep pockets. I wore it in Melbourne autumns and winters and springs, the pockets could hold my wallet, my keys, my phone, a notebook and pen, a novel for reading in transit to where I was going, lipsticks, hand lotion, paw paw ointment, a cosmetic mirror, packets of tissues, my comb, and still they looked tidy and delicate. Never revealing the bulging contents to the outside world. The only things I needed to carry in my hands were a water bottle and an umbrella. Which I did carry. My shoulders were free from tote bags or backpacks or purses. I loved the feeling of strolling through the world unencumbered. I could put my hands in my pockets and have all my belongings at my fingertips.

This issue is an exploration of all kinds of baggage. Not just handbags or women’s purses. It’s the hundreds of tissues accumulated by the end of winter that were also stuffed down into my pockets next to my wallet and comb and notebook. It’s the rotting fruit found at the end of the week when you investigate what’s made your book bag smell. It’s picking up the wrong suitcase at the luggage carousel and coming home to someone else’s shoes and socks and shampoo that’s leaked all over everything. It’s forgetting your medication at home when you’ve planned a weekend away. It’s the comfort of familiarity, knowing everything you need is within reach. It’s a bag overfull that’s too heavy to carry and it’s a bag that’s too empty. Or no bag at all. I love not carrying a bag, it makes me feel free, untethered from the mundaneness of needing to carry food and drink with me, ignoring for some time that I am a human body constantly metabolising, always needing input. This issue is about that, too.

This issue is N. G. Lawrence’s skateboard and Harriet McDougall’s street-view tourism. It’s Jaimee Cachia’s dihydrocodeine stash and Elena Gomez’s library of baskets. It’s Darren C. Fisher’s chimerical baggage, Dženana Vucic’s EpiPens, Katie Bowie’s open skull. It’s Ana Prundaru’s backpack snapshots, it’s Martins Deeps’ shadowed silhouettes, and the coins stolen from Lu Quade’s mum. This issue is everything you carry around with you. Close the reader app on your phone and slip this issue into your pocket. It’ll be right at home.

Anupama Pilbrow
Editor in Chief