Jesse Herford


The real St Patrick: fact or fiction?

Shamrocks, leprechauns and green beer: these are the images we associate with the patron saint of Ireland and the day named after him. On March 17 every year, people around the world gather to celebrate Irish culture and the saint who supposedly espouses it.

The summer to end all summers

Growing up, a fixture of my childhood was the iconic Aussie summer. I spent many of my early years either indoors with the air conditioning turned up full-blast, or swimming in our local watering hole. The scorching sun was a constant, with days of humid weather on the east coast or dry, oven-like temperatures in the west.

The casino inside your phone

In the February 2023 issue of Signs of the Times, I wrote an article titled Gambling’s Dark Underbelly. Here in Australia, gambling is a multi-billion-dollar industry with a few very rich winners and millions of losers. In the article I concluded that “Gambling in any form is designed to bleed you for as long as you’re willing to bleed, with no regard for...

A slice of heaven

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to tour south Te Waipounamu (the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand). Flying first into Invercargill, I made my way north, excitedly anticipating iconic tourist spots such as Queenstown, Milford Sound, Wanaka and more. However, on the way, the sleepy town of Te Anau caught me by surprise, captivating me in a way that I didn’t...

How chefs became celebrities

What do a foul-mouthed, drug-abusing Canadian, a stately Frenchman from Bourg-en-Bresse and an American businesswoman whose prison nickname was “M Diddy”, all have in common?

Breathe deep: An interview on vaping with Professor Renee Bittoun

Our brain develops, unfortunately, a quirky response to nicotine. It shouldn’t really be there. It shouldn’t be in your breath, let alone you reacting to it, let alone you smoking anything or vaping anything. We shouldn’t even be near it.

Waters of death, waters of life

I still remember it like it was yesterday: the brightness of the sun on my skin, the chill of the water, the crowds of cheering people. We had gathered that Saturday afternoon on the shores of Lake Jindabyne, a half-hour drive from Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s tallest mountain.

You are a Dirt Creature

Humans have been telling stories ever since the dawn of civilisation. What stories do we tell about ourselves and how do they affect our identity?

The Lord’s Supper: Remembering Christ’s death

Two thousand years ago, Jesus asked us to remember the Lord's supper. What made it so special?

Gambling’s dark underbelly

Problem gambling in Australia and New Zealand is an issue seldom talked about, but we ignore it at our peril.

Bevvies without the buzz

As the balmy Australian summer took a chilly turn, I found myself sitting one day in a pub in Jindabyne, New South Wales with a friend attempting to escape the bitter autumn weather. As I took in the ambience, I reflected on what was a largely alien environment to me.

Cardboard therapy

“So, is it like Monopoly?” The response is often amusing when a family member, friend or acquaintance discovers I’m “into board games”. Most are taken aback, shocked that an otherwise seemingly well-adjusted adult man would find so much enjoyment in a children’s hobby.

Hope from the pit

Fire falling from the sky. A massive tsunami. An abandoned city. Let’s be real—it’s probably Los Angeles or New York (although sometimes Sydney or Hong Kong makes a cameo). These are the images we most often associate with the end of the world. Whatever comes to mind for you, no doubt it has been shaped in large part by literature, art and, of...

Will the metaverse really change the future?

There’s a 1995 clip from The David Letterman Show where Letterman is interviewing Bill Gates. Gates excitedly explains how the internet will change the future. Letterman is sceptical. He mentions a baseball game that had recently been broadcast live on the internet. “Does radio ring any bells?” he quips sarcastically, to laughter from his audience.

The final wake-up call

I remember years ago driving to my hometown of Robertson in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia. It was a wet, foggy evening, and as I was nearing the crest of a hill on the outskirts of the village, I noticed a small, grey form rapidly approaching. Out of nowhere, a voice told me: “Veer to the right, now!” Startled, I did as...