It almost goes without saying that being foreman of this year’s D&AD Writing for Design jury was the next best thing to shaking Johan Cruyff’s hand. As you walked into the vaulted expanse of Olympia, with the sun shining through the latticed ceiling, it felt like you were in some kind of creative heaven — only without the blessed harps and angels. There was table after groaning table of the best work in the world, stretching off into the horizon, a seemingly endless feast of ideas and perspiration.

On our six tables, there were 70-odd entries including books, bottles, posters, mailers, annual reports, leaflets, cards, websites, three bikinis and a pair of vibrators. My fellow jurors (Nick Asbury, Fiona Thompson, Chris Doyle, Lisa Desforges, John Weich and Anelia Varela) were as keen as I was to get stuck in, to be inspired and informed, amused and amazed. But it soon became apparent that, although the overall standard was well above middling, there was very little to make the soul rejoice and the heart sing. Yes, there was plenty of perfectly accomplished, lively, well-crafted writing, but very little with the glimmer of greatness required for the pages of the hallowed D&AD Annual.

When I was around 17, I had the best pair of jeans. I wore them virtually every day for three years, and by the end of that time, there was more patchwork repair than original material. To this day I remember my mother compaining they ‘gave her the pip’, as she spent so much time sewing them up. Which sounded hilarious in her Dutch accent.

I remember they were Wrangler drainpipes, but I have no idea where they were bought or made. I liked the Ws stitched on to the back pockets — maybe it was a latent appreciation of typography which was to kick in properly a few years later. But the point is, I truly loved them, and they were always with me whatever I happened to be doing.