Writer Raven Smith’s brain is a brilliant place to spend some time. Fortunately for all of us he regularly shares his latest musings on topics such as the mind-field of surrogacy and the benefits of being tall in titles such as Sunday Times Style, Vogue, Elle and GQ.
He has recently written a book, Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits, where he explores the minutiae of life in hilarious detail. We caught up with him in London to discuss his favourite and weirdest roadtrips, places to visit and how he approached writing his first book.
THE OUT: You're a busy man, what is your favourite place to visit when you need to get outside of the city to chill out?
Raven Smith: I really like Soho Farmhouse for Sunday lunch or swimming. It’s just so nice it's a no brainer. Maybe throw in a stop at Bicester Village even though it's the most stressful place I've ever been and I never buy anything. Saying that I did get a Paul Smith jumper there a while ago that I wore all of the time and then lost it. It was one of my favourite jumpers, I still talk about where it might be.
THE OUT: What has been your most memorable road trip?
Raven Smith: Most recently we drove to Kent to pick up an antique tri-fold mirror. It took a whole Sunday, we were still on the motorway when it got dark but it’s so beautiful so it was totally worth it.
THE OUT: Where is the weirdest place that you've been on a day trip?
Raven Smith: I love a little wild swim and one of the weirdest places we went was when my husband took us to like a concrete puddle in the middle of suburbia. It was just this huge fake pool that was disgusting. It was one of the most disappointing places we’ve been.
THE OUT: Where can you get the best food outside of London on a road trip?
Raven Smith: Company Shed, it’s a little beach shack on the Thames Estuary. You have to get there for about 11.30 to book a table before 12 otherwise you’ll never get one. It’s really basic but amazing, order a seafood platter for one but share between 2 because they’re huge. You can bring your own bread and wine and it’s really, really good.
THE OUT: Okay, let’s find out a bit more about you. So, you’ve just launched your first book, how did you approach the writing process?
Raven Smith: I first wrote an essay that I sent to my editor that was kind of like an entire list of everything I wanted to write about. She went through it and suggested taking out key parts and making them into longer chapters, or their own essays. I started to try and write it in December 2018, but December is like 3 parties in one night so I just went out all of the time. I just couldn’t stay in. So, in January I moved to Berlin for a month on my own and didn’t go to bed until I’d done 1000 words.
THE OUT: Wow, everyday?
Raven Smith: Yeah. I worked out pretty soon that if I started at 10am I'd still be sitting there at 6pm with not that much written so I started working at 2pm until about 2am every day for a month.
THE OUT: Did you enjoy the process of writing a book, was there anything that surprised you?
Raven Smith: Writing a book is like nit picking through your psyche. It is just pure existential dread. You keep asking yourself, “Why am I doing this? Why would anyone want to keep doing this?” It’s really traumatic.
THE OUT: Do you find life online and social media stressful or is it fun for you?
Raven Smith: No, it’s just an extension of who I am. I think the thing people like about my Instagram account is that I’m not just showing them my glossy life. I mean, I have a lovely time, but I'm also just mooching around with my husband eating pizza in our pyjamas. So, I'm not trying to pretend to be this other person.
THE OUT: Do you feel like you waste time online and social media?
Raven Smith: Yes, absolutely. When I was writing the book I wasn’t online at all. Social media just eats time that is probably more valuable spent elsewhere. What I find most weird is the discover page on Instagram because I'm deliberately searching out people I don't know. I find myself just wondering what's going on with this stream of people that have nothing to do with me?
THE OUT: Thanks Raven, we’re all off for a wild swim.