22nd July 2015
It’s a beautiful summer’s evening and the warm sun hangs low in the sky. A golden blanket spills over the expansive countryside and a graceful hot air balloon brushes the clouds way above us. There is a slight breeze in the air which causes the leaves of towering trees to quiver. We have halted a passionate karaoke rendition of Kanye West’s iconic ‘Gold Digger’ and brought the car to a stop in a small layby. I stand on the side of the road, trading the powerful harmonies of Jamie Foxx for those of incessantly bleating sheep, pointing my trusty camera towards the heavens. This is a scene I must capture; I cannot possibly miss this moment. It would make the perfect Instagram post.
This far-too-familiar scene occurred in the later stages of my journey to Cornwall last weekend, on my way to the pleasant town of St Austell. Occasionally this little blogging adventure presents some incredible opportunities, so when ASUS UK contacted me with an invitation to Ben Howard’s Eden Session show I obviously pounced at the chance. Our five hour journey concluded and we were shown to our room at the cosy White Hart Hotel.
Upon our arrival at The Eden Project I was directed towards the ‘VIPs, Press and Media’ entrance (oh ASUS, you sure know how to make a guy feel special) and joined the queue behind a tall, silver-haired man. The previously jubilant team at the desk were all rummaging frantically through papers hanging from clip-boards with contorted expressions. “Sorry about this”, said the man as he turned to face us, “Ben’s got quite a habit of forgetting to put his own parents on the guest-list”. Feeling suddenly less important, I collected my wristband and exited the Visitor’s Hall.
Walking around The Eden Project can only be described as phenomenal. For those who don’t know, this is a popular tourist attraction with two large biomes and extensive botanical gardens which I can only assume will be the eventual salvation of humanity. The two main artificial biomes contain plants collated from all over the world, one with a similar environment to a rainforest and the other emulating the nature of the Mediterranean. Inflated, hexagonal plastic cells held together by large steel frames contain these incredible settings, with an atmosphere designed to simulate realistic conditions required for survival.
I had a really fun time filming some videos for the ASUS UK YouTube channel, discussing my thoughts on the new ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi (I’ll come back to that later, fellow tech-nerds!). The crew were all very friendly and made me feel at ease with what I was doing, which was a relief, as it was my first time working on a project like this. We chose to film in the rainforest biome; a stunning scenery, albeit explicably humid, meaning that I perspired frantically for the duration of our filming session. As always, I was relieved to find out it was now time for dinner.
To my pleasant surprise, I actually found myself eating dinner in the Mediterranean biome, a rather acquainted setting considering I’d arrived home from Spain a few nights before. The only factor separating this scenario from those of the previous week was the absence of chanting looky looky men, instead replaced by lovely fellow bloggers Shope and Shore Delano of sassyBLACK and Leo Davie of The Coolector. We spent the evening chatting away, accompanied by delicious food which was well-presented and ubiquitously enjoyed.
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi is a compact and stylish 10.1” hybrid. It is easily portable, perfect for using on-the-go, and brilliantly affordable. A strong magnet holds the 2in1 together as a laptop, however the keyboard can be pulled apart somewhat elegantly to reveal a useful tablet. ‘Somewhat elegantly’ meaning you could probably pull it apart elegantly unless you’re me and often fail to do simple, mundane tasks without injuring yourself or someone else. Thankfully, this technology is positively idiot-proof.
As a self-confessed technophobe, I find the Chi really easy to use. It’s also very helpful for me as a blogger, as its portability meant that I could easily write while away on my travels, without having to use the now archaic devices of a measly notepad and pen. Everything about the Chi is very streamline and modern, with Windows-software attached. The matte dark surface contrasts the etched metallic features, creating a very aesthetically pleasing product. It has an impressive display and battery life, alongside a plethora of micro-USB ports. The lightweight build means that the Chi is easy to carry around and will definitely find a place in my college backpack. It’s safe to say I’m very impressed.
At 9pm we headed back through Eden’s delightful gardens and joined a crowd of over 6,000 fans as Ben Howard took to the Eden Sessions stage. Howard’s dreamy, melancholic lyrics were hugely poignant in such an incredibly scenic setting; it was as if they had been written to be performed at such a charming venue. Ben and his band performed passionately throughout their two hour set, seemingly becoming entirely devoured by the rhythm and words of his greatest hits.
Allow me to clarify one thing: Ben Howard is not your average performer. Strangely for a globally-recognised artist, Howard is extremely shy and chooses for his show to focus on his music rather than him as a person. Unlike many of his peers, he does not project his face clearly on large screens or talk to the audience hoping to provoke tumultuous response. He avoids harsh spotlights, preferring to consciously shine the light on his fantastic melodies as a clever alternative. The crowd watch in awe as Ben Howard strums his guitar and gets lost in the rhythm. It’s a refreshing change but still a stunning performance.
I ended my night in the only way I could think of; to try my first ever Cornish pasty. Much like Ben Howard’s performance, the pasty certainly did not disappoint and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Thank you very much to ASUS for the fantastic experience and to my Dad for driving me to the other side of the country without a single complaint. Don’t forget to read Leo’s blog post here and Shope’s blog post here and stay tuned to the ASUS UK YouTube channel for more. Thanks very much for reading, have a lovely day and, until next time, goodbye!
By Jack Edwards