|For 22 years, save for the couple of years I went missing to Sydney, I have had a regular (nowadays 2nd) Tuesday night get together with an informal slow turnover group which has gone under a few names and rarely stuck to any agenda.|
As sometimes happens in such circumstances, change is stirring, and one question is our name. Maybe its just the cold that won't quite go away, but today I feel that the only honest and appropriate name for us would be "Grumps".
The group began its life meeting weekly in a side room of Bill McPherson's then Bogart's Restaurant, often focused on doors that might be opened by the novelty of that age, microcomputers, often refering to ourselves as "Bogart's Computer Club". Bill and I are the only current regulars who were there in that first era, although we do sometimes see others who date back as long.
Of late we have been meeting each month in a little Asian cafe that now operates directly below our original meeting room, but that too is under review. In the years between upstairs and downstairs we have used quite a few venues, but never far from North Melbourne.
While most of us probably aspire not to be grumpy old men, and some of us even succeed in that, at least to a degree, it would certainly be hard at times to convince a dispassionate observer. Maybe it would be earier just to fess up.
Of the many projects the group spawned over the years, the relatively fast-running and consequently short-lived Clever Country Cooperative has had the most lasting influence on group membership, attracting quite a few who already identified as/with "inventors". While he may be (in) good company, the archetypical 100%-of-nothing Australian inventor is at heart a grump.
After a successful education technology policy consultancy project had taken the steam out of CCC leaving it bereft of next moves, "17 Group" provided at least continuity of our informal meetings, at one of which I presented Conversation Piece which set out the theory that guided the development of TransForum during my second year in Sydney.
One of too many jobs on my not quite started list is an update of that theory in the light of a few factors that have emerged in the interim, in particular the internet's propensity to amplify heat more than light and the raise to dominance of a political modus operandi of misleading rather than leading.
But that is enough grumpiness from me for today.