Phil Last (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On 8 November 2008 a post under the banner "A message from three APL enthusiasts" was sent to comp.lang.apl and the Dyalog and MicroAPL forums from Chris Hogan, John Jacob and me inviting those within reach of the City of London to come to an inaugural meeting of what was billed as an informal meeting of APLers and was to become BAA-London.
The meeting took place in the upstairs gallery at the Edgar Wallace pub in Essex Street on the 21st and ten people turned up, slightly more than what has become the average but not exceptional.
Three days later Stephen Taylor created our own on-line forum groups.google.com/group/baa-london and posted a suggestion that our next meeting, by invitation of Mike Hughes, could coincide both temporally and spatially with the IPSA Christmas reunion at the Plumbers Arms at Victoria. Thanks are due to the ex-Sharpies for putting up with us then and each Christmas since.
In January we were back at the Edgar where eleven of us each gave our ideas of what the meetings, much later to be renamed symposia by suggestion of Jane Sullivan, ought to be.
Chris (Ziggy) Paul gave us our first formal presentation in February entitled "Education in APL".
March gave us another web-presence when Ellis Morgan added some pages to the APL wiki. His monthly notes, aplwiki.com/CategoryBAALondonMeeting, a very useful but unsung contribution, continued until late 2010.
Presentations have been given and discussions led by a large number of members and guests including: Dan Baronet, Brian Becker, Dick Bowman, Nicolas Delcros, Walter Fil, Chris Hogan, Mike Hughes, Roger Hui, Morten Kromberg, Ellis Morgan, Chris Paul and Stephen Taylor. My apologies if I've inadvertently missed you off the list.
Given that any properly instituted organisation has been lacking, indeed resisted, what our meetings have turned out to be is precisely what those attending have brought with them. In Stephen's words "We are the agenda".
A number of original ideas have been aired at the meetings but have not necessarily been given the exposure they deserve, 26 June 2009 Stephen Taylor with his suggestion for Direct Development not least among them.
After a few months at the Edgar we moved to a slightly quieter upstairs room in The Knights Templar in Chancery Lane. This was small but satisfactory until the month that I forgot to arrange it with the landlord (and failed to turn up) and those attending found themselves jostled among a large and noisy crowd watching an international soccer match in the main bar.
We held a couple of meetings in the Punch Tavern in Fleet Street that had a very convenient room but no WiFi and very poor reception for our own mobile broadband.
In April 2010 we moved to The Albion in New Bridge Street where we have a large, quiet, private room. For our second meeting there we hosted the British APL Association Annual General Meeting. We've been there ever since and about four months ago we finally worked out how to plug our computers into the large TV monitor on the wall so Chris Hogan no longer has to cart his "luggable" projector to the meetings.
Three of our meetings have been elsewhere than in City of London pubs. The first at a domestic venue in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in August 2009; the second in July 2010 when we were generously hosted by Dyalog Limited in their offices in Bramley in Hampshire; and most lately the 2012 BAPLA AGM and Moot at the Lea Valley Youth Hostel in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in April/May.
It will be four years all but a few weeks between our original announcement and your reading this. I believe it's been a modest success.