I am sat on a train heading towards Manchester and the August meeting of the North West England Perl Mongers group.
This year we decided to try an experiment and make Manchester a semi-permanent home to see if the increase in regularity would help secure more members by adding consistency to the event, this has met with mixed success.
We have suffered from the loss of the MEN and the regular group of lads who used to come from there have all moved on to other commitments and jobs so cannot find as much time for Perl and the Monger meetings. Added to this I feel we have been lax in trying to promote the group and both Ian and I have succumbed to having too many commitments and letting things slide, more me than Ian I feel.
Two months ago we decided that we would make an attempt to change that.
Tonight sees the start of another stage of our plans as we will be meeting not only to discuss the regular Perl news but to talk about the virtual hackday that we are hosting in September (23rd), and to start the first of a regular series of lessons that Ian will be giving as an introduction to Perl.
Ian will be starting his series with "How to Install and Start Using Perl" and over the next few months will give some free lessons in using Perl as a beginner, or moving to Perl from another language.
As a part of this evenings proceedings I will be giving a short introductory talk (15-20 minutes) entitled "Why use Perl?".
The main thrust of this presentation is to show the whole of the Perl world in a few bites (or bytes). So I will briefly touch on the Perl language ethos, CPAN, the larger frameworks, community, job market, development of the core, testing, Quality Assurance, Language transference and documentation. My basic premise is that this whole package makes Perl quite sexy.
I am hoping this new tactic will help introduce more people to Perl and gain our group a wider membership. The use of Perl or the ability to code is not a barrier to attendance at our meetings. They are a semi-social affair and the technical component is merely there as part of returning skills back to the community. People are welcome to come along and just join in the chat and general congenial atmosphere.
 Though being the person that I am the use of the word sexy here is doe so with guarded observance and caution. I am not into the over-sexualisation of language, the mere fact that these young languages today are introduced to the notion of themselves as sexual creatures while at an immature stage is part of the general malaise of the over-sexualisation in our society.
Thankfully Perl is a mature language and fully past the age of consent, it is not a child who needs or protection or an enthusiastic yet vulnerable teenager who can be too easily corrupted and led into acts they find repulsive.
If anyone has feedback (and until we have a commenting system) please don't hesitate to email me at: m.keating [at] shadowcat.co.uk, if your comments are useful, fun, or just plain interest to me, or if I think will be useful to others, then I will add them to the end of this post, let me know how you would like to be named (anon, nick etc.).
Mark Keating is: Managing Director of Shadowcat Systems Limited
Director and Secretary of Enlightened Perl Organisation
Chair of the Marketing Committee for The Perl Foundation
Co-Founder/Co-Leader of North-West England Perl Mongers
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Mark Keating is the organiser of the London Perl Workshop (since 2008), has joined the organising team for the QA Hackathon in 2011, the TPF GSoC Mentors/organisers 2011, the Dynamic Languages Conference 2011.