I should probably have written about this earlier, but...
I've started attending the meetings of the New Astronomers Group of the ASV. The intake meeting was at the end of August, and the first regular meeting I attended was two weeks ago, on the 6th. Meeting happen on the first Wednesday of each month.
The NAG is a semi-formal group of "beginners" with the intention of introducing people to astronomy. Each monthly meeting includes a talk about a specific subject, ranging from astronomy theory to very practical, observation-related issues. The intake meeting had a general introduction amateur astronomy and useful tools (such as a planisphere and a red torch), including an introduction to the society's 20-inch telescope, and it is intended only for people joining the group (there's one intake every three months). After joining, you're part of the group for a year, after which you "graduate" out of it and open space for new people.
Regular meetings seem to be attended by around 20 people (although I'm told attendance can vary wildly depending on the subject to be discussed and the weather); this month's meeting (which happened on a cold, rainy night) was on the subject of the life-cycle of stars, discussing the birth and death of stars and everything in between (the main sequence, supernovae, red giants, white and brown dwarves etc.). Pretty interesting, even though I knew most of the material and I had to leave a few minutes early due to tram schedules.
It's a pretty good way of meeting like-minded people and getting to know other members of the society (the meetings are open only to ASV members); people talk about what they're learning and doing, bring their instruments so that people with more experience can teach them to use them, bring interesting material they find on the net and so on. I hope to learn quite a bit from the group. For those who might want more information about the group, go to the ASV website.