On the utility of Pink Floyd’s “The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party” as a metaphor for virus multiplication


…which pretty much explains the concept…what’s that?  Why?  Well, because the above-mentioned song – off the very strange and very wonderful album Ummagumma, released in 1969 – incorporates three subsections.

From the tracklisting:

“The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party” (N Mason) – 8:44

  • Part 1: “Entrance” – 1:00
  • Part 2: “Entertainment” – 7:06
  • Part 3: “Exit” – 0:38

All clear now?  No?  Ah, well, you need to consult the relevant parts of the Web material, don’t you?  Which would be here, and here…and of course, we never got around to exit as such, so you may as well look here instead.

Which just goes to show that, however hard one tries, it is close to impossible to update a whole set of Web pages AND keep all the links current!  Ah, well – that’s an aspect of electronic teaching with its own comment, right here.

But I digress: “metaphor”, I said.  Something like a “simile”, only different, as I’ve heard it described.  And another digression, to cartoon country this time – which shows how we virologists normally treat metaphors and their filthy ilk.

And is it a good metaphor, you ask?  Well, yes – for one reason, because

  • first, students still know who Pink Floyd is/are, so they remember it better;
  • second, because it is a very simple encapsulation of the process;
  • third, because it neatly separates three crucial aspects of the virus life cycle -
  • and fourth, it gives you the opportunity to describe three very different kinds of strategy for messing with said life cycle.

And thinking of 4, and just of HIV for example, those would be:

  • entry inhibitors, like antibodies or fusion inhibitors
  • nucleoside analogue or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and
  • protease inhibitors to prevent polyprotein processing.

And I’ve been doing it for 25 years, and see no reason why I should stop using it now.  Or stop playing “Another Brick in the Wall” when I put up long definitions.   Or stop mentioning that Pink Floyd have the second-longest song title of which I am aware.  Or that Hoagy Carmichael* has the longest….

Enough said, probably.  Just to say that it helps make virology fun.  At least for me  B-)

* = I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues

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3 Responses to “On the utility of Pink Floyd’s “The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party” as a metaphor for virus multiplication”

  1. Tweets that mention On the utility of Pink Floyd’s “The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party” as a metaphor for virus multiplication « ViroBlogy -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Danielle Millere and Pink Floyd Lover, Ed Rybicki. Ed Rybicki said: On the utility of Pink Floyd's "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" as a metaphor for virus multiplication: http://wp.me/p96Ou-7N [...]

  2. Integrating the enemy « ViroBlogy Says:

    [...] back to a previous post – Entrance, Entertainment and Exit, anyone? -  the more we know about viruses, the more we can mess with them.  And this is a VERY [...]

  3. HIV: catching it from all sides « ViroBlogy Says:

    [...] course the above serve to vindicate most thoroughly my “Entrance, Entertainment and Exit” mantra / mnemonic for virus replication, in that they block entrance, interfere with [...]

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