This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner

They stopped at the gate lounge. The door opened.

‘Here she comes,’ said Elizabeth.

‘Which one is she?’ said Dexter.

The man walking behind Vicki was talking to his friend, he had a faint stammer, not much more than a hesitation. ‘ ’Mazing guy, Gaz. Always thinking about his mem, mem, member. There was something in his brain that just went sprong. He’d see a good looking chick dancing in front of the stage, he’d go down between sets and find her, and he’d be back five minutes later doing up his fly.’

His story was bodyless. A mosquito might have been whining it next to her ear. The footsteps of the hastening passengers beat light and fast. Either the windows were tinted or Melbourne was already dark.

  1. Does "he’d go down between sets and find her" mean "he’d go down between stages and find her"? Dose "set" mean "stage"?

  2. And about the phrases "Mazing guy, Gaz" and "There was something in his brain that just went sprong" Does he speak like that because of his stammer and he wanted to say "Amazing" not "mazing" and "sprung" not "sprong" and Does "There was something in his brain that just went sprong" mean "There was something that suddenly came to his mind"

  3. Does "A mosquito might have been whining it next to her ear." mean "The man's speaking to girl's ear was like whining of a mosquito"?

1 Answer 1


Set means, assuming these people are in a band, means the group of songs they perform. Rather than take a break after each song, or not take a break at all they take a break between each ‘set’.

‘Mazing’ just represents his pronunciation of ‘amazing’, some people say it that way. The mild stammer may be a factor but that isn’t necessary to explain the pronunciation.

‘Sprong’ I interpret as being a sort of onomatopoeic joke. Imagine it like the sound of a ruler being twanged. Since it is obvious from the reference to girls and refastening his trousers that he goes and has sex with girls in the audience (that he spotted from the stage during a set), ‘sprong’ is the metaphorical sound of his brain telling his ‘member’ to spring to attention in readiness when he sees a girl he likes.

I think you are probably correct with the mosquito reference but can’t be sure in such a limited quote.

  • Lots of thanks, so does "there was something in his brain that just went sprong" mean "his brain tells him someone that he likes just sprang on the stage"? (it is a little unclear to me) and does "he would go down between sets" mean "he would go down between each set"? Apr 6, 2021 at 11:32
  • 1
    My interpretation is that 'sprong' represents his brain telling his penis to spring to attention. That's what all that 'thinking about his mem, mem, member' means.
    – Spagirl
    Apr 6, 2021 at 11:36
  • 1
    I missed the second part of your query: I don't think it means he necessarily rushed off to have sex between every set, but that if he saw a good looking woman he would go to her at the first opportunity, he wouldn't wait for the whole show to be over, on account of his brain is wired straight to his 'member'.
    – Spagirl
    Apr 6, 2021 at 11:57

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