Daily Archives: August 7, 2012

The Revolution Will Be Merchandised: In Memory of the Hungry Duck

The New York Times had a story out on the revival of the legendary Hungry Duck nightclub in Moscow. I’ve mentioned the Hungry Duck previously, but this paragraph buried near the bottom of the Times article caught my eye and has prompted me into a reaction:

Today, the Hungry Duck has been reincarnated as a monument to itself — a carefully considered multitiered sports bar with industrial-chic trappings. The toilets are covered with kitschy Soviet propaganda posters, and the toilet seats are chained to the walls. There is a gift shop.

Ah, the gift shop. Like CBGB’s, the Fillmore West, the Rolling Stones and other such zeit-culture snapshots of the moment, the Hungry Duck has entered the realm of what a friend of mine who works in the concert promotion business refers to as “the heritage tour”—one last gasp (grasp?) to essentially monetize what is now a ghost by any other name.

I thought this an appropriate time to add my own eyewitness account to the record. I went to the Hungry Duck a couple times in late 1997. If you do a simple Google search for “Hungry Duck” (note the photo search results in particular), that should give you enough of an idea of the obvious if you’re looking for that sort of account.

Otherwise, the truth is that period of my life is a bit fuzzy, but living in Russia was so far removed from the sort of life I had imagined for myself as a 23-year old that I felt compelled to keep a journal. I finally transferred this journal to my hard drive during a big housecleaning effort I went through last year after my father passed away. So I’ve just spent some time looking through some of those scribblings and it has brought back a couple memories. Other things I’ve written in there…well, I know it’s my writing, but I honestly just don’t remember some of this stuff. In any event, here’s what I can tell you about what’s in my notes and what little I actually remember of being in there:

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Emerging & Frontier Markets Headlines 2012.08.07

“Ex-Im Bank’s loans in Africa in 2011, which included financing the sales of Boeing aircraft to Rwanda, hit a record $1.4 billion. The bank’s authorizations supported approximately 8% of total U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa, it says. Ex-Im is on pace to set another record this year, Mr. Hochberg said. China’s export-credit agencies, by contrast, committed $12 billion in deals that included “loan-now-buy-later” drives conditional on African nations’ purchasing future Chinese exports. The initiatives fueled $73.4 billion worth of Chinese exports to Africa, compared with $31.5 billion of U.S. exports.” — WSJ

“China has remained a small source of FDI outflows, but that, too, is changing rapidly. Chinese outward FDI soared from an average of $3 billion per year before 2005 to $60 billion in 2010, catapulting China into the top five sources of FDI on a three-year moving-average basis. Given the size of China’s economy, its growth rate, and the experience of other developing economies, FDI from China is likely to increase by $1-2 trillion by 2020.” — Laura Tyson at Project Syndicate
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