The Record Baron of Beirut
Through thirty-five years of sectarian strife and brutal civil war in Lebanon, a former fighter and obsessive vinyl collector has provided a vital soundtrack of distraction.
Photos by Osie Greenway
Inside a nondescript building with a modest storefront on Beirut’s Armenia Street sits a tiny music store, Super Out Discotheque, with a long history. The small space is packed floor to ceiling with outdated but still-functional audio equipment, from a 1970s-era reel-to-reel tape machine and stacks of cassette decks to giant wooden speakers that are more than twenty years old. Thousands of vinyl records, compact discs and cassette tapes are wedged into the shelves, juxtaposed with Christian idols — Virgin Mary statues, photos and several crucifixes — as well as reminders of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, such as the yellowed photo of Super Out owner Roy Hayek’s brother, who died when his vehicle was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade in 1983.
Roy Hayek is a garrulous guy with a lit cigarette perpetually either in his mouth or between his fingers. He is always sharply dressed, thin black hair gelled back, with glasses perched on his nose and a fastidiously groome…
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