The Beat

Life on the Streets

By: David Fine

Publication Date: May 2000


The Beat: Life on the Streets by David Fine

Who are the women who walk the beat in Dublin’s red-light districts?

How did they get there? Why do they stay? What happens when they try to leave? What are their lives really like?

The Beat: Life on the Streets in a fascinating, disturbing account of the lives of sixteen women and their struggle for surival in Dublin’s underworld. Haunted by the drug-related death of his lover Seema, herself a ‘working girl’, David Fine decided to confront his grief head-on – journeying to the heart of an invisible Ireland to find out what it means to be a prostitute.

Working as a taxi driver, Fine got to know the women on the streets, unveiling every aspect of their harrowing lives. Their stories command attention and compassion on every page of this revealing book. Fine describes how these women – alternately raging or gentle, brutal or loving, vicious or simply wounded – destroy themselves, how their personalites crash and collapse, driven by the drugs coursing through their veins.

Here are Dublin’s ‘working girls’ in their own words. Imelda is fierce, and fiercely loves her two daughters. Sorcha is so strung out on heroin she eats her own clothes. Una will do anything to avoid sex. Teresa was gang-raped at the age of eleven. Despite it all, these women continue to live and love and dream of a better world. The Beat gives voice to the voiceless – Fine’s admiration for their courage shining through. Like Jim Carrol in The Basketball Diaries and Scorsese in Taxi Driver, he sees human dignity and beauty in life’s darkest corners.


Haunted by the drug-related death of his lover Seema, David Fine sought to find out what it means to be a prostitute in Ireland. The Beat is the result of his quest, and his admiration for their courage shines throughout. Read more.

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Weight 0.25 kg
Dimensions 135 × 215 mm
Publication Date

May 2000


Paperback, 172pp