Look closely at the limbs of the performers in the Fire Tusk Pain Proof Circus and you’ll see fading bruises, burns and welts. As magnificent ring mistress Lucifire says: “This is not television, this is people hurting themselves for your entertainment.”

Fire Tusk is not, by the way, a conventional circus. The clowns are of the Stephen King variety.

The balloons are staple-gunned to someone’s bare back. You’re more likely to get a can of Red Stripe than a bag of candyfloss.

A guy resembling a nightmare Clark Gable hangs weights from his eye sockets and then – yeeek – his nipples. Cabbages are shredded in the whirring blades of a Flymo, which is being held upright in a man’s clenched teeth. A beautiful usherette lies down on broken glass grinning as Clark Gable whips a melon clean in half on her arched back. It’s like Gerry Cottle’s S&M fantasy.

Lucifire and husband The Pain Proof Tusk put particular emphasis on the latter part of “love, honour and obey”, The Tusk graciously acquiescing to every crack of Lucifire’s whip, whether playing human see-saw as she rides a bike over him or bending over to meet her lashes with a rose poking from his behind. Well, it’s something to tell the grandkids.

Lord knows what the congregation of nearby St Peter’s Church would make of such deviancy, but it’s a hellishly seductive affair.