I might as well be at the Eurovision Song Contest. Awful brassy music is playing as lights sweep across the tent and stage and performers march on from either wing, waving national flags. Topless men; women in spangly leotards; obvious clowns. A troupe of girls in white appear to continue Chinese circus’ gleeful indiscriminate sacking of western popular culture by wearing ten identical Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction wigs. As the lights swing out to rake the front audiences the compere welcomes us to the 30eme Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, held here in the enormous 2000-seat Cirque Phenix in an outlying park in south-eastern Paris. He is actually welcoming me for the fifth time.