(No, I didn’t suddenly develop a tremor, my biro was running out)
So yeah, fall of the Iron Curtain! It’s 1989! I’m twelve! I can’t draw hands!
I will say, even now, that as names of fictional eastern European countries go, ‘Barillia’ beats Enid Blyton’s ‘Baronia’ to which it is closely related. And that as made-up eastern European names go, ‘Romilla’ could be worse.
I love that Paul is ‘promising’ and ‘talented’, because recognising that Barillia might not be a Marxist utopia of happy smiling peasants is obviously really hard, especially with all these people wandering around in Dickensian rags covered in bruises and weird haematomas (what is that on Romilla’s foot? and that blonde woman who is presumably her mother has, like, a snake issuing from her mouth, it is freaky).
He tricks his way into the workhouse! He rescues a hot skinny blonde chick! He becomes a fugitive! He becomes a revolutionary! Whatever would ‘bleak Barillia’ have done without the hunky Western guy to help them out?
OK, so the ‘winds of change’ are operating independently of him (bonus points for Scorpions reference! also bonus points for totally subconscious Sydney Carton quote) and Romilla does help him out a bit with the whole revolution thing, maybe by acting as an interpreter. Or possibly Paul is so super that he picked up the language in a week. Or (more likely, this) everyone just speaks English.
I cannot end this piece without pointing at the bloke in the hat. And the bob. And the purple bowtie. And the mad eyebrows. And the moustache which entirely conceals his mouth (how is that even possible?) He is clearly EVIL and quite possibly a dictator of some sort, but how for the love of god is he getting anyone to take him seriously in that hat? Does he just shoot everyone who laughs at it? Or is he cultivating an image as a murderous yet lovable buffoon so the West will sell him arms? (Oops, sorry, wrong batch of revolutions)