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#175 Portillo From Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, November 30, 2022


 #175 Blog Post - Wednesday, November 30, 2020


Posted by Denny Hatch


Meet Michael Portillo. He Changed My life.

He Turned Me Into a Seasoned World Traveler.

I used to lovetraveling. I had international clients and speaking engagements. At the sametime Peggy was president of USA Curling and, for a number of years, a longtime U.S. representative to the World Curling Federation. This enabled us to take a coupleof grand trips a year overseas.


Two recent developments got in the way of Peggy's and my adventure travels: people dying like flies from COVID-19and my reaching the mid-eighties. Trekking across the sands of the Sahara orslogging through the jungles of Belize in a world of nutty anti-vaxers is notthe smartest of ideas. Peggy went with a Cosmopolitan Club excursion to the VeniceBiennale (menfolk not invited). I have not traveled any distance fromPhiladelphia since January 2020. That's 3 years of progressive cabin fever.


MySaviors in That Bleak Period:
YouTube and Michael Portillo

At some point I stumbledonto the amazing BBC series, Great Railway Journeys of the World, hostedby former British MP, Secretary of Defence and member of the Privy Council, TheRight Honourable Michael Portillo. He had morphed from limey polinto an irrepressible goodtime Charlie, bon vivant, tour guide extraordinaire, dazzlingteacher and conversationalist. Over the past three years he has escorted me personallyall over the civilized world. Portillo is a railroad buff who travels secondand third class and inner city light rail. He strikes up conversations with anyonehe encounters and is my personal escort to myriad venues everyday touristsnever see. 


What's more, fluent in English and Spanish, he introduces me to fascinatingexperts—historians, scholars, scientists, museum curators, members of the aristocracy, flamencodancers, hoteliers, chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders, horse trainers, zookeepers and naturalists.In short, my wimpy, stay-safe-at-home life has been deeply enriched by all theseplaces and truly scintillating characters Michael has introduced me to over theyears.


And, oh yeah, these splendidadventures all took place on my giant 55" LP television screen... in my livingroom. It's all been absolutely FREE!


Michael is never without his quirky 1913 Bradshaw's Continental RailwayGuide that recounts what travel was like for the uppity British tourist in the early years ofthe last century. He gleefully compares trains in the good ole days with topspeeds of 15-to-25 mph to today's sleek speedsters whizzing along at threefigures. Portillo relishes describing the food, accommodations, sights andsounds in those times of yore that inspired the dictum of French writer/critic Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890): “plus ça change, plus c'est lamême chose"—"the more things change, the more they stay the same."


Behindthe Scenes of Michael's Magic

Michael Portillo hascreated 411 travel episodes—several hundred delicious hours of rail journeys,and grand touring, eating, socializing throughout the world—Britain, Scotland, Europe,India, Asia, the United States, Canada, Alaska and Australia. The crawl at the endof each episode lists a large retinue camera and sound technicians, directors,producers, script people, editors, movers of equipment and impedimenta. To you and me, this extraordinary team is invisible. You never see any of them.


Below are three intimate moments you share with your oh-so-genial host and personal tour guide, Michael Portillo. He travels alone and is always delighted when you join him.

A Personal Confession

In this blog post, I choseone episode of the 411 Great Railroad Journeys by Michael Portillo—Madrid to Gibraltarwith stopovers in Cordoba, Seville and Ronda. Peggy and I have traveled thisroute several times (exception: Jerez, home of Spanish sherry). The hour spentwith Michael Portillo was all new to me and pure delight—the art,  architecture, vistas, food, history, music anddance. Frankly, I was (and am) agog at how much we missed by not having Michaeland the roster of brilliant men and women guest historians, guides, scholars and experts he assembled tomake this journey come alive.


I guarantee you'llfind every one of Michael Portillo's travelogues to be a thrilling adventure.


And—best of all—they're all FUN AND FREE on YouTube!


I wish you BON VOYAGE!









Word Count: 691





The Most Fun You Can Have
In the English Language
At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press.He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletterand archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 yearshe has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.



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