Interview

SDE talks to the man who spent £10k on the Steven Wilson ‘Ultra Deluxe’ TFB box

Steven Wilson / The Future Bites ULTRA DELUXE BOXSET ON OBSOLETE MEDIA

A music entrepreneur with a passion for collecting snagged the ultimate limited edition box set and reveals his motivations to SDE

Late last year music fan Alan Lastufka pre-ordered the ‘Ultra Deluxe’ box set edition of Steven Wilson‘s new album The Future Bites. It was a limited edition of one and cost a cool ten thousand pounds. He has recently taken delivery of the package and wasted no time in filming an unboxing video.

So who is Alan Lastufka and just what motivated him to spend so much money on a music box set? SDE tracked him down and put some questions to him…

SuperDeluxeEdition: Why did you buy this box set?

Alan Lastufka: Starting with a giant question! I bought this box set for several reasons really.

First, the selfish reasons. As a music collector, I really wanted a lot of the unique personal items Steven included here. The hand-written lyrics, the Polaroids from the album cover photoshoot, the Grammy nomination medallion and certificate… truly one-of-a-kind items that we as fans almost never get a chance to hold or even see. This box allowed me to not only see and hold them, but to own them. That’s fantastic, and I smile more every time I think about it.

Also, I wanted the exclusive song, ‘The Tastemaker’, and I wasn’t certain another buyer would share it with the entire Steven Wilson fanbase. I recorded my very first play of ‘The Tastemaker’ seven-inch with an Ortofon Bronze stylus feeding a Cambridge Solo preamp, captured at 192kHz/24bit by a Tascam DA-3000. Then I cleaned up that needle-drop by hand in iZotope’s RX, removing each pop and tick individually so as not to just run the plugin across the whole track and destroy the transients. It takes a lot of time, but the results are stellar.

Then, the unselfish reason, the proceeds were going to a good cause. With Steven Wilson not being able to tour currently, I don’t think anyone would have blamed him if he had planned to just pocket the sale of this gigantic box set from the outset. It’s a lot of his personal items in there, why shouldn’t he be compensated for them? But no, he was generous and gave all the proceeds to the UK’s Music Venue Trust, a charity that helps support live music venues. So my purchase went to help keep live music alive instead of to Steven’s future keyboard budget or whatever. Even better!

SDE: Is this an investment you expect to enjoy a return on? In other words, do you think you’ll sell it on at some point?

Alan: I will sell it on at some point. My partner and I don’t want to have kids, so I will have no one to leave these kinds of items to. I’d rather it go to another Steven Wilson fan than to whatever or whoever ‘my estate’ will consist of when I pass. No one will treasure this kind of box set like a fan will, so even if I left it to a music museum or exhibition, it would just be another item on display there.

As for whether I expect a return on this particular ‘investment’? In the short term, no. If I were to resell it today, I don’t think I’d get my money back out of it. Some of the magic here was in the fact the money went to charity. Some of the magic was in the song ‘The Tastemaker’ being exclusive to this box set. One pressing. One copy. And some of the magic was in the hype around the album release as this type of box set worked extremely well within the context of this title’s specific marketing campaign.

However, in the future, I do think this will appreciate like most of Steven Wilson’s limited releases have. To be clear, I didn’t buy this as a retirement nest egg or as a speculative investment. I bought it because it’s so freakin’ cool! But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think it’ll be worth more in ten or twenty years than it is today. I mean, among everything else included here, how often do fans get a chance to own props from their favourite artist’s music videos? This set has everything!

SDE: How big a Steven Wilson fan are you? Is he your favourite artist?

Alan: The question every music fan both loves and dreads: who’s your favourite artist?! I mean, everything comes in waves, right? Most of the time, Steven Wilson is my favourite, yes. But a few years ago it was Roger Waters. And a few years before that it was Tori Amos. I still love their work of course, and I only found Steven’s work relatively recently (around 2015), but once I fell, I fell hard. I now own everything… all the solo releases, all the No-Man stuff, every Blackfield track, Porcupine Tree’s gigantic catalog of albums, singles, compilations, limited edition Transmissions, concerts, you name it. In stereo and 5.1 and Atmos. I’ve been drowning in Wilson’s work for the last few years and I’m not coming up for air any time soon, especially not now with a new album to dig into!

SDE: Any regrets? £10k could buy you a lot of ‘something else’ – like a new kitchen, a car, an amazing holiday…

Alan: None. I was preparing for regrets. What if the box set arrived trashed? What if I didn’t enjoy the album or bonus material? What if ‘The Tastemaker’ was five disappointing minutes of static and other experimental noise?

But during the unboxing video, I got more and more excited as I went through every layer of the box. It was better than I thought it would be. And the album is great. The bonus material audio is even better (I’m a sucker for extended remixes and studio outtakes). ‘The Tastemaker’ is a great upbeat funky song. Short, but great. And despite some of the negative comments people have made on YouTube, Reddit, or even here on SDE, I don’t hesitate in saying I have zero regrets.

SDE: You’ve clearly enjoyed some success in life if your music buying budget is big enough to accommodate this box set?

Alan: It’s definitely in the top five most expensive hobby purchases I’ve ever made, but not the most expensive.

I never had money growing up, and even as a young adult I worked for minimum wage at a nonprofit. I usually had to hit up Mom for $10 to make it to the end of the week. So I would see limited edition box sets (at the time, usually four disc career-spanning sets) come and go, and I could never afford them.

But then I began a YouTube channel and started having fun making videos. Some were sketch comedy, some were original music, or poetry readings with interesting visuals, or just vlogs about life. These videos caught on and I became one of the Top 100 Most Subscribed channels on YouTube… granted this was back in 2008 when it only took 40,000 subscribers to hit that list.

That lead to a book deal with O’Reilly Media, and I co-wrote the book YouTube: An Insider’s Guide that taught new video makers how to grow their channel and online presence (don’t bother reading the book now, it’s over a decade out of date, but still in print somehow).

And then that book led to me co-founding a record label for online musicians. So many indie musicians were making music at home, uploading it to YouTube, and viewers were begging to buy it, but these musicians had no where to go to sell it. No one had heard of Bandcamp or DistroKid back then. No one was manufacturing vinyl on-demand.

So my friend Hank Green and I set up a record label called DFTBA Records (initialism for Don’t Forget To Be Awesome), and we started signing YouTube musicians, releasing their CDs and vinyl, helping them with small tours, designing and printing their t-shirts and posters. And because we were musicians ourselves, we set up contracts that were very fair for the artists. In fact, most of our artists went on to quit their day jobs and were able to make a living from their music within a year or two after signing with us.

We quickly branched out and started working with comedians like Rhett & Link, authors like Rainbow Rowell and John Green, in fact we started working with John just a couple years before his novel The Fault In Our Stars was published. That book was later turned into a Hollywood movie by 20th Century Fox, and during all of that we were releasing his merch. We even recorded an exclusive audiobook box set of that novel.

The value of our label skyrocketed after that, and after years of doubling our profits every 12 months, I sold my half of the label to a small group of investors. I felt it was the right time to get out. Projects like that never last forever, and I was offered a lot for my ownership stake.

All that work, combined with some smart investments and – outside of my hobbies – a fairly frugal lifestyle, mean I no longer have to sit on the sidelines when these Super Deluxe Edition box sets are announced. And I paid Mom back for all those $10 loans.

SDE: Has anyone been in touch and offered you a tidy sum to buy it off you?

Alan: Someone offered me $2 for it on Facebook or Reddit or somewhere. But I think they were joking.

SDE: Do you have any other physical music in your collection that comes close to this kind of value?

Alan: No. The next most valuable physical music item in my collection is an original 1998 demo cassette from Tegan and Sara, autographed by both of them. It was billed as a “Sara and Tegan” title and that cassette is valued at around $1,000. It is one of the demo tapes they circulated before getting signed to a major label, and the demos are stellar.

After that would probably be my first UK pressing of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, signed by Roger Waters in gigantic letters across the bricks of the wall. Not sure how to value that one, but I wouldn’t part with it any time soon. I love it and have it carefully framed on my office wall. Then after that you start getting into other rare box sets, like Steven Wilson’s Insurgentes Super Deluxe set, which is apparently worth about $500 on average, according to Discogs, or my Michael Jackson Bad 25 super deluxe box set released in the Bad-era leather jacket briefcase with a ton of zippers. That one never stands up when you try to display it, I had to install a special shelf to prop it up. (Incidentally, my unboxing of the Bad 25 Super Deluxe was the first unboxing video of mine you featured here in 2012, TFB being the second. At this rate, 2030 will be the next year for a really special unboxing video. Hah!)

SDE: You mentioned on twitter that you’d bought some of the Royal Mint Bowie coins. You are clearly interested in items outside just CDs and vinyl etc. What else do you collect?

Alan: I did buy the Royal Mint Bowie coins, the gold ones they released last year. I also bought their Queen coins, and their Elton John coins. In addition to physical music, my other hobby is coin collecting. My dad was a coin collector while I was growing up. He mostly filled in date books and bought Mint Proof sets like a lot of collectors at that time. He never collected anything over the top, he didn’t come from money and worked as a welder his entire life. But he enjoyed combing through pocket change and rolls. When I started collecting in 2010, I focused more on high-grade individual coins and coins with specific themes.

In fact, I have a subset of gold and silver coins that feature nothing but music themes, which is where the Royal Mint Bowie coins, etc, fit in. That subset is called “The Symphony Set” and all the coins in it depict composers, instruments, music notation, concert halls, or other related visuals.

“The Symphony Set” won me an award, if you can believe it. Every year the two major coin authentication and grading services, PCGS and NGC, hold registry events where they award plaques and prizes to various coin collections put on display. My “Symphony Set” won Most Creative Set in 2012 at the NGC awards.

In addition to the music coins, I also collect classic US gold and silver coins. And that’s what kept this Steven Wilson box set from being my most valuable collectible. The crown jewel of my classic coin collection is a mint state 1907 High Relief Wire Edge Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. Those words probably don’t mean much to non-collectors, but anyone familiar with coins knows it is one of, if not the most desirable US coin. Mine was authenticated and graded by PCGS with an estimated value somewhere around double what I paid for the Steven Wilson box set.

So physical music and coins are the main collections, but I also have a modest 4K UHD and Blu-Ray collection which consists of a couple hundred steelbooks and boutique label releases from Arrow Video, Scream Factory, and Criterion. But like with the music, I don’t consider those movies investments, they’re art and enjoyable to watch, but I don’t expect them to fund my later years. I buy them because I don’t stream movies, I’m of the opinion that if I’m going to watch a movie, I’d like to see it in its best presentation. Expertly transferred, super high bitrate, lossless audio, and with a ton of bonus features.

I guess I just love obsolete media. Even my band, The Caulden Road, released a Blu-Ray Audio of our first album Reflexion, so that tells you everything you need to know about where my head’s at.

SDE: Were you tempted to keep everything sealed?

Alan: Never even crossed my mind. How could I not listen to ‘The Tastemaker’?! Or listen to the other exclusive audio, the live soundcheck cover or Rush’s “Twilight Zone”? I wanted to read over those hand-written lyric sheets. But most important… it was my only copy of the full album at the time! I also preordered the standard deluxe edition box before the ‘Ultra Deluxe’ was revealed, but that box still hasn’t arrived yet, it’s held up in international shipping purgatory.

Some pointed out that I should have left the 0001/5000 Deluxe box set sealed and purchased another numbered copy. And yeah, if I were a more patient man or if the other numbered box set had already arrived, maybe I would have at least done that. But I’ve never been one to leave any of my music purchases sealed. We only live once, and sometimes it’s for far too short.

SDE: Do you think that the item has indeed decreased in value since opening the main box (as per the statement on the card inside the box)

Alan: I got a bit of a laugh out of that insert, and it’s probably true for the 0001/5000 box alone. I don’t think it’s true for any other of the standard deluxe edition box sets though, nor of this Ultra Deluxe. And we have years of data and past album sales to support that. Try to go buy the Insurgentes deluxe edition box for as little as double or triple what it retailed for! It’s impossible! And the same is true for every single one of this previous Deluxe Editions. No reason to think The Future Bites would be any different.

SDE: Do you consider that you got value for money with regards to this purchase?

Alan: I do. I didn’t think I’d have to justify it, but a number of comments online pointed out how overpriced or stupid and worthless the contents of the box set were, so, let’s justify it.

First you have eight hand-written lyric sheets. Sold individually, I think those would bring in an average of $1,000 each. Especially with the provenance of the artist himself offering them up. Some would be lower, but then some (like ‘The Raven That Refused to Sing’) would go for much higher.

Then you have three 12-inch vinyl test pressings. Those sell all the time for a couple hundred each in the secondary market with no provenance.

Then you have the CD-R of the exclusive soundcheck song, ‘Twilight Zone’. Another couple hundred to maybe a thousand dollars when offered directly from the artist. A recording not available anywhere else!

We’re already approaching the value of the box set and we haven’t even touched on the music video props. Just as one comparable example, the funeral booklets handed out in the My Chemical Romance music video for ‘Helena’, sell on eBay for about $300 each. There were a couple dozen of those made for the music video, similar to the printed materials from the ‘Eminent Sleaze’ music video. And Steven included, what, two dozen or so of those, each with a unique phrase?

The laptop bag, carried around by Steven in that same music video, limited to one, a unique item prominently featured in the artist’s hands, easily $1,000 with no question of its authenticity.

And then, of course, the most unique item: an exclusive new original studio recording. A song not available anywhere else, on a seven-inch pressing of which only one copy exists. Even if you were to try, you could not put a value on that today, as I don’t think the market has ever been tested with a similar item being sold in the past.

I say all of that not to be defensive, but to be surprised Steven set the box’s price where he did. He said in a recent interview it probably would have gone for more at auction, but then they wouldn’t have been able to print the price on the cover, hah.

SDE: Would this have equally been an art statement if left unopened in some gallery on a plinth?

Alan: Maybe, but it would be the kind of art I do not enjoy. I believe art should be consumed, read, heard, seen, opened, and experienced! I don’t get anything out of a banana duct taped to a wall, or a sealed shipping box sitting on display.

SDE: When you realised you had got it, was excitement or panic the first emotion?

Alan: First it was immense disappointment! The box set had sold out before I could even add it to my cart! I live-tweeted the entire experience that night. The box set listing went live at 9am Black Friday morning in the UK. That’s all well and good, except that meant I was up until 1am Thanksgiving night here in the US to attempt my purchase as it went live.

I remember refreshing the page one second after 1am, clicking the ‘Add To Cart’ button, receiving an error, refreshing, and seeing the button turn to SOLD OUT. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I knew there would be a demand for this set.

It remained sold out for about 20-25 minutes as I chatted with other fans on Twitter.

I kept refreshing the page though, I think mostly in disbelief. After 15 minutes, my partner came into my office to check on me.

Then, miraculously, after a dozen or so refreshes, it came back in stock!

I clicked ‘Add To Cart’. Got it into the cart. Clicked through to the ‘Checkout page’. Made it there. Townsend Music already had my payment and shipping info from my order of the standard Deluxe Edition. I confirmed my information and was greeted with an ‘Order Received’ page.

I waited for an email confirmation before celebrating on Twitter with you and the few fans who were still hanging in there.

So there was a lot of excitement, and a little panic, as there is anytime I win a big auction or make a large purchase. But that panic dissipated quickly and was completely gone by the time the box set arrived safely.

I know you haven’t asked the question, but a lot of readers here and on the Hoffman forum have, so let me say: my partner knows how much I paid for it, she was standing right next to me as I checked out, and she approves. She knows how important Steven’s music has become to me, and how important my music (and coin) collection is to my daily happiness. She also reminds me it’s my money and that I worked hard for it. She doesn’t disapprove of any of my purchases, even if she would never make the same purchases herself.

Many thanks to Alan for answering these questions. Steven Wilson’s The Future Bites is out now. Watch SDE unbox all the formats.


Steven Wilson official store The Future Bites:


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Steven Wilson

The Future Bites - vinyl LP

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Steven Wilson

The Future Bites - blu-ray

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Steven Wilson

The Future Bites - CD edition

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The Future Bites Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set

CD 1 – The Future Bites

  1. Unself
  2. Self
  3. King Ghost
  4. 12 Things I Forgot
  5. Eminent Sleaze
  6. Personal Shopper
  7. Man of the People
  8. Follower
  9. Count of Unease

CD 2 – The Future Bites – Instrumentals

CD 3 The Future Bites – Bonus Content

  1. Personal Shopper (Extended Remix)
  2. Unself (Long Version)
  3. Ha Bloody Ha
  4. Move Like A Fever
  5. King Ghost (Extended Remix)
  6. I Am Cliché
  7. Wave The White Flag
  8. Eminent Sleaze (Extended Remix)
  9. In Pieces
  10. Every Kingdom Falls

Disc 4: The Future Bites Blu-ray

Features the album in

  • 96/24 Stereo LPCM
  • DTS-Master Audio 5.1
  • 96/24 5.1 LPCM
  • Dolby Atmos

Instrumentals (in stereo)

Videos:

King Ghost
Eminent Sleaze
Personal Shopper

76 responses to SDE talks to the man who spent £10k on the Steven Wilson ‘Ultra Deluxe’ TFB box

  1. Thomas says:

    Very nice interview and Allan seems like a stand-up guy in many ways!

  2. James says:

    Fantastic interview, Paul. And Alan seems like a great guy! What a relief this went to a true music lover, and not some Ebay opportunist.

  3. Nico from PDX says:

    Congratulations Alan. Total investment!

  4. Rpic says:

    I’m surprised Paul McCartney wasn’t the first to have a one box deluxe set. Maybe soon….

  5. Jimmy A Gates says:

    Great read. Even though I’ve lost interest in Steven’s solo musings I’m happya true fan got this amazing item. If this was by one of my favorite artists I’d probably do the same thing.

  6. Michael says:

    Alan,
    Aside from your purchase of the Steven Wilson ultra box set, which brought you to our attention through Paul’s SDE website, what I’m really impressed with is your co-authored book with Michael Dean, and DFTBA Records! I have a feeling you are someone destined for prominence — a trendsetter in both business and entertainment technology. I sincerely wish you great success in all your ventures. Thank you for sharing your experience, music passion and insight with us :-)

  7. Andy says:

    “Then, miraculously, after a dozen or so refreshes, it came back in stock!”

    Balls. I checked the moment it was supposed to be on sale and saw “Sold Out” as well, I thought “B*stard! That was quick!” and went back to bed (as I’m in the US too). Little did I know I should have waited…

    Glad it went to a fellow collector though and not someone looking to throw it straight on eBay. Also sharing the single with other SW fans was pure class. Congrats Alan!

  8. StevieT says:

    Congratulations, Alan, on your acquisition and thankyou for the responses. I am just curious whether you have any Beatles rarities – a sealed Butcher cover maybe, or a low number White Album? Also, would you have had a price limit on the TFB if it had been auctioned, or what if the asking price had been 20,000 or even 50,000??

    • It’s hard to say, but the price Steven put on it would probably have been my limit. It was high enough to make me say “wow”, but low enough to make me say “maybe I should go for it?”.

      And sadly I don’t have any Beatles rarities, other than the Beatles in Mono box set and the few Super Deluxes they released. I like them well enough, but don’t love them the way most do (I know, I just lost all credibility with 90% of this site).

      • StevieT says:

        Your credibility is safe, Sir! And I think you have got yourself a bargain, once you break down all the unique items. I wish you continued success with all your ventures, and happy collecting.

  9. alan hansen says:

    I got my box-set a few days ago and haven’t yet opened it. food for thought! just kidding – I have no intentions on selling it. and i’m close, but not an actual Steven Wilson completist.

    thanks for all this, Paul.

  10. Fogarrach says:

    My entry into this debate was commentary both artistic and pedantic. This event, I more or less said, was more about the art of it than the music. Plus, from a charity perspective, I noted aspects of the charitable element.

    Well, hell that was then, this is now.
    I’m reading an interview of a young talented man by a grizelled and universally respected old-timer. (I sincerely mean the respect bit, I added the grizelled bit as the superdeluxe addition)

    Alan is a music fan, as is Steven, he wants to have stuff held by the man whose music he likes, unique stuff. I totally get that. Well done Alan and, if it’s not too late, well done Steven.

    And if Alan goes on to sell it (which I actually doubt) I do hope he makes money.

    This is a rare if not unique box set (i.e. I was wrong), and Alan’s personality and professionalism did loads to enhance my interest in it.

    Well done Alan, well done Paul.

    Now, back to my tradition of making an unrelated oblique point.

    Clifford t ward? Why no remaster? Why no box set? We are here, missing him yet caring.

  11. Steve Bliss says:

    great interview, loved reading what Alan had to share. Congrats to him!

    “Watch SDE unbox all the formats” – well, all but one!

  12. Jim says:

    I’m slightly disappointed the buyer has been identified. In my head this was an interview with a silhouette with an electronically processed voice.

    • I’ll have to buy a vocoder for my next interview. :)

      • Jim says:

        Ha! I just know that if I spent ten grand on a box set there’s a certain person who I wouldn’t want knowing who I was!

      • Matthew Breach says:

        Alan – having read the interview I now find a tenuous link between us! I’ve met John Green a couple of times and I was chairman of the Dons Trust, the owners of AFC Wimbledon … which I guess is his hobby equivalent of being unique box sets ;) Looking forward to hearing The Tastemaker at some point – have you posted it yet? I can imagine listening to that the first time was exciting.

        • Matthew, that’s awesome! John and I were close for many years, but it’s been a while since we chatted. I do know he has great love for AFC though. I will be posting The Tastemaker next week on my YouTube channel.

  13. Adey says:

    I have a massive music collection, but to be honest, I’ve never heard of Steve Wilson!
    However, after seeing this article, Paul, I am genuinely intrigued, and feel the need to investigate this artist.
    Can anybody recommend a good SW album to start off with, if i were to “dip my feet in the water”?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Well, I’d say ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase’, but I’m sure others will say something different. The new album is really good and quite accessible while still feeling un-mainstream.

  14. mino gagliardi says:

    A real slap in the face of the nowadays economical and pandemic chrises! The money is yours but you could use it for a better and altruistic reason…

  15. Arnd says:

    “Then, miraculously, after a dozen or so refreshes, it came back in stock!”

    Possibly, somebody else had put it in their cart, filled in everything, then at the end, hesitating for 25 minutes with the mouse pointer hovering “Buy now”, and finally cancelled.

    • Yeah, I’d assume it was something like that. Or, more unfortunately, perhaps the purchase was declined by the buyer’s credit card for being so large and international? I had to call my bank on the previous business day and tell them I was going to try to purchase this and they put a note on my account to let it go through.

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Either that or his wife walked into the room at the critical moment…… :-D

  16. Arnd says:

    Did you meet Alan in person?

  17. SmilingFace says:

    Congratulations, Alan. If he lives in the USA and the package was sent from the UK, I would think that the US equivalent to HM Customs and Excise are very happy, the import tax on this would have been quite a bit!

  18. Otto says:

    There is one part of me that despises things like personal handwritten item as they are god-fying the artist and derives from the art. But I would lie if I wasn’t gushing like a hyperfan when I saw copies of handwritten song texts of Prince when I got the Sign of the Times SDE. So I for sure understand it and I’m happy for Alan as he got a passion that fits the boxset while supporting an excellent cause.
    I enjoy Stevens new album a lot and I’m glad Steven Wilson doesn’t keep producing the same album over and over but broadens his musical horizon and for me doing it in a very successful way.

  19. Laufi says:

    This surely is a great marketing stunt and Allan seems to be a nice bloke!

    Lucky him that he got this set on time – while others (at least a few dozen) outside the UK (German/EU) are still waiting for their „normal“ SDEs that are „on hold“ due to the obvious fact that Townsend Music was not able to declare parcels correct and/or send them in time. „Surprised by brexit“? Probably. Not cool for items that were ordered (and paid for) back in march (!).

    I think that a professional artist deserves a professional retailer, my „personal shopping“ experience is a mess in this case.

    • Tcf says:

      I am also waiting for the Deluxe Edition in Germany. It’s “held at Warehouse” at the moment. On top I am expecting to pay a stupid amount of money for taxes, handling and whatsoever. Ordering from the UK is a terrible pain in the a…. at the moment.

      • michael says:

        @Tcf, same problem, UPS is holding the parcel in a warehouse in herne (germany) waiting for further instructions (for 5 days) strange.

        • Steve Turner says:

          Micharl hate to be bearer of bad news but UPS have temporarily stopped their services to UK due to Brexit mayhem . You may be waiting a long time

          • Richard Stephen Pievaitis says:

            Hi Steve are you certain about that ?
            I just checked the UPS website, as I export many items to both Europe and USA using UPS and you have me quite a scare. The website says nothing about halting any deliveries but does mention a backlog of items they have due to being despatched incorrectly and the usual covid effect.
            But let me confirm that I posted out a parcel from East Yorkshire to New Jersey on 2 nd of February via UPS international delivery. All the appropriate waybills and commercial invoices were packed in the customs docket as usual. It arrived two days later so my client got his rare copy of Classic Record label Deja Vu by CSN and Y in his house by 3 pm his time on 4 th February 2021.
            Don’t think you can beat UPS for safe international deliveries. The vinyl arrived in perfect condition.
            I do not work or receive anything from UPS but I like to hear facts and this is my truth. Most postal issues arise through either had packaging or bad labelling or both. None of my European parcels have been affected either, all arriving after just two days. Do it right and you should have no problems. Get it wrong and…………….
            Thank you.

          • Laufi says:

            Steve, we are not talking about services to the UK, but the other way. Parcels are stored in a warehouse due to the fact that they’re not properly declared. My SDE is 100km from my home, in my country (Germany) and this is NOT a fault by UPS.

    • Paul says:

      Trust me, Townsend have always been rubbish with regard to shipping and delivery, regardless of Brexit. I waited 2 weeks after the release date for the Ultravox – Vienna box set and other items. They really are useless.

  20. Kauwgompie says:

    Hi Alan, congrats on your amazing purchase. From this interview I gather you are sincerely enjoying it and you ARE a fan, so, good. I’m happy for you. Many of us here are collectors and we do our best, within our budgets, to have fun and create a worthwhile collection. My biggest kick is purchasing the box sets at the absolute lowest price. It’s a bit of a sport to search, wait, analyze, price-compare etc. I do agree that most boxsets increase in value over time. Most go out of print eventually and then the price goes up. I do have kids but doubt they are interested in my collection. It would probably disappear in their basement. So me too, I’m anticipating selling my collection at some point. Till then I am enjoying it and working on expanding it every day.

    • The hunt is always fun. It was more difficult before the internet. I’m just old enough to remember visiting every second-hand CD shop in town in my high school years trying to find rare finds, unknown b-sides, bootlegs, etc. That was so fun and so frustrating at the same time. Now almost everything is available on Discogs or eBay if, like me, you want a physical copy. Or easily found on YouTube for free if you don’t mind streaming. When you really score something that’s been on your wantlist for a while though, and at the right price, it’s an amazing feeling.

  21. Stephen says:

    My entry point to SW was the ‘Piano Lessons’ CD single, then ‘Deadwing’ – but I’ve really enjoyed going back to the start of Porcupine Tree with the recent mega box set.

    One of the joys of music for me is going back as well as forwards. Sometimes, you just miss stuff.

    Haven’t got round to listening to TFB yet – got the Box set and the ‘UK Tour version’ of the vinyl that I ordered when the tickets first went on sale for the original dates – but I’m sure it will be beautifully crafted.

  22. Wayne C says:

    Such a nice guy, and I’m pleased for him. It was interesting to read his take on what to do with our music collections in time, and I agree with him. I wonder if Steven decided to do another of these such Ultimate box sets for a forthcoming album would it have the same effect – probably. I’m just happy with the £25 white vinyl with obi strip I bought from Assai Records – now that was a bargain with the included signed print as well!. That was a really good read and I enjoyed it. Shame he didn’t say you could have a world exclusive preview of the Tastemaker on SDE!.

  23. Fady says:

    Love this interview, and for mine, the box set could not have gone to a more worthy recipient. Alan’s passion for music and life is just brilliant to see.

    FWIW, I’m really enjoying this album, having only heard of Wilson via his remastering skills (yes, I’ve been living under that rock you’ve all heard about).

  24. madman says:

    Another fascinating interview Paul! As others have said, there seems a lot of hatred towards Alan, but a lot of times hate=jealousy. He wanted it, he got it so good for him!

  25. Ian Hicks says:

    I remember chatting with Alan on Twitter when he was trying to buy it. I told him that someone would have it in their cart and they would either be pondering whether to bite and him being really annoyed as he wanted to go to bed (1am in US) and wanted to know whether it had sold or not. Then suddenly he announced it had popped up and was in his basket… I know Paul and I were checking whether was being serious and he’d actually bought it. He stated there and then that we was going to share The Tastemaker and film an unboxing…top lad

  26. Simon says:

    The ‘one of a kind’ uniqueness of this Super Deluxe Edition Box Set. Reminds me in a way of the album, Music for Supermarkets by Jean-Michel Jarre in 1983. Where only one copy was made and its master plates were deliberately destroyed.

  27. Stephen Thorpe says:

    We could all afford it if we decided also not to have kids like Alan Lastufka….???

  28. Steven Roberts says:

    Reading the interview, it would appear Alan was not the first in line when it came to buying the item – sounds like someone beat him to the punch but then the purchase window timed out on the original sale.

    I want to read the interview next of the guy who bottled it ;)

  29. Rich G says:

    Great interview Paul and Alan sounds like a nice level-headed person and the perfect super-fan recipient of such a release. I also echo his sentiments about opening the box set. I can’t understand why a fan would ever buy an SDE and leave it sealed. Maybe someone buying as a speculator for investment and buying two, as “new and sealed” is perhaps a bit easier to sell. But with rarer box sets (e.g. Thin Lizzy BBC), you can sell them open/played for decent money AND have had some listening pleasure in the meantime. People leaving say a rare coloured vinyl LP sealed forever, I just don’t get it. You never get to look at, listen and enjoy having it. If you keep it for long enough and you die, your kids will probably unknowingly take it to the charity shop or house clearance with all the rest of your “junk” and you’d never have appreciated it and it won’t even make them much cash. Life is for living! Enjoy it!

  30. Poptones says:

    Great interview. Nice read. After reading that interview, you’ré 100% convinced Alan’s a true SW fan and enthusiast and he truly deserved that unique box set.

    The part about Alan’s life, how he became succesful and could afford to pay that kind of money for a box set was very interesting. What artists he likes, how he got into Steven Wilson’s work, his most expensive collectors items, etc. I enjoyed that interview.

  31. Marc Bijlsma says:

    Great interview.
    I like it that het says he removed each pop and tick individually. I do that too, when I digitalise vinyl. Unfortunately, record companies which depend for certain tracks on vinyl drops, do not do that. Perhaps because it would be too expensive because it takes hours to get a track right, or perhaps simply because they don’t think it matters. It can spoil a track on a cd, and as a result the whole pleasure of listening to that certain cd will be gone. At least with me, this kind of cd’s don’t get off the shelve often, regardless the rest of its content.

    Alan Lastufka is obviously a man with both feet on the ground, with a passion for music (and movies and coins). I think most of the negative comments he talks about come from people who could not or did not want to spend 10,000 on this box set.

  32. Hass says:

    Dsappointed that anyone would have anything negative to say about Alan – its his money that he earned by being smart and his choice. Comes across as an intelligent, classy and generous guy.

  33. John ob says:

    I’m not an SW fan by any stretch. But he is an artist the music world needs. He is constantly in pursuit of music that stimulates him. Like Bowie he will have hits and misses but will amass a valuable body of work for future discovery which has to be applauded.

    • Tim-Meh says:

      Checkout his recent Amoeba Records ‘What’s In My Bag” on Youtube. Really insightful and comes across as a sound bloke.

      • Klaus says:

        For those who enjoyed that too Steven Wilson is also doing a podcast with his “No-Man”-partner Tim Bowness called “The Album Years” where the two of them talk for almost an hour about albums released in a year that names the episode, e.g. 1980 for episode 1.
        12 episodes have been released so far and both guys come across as if they hang out in Nick Hornby’s record shop from “High Fidelity”.
        Nice to see and hear that some top class musicians are also just music junkies at the end of the day…

  34. John MC cann says:

    If the shipping box was sealed and put on display,, how would anybody really know that the item was actually in it?

  35. Paul Kent says:

    Fascinating. It seems it could not have been purchased by a more deserving consumer. Well done, Alan!

  36. johneffay says:

    Good luck to him. He’s obviously happy with it & that’s all that counts. It was really nice of him to share all this with other fans.

  37. Gary S says:

    Good luck to him. I’m not a SW fan, but I’d get more joy out of a lovingly put together box than a load of Pokemon cards ;) $2m? Now, that is obscene.

  38. Antinio says:

    Future Bites – Steven Wilson at his lowest creative point.
    Every time I listen to a record, I asked Myself a question? Will I survive (musically) without this album?
    My answer with FB is , of course Yes.
    I have noticed that now , everything that comes out under SW , it is a masterpiece.
    I love Steven Wilson and all his side project , but If this record was published by unknown band , I don’t think would be stalling few copy
    Worldwide.
    I own every single SW , Porcupine Tree , No man , Bass Communion etc.
    But this time I’ll get a simple CD Edition when will go below €10 just to complete My collection.
    My humble opinion

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Just because you can “survive (musically)” without an album doesn’t mean it’s not very good. There’s a lot of Wilson-bashing going on on various forums… I mean, Bowie was applauded for not repeating himself in the 1970s while if SW does something different, it’s an issue.

      • Tim-Meh says:

        I’m not a SW fan nor have I really listened to any of his projects but he’s doing the rounds at the minute promoting the record and I’m enjoying what he has to say. What always comes across is his love of music as both an artist and a fan. How can anyone be critical of that?

      • Dominic Edwards says:

        The Future Bites is my entry point into the world of Steven Wilson. I’m more aware of him through news of his remixing work from SDE than anything else, and snippets I’ve heard of his previous work hasn’t intrigued me to explore further, until now. For some reason the whole concept of TFB has really resonated with me, and the commerciality or poppiness of the sound that others may disparage, I find very appealing.

        1987 was a big year for me when I really started buying individual items of physical media from specific artists, previously limiting myself to purchases of Now That’s What I Call Music albums. Without True Faith by New Order or Never Let Me Down by David Bowie, both of which I love passionately despite derision from the fanbase, it’s possible I could never have got to enjoy early NO/JD or the Berlin trilogy, which seemed alien and impenatrable to me as a young teen.

        I may yet become a Steven Wilson devotee, if I do it will be thanks to the deluxe box of TFB which I’ve taken the plunge with. I’ll keep an open mind, start working my way backwards like I did with New Order & Bowie, and see what happens.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Excellent. Your ‘entry point’ tends to become your favourite. Mine was ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’ from 2015.

          • Stuart says:

            An interesting point re the reaction this album has generated, particularly in relation to an individuals entry point to SWs work.

            My entry to Stevens work was the Coma Divine live album in 1998, so going by others reactions to TFB, I shouldn’t like the album and should still be harking on for a Porcupine Tree reunion and the guitars to be front and centre!

            But I’m not, I really like the fact that, like Bowie, SW has evolved his work over the years (in all his guises) and it keeps it interesting and fresh. Also imho Future Bites is actually less ‘poppy’ than To The Bone and does have some shades of the early electronic stuff than SW produced.

            A great interview and good to see a genuine fan getting the Ultra Box Set

        • Jakob Rehlinger says:

          Despite being a (classic) prog fan and being in three, for lack of a much better term “prog” bands, I’ve yet to hear a single Steven Wilson track (outside of mixing/remastering work). Ironically TFB might be the first I will seek out because everyone makes it sound (often disparagingly) like a Pet Shop Boys produced by Trevor Horn album!

      • Jeff D says:

        That’s right, and as blasphemous as it might be to say, Bowie put out a few less than stellar records.

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