“He’s very quiet and enjoys puzzles.” Those admiring words, spoken by Lisa Simpson to her father Homer in the 1996 classic, “Bart On The Road,” were about all fans of The Simpsons really ever knew about the mysterious Langdon Alger, a fleeting character named for a schoolmate of writer Richard Appel. Until now, that is. A Manchester “anti-folk” musician named James Clayton, known professionally as Crywank, has recorded an entire seven-song EP, Following The Lizard Queen, in the guise of Langdon Alger. Fittingly, the strummy, bummed-out tunes on Lizard Queen do sound like they were recorded by a taciturn puzzle enthusiast. The artist’s statement clarifies the premise:
I loved a girl. Lisa Simpson. I loved her for what felt like 21 years, which makes no sense as I’m just a young boy. Unsure how to approach a relationship (I’m quiet and spend most of my time doing puzzles) I foolishly began following her. I also began plotting to kill everyone she became romantically involved with, although I never followed through. I stopped following her and wrote these songs instead.
Simpsons fans will remember that it was not Alger who pined for Lisa, but rather the reverse, and then only briefly. Still, the EP is a veritable cornucopia of Simpsons quotes and references, serving as a museum of sorts devoted to Lisa’s various romances over the years. The song titles will immediately jar some memories: “Choo-Choo-Choose Me,” “Guess Who Likes You,” “R.I.P. Linguo.” In fact, the character whose spirit is truly evoked here is not Langdon Alger but hapless, lovesick Milhouse Van Houten, who has pined for Lisa for decades now. “Guess Who Likes You” finds Milhouse watching in utter disbelief as his dream girl improbably falls for school bully Nelson Muntz: “How can a boy so cruel take the only girl I love?” For those who can sympathize with Milhouse’s plight, Following The Lizard Queen is available as a pay-what-you-want download here.