Just as we're all drawn to different styles of music, different timbres and different scales, so are we drawn to different rhythms - they each have their own personalities. The backbeat can be spectacular, as on John Bonham's behemoth opening to Led Zeppelin's 'When the levee breaks', but I've never particularly liked it.
In fact, I find it ruins many a beautiful song. What was the producer thinking here?
The foursquare backbeat is about solidity and gravity. You can't dance to it because it keeps your feet anchored firmly to the floor. The best you can do is contort your body in ever more excruciating shapes. Along with Thatcherism and cocaine, I hold the backbeat responsible for the 1980s.
Happily, at the end of the decade an unstoppable tide of electronic dance music swept the backbeat away. Producers realised that if you wanted people to dance, you needed funk.
Funk can be explained quite simply as a matter of syncopation, groove and the semi-mystical concept of the one...
But funk can't be analysed. It doesn't come from the head, or even the heart, but rises up from the fleecy shanks of the loins. I know more than one drummer who, though they get all their beats down with mathematical precision, just don't have it. You've either got the funk or you haven't.
It's more an attitude to life than anything. In fact, I'd go further. For when the physicists finally drill down into matter so deeply they can go no further, they'll discover that the fundamental particle is pure undiluted funk. Funk is life itself.
And though funk, in its current manifestation, is an Afro-American creation, it's truly universal. I've heard it everywhere, from Indian tabla playing to Irish fiddling. It's just that in white Western culture, where the fact that we have bodies comes as a something of a revelation, we must fight continually against the gravitational pull of the backbeat. Funk is our Holy Grail.
When you hear the song the Mighty Boosh were parodying, you realise that the quest for the funk has only just begun.