"I stopped celebrating my birthday years ago. What's to celebrate? When it got to the point that I wasn't capable of wiping my own arse it didn't seem appropriate to celebrate anything."
His family say it is his ready wit and warm charm that has proved the key to Herbert's longevity, there might well be some truth in that as tomorrow, Herbert Shaw turns one hundred and twenty eight years old making him the official world's oldest living man.
"I don't know what I did to deserve one hundred and twenty eight years on this toilet of a planet, whatever it was it must have been real bad" Herbert muses from his armchair by the patio doors of Saint Whitney's Nursing Home. "People say to me me 'Oh you must have such terrific memories' but I don't. I have four memories, queueing for bread with my mother in 1897, living like a mud-caked cockroach in the trenches of World War One and of course getting shot in the throat, agreeing to this interview and speaking to you now. The rest of it is just a dull blur of grey indifference"
"I'm no oracle, I have no greater degree of insight into anything just because I am old and incapable of chewing solid food. A century and a quarter has taught me nothing other than it is all a horrid waste of time. Here I sit, crapping through a tube into a carrier bag alongside a sandwich bag of my piss, wheeling around a tank of oxygen...I wish I had died years ago. Frankly the entire last century has been awful."
It's not all doom and gloom for Herbert however, I ask him about the incredible ages he has lived through and been witness to.
"People bang on about 'Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated' or 'Where were you when Elizabeth was crowned?' but do you know what? I don't know...working in a factory? Having a dump? I can't remember, I don't care and if you had any sense neither would you."
I ask him what he has learned about people throughout his gargantuan life-span. "Don't trust them." He shoots back without a moment's pause. "They are all bastards. Every single one of them, don't go near them. Avoid them like the plague." He then takes a sip of cocoa followed by what is presumably an illicit swig from a hip flask and through a grimace mumbles "This place is like a bloody prison and living is like a life sentence".
I ask Herbert about his thoughts regarding the sensitive subject of death. "Do I ponder my own mortality? Of course I do. All the time. I have outlived everyone I have ever cared about, I've been waiting patiently to die for decades. Of course I'm not afraid to die, in fact I can't wait, I was hoping that if I drank enough of this vile cocoa it might finish me off but all it does is give me constipation. Everything these days gives me constipation."
I might be just a complicated mass of various medical conditions I am not crazy, I don't believe in God, but if there is a God I look forward to meeting him so I can punch him in the eye for pissing me about for so long."
I ask him if he enjoys spending his twilight years at Saint Whitney's Nursing Home.
"Every day is a living hell. I have done the same jigsaw puzzle every day for thirteen years and the only things to read are old Top Gear magazines, I mean who in their right mind brings old Top Gear magazines to a nursing home anyway? What the hell does anyone here care about muscle cars and exploding caravans?
"I sometimes pass the time throwing stones at birds in the garden; anything that means I don't have to interact with the senile cretins that haunt this soulless castle of despair. The worst part is that whilst all my organs and teeth and whatever else are all rotting away, my mind isn't. Take a look around now, all these people, they are enjoying the uninhibited bliss of madness whilst I have to suffer jigsaw puzzles and cocoa. It's not fair. If I can't be dead, you'd think I could at least be mad."
Having congratulated him on his impending world record I ask him if he has any plans for the future.
"Plans for the future? I plan on dying. And the sooner the better."
(*nb At Herbert's request we have not featured a picture of him as currently is "like a hateful old prune wrapped up in a blanket" but instead used a picture of him at a point in his life he wanted to live... courtesy of 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums')