Malcolm and Scott Kennedy-Vaughan are the owners/operators of S&M’s Cocktail Bar in Wellington and in Level 4 Lockdown their house has never been tidier. They point out, “two gay boys locked up together, deciding how the lounge looks best – could fill in the whole time!”

Tell us about your Level 4 Lockdown – where are you? Who’s in your bubble? And what are you doing to keep your mental health in check?
The two of us are safely tucked away (locked in) in our home, just the two of us – our flatmate has locked himself away with his girlfriend/friends with benefits (understandable lol) so it’s just us.

We’ve spent the first week taking it easy and relaxing as we know we have plenty of time on our hands – now in week two it’s time to start the house makeover, with a spring clean from top to bottom – just a little each day to make it last the distance – two gay boys locked up together, deciding how the lounge looks best – could fill in the whole time!


Also starting a regular exercise plan indoors, with the odd walk around the block every couple days. We’re very fortunate to have an outside area too, with gardens to maintain – which is an added bonus, we feel for those that live in apartments and the like and don’t have that kind of space, but hang in there – we shall all be released eventually!

And, of course, there are things like Netflix, board games, cards etc to help pass away the evenings and just keeping in touch with your mates, via Zoom, Skype and so on – make sure you ring friends to check on them too – not everyone has the internet!

What are your top tips for express readers who are struggling with self-isolation? Keep in touch with people – family, friends, whoever – if you’re feeling lonely or just need to talk there’s always someone, who’s probably feeling the same – they’re only a phone call away (or the push of a couple of buttons)

Set yourself a daily plan, exercise and spring cleaning seems to be working for us – have the occasional lazy day, just for yourself but still keep busy at other times, get creative – you may even find a best seller inside you trying to get out!

If you do have a car – when you go to the supermarket for essentials, check if any elderly friends and those that don’t have the ability to go shopping need anything – not only are you doing a good service but you get to stay out longer and move around a bit with a good excuse, but of course keep two meters away from everyone, drop those groceries at the door and catch up from a distance.

What is the most positive aspect of self-isolation you’ve experienced so far?
The house has never looked so clean!

On our periodic walk around the block, we’ve noticed people seem very friendly, communicating more (from a distance) and generally very sociable – we’re all in the same boat after all.

And we’ve managed to catch up on some TV shows we were about a year behind in!

What plans do you have between now and day 28 of lockdown?
No real plans as such, taking each day as it comes – not going to crazy doing everything in one day – make everything last the distance.

Going to hopefully come out the other side fitter, thinner and smoke-free – with determination and perhaps a lot of luck

What are you missing most about ‘normal life’?
Face to face with friends and patrons, having a laugh with people across the bar, meeting new people – tourists and such, having the freedom to move about and visit friends, and oddly we’re missing work.

What will be the first thing that you can’t wait to do when regular life resumes? Re-open the bar and welcome everyone back, crack some Champagne and celebrate life and friendship – we feel a party coming on!

Moving forward is there anything you think you will change about your life following self-isolation?
Don’t take anything or anyone for granted – you never know when life is going to throw a curveball, Covid-19 is a classic example.

Is there a closing message you would like to share with our gorgeous LGBTI+ community?
Stay safe, follow the rules and look after each other. If we all follow the rules this will end a lot sooner.

Wear gloves and facemasks when venturing out for, not only yours but everyone’s safety – there will be plenty of times to see your gorgeous faces when this is all over.